"...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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Standing Up to the Fundamentalist Bullies - Social Media Has Evened the Field - A Few Thoughts for Chris Peterman from the Watchdog

Readers, here is another post on the Chris Peterman, Bob Jones University, Chuck Phelps story. The old FBC Jax Watchdog - who has been through a few dog fights himself - has a few things to say to Chris, and about how social media has helped expose the tactics of the fundamentalist bullies - and about how it has leveled the playing field.

- I know this entire episode has to be incredibly painful, Chris. Not only did you not get your degree, not only do you have to figure out now where to go that you have been kicked out of your college, but you likely now are coming to grips now with how ugly religious fundamentalism actually is. I don't know your circumstances, Chris, but perhaps you were a religious fundamentalist and now are coming to grips that you WERE part of that system that through your recent circumstances you are beginning to understand how ugly and anti-Christian it actually is. A person who incurs the wrath and the lies and the scorn from powerful religious leaders that he/she once trusted - simply because they stood for what they believed was right and wouldn't shut up - causes a myriad of conflicting emotions that takes years to process. I know. The good news is there is incredible freedom at the end of the process.

- But do get ready, Chris, for the lies. I'm sure you've experienced it already since this story broke 5 months ago. You know, the whispers. The accusations that powerful religious men will make about you and your family and friends, comments that their underlings will take and repeat to others about you. People who you thought were your friends who won't call you, or who avoid making eye contact at the store. You might even have religious relatives in your own family that will tell you that you were wrong and should have shut up. Some will accuse you of hurting the cause of Christ and hampering BJU's ability to do God's work. Nope. You are helping the cause of Christ, you are doing the will of God, and you are actually doing BJU a huge favor but those in power right now can't see that. But know that you did the right thing, the Christian thing, and hold your head up high.

- People will say you got what you deserved. I've heard that for years. This is part of the zaniness of religious fundamentalism: the pronouncements by the pious holy men that the lowly abused somehow get what they had coming to them - you know, that God is sovereign so just take your lumps like a good soldier. In fact, how ironic is it that people on my blog and elsewhere are saying that you deserved this abuse from BJU, when part of your protest over Chuck Phelps being put on the BJU board was how as pastor he made Tina Anderson feel that she was somehow to blame for being raped. This is how the twisted minds of religious zealots operate: Tina was made to feel that she was to blame for her abuse, and now you are made to feel that you are to blame for the abuse perpetrated by BJU. This is religious fundamentalism at its worse: damn the individual who is abused if it means protection for  the religious leaders and the religious institution.

- You are the enemy now, Chris, of the powerful religious zealots at BJU and those that love BJU, so there is probably more dirt and mud coming your way. You have helped to expose what has been there all along at BJU, and you have and will continue to incur their wrath. There likely will be no true reconciliation in the matter, as religious zealots can't compromise with the devil, and you, in their eyes, are forever the devil. And the zealots must defeat the devil.

- But the good news for you, Chris: your struggle has done much good for Christianity and will continue to do so. Stick with it, Chris. Keep shining the light. Sometimes just enduring the scorn of religious zealots, and then daring to turn the tables on the zealots by using social media to expose their abuses and lies in REAL TIME is the best response to stop the abuses in the future.

- Chris, I hope you have sought out legal advice, and that if you believe you have been wronged, or that your rights have been violated by these zealots, that you will fully consider your legal options and see it through. Oh, they won't like it, and BJU supporters will say you are "lawyering up" and claim you are out to make money. But make no mistake, the pious and religious men you're dealing with understand two things: money and power. BJU did what they did because they believed you were the little guy, someone with no power at all. And you were only the next in line of a long list of people who they have successfully bullied. They thought they could bring you harm with little or no ramifications, because they've done it before. You were a pest they thought they could just brush aside, a coward that if a little pressure were applied to, would cave in to their demands. But the beauty of our legal system is that the little guy like yourself, with little money and almost no power at all in their eyes, can stand toe-to-toe with the powerful and hold the powerful accountable if you have a lawyer standing with you who believes in you.

Lastly:  how sweet is the irony that they viewed you, Chris, as someone they could bully, someone with no power or voice - yet it is precisely their own actions that has helped give you the voice that you now have on these issues. This is one of the amazing aspects of social media. For so long the bullies just squished whoever they wanted. Consider what started this entire fiasco fifteen years ago. When Chuck Phelps at Trinity Baptist made Tina Anderson confess to her "sin" of being raped and then shipped her out of state, while the perpetrator was protected - the zealots got what they wanted: the pastor and the religious institution was spared the embarrassment of scandal and police involvement.

But fifteen years had to pass until the technology would be available to set things in motion for justice to be served.

You see, when Tina was made to stand and apologize for being raped, there was no Twitter, there was no YouTube or "blogs" or Facebook. What prompted Tina to come forward more than a decade later to seek justice was information shared in an online discussion group! Then, when Tina's story came to light, blogs like this one and Christa Brown picked up on it, and people knew about it, and you found out about it and decided to stand against Chuck Phelps being placed on the board at your college.

Social media helped bring about justice in Tina Anderson's case, and it is social media helping to expose the actions BJU has taken to harm you for you standing against the pastor involved in Tina Anderson's case.

So Chris, I hope you continue to use social media to tell your story, whatever the next chapters might be. When you do it, you will be doing God's will in taking a stand against the abusive religious leaders of your day....just as Jesus did.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bob Jones University Student Receives Demerits for Watching "Glee" - Retaliation for Speaking "Against My Authority"


Readers - I don't ordinarily make two posts in one day, but wanted to get this video up on my blog this morning. [Don't overlook my post below on WFAA and Brett Shipp and Ed Young].

Below is a 10-minute video of Christopher Peterman, senior at Bob Jones University, telling how just days before he was to graduate he was expelled from school.

This video, and the events leading up to it at Bob Jones University, demonstrate just how powerful a force social media, including blogs and Facebook and YouTube, have become in exposing fundamentalist abuse and just plain old nonsensical actions of religious leaders of our day.

Chris Peterman is a hero. He has been kicked out of school days before graduation for daring to speak against his "leadership" and calling on them to do the right thing.

Chris is the student who started the Facebook page "DoRightBJU" late in 2011 in response to pastor Chuck Phelps being nominated for the board of trustees at Bob Jones University. Who is Chuck Phelps? He was the pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Concorde, New Hamphsire when Tina Anderson was raped by a member of the church. Read about it on the Watchdog here, here, here, and here.

The interviewer asks Chris how the BJU responded to Chris when he came back to school for the current semester after all the media exposure over the holidays regarding Chuck Phelps and Chris' public statements against Phelps as a trustee:
Chris:  "When I cam back, I began having weekly meetings with the Dean of Men, I was required to attend these meetings."

Interviewer:  "What was their reason?"

Chris: "That I needed spiritual help because I was not a good Christian. I had talked against my authority and I had brought shame to Bob Jones."

Interviewer:  "What were they wanting to accomplish with these meetings?"

Chris: "They were hoping to accomplish a change in me. They wanted me to become exactly like them and to not speak out and to not have a voice. They wanted me to have their beliefs."
Chris goes on to explain how BJU put a resident assistant in his dorm to monitor his every action. He received demerits for watching the TV show Glee because of its "morally reprehensible" content.

Chris was called into a final meeting with the "Dean of Men", and while they deliberated the fate of Chris' appeal, Chris decided to contact several news agencies and the Department of Education and the national accrediting agency for BJU.

While BJU thinks they are doing the will of God, the very work of Jesus in taking these actions against Chris, they don't even realize the mockery of their own faith that they are producing.

Below is a quote from Bob Felton's "Civil Commotion" website on this matter of Chris being expelled in part for watching Glee. - Bob is a skeptic of the Christian faith who regularly comments on nonsense he sees in churches that confirms his distaste for organized religion:
"I’m not kidding y’all: You really can’t make up how stupid and vicious fundamentalists actually are. They look just like everybody else, and are usually well-groomed and -mannered — but they are not part of the decent, educated world."
This is why powerful Christian leaders today can't stand blogs and other social media - it exposes to the people they are trying to market - er, I mean reach for Jesus - of how nutty they can be. Sure, they love to use social media to promote themselves and their churches and their personal brands, but when it is used to express dissent and to criticize their ministries, they try to use their power to punish those who speak out.

Thank you, Chris, for standing strong. You stood for right in the Chuck Phelps matter, and when they tried to bully you and silence you, you didn't back down. I'm sure you have a bright future, and consider it a blessing that BJU decided not to grant you a degree.

H/T:  Bob Felton and Jeri Massey

Brett Shipp and WFAA Expose Abuse at Waco Church - And Watchdog's View of Shipp's Work Versus Ed Young's View

Brett Shipp of WFAA in Dallas has spent months investigating a church compound just outside of Waco, TX, known as "Homestead Heritage". He has documented the physical and sexual abuse of people at the church, including the sexual abuse of children that was not reported to authorities in a timely manner as required by law. Last night the first of a two-part series on Heritage aired on WFAA:


As you watch this video, you will see the common threads that are observed over and over again in abusive Christian environments: authoritarian pastors and church leaders who tell their church members that they are appointed and anointed as messengers from God, church covenants prohibiting believers from having disputes settled outside of the church, labeling of church members who challenge leaders as being bitter, and a failure to adequately protect children and putting the concern of adult male members as being a primary concern.

Readers, as you watch this video, look for similar abusive traits in your own church. Does your church display these traits, or have a history of any of these traits? If they have had abuse problems in the past, have adequate corrective steps been taken AND has the church leadership been open and honest with members about past problems and explained the steps taken to correct it? Or do the current church leaders deny or downplay the severity of the past problems?

An expose like this is not just important in warning others about that particular abusive system in the story. It is important to getting people to awaken to the possibility that they're current church might be capable of the same acts. Brett makes the point early in the video that Homestead Heritage portrays itself as a bastion of old-fashioned, wholesome values, while behind the scenes they are actually worse than the outside world they rail against. Church members beware - especially if you are part of a church system that has had an authoritarian leader in the past and where sexual sins have been covered up in the past yet leaders to this day are still denying or downplaying the severity of past sins.We have several of these kinds of churches right here in Jacksonville, Florida that have been featured on this blog.

Lastly, I want to say a word about Brett Shipp and WFAA. This expose reminds me so much of the work that Jeannie Blaylock of WTLV-Jacksonville did back in 2005 and 2006 in exposing the deeds of Bob Gray and the cover-up at Trinity Baptist Church here in Jacksonville. It takes guts for reporters and news agencies to tear off the pious masks of churches in their own communities and expose the ugliness of churches and pastors that are revered by the faithful. Today it is mostly up to bloggers like the Wartburg Watch and Christa Brown who are shining a bright spotlight on abusive pastors and church systems, but Brett Shipp is one member of the media who is not afraid to do the dirty work in Christianity.

Brett Shipp is the most courageous news reporter I know in this regard. He and WFAA were not afraid of taking on Ed Young and Fellowship Church to expose the lavish spending and fund raising tactics of Ed Young. Brett even dared to do an expose on Ergun Caner last year when Caner moved to Arlington Baptist College from Liberty University. Brett's piece on the "Caner Mystique" as he called it, was absolutely the finest work done by a prominent news outlet in concisely showing the truth about Ergun Caner's decade of deception.

Sadly, while Brett is doing God's work in exposing the ugliness in modern Christianity, there are those people like Ed Young who actually portray WFAA and Brett Shipp as being "haters", as trying to thwart the work of God and being anti-church. In a recent video posted by Ed Young, Young blasted WFAA by saying the following:

"When you're doing great, people hate...there's always some [in the news media] who are negative. And I think about WFAA - a station here in Dallas that CONTINUES to attack the local church, and CONTINUES to be negative...WFAA continues to exaggerate, to falsify, to deal in fiction rather than fact....it's time for the church to stand and say 'you know what, we're not going to take it anymore, you guys aren't telling the truth'.."

Sorry, Ed. You can rail all you want against WFAA, but they are doing God's work in exposing corruption and abuse in the modern church. How ironic that Young claims WFAA deals in "fiction rather than fact" when Young is the one who stands up and misuses scripture to get people to fork over 10% of their income to his church. Shipp deals with facts and eyewitness accounts to warn people of abusive churches - while Young deals with fiction and fairy tales to get people to fork over large sums of money.

Way to go Brett Shipp and WFAA. Keep standing for the truth, keep doing the work of God even in the face of angry, bitter pastors who can't stand to have a light shone on their church and ministries.

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." Eph 4:25

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ed Young Warns of the Heretical "Poverty Vibe" in Christianity - While Mary Ann the Camel Takes a Big Ol' Dump Right on Cue

Ed Young rides in on camel for 4/22/12 sermon.
God definitely has a sense of humor. This Sunday Ed Young started his sermon by riding in on the animal prop of the day, Mary Ann the Camel.  But Mary Ann the Camel stole the show, taking a big ol' dump on the stage at the precise moment that Ed himself was using the Bible to justify his own wealth, and mock poverty and sacrifice.

Way to go, Mary Ann! You have given us all a fitting visual image of what happens most Sundays when Ed Young teaches on finances; poop comes forth and is strewn all over the Fellowship Church stage.

Camel lifts tail, takes dump at 11:59 mark.
At the moment Mary Ann the Camel let loose of her bowels, at the 11:59 mark of the video below, Ed was mocking what he called the "poverty vibe" in modern Christianity. Here is what Ed was saying as Mary Ann defecated on cue:
"God's blessed us, we hold it [money] loosely, he's going to give us more and more and more. We have it tightly grasped, we're not going to have as much.
There's a whole vibe out there these days in Christianity, it's been around for a long, long time. It goes back to the Catholic Church, it goes back to self-deprecation [cue Mary Ann the Camel, now taking a big ole dump], there's this whole 'poverty vibe' out there. A lot of books have been written about it, it sounds so sexy and cool and biblical. Fact: they're not biblical. Fact: they're heretical. No where in the Bible does it tell me as a follower of Christ I'm to take an oath to poverty. Where's that in the Bible? Where's that in the Bible that I should feel guilty if I'm blessed of God? You cannot make that argument. Think about the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith, many of these men and women were LOADED financially."
What is he talking about?  A "poverty vibe" in Christianity? Who out there is calling for vows of poverty in modern Christianity? No, the only "poverty vibe" out there is the vibe from mega church pastors misusing scripture to guilt even the very poorest of Christians into forking over 1/10th of their income to the church which pays the pastor a six-figure salary. No one is calling for vows of poverty - although some recalcitrant bloggers are calling for a little transparency on how the money is spent in churches like Ed's, and for mega church preachers to stop using their churches as ATM's and marketing machines for their own personal brands.

In my view Ed's jab at a "poverty vibe" and "books" written about it, is Ed taking a shot at David Platt's views in the book "Radical", and perhaps even Francis Chan's recent lifestyle conversion. Platt is troubled by the materialism of most Christians while the gospel is not going forth to the nations and while many people are starving.

I suppose for Ed Young to disavow his own materialism and live a more modest lifestyle closer to that of the average pew sitter - for him that would be taking a vow of poverty, relatively speaking.

Ed asks if he should be guilty if he is "blessed of God". Yes, Ed, you should, especially given your propensity to beat people up to give more and more money to your church as you did on October 10, 2010. You should feel guilty, Ed, about the lack of financial transparency at your church while you demand allegiance from your followers to the tune of 10% of their income.

At least this time Ed didn't pull the "get out your checkbook and give me your account and routing number" routine....but at the conclusion of the service Ed did give a text number for people who prayed to receive Jesus - or more importantly, who decided to start giving money to the church - should send a text message to.

So again, thank you, Mary Ann the Camel, for putting your dung right there on the stage to provide the stench that surely Ed's money sermons are to the nostrils of God. 

Yes, God can use even a jackass to get his message across.

This time God used a camel to trump the jackass.

Friday, April 20, 2012

William Thornton: "Blogging When There is a Personal Cost"

Readers - enjoying some down time from blogging this week, and thought as I rest a bit I would provide an article from William Thornton about myself and another blogger named David Montoya.

William Thornton is an SBC pastor, recently retired, who blogs as the "SBC Plodder". I became acquainted with William during the early days of my blogging when I was a regular reader of the Baptist Life forums, where William moderated the SBC News and Trends forum at Baptist Life. In the early days of my blogging, it was at the BL Forums, along with the New BBC Open Forum blog and Wade Burleson's blog, where I for the first time saw Christians engaging in honest discussions of problems in the SBC and evangelicalism.

I enjoy William's blog and recommend it to my readers. William is a conservative, but he doesn't worry about parroting the CR party-line on SBC matters. Behind Wade, William is my favorite SBC-pastor blogger.

I will resume my regular schedule of posting very soon, with an important announcement just around the corner. As I move beyond the legal battles of the last three years, I have quite a bit more to share of my experiences that will be of great interest to my readers. The Watchdog will be joining forces with another prominent SBC blogger, helping to ensure the FBC Jax Watchdog keeps going strong in being a watchdog of the powerful mega church pastors and their churches. Sorry, pastors, the FBC Jax Watchdog is about to go plural.

Below is William's article from his blog. He is right about the personal cost. I don't blog about that, but those close to me know the personal cost I and my family have paid in me not backing down when the screws were applied in 2008 and 2009. I am proud of what has been accomplished through this blog, and intend on it being an even greater force in the future.
Blogging When There is a Personal Cost, by William Thornton

There are hacker and plodder bloggers like me, folks who sometimes foolishly think everyone else might like to drink from their incredibly deep wells of wisdom, wit, and insight. Take these with a bit of skepticism and not always seriously.

Then there are a few bloggers who feel compelled to address what they see as genuine wrongs and serious issues in their churches or in denominational life and who do so at a considerable personal cost.

While I appreciate a number of others, I can only think of two whom I would classify as the latter: David Montoya and Tom Rich.

David Montoya is a pastor and is (or was) the Spiritual Samurai, an odd name for a Baptist blogger in Texas. I've written about him in the past. His ire and indignation over wrongs in the Baptist General Convention of Texas led to the open knowledge of an appalling scandal with BGCT missions money and also led to his being sued. He says he is quitting. I hope not.

David hasn't always been right about things and sometimes says things he has to retract but if not for him I doubt the BGCT valleygate scandal would have been uncovered. I'm not so sure that many SBCers in my lifetime have successfully brought to light such an important matter.

I admire him.

Tom Rich is a layman, the FBCJax Watchdog, one of the early church/pastor critic blogs and to date the most well-known of this genre.

Tom got stirred up by a pastor change at his church and some of the things associated with it and started blogging about it. As is well known, the church played hardball with him and his family, law enforcement got involved, lawsuits were filed and, only recently, finally settled.

I don't buy all of his stuff but his bull-doggedness probably changed the way high profile pastors (those with an ounce of sense which would be most but not all of them) look at some of their church critics. I admire him for not shutting up and going away when his former church ratcheted up the pressure on him.

Any yahoo can belt out their opinions on stuff but there are a few people who do so at considerable personal cost.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Richard Land Stereotypes Black Men As More Dangerous Than White Men...Speaking of Stereotypes....

Richard Land, the head of the SBC "Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission", is speaking out on the Trayvon Martin case.

After Land takes on Obama, Jackson, and Sharpton, he then decides to let everyone know that a black men is "statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man."

If Land wants to talk about stereotypes of black men, then maybe we should turn the stereotype flashlight on Baptist preachers like himself.

- experts say that Baptist church goers are more at risk from clergy sexual misconduct than those at other denominations because of the lack of oversight at autonomous Baptist churches.

- The Journal of Pastoral Care reports that 14% of Southern Baptist senior pastors have engaged in "sexual behavior inappropriate for a minister".

- "Megachurches in particular can attract the 'charismatic, predator-type' minister who repeatedly takes advantage of the power he has over congregants, especially emotionally vulnerable women" (according to Steve Trull in this article). Can you say "Darrell Gilyard"?

- Darrell Gilyard, arguably the most notorious serial adulterer and sexual abusing pastor, did his damage at multiple Baptist churches. He attended a Baptist seminary. Prominent Southern Baptists were his mentors. Even after his release from prison, he is preaching at a Baptist church.

- Bob Gray at Trinity was 100% "Baptist". Those who covered up for his sins, and accused the victims and gave Bob Gray a standing ovation as he lied to the congregation - all 100% Baptist.

OK, Richard, so you say black men are more dangerous than white men.

Maybe we should say that a Baptist preacher-man is "statistically more likely to do you harm than a non-preacher-man."

How does it feel to have stereotypes cast on preachers?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Liberty University Tries to Bully Peter Lumpkins, Ed Young Lashes Out at WFAA for Criticizing His Animal Sermon Props

I guess religious institutions and powerful preachers aren't learning their lessons very well.

They still think the best tactic to take against people who write or report what they don't like is to try to bully them, to scare them into silence so they won't write or report what they don't like.

This week Ed Young actually posted a video slamming TV station WFAA because they aired a story that was critical of Fellowship Church's use of live animals during Ed's current sermon series. Ed lashes out at WFAA as some sort of enemy of the gospel that is working to thwart the will of God, that must be overcome for God's name sake. Lighten up, Ed. You brought in a lion from California as a prop for your sermon. You're going to be criticized for that, and those who criticize you aren't of Satan.



Many of you have probably read how Liberty University is now trying to bully blogger Peter Lumpkins over his blog post claiming the LU trustees voted unanimously that Mark Driscoll is not welcomed at Liberty University despite his invitation to speak at LU chapel on April 20th. LU attorney David M. Correy fired off a "cease and desist" email (yes, an email) to Lumpkins demanding he take down his post, and they posted a statement on their blog to embarrass Lumpkins and refute his blog post.

Kudos to Lumpkins, as he did what any blogger should do when they try to share information and/or opinion to inform their readers, and they are bullied by a powerful institution that doesn't like what they write: BEGIN WRITING ABOUT THE BULLYING TACTICS. I did it in 2009 when a well-known preacher threatened me with a lawsuit because I referred to his shady land deal as a "shady land deal" because it was a shady land deal.

But I can't help but point out all the bullying that went on by Peter Lumpkins himself and the team of Ergun Caner supporters in 2010 against bloggers who were busy exposing the lies of Ergun Caner spoken from the pulpit for nine years. Lumpkins in particular was ruthless in his personal attacks against James White. How ironic is it that Lumpkins - a huge LU and Caner supporter in the past - is now being bullied by Liberty. What makes this even more interesting is that Lumpkins was not at all trying to embarrass the LU trustees with his Driscoll post- his post on the Driscoll visit was to commend them for voting correctly!

Lumpkins experience here reminds me of my post I put up last summer in which I wrote about a source, a Liberty University trustee, who claimed that Ergun Caner was forced out of his position as LU seminary president in 2010 when some trustees and faculty members said it was either Caner or them who had to leave, and the trustees decided it was Caner. LU apparently didn't like that I wrote this, and LU trustee Tim Lee came to my blog to say I had it all wrong. I still stand by my story, and if I were to tell you the name of the trustee who was my source, you'd fall on the floor laughing.

So go get 'em Peter. Stand your ground. Speak the truth. Don't let LU bully you. But I hope bloggers who might be supporting Driscoll and Liberty University in this matter won't be as ruthless as you were toward the bloggers who spoke the truth about Ergun Caner back in 2010.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pat Robertson to Man Who Wants to Tithe But Wife Thinks They Can't Afford It: "Man Up" and "Big Man, You are the Boss"



Pat Robertson on the 700 Club recently answered an email question from a man who expressed frustration over his wife's objection to him tithing their income. The man says that his wife doesn't see how they can tithe when they can't make ends meet at the house.

What does Pat tell this guy? "Man up" he says and "You know 'big man', you are the boss". Pat basically tells this guy that he needs to be a leader, the "high priest" of his home and tithe anyways. I wonder if as the "high priest" he is going to be doing any animal sacrifices in the fireplace this weekend.

Excellent example of why Churchianity is headed in a downward spiral. Pat does not address even the remote possibility that the wife is expressing wisdom to the husband. Perhaps her husband was in one of the many churches last year at which Robert Morris' spoke about the requirement to fork over 10% of their income to prevent the "devourer" from bringing harm to his family. Maybe he worships at Bellevue Baptist Church and hears Steve Gaines accuse him of being a thief, or that God might kill them if they don't tithe.

Or could it be this family needs help from the church, and actually cannot afford to give 10% of their income to their church. Maybe the wife is right and the husband is a Kool Aid drinker. Pat doesn't consider this a possibility - no, the Golden Rule is "everyone must tithe to your church".

In Pat's comments you see the merging of two teachings in the modern church that are abused over and over again: above all else families must tithe to their church, no exceptions, no questions asked....and the man is to exert his leadership and domination over his wife, that he must "man up" and be the "high priest" - without the thought that his wife might be expressing wisdom on a particular issue.

Wives, if your preacher starts telling your husband that he must fork over 10% or more to keep the devourer away, or your preacher accuses you and your husband of being thieves for failing to give 10%, perhaps it is time for YOU to take the spiritual leadership in your house and start looking for another church home.

Remind him that while there were "high priests" in the Old Testament, there were also female prophetesses. Let him know you are the prophetess of your house, and you are "womaning up".

And then lead your family in a bible study about Deborah, the Judge from the Old Testament. She is described in Judges 4:4-5 as a "leader" (over men and women), and she was a prophetess who judged disputes fairly.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lifeway Introduces New Bible Translation, the RSTB: The Revised Storehouse Tithing Bible (RE-POST)

In all the hullabaloo on April 1st, I feel somewhat slighted that events overshadowed my excellent April Fool's spoof post, so I am re-posting it again today.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, my spoof is not as cutting edge as I originally thought, as commenter "Mark" pointed out that there actually IS such a Bible here sold at Amazon; although it is on the topic of "stewardship" and not specifically storehouse tithing - but the groundwork has been laid for a follow-up Bible version on tithing!
------------------------
Today Lifeway is introducing a new bible translation to help preachers and churchmen teach the important first-fruits storehouse tithing doctrine to their church members.

The translation is called the "Revised Storehouse Tithing Bible", or RSTB for short.

"We have sought input from some of the best fundraising pastors in modern evangelicalism to provide this valuable resource to pastors as they teach the sheep the absolute necessity of forking over a minimum of 10% to their local church", said a Lifeway spokesman.

Contributors to the RSTB include Steve Gaines, Ed Young, Frank Page, and also John Hagee. Robert Morris, best-selling author of The Blessed Life and storehouse tithing teacher, was the editor of the project.

"Tapestry of Green" on Every Page of the Bible

Lifeway says the RSTB will help church members see that tithing really is a common theme found throughout the Bible.

"Just as the tapestry of red, Christ's redemption, is found throughout scripture pointing us to Jesus Christ, so on every page of the Bible we find the first-fruits storehouse tithing principle, the blessed 'tapestry of green', that points Christians to securing God's blessings and avoiding God's curses through giving the first 10% of our income", said one of the RSTB editors.

The RSTB has several unique features: it is color coded - verses having to do with storehouse tithing are highlighted in bright money-green. Also, unique tithing icons are used throughout, such as those highlighted verses that refer to Christians getting blessings for their tithe are marked in the margin with "$" symbols, while those that speak of God's curses for not tithing are marked with either an icon of a purse with holes in it or a devil's pitchfork.

To help Christians fully understand how important it is to tithe to avoid the wrath of God, the RSTB includes modern-day translations of verses dealing with first-fruits tithing principles that have been uncovered in scripture by the today's evangelical tithing experts.

For instance, when Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt 6:33, KJV)

has been translated with the help of Perry Noble to read:

"Tithe ye first to your storehouse, and money, clothes, and food shall be delivered unto you." (Matt 6:33, RSTB)

Another great example of interpreting Jesus' words in the context of modern day storehouse tithing doctrines, is Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matt 23:23, NIV)

which has been shortened through translation, with the help of Frank Page, to read:

"Woe to you, you non-tithing Christians, you hypocrites! I've paid for your sins and delivered you from hell, now PONY UP!!!" (Matt 23:23, RSTB)

Steve Gaines has been on the forefront of the storehouse tithing interpretation in the New Testament, and helped correctly interpret the Acts 5 account of Ananias and Sapphira. Some of the translated verses include:

"But a certain man, named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and did not tithe on it....and Peter said 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lived in a stolen house and driven a stolen car belonging to men, but thou hast sent thou offspring to school with the tithe belonging to God.'....and Ananias, hearing these words, and Sapphira with her stolen jewelry, fell down and gave up the ghost and the tithe." (Acts 5:1-5, RSTB)

Old Testament verses have been interpreted to aid Christians in seeing that the modern day church is the temple, and that their pastors are the modern day equivalent to the Old Testament priests.

For instance:

"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." (Lev 27:30, NIV)

is translated as:

"A tithe of everything in your paycheck, whether it be your salary from work, or the hourly pay at your second job, belongs to the church, it is holy to the church." (Lev 27:30, RSTB)

Lifeway acknowledges that the RSTB will have its critics, but that these are mostly recalcitrant bloggers who don't tithe anyways.

One such critic, FBC Jax Watchdog, says he offered the RSTB translation team a helpful modern day translation of Malachi 3, saying that it is the most misused verse in the bible on storehouse tithing.

"They weren't too interested in receiving a modern-day translation of Malachi 3 that reflects how God would apply it today to the church", said the Watchdog. "You see, what the storehouse tithing preachers don't want you to know is that the book of Malachi was directed at priests of Israel and the sons of Levi. So in Malachi 3 God is upset that the priests, not the people, are misusing the tithe and thus robbing God."

The editors instead went with the Perry Noble translation of Malachi 3:10:

"Fork ye over all the tithes to the church, that there may be large budgets in mine house, and prove Pastor now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the bank account of heaven, and pour you out money to pay your bills, so much that there shall not be room enough to store it and thus you'll have to give even more to the church." (Mal 3:10, RSTB)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blaine Gabbert Shows He is an Equal to Tim Tebow in at Least One Area: His Maturity and Ability to Handle Harsh Criticism

After reading the latest article by Times Union sports writer Gene Frenette, I am now a Blaine Gabbert fan. Blaine is showing that while he might not be able to match Tim Tebow's football skills (not YET anyways), he is showing that he has something that not everyone in his position has:

Blaine has the maturity to handle intense criticism and not be bitter or resentful, and to choose to stay positive.

Blaine Gabbert is the 22-year old quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars who last year had probably the worst year of any rookie NFL quarterback who was a starter for their team.

In his first year in the NFL Gabbert had the cards stacked against him. He was 21 years old, had a shortened rookie season training camp due to the NFL lockout, and then went from being a third stringer who was supposed to spend the 2011 season behind two veterans learning how to be an NFL quarterback, to suddenly finding himself as the Jaguars starting quarterback in week 3 of the 2011 season. And he probably had the worse set of receivers ever to be assembled on an NFL roster. To make matters worse, Gabbert was playing for a dysfunctional coaching staff, whose head coach would be fired before the season was over.

All of this resulted in the worst of seasons for Gabbert. He played terribly. The fans (myself included!) and the media were merciless. He was ridiculed in every way imaginable. Jokes every Monday at work in Jacksonville were made about his throwing motion, his inability to stay in the pocket. His appearance was ridiculed. His apparent lack of leadership on the field was critiqued. He was called a coward, couldn't stand up to the rush, fans booed him. The Jags GM, Gene Smith, has been criticized for selecting Gabbert in the 2011 draft, and is still criticized by fans for being optimistic about Gabbert's abilities heading into the 2012 season.

I wrote last year about Tim Tebow's ability to handle the criticism he receives and what pastors might learn from Tim in this regard. I'm glad to see that Blaine Gabbert is showing the same maturity - who knows, maybe he has watched and learned from Tim Tebow.

Some quotes from Gabbert in the article:

"I didn't really listen to all the criticism. Some of it was necessary, some of it probably unnecessary. Everybody is going to have their opinions. Controversy sells. You watch the news. Every day there's some type of controversy going on in this country. People watch it for that. It's kind of sickening, but that's what people like to see and hear."

Gabbert says he didn't pay attention to all of the criticism. Oh, he heard it. And it had to hurt. He knows he deserved some of it and he understands the fans that pay his salary have a right to criticize and demand that he play better. But he did not complain. He did not blame others or the many factors outside of his control. He did not demand that people cut him slack just because he was the Jags first-round pick, or based on his accomplishments at the college level.

Then Gabbert shows that he understands in his position he will get the darts, that it goes with the territory:

"There's guys that get criticized a lot worse than I do, but it's part of the game, part of the position I play. You're the most scrutinized person on the field. The NFL brand is No. 1 in the world. Being a starting quarterback on an NFL team, you're going to get scrutinized every move you make. That should be in the contract, 'You're going to get criticized on every play.' But that's what makes it fun, makes it competitive."

Gabbert has a right to be ticked off over all the factors outside of his control that led to his terrible season. He might even have a right to lash out at some of the local media personalities who have been most critical. He was a number one draft pick, after all, and he really didn't get a honeymoon.

But he knows it is part of his position, that every move he makes is up for criticism whether he likes it or not. It is part and parcel of the job description of an NFL quarterback - you will be criticized.

Gabbert instead chooses to look forward and knows that he can win people over by just being himself and working hard to improve at his job. He can't gain supporters by demanding that they love him or give him a fair chance - he will win them over through staying positive, working hard, and letting the critics be the critics.

I predict much success for Gabbert this season. He has gone through the fire, and by coming through it without being bitter or resentful and not demanding respect but instead working to earn it, I think he is poised to do great things in 2012.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

FBC Jax Case Settled, Reverend Mac Brunson Issues Apology to Mr. Tom Rich and Family, and to FBC Jax

The case has been settled under confidential terms. Here is Reverend Mac Brunson's statement:

"In April of 2009, I was quoted in a Times Union article regarding an Internet blog which concerned this Church.

The article stated that I had labeled the author of the blog "obsessive compulsive" and a "sociopath". I did use those words and those conditions to describe Mr. Tom Rich, the author of the blog. These are serious and debilitating conditions.

These statements have resulted in protracted litigation for myself and this Church.

Mr. Rich and his family were longtime members of this Church. Mr. Rich is not obsessive compulsive and is not a sociopath. I regret making those statements. I want to apologize to Mr. Rich and his family. I also want to apologize to you and the Church." Mac Brunson

Lifeway Introduces New Bible Translation, the RSTB: The Revised Storehouse Tithing Bible

Today Lifeway is introducing a new bible translation to help preachers and churchmen teach the important first-fruits storehouse tithing doctrine to their church members.

The translation is called the "Revised Storehouse Tithing Bible", or RSTB for short.

"We have sought input from some of the best fundraising pastors in modern evangelicalism to provide this valuable resource to pastors as they teach the sheep the absolute necessity of forking over a minimum of 10% to their local church", said a Lifeway spokesman.

Contributors to the RSTB include Steve Gaines, Ed Young, Frank Page, and also John Hagee. Robert Morris, best-selling author of The Blessed Life and storehouse tithing teacher, was the editor of the project.

"Tapestry of Green" on Every Page of the Bible

Lifeway says the RSTB will help church members see that tithing really is a common theme found throughout the Bible.

"Just as the tapestry of red, Christ's redemption, is found throughout scripture pointing us to Jesus Christ, so on every page of the Bible we find the first-fruits storehouse tithing principle, the blessed 'tapestry of green', that points Christians to securing God's blessings and avoiding God's curses through giving the first 10% of our income", said one of the RSTB editors.

The RSTB has several unique features: it is color coded - verses having to do with storehouse tithing are highlighted in bright money-green. Also, unique tithing icons are used throughout, such as those highlighted verses that refer to Christians getting blessings for their tithe are marked in the margin with "$" symbols, while those that speak of God's curses for not tithing are marked with either an icon of a purse with holes in it or a devil's pitchfork.

To help Christians fully understand how important it is to tithe to avoid the wrath of God, the RSTB includes modern-day translations of verses dealing with first-fruits tithing principles that have been uncovered in scripture by the today's evangelical tithing experts.

For instance, when Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt 6:33, KJV)

has been translated with the help of Perry Noble to read:

"Tithe ye first to your storehouse, and money, clothes, and food shall be delivered unto you." (Matt 6:33, RSTB)

Another great example of interpreting Jesus' words in the context of modern day storehouse tithing doctrines, is Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matt 23:23, NIV)

which has been shortened through translation, with the help of Frank Page, to read:

"Woe to you, you non-tithing Christians, you hypocrites! I've paid for your sins and delivered you from hell, now PONY UP!!!" (Matt 23:23, RSTB)

Steve Gaines has been on the forefront of the storehouse tithing interpretation in the New Testament, and helped correctly interpret the Acts 5 account of Ananias and Sapphira. Some of the translated verses include:

"But a certain man, named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and did not tithe on it....and Peter said 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lived in a stolen house and driven a stolen car belonging to men, but thou hast sent thou offspring to school with the tithe belonging to God.'....and Ananias, hearing these words, and Sapphira with her stolen jewelry, fell down and gave up the ghost and the tithe." (Acts 5:1-5, RSTB)

Old Testament verses have been interpreted to aid Christians in seeing that the modern day church is the temple, and that their pastors are the modern day equivalent to the Old Testament priests.

For instance:

"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." (Lev 27:30, NIV)

is translated as:

"A tithe of everything in your paycheck, whether it be your salary from work, or the hourly pay at your second job, belongs to the church, it is holy to the church." (Lev 27:30, RSTB)

Lifeway acknowledges that the RSTB will have its critics, but that these are mostly recalcitrant bloggers who don't tithe anyways.

One such critic, FBC Jax Watchdog, says he offered the RSTB translation team a helpful modern day translation of Malachi 3, saying that it is the most misused verse in the bible on storehouse tithing.

"They weren't too interested in receiving a modern-day translation of Malachi 3 that reflects how God would apply it today to the church", said the Watchdog. "You see, what the storehouse tithing preachers don't want you to know is that the book of Malachi was directed at priests of Israel and the sons of Levi. So in Malachi 3 God is upset that the priests, not the people, are misusing the tithe and thus robbing God."

The editors instead went with the Perry Noble translation of Malachi 3:10:

"Fork ye over all the tithes to the church, that there may be large budgets in mine house, and prove Pastor now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the bank account of heaven, and pour you out money to pay your bills, so much that there shall not be room enough to store it and thus you'll have to give even more to the church." (Mal 3:10, RSTB)