"...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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Steve Gaines Elevates Tithing to an Old Testament "Commandment" That Must Be Obeyed

"When you're a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God lives in you and he will prompt you to do certain things. He will prompt you to read the bible and believe you're just supposed to do what it says. That's why I've never had a problem tithing...I read in the bible 'bring the whole tithe into the storehouse'...so when I see these commandments in scripture they're not suggestions, they are not just a few little helpful hints. But they are literally a commandment from God." Steve Gaines, 9/16/12, elevating tithing to the status of "commandment".
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Steve Gaines never disappoints. Every six months or so he always manages to come up with a new twist to coerce his church members to give more and more money.

He has called his church members thieves, accusing them of driving stolen cars and eating stolen food. He has said God will make non-tithers' kids sick. He has said non-tithers' finances are cursed. He has threatened them even with death at the hands of God who hates liars. He has even said Christians must give 10% to his church before they can give money to the Red Cross to help orphans in Latin America.

His latest absurdity is to state that not only are Christians obligated to tithe, but that if they are truly Christians, the Holy Spirit will prompt them to tithe, because tithing is a literal "commandment from God."

That is strange, because there are other "commandments" of God in the Old Testament - ones that are much clearer and direct than tithing - that I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit is not directing Gaines to obey. However, Gaines doesn't explain how he is able to differentiate tithing from the other Old Testament statements such as:

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; " (Lev 20:13); or

"If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him....then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you." (Deut 21:18-21)

It is a good thing the followers of Steve Gaines don't take his advice to "just do what the Bible says", else they would be killing homosexuals and stoning rebellious teenagers. But of course, when Gaines says "just do what the Bible says", he really means "just do what I tell you the Bible says". Let's hope a Bellevue satellite church in Guyana is not planned anytime soon.

Truth is, Gaines and his SBC mega-church cohorts are making this stuff up as they go along. The more over the edge they go with their fantastic stories and cherry-picking of laws in the Old Testament that serve their own self-interests, the more people are wising up - especially younger Christians who see these charletons for who they are, and unfortunately some are leaving the faith altogether.

Shame on you, Steve Gaines.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Students Learn at SWBTS What the Letter "T" Stands for in "BAPTIST"


It is good to know that seminary students at our SBC schools are learning the deeper, more meaningful spiritual truths of life that feed the souls of men.

For instance, take Dr. Bob Pearle's chapel message on 9/13/12.  Pearle unveiled the secret of what each letter in the "BAPTIST" represents. Why is he so proud to be a baptist? Because each letter represents one of the most cherished beliefs of Baptists.

What did the good doctor tell everyone the word "BAPTIST" stands for?

B stands for:    "Bible"

A stands for:  "Autonomy of the local church"

P stands for:  "priesthood of the believer"

Now, what about the letter "T"? It could stand for "theology", or "testify", or even "trespass the recalcitrant". No, it stands for something much more important, something that is much more near and dear to the heart of so many baptist preachers like Bob Pearle.

Tithing. I know you didn't know it, but the "T" in "Baptist" (the first "T", anyways) stands for "tithing".

You say you didn't know it? You know it now. ;)
Indeed, one of the central tenants of being a good Baptist in the year 2012 is tithing, forking over 10% of  your income to your 501(c)3. And if you don't tithe, then you have to put up with the periodic accusations from your Man-o-God that you're a thief, and that you, your checking account, your investments, and your family members are cursed by God himself for your disobedience.

What is so absolutely hilarious about T standing for "tithing", is it is inconsistent with the B and P definitions Pearle gave just prior: New Testament tithing is not biblical, and to declare church members are still under the Old Testament requirement to tithe contradicts his belief in the priesthood of the believer. Christians don't need Doctor Pearle - or any other Man of God - to tell us what percentage we are required to give to their church.

Pearle did not give any scriptural basis for his view. He just used the same tired old argument that people who don't believe the tithe is applicable to new covenant believers are looking for an excuse not to tithe.

And, of course, tithing is "something we've always done" - which is another bald-faced lie.

Says Pearle:

"Tithing has always been something we have embraced to fund our ministries, not bingo, not raffles, but giving to God biblically".

Embrace is a good way to say. Tithing is as near and dear to the heart of baptist preachers like Pearle as the bible, Jesus, and salvation.

As Pearle says, it is all about funding the ministry of the preacher's 501(c)3 organization, which pays his salary.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Al Mohler Declares: Church Members Don't Have a Right to Leave Their Church, Except for "Theological" Errors

"We have no right to leave a church over preferences about music, personal taste, or even programming that does not meet expectations".  Pope Albert the Pious I
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 Al Mohler has declared from his lofty perch at SBTS that church members do not have the "right" to leave their church, unless it is for a primary doctrinal reason.

Apparently we aren't smart enough to know when it is in the best interests of our family to leave and join another church. No, we need Albert the Pious and the other seminary-trained holy-men-of-God to tell us when we can leave, and when we can't leave. After all, as Albert said last year, pastors are "God-appointed agents to save God's people from ignorance."

Says Albert:

"When members leave for insufficient reason, the fellowship of the church is broken, its witness is weakened, and the peace and unity of the congregation are sacrificed...we have no right to leave a church over preferences about music, personal taste, or even programming that does not meet expectations..."

"Christians cannot look to this question as merely a matter of consumerism. We are called to love the church and to pray for its peace and unity, not to look for an opportunity to move to another congregation."

This is not only unbiblical, it is just plain stupid and illogical. Let me give just a few reasons why Mohler is out in left field on this issue:

1. "The Church" is NOT the same as "501(c)3 religious organization": Mohler wrongly equates local 501(c)3 religious organizations with the "church" in scripture. We've beat this dead horse before, but if I leave ABC Baptist Church, I'm not "leaving the church" - I'm changing 501(c)3 religious organizations. Christians absolutely are free in Christ and free as Americans to change churches as often as they wish, for whatever reason they deem fit, as led by their conscience and faith. And they're even free, and have a Christian right to not be a member of ANY 501(c)3 religious organization.

2.  If Al is right, why do pastors change churches so often?:  Al conveniently forgot that the average baptist senior pastor stays at their church for 6-7 years before moving on to another church. And when a SBC pastor leaves his church for greener pastures, it rarely has anything to do with major theological differences - instead we are told that "God called" the pastor to his new church.  In fact, the mega church rock stars go to great lengths to tell us how God told them to change churches - like while riding a donkey in the Holy Land and other such tales. Apparently God is capable only of calling pastors to change churches - but dang it the plebe have to stay at a church until the church denies the Trinity - or worse, they hire a woman pastor.  Al, if you really believe what you're saying, please tell pastors that once they become pastor of a church, they should stay there for their entire career.

3.  Why then, do mega churches spend so much on church marketing?  Al says people who change churches without a deep theological rift have a "consumerism" mindset. If we are not "consumers" and should not select a church based on preferences like worship style or programs offered by the church, then why on earth do mega churches treat us like consumers and spend so much money on church marketing, trying to steal sheep, and hiring guys like Maurilio Amorim? Al, if you really believe what you're saying, train your pastors to stop spending "God's money" on so much church marketing! And for goodness sake, please mega church pastors, inquire as to the reason why someone is joining your church and turn away those members who left their prior church for personal preferences!

4.  What About Abusive Churches and Pastors? Using Albert's standard, even if we find that our pastor covered-up for a pedophile, we don't have a right to leave the church. Sorry, Al, but most clear-thinking Christians know when it is in our best interests and the interests of our families to flee an abusive church and/or pastor. For example, I don't need a theological reason to leave a church pastored by this creep showing kids at a youth service how to "polish a shaft".

We could go on, but you get the point. Christian, you and your family have the right - even the Christian responsibility - to change churches and take your money with you for any reason you deem fit. It could be because the newly appointed pastor is more of a traveling evangelist who loves to go on cruises with the rich folk. Or maybe the pastor is an angry, pompous ass in the pulpit and you just can't stomach his rants each week.  It could be because your kids don't fit into the youth group, or the youth group is dysfunctional. It could be even something as simple as worship style preferences.

Friends, Albert Mohler is regarded by many to be one of the greatest minds in modern day evangelicalism. Albert telling church members they are morally bound to stay attached to their 501(c)3 religious organization else they are harming the cause of Christ, tells me that we not only can't trust men like Mohler and those he trains to teach the bible rightly, we can't trust them to make arguments that are logical, or even congruent with their other core beliefs.

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"Hotel Calvinista":

"Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the church house
at the place I was before
'relax,' said Albert Mohler,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sammy Nuckolls Sentenced to 10 Years for "Video Rape" - Victims Testify to the Harm He Has Done

10 years.  That is the sentence judge Gerald Chatham handed to Sammy Nuckolls today.

Sammy Nuckolls is the Southern Baptist evangelist and former Lifeway youth camp pastor who last year was caught using a hidden camera to secretly videotape women in bathrooms. Friday Sammy received his 10-year sentence after being found guilty on 13 counts of video voyeurism - perpetrated against women as young as 17 years of age.

This is great news. It is not often that a perverted pastor gets justice for his deeds.

This, my friends, is why the father/son pastor duo at Berean Baptist Church here in Jacksonville fought so hard to keep the voyeur video that police said was created by Tom Neal secret and kicked a church member out who tried to tell the truth - until at least the statute of limitations had run out. Someone at Berean Baptist secretly videotaped women undressing - and police who conducted the investigation fingered Tom Neal but couldn't press charges because too much time had elapsed.

So Tom Neal, "man of God", is still preaching in his three-piece suit in Jacksonville, but Sammy Nuckolls will have to preach in his prison garb for the next ten years. No difference, just Sammy got caught and didn't have the laymen to help protect him from the cops.

Probably the most disgusting thing I've read today about Nuckolls' sentencing is a quote from the minister who is counseling Nuckolls and provided testimony in Sammy's defense. Says minister Eric Garner:

"It's proven to me how Satan can enter your life and bring you to your knees and get you do do things you otherwise wouldn't do."

Yep, Nuckolls is just a victim of Satan himself. Poor Sammy. The devil "entered his life", drove Sammy to his knees (which he had to do in order to hide the camera), and the devil got Sammy to do something he wouldn't otherwise have done. Complete rubbish. The devil didn't make Sammy do it. Sammy did it. He knew the risks. He knew the damage he was doing. Poor Eric Garner doesn't have a clue. In fact if this is how he is counseling Sammy, Sammy will probably be a repeat offender if he gets out of prison alive.

Instead, the judge has it right. He is sending Sammy for psychological analysis. The judge didn't blame the devil. He blamed Sammy. The judge believes Sammy suffers from psychosis.

Judge Gerald Chatham said it best when he told Nuckolls: "You violated the trust of these young women. You robbed them of dignity. First time I ever heard the expression video rape but I supposed that's what it is."

Lastly, kudos to Nuckolls' victims who bravely testified at the sentencing hearing - no doubt their testimony helped the judge decide on such a stiff penalty.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Watchdog Celebrates His Fifth Birthday, Still Alive and Well!!

Hello Readers! I hope all of you are doing well, I hope you all had a great summer! Here in Florida it has been the absolute wettest summer I can remember in 30 years of living here - but it was a very wonderful summer with the kids home. We met some very wonderful new friends, and had a great time in activities with family and friends.

It has been great to take a break from blogging, having posted only two articles in the last month. I have begun working on another project that I hope to announce very soon, and the time away from blogging has helped me get this project underway.

The Watchdog is now five years old. It was five years ago that the FBC Jax Watchdog site began. I started this blog because I cared about my church, and I cared about THE church. I hate what has happened to modern day evangelicalism: the nutty fundamentalism, the money- and marketing-hungry pastors that have taken over mega churches and damaged the faith of so many Christians. I am proud of what this blog has accomplished in shining a light on misbehaving pastors and churches - a few months ago this blog passed the 2 million page view mark, and traffic is still very strong after 733 blog posts and hundreds of audio and video clips the past five years.

People ask me from time to time if my faith has survived the past five years of blogging and the two legal battles and the ugliness my family has experienced. Some people assume that my views expressed here, my criticism of pastors and churches is an indication that I'm no longer a Christian - some even assume that I'm an atheist or some anti-Christian heathen trying to drive people away from their faith. This couldn't be further from the truth. Over the past five years I have been on a spiritual journey of sorts, having to acknowledge the flaws in some of my own religious views that I once held as a fundamentalist Christian, but still holding on to my faith in God. It has been a journey that has been incredibly liberating.

I have met with and talked with so many people that have been on a similar journey out of fundamentalism, and they can relate to what I'm talking about. I'm going to share here in the next blog posts some of these things I've learned in this journey - concentrating on the teachings in fundamentalism that are dangerous because of how they ultimately damage people's Christian faith.

When a person is confronted with the reality that much of what they've been taught by their "man of God" is not true, or not biblical and even some being self-serving nonsense and fairy tales - a crisis of faith can occur. For instance we know that over 50% of young people who leave home and attend college and get away from the fundamentalism in their home church jettison their faith. The fundamentalist pastors and parents will wail and moan that it is the worldy influence, the evil college professors, or they blame it on the lack of faith of the young person - or blame it on a recalcitrant blog that criticizes pastors.

But really, the ones to blame are those who are teaching nonsense in the church, not those who choose to expose it on a blog or website. So in the next few blog posts I'm going to discuss what some of this nonsense is that is causing so many people to feel that they do have to leave their church, and what causes even young people to question the validity of the religious teachings they have received growing up.

So now that fall is here, and the kids are back in school, the Watchdog will be back at work.

Stay tuned!