Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Deja Vu: Church Elders - Four Grown Men - Make Video to Discredit Those who Seek to "Destroy Our Pastor"

UPDATE: As of 10/1/13, The Four Grown Men above have removed their video from YouTube - more Deja Vu! So the best you can do now is read the transcript, which Julie Anne Smith has posted here at her post from two weeks ago. Thanks Julie Anne!
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Readers: watch the 6-minute video here. You will see the four grown men above - four lay leaders in a modern evangelical church, make a video to discredit other men in their church who have dared to ask questions and publicly criticize their pastor, James MacDonald of the megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel.

And they wrap up their teleprompter speech by threatening church members with "great detriment" to their "souls" if they still associate with the Satanic men who are seeking to "destroy" their wonderful pastor.

I'm not analyzing here the validity of the claims of the church critics whom these four grown men are going after - that is done quite well here by Dee and Deb - I'm here to analyze the pronouncements of the four grown men pictured above.

Here are some of the ridiculous statements that come out of the mouths of these four grown men, as they seek to discredit other men who have "attacked" their pastor, and as they seek to manipulate other church members to prevent them from talking to these critics:
  • "We need to communicate with you regarding the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders, all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor."
  • "...have continued to spread discord through their false and unrelenting viewpoint."
  • "...but they refused to submit to elder consensus, choosing instead to sow discord and create division.  This is a very, very serious sin, one that we are told in Proverbs 6 that our Lord hate."
  • "..the elders received a letter with 13 accusations against our pastor and his integrity,  all of which the elders have already unanimously rejected multiple times" 
  • "Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent."
  • "Together these men continue to lead and seditiously promote an attack on the credibility of the church elders, our governance of church staff and the integrity of our pastor"
  • "Their goal is to discredit our pastor and to divide this church."
  • "Church matters are not to be tried in the court of public opinion.  Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason,  is satanic to the core."
 And here is the best one:

"We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. Don’t stand in the middle, don’t seek to mediate.  Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all cost,  lest you incur great detriment to your own soul."

That last one is an outright threat to church members:  "...lest you incur great detriment to your own soul?"  For talking to "false messengers", i.e. men who have made serious claims about the finances of the church and the pastor? REALLY?

It really is hard to believe that it is real, and that these four grown men's minds have become so corrupt that they believe what they are saying. Can these four grown men possibly believe what they are saying makes any sort of sense to rational, clear-thinking people?

Try to replace the word "pastor" with "CEO", and "church" with "company". Would any of this speech about dividing, and discrediting, and discord, and destroying represent the way rational people think and believe and behave in the real world? Has church life devolved now into an alternate universe where men like this speak of fantasies and fables to warn people about critics of their pastor? Are these four grown men so blinded that they thought it a good idea to record a video with these claims, and then further to disseminate their claims on an Internet video?

I have to say watching this video and reading the transcript of it is all so familiar to me. I heard all of the same nonsense over the past six years. Even my former church made a similar pronouncement - a "Deacon's Resolution" ratified by a smidgeon of church members - with similar pronouncements against me, claiming consensus amongst the "deacons", and seeking to warn others that if they did what I did, they too would incur the wrath of God and the church, and that public dissemination of "false criticism" was evil, yada yada yada. And they too, proudly broadcast their resolution on a live Internet feed, and then displayed the text of the resolution on the church website for all to see.

Notice the four grown men don't get into the claims of the critics - nor did they in the Deacon's Resolution in my situation - that is because the claims don't matter. What matters is that public criticism of a pastor and church is itself inherently evil and sinful - as these four grown men say it is "Satanic to the core"...so why bother with the details of the claims? This is the stuff of cults, yes, of cults. We see it over and over when pastors and leaders misbehave: pastor is good, critics are bad, and the claims need not be discussed - especially if the "elders" or "deacons" claim consensus.

Sad thing is, this all comes not from mega church pastors - but educated, grown laymen men who wouldn't ever dream of applying these standards, these principles, to any other area of their lives. They wouldn't implement these standards in their business, with their customers, with their employees, or in any of their civic affairs in government, business, or charity organizations.

Only in the "church" do these fantasies of criticism being "Satanic", or demanding people disassociate with others based on their opinions, calling people "false messengers" or making pronouncements on behalf of the God of the universe - only in church do grown men like this dish this out, and only in church do the peeps tolerate this nonsense.

And that is why so many non-Christians in our society fear us Christians - they see grown men like these - and gullible sheep like us who tolerate and thereby endorse such nonsense...and they have a very rational fear of US.

And THIS is exactly why so many non-Christians who might consider the claims of the bible and Jesus Christ - have second thoughts and don't get very far. They see the alternate, fantasy world in which they would have to plunge, and they go another way.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The older I get, the more irritated I get with the church "warning" me about what I do, what I don't do, what I eat, what I drink, how often I read my Bible, pray, witness, come to church, give, what I wear, what movies I see, what I think, who I listen to, who I'm friends with, what I read, and on and on and on.

How about just coming to church to hear the Word of God through the Holy Spirit, spoken truthfully and compassionately - enjoying fellowship without judgment - and the rest will take care of itself.

If more pastors had this approach and worried first about their own behavior, they would not need to be "protected."

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Anonymous 11:35

This really comes down to a lack of trust in God. These MOG seem to think they need to help the Holy Spirit out by controlling the flock. (That is actually the best case scenario. Worst case they have lost sight of their mission and are all caught up in the trappings of their "success".) Teach the word and trust the Spirit to apply it to the hearts and lives of those who receive it. There is a place for church discipline but I'm pretty sure it's not to be used by ego maniac celebrity MOG to maintain control.

Ron said...

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you will find me at home or some place other than a church every Sunday of the week.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. So embarrassed for these guys. The first question I'd ask as a member is "who in the world are you to me?" Also you'd think with 7 campuses and probably a huge media budget, they could at least produce a professional video. But no matter. It was a poor decision to do it, and its impact will be minimal.

Mark said...

That video was just creepy. It should serve as a warning to anyone who wants to grace their doors.

I am sure these 4 are expecting big promotions for their steadfastness.

Lynn said...

In the business world, do men consider those who disagree with them to be doing the work of Satan?

This is what religion does to your brain.

Anonymous said...

Apparently this blog is still getting under the skin of Daddy Mac as noted by his comment this morning about him not caring what people blog or tweet about him. Sad to see a grown man and even sadder to see a preacher act so immature when it comes to people saying things about them. Dr. Lindsay would have never stooped so low as to using the pulpit as a bully pulpit the way Mac has used it since coming the First Baptist. Hard to believe it has been 20 years since we moved into the Main Auditorium back in 1993. Since then we have seen a preacher do away with visitation and training union and causing so many people to leave that we are now the 3rd largest church in Jax and the 50th largest church in the SBC. I remember John McAuthor saying a stage is for performing a pulpit is for preaching. Anybody who remembers First Baptist back in the late 90s will remember how big the pulpit was and how we use to hear a humble pastor preach the Bible and see people flocking down the aisles during the invitation. Now we has a preacher who has turned the podium into a stage and gives us history lessons a tells about the movies he has seen. I'm sure if Dr. Lindsay were still alive he probably would have done what scores of others have done and went and joined another church. I would love to know how many people have been saved and baptized since Brunson became the pastor.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Jim Jones' elder board instructed the members to drink the cool aid? MacDonald's statement at the end of his introduction "listen now" sounded like he was somewhat angry. Do the members of that church have any recourse or option presented to them if the "elders" leading them are wrong about an issue? I'm personally too busy trying to grown in my relationship with God my father than waste time trying to figure out how to please earthly men who seek my devotion and obedience. As the saying goees, "ain't no body got time for that."

Anonymous said...

It really is hard to believe that it is real, and that these four grown men's minds have become so corrupt that they believe what they are saying.

That's what kept going through my mind as I watched the WHOLE video. And they sit there with straight face, heads bobbing in affirmation of each other, all while committing slander/libel/defamation against the men they are smearing. That video would be Exhibit A in the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see this going down the way it is. I've been positiively impacted spiritually by the ministry of James Macdonald in his teaching of scripture (first heard him 6 years ago or so). However, things like this do happen and if there is a cover up and he is in the wrong, then he needs to repent.

We need more humble pastors. I guess that's why I go to a under 100 person church.

The truth will eventually come out.

Thanks for your blog

Anonymous said...

OK somebody please tell me just exactly where this ego driven train wreck of what was once called the local church will end.
Where does this absurd and totally bizarre behavior from "leadership" come from, stupidity or drug induced delusions ? This kind of thing has become so common that we almost expect, and sadly except it. I hope these duffy, dopey deacons realize what fools they have made out of themselves. Especially the scripted announcement with all the head nodding and weird facial expressions. I don't see this kind of thing occurring anywhere except with CHURCH PEOPLE ! Lord help us.

wayne avis said...

Hey all of you (bloggers) I just finished reading your comments and had myself a good laugh. What can I say, I've gone to church most of my life; I'm glad to see people such as yourselves not being intimidated in the least by Mega ego church leaders. AMEN!

Forest Ray said...

This whole thing makes me sad. I wish those of us Preach/Teach/Lead in Church would do so humbly and with reverence for the Lord Jesus. You see I love the local Church big or small it was the local Church that loved me out of hell. I pray we put our egos to death and point people to Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I am done with this looking on your blog and repent. I am absolutely in disagreement with this post but not in the sense of siding with any party but that I am not seeing any reconciliation focus or purpose in this post. What were the details here? I am confused.

WishIhadknown said...

Well, I see the cowards have taken down the video.
I was taught that if you are truly living for Jesus then you have to expect criticism. If there are false accusations that need addressing then a preacher can address them. He has the pulpit for crying out loud.

I have a hard time with this new meanness in the ministry. I have a hard time with the idea that everyone in a church must unquestioningly follow the preacher. Isn’t that a cult? I am still shocked that the strategy of the modern church is to recruit “quality members” instead of win souls. I wish God’s people would wake up.

Whatever happened to Matthew 5:10-12:
10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

WishIhadknown said...

Well, I see the cowards have taken down the video.
I was taught that if you are truly living for Jesus then you have to expect criticism. If there are false accusations that need addressing then a preacher can address them. He has the pulpit for crying out loud.

I have a hard time with this new meanness in the ministry. I have a hard time with the idea that everyone in a church must unquestioningly follow the preacher. Isn’t that a cult? I am still shocked that the strategy of the modern church is to recruit “quality members” instead of win souls. I wish God’s people would wake up.

Whatever happened to Matthew 5:10-12:
10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Anonymous said...

After reading the comments of these "Elders" if I went to this church I would run far away from this group and never look back.
This is why I left the church--tired of manipulation and mind control.

Anonymous said...

Non-Christians don't FEAR church members....they simply think church members falling for this nonsense are ignorant (ie: stupid) and want nothing to do with them. Gullible-ness is not a virtue!

Anonymous said...

WishIhadknown said...
"Well, I see the cowards have taken down the video."

Well, somebody managed to capture the video and it is now saved for posterity at the Internet Archive.

LOL


http://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel


Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Daisy. I post over at TWW blog.

I saved a copy of the video to my hard drive.

A copy of the file was placed on "File Tea" per someone's suggestion. That was available on File Tea yesterday. If someone wants/ needs a copy, let me know.

I see someone above claims to have a copy online. Let me know if you ever need my copy of it, where I can upload it.

Anonymous said...

Crazy does not begin to describe the arrogance of these four men. How many years of brainwashing did it take to get to this point?