Team Brunson again keeps its congregation in the dark. First Baptist Church Jacksonville posted on their website announcement scroll this week that it will be hosting an event called "A Time to Stand with Israel", and our pastor, Mac Brunson, will be one of the speakers at this event.
The stated purpose of this event is to gather Christians and Jews together to demonstrate support of the nation of Israel, rallying Christians to show financial support of the Jewish nation (Romans 15:27), and to raise a "love offering" for the "Trauma and Rehabilitation Center" of the well-known Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. That's right church: our church's name and our pastor are using our facilities to RAISE FUNDS FOR A HOSPITAL IN ISRAEL. Not that he needs to tell you, or explain it to you so that you can understand WHY that is a wise use of our facilities. Hear me, I'm not saying that this is something we certainly should NOT do. I have not done all the research myself. But is this not such a signficant event, a departure from what we normally use our church buildings for (spreading the gospel and evangelizing in the name of Jesus Christ) that our pastor should.....yes.....EXPLAIN THIS TO US BEFORE ITS PUT ON THE WEBSITE AND LEAVING US SCRATCHING OUR HEADS? WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR PASTOR? DOES HE JUST RUN OFF AND DECIDE TO USE OUR CHURCH FACILITIES AND CHANGE THE FOCUS OF OUR CHURCH AS HE SEES FIT AND DOESN'T NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO US?
Why would anyone be opposed to such a meeting at our church facilities, you ask? Aren't we to support the nation of Israel? Sure, but some logical questions that might want to be addressed by our pastor, if he feels led:
- is not the goal of our church to evangelize and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? Does this include evangelizing and spreading the message that Jesus Christ is the messiah? John Hagee explains that the CUFI events specifically are not meant to evangelize our Jewish friends (and we assume the same would be true for this very similar event), but to "bring Christians and Jews together in a municipal auditorium...and to present a message of hope, a message of appreciation from Christians to Jews for the Jewish Contribution to Christianity...there is nothing said or done in that service that targets Jews for conversion or trying to bring them into the church and the total purpose of the "Night to Honor Israel" is to raise funds to benefit orphans, to bring Jewish people from around the world to Israel who wish to emmigrate to Israel, to help build absorption centers where the Jewish people coming from around the world can learn the Hebrew language and be taught a trade, to giving to hospitals and to organizations throughout the state of Israel that benefit the Jewish people. We have given millions of dollars over 25 years and brought over 12,000 people to Israel..." (Hagee interview on NPR, 9/18/06)
- Why are we using our church facilities and our financial resources trying to raise funds for the nation of Israel? How does this fit into our church mission?
- Does not hosting and sponsoring such an event at our church perhaps confuse the lost world in understanding our mission and our message that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven? Could or should this have been hosted at a "neutral" site in Jacksonville so as to not confuse Jacksonville as to the mission and purpose of our church?
- Are Jews saved or are they lost? Rev. Marcus Allen, Jr. preached a great sermon just Wednesday night and explained that all people without Jesus Christ are headed to a devil's hell....does this include our Jewish friends; do they need to accept Jesus Christ? If so, are we not doing them a disservice to invite them to our church, and not tell them about Christ?
- Fund raisers for Jewish hospital...sounds like a noble cause. What other fund raisers can we use our church buildings for? Are there not some very worthwhile charitable organizations in the United States that could benefit from us holding a fund raiser, that would be more in line with the New Testament teaching to care for the poor, feed the hungry, care for widows, etc?
- What do you say Mac to those who are concerned about Israel's abortion policy? The Israel government does allow state-funded abortions - are we sure we aren't giving money directly or indirectly to a nation or hospital at which medical practices such as abortion or RU-486 dispensing is performed?
Church, I hope that the sponsoring of this event at our church at least causes you to be somewhat concerned...unless the church is being reimbursed from the funds raised at the event to offset the cost of hosting this event, your tithes and offerings that were given to further the gospel of 0ur Lord Jesus Christ have been offered up by Mac Brunson to support the nation of Israel - not that the nation of Israel should not be supported by Christians, but is that what you gave your tithes and offerings for at FBC Jacksonville? I am in no way anti-Israel, and I'm not even saying that this event is wrong or bad. But it sure does raise some questions for me...what about you?