Mac Brunson is bringing in Ed Gamble Wednesday night to talk to the church about FBC Jax starting a Christian school.
Its always good to know where a speaker stands on important issues before they come in to address a congregation. No one in our church has probably ever heard of Ed Gamble. We don't know who he is, what his organization is, or what he believes.
So here is some background information for members of FBC Jackson on Ed Gamble; this will be useful since Mac has invited Ed to convince us, er I mean talk to us about starting a Christian school.
Keep in mind: there are many in the Southern Baptist Convention who believe that Christian parents should not put their kids in public schools. Among them are Al Mohler and Voddie Baucham. And Ed Gamble. I have to say that I myself lean toward Ed Gamble's view of public schools, but unlike Ed Gamble I'm not willing to call a parent "disobedient" for sending their kids to a public school.
- Ed Gamble is the director of the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools. So far as I can tell there is no official connection of his organization to the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBACS is a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in the state of Florida. They are based in Windemere, Florida. Their mission appears to be in helping churches start what they call "Kingdom Schools". They hold workshops and seminars to help schools get started. They have resources at their website for starting schools, but the hyperlinks to the resources don't work. They do maintain a database of Christian schools around the country, but its hard to find any in their database that are members of their organization.
- Its quite apparent that Ed Gamble will be of little help in us determining if we should start a school - his bent - as you will see below - is that churches all over the country need to get on the ball and start Christian schools - a network of over 5000 by the year 2025. So he will be here to tell us how urgent it is that we do start one. But perhaps he can inject some reality into what it will take, and the sacrifice involved in starting a school, and maybe he will surprise me and discuss how to determine if a school is a right choice for a church.
As for what he believes:
- Ed Gamble believes it is not biblical for parents to send their children to secular schools.
Here's an excerpt from onenewsnow.com:
Gamble says sending children to be indoctrinated by a secular, humanist institution is not biblical.
"Failure to do what God says is called disobedience. You can color it whatever color you want, but it's still disobedience -- it's rebellion," argues Gamble. "And when God's people don't take ownership of the education of their children, they're disobeying God."
- Ed Gamble believes that parents sending their kids to public schools with the belief that they will be "salt and light" are deceived. Another excerpt:
Director Edward Gamble says Christians who give their children over to the secular public school system are disobeying God's command to educate their children biblically. He says many Christians believe the false argument that Christian children can be "salt and light" in the secular, humanist environment of public schools.
"I've heard that over and over and over again for the last 20 or 30 or 40 years," Gamble confesses, "and when I look at the results, the results say that the world influences the kids more than the kids influence the world."
- Ed Gamble believes God will judge pastors who are afraid of publicly condeming the public school system for fear of offendng members who are teachers and administrators in the public schools, or parents who have their children in the public school system. Another excerpt:
Gamble says pastors who defend public schools are remembering a public school system that does not exist anymore; a setting where God was welcomed, not banned. And lastly, he states that these pastors do not want to offend.
"They look out over their congregations, and they see all these people who work and teach and are involved in the public school system -- and frankly, they wonder how in the world they could take a position that appears to oppose those people's livelihood or investment," he explains. "And I'm not sure whether that is a failure on the part of the pastor to be courageous enough to call the situation what it is."
Gamble says if this is the case, God will judge that.
Where do you think our pastor stands on these matters?
Welcome to FBC Jax Mr. Gamble. Perhaps you can help us as we determine whether a school at FBC Jax is the right direction for our church.
Watchdog - Mr. Gamble is not coming to help us decide anything. God's man, the pastor your search committe unanimously called here and we voted on as a congregation to come here has already decided that.
Whether you like it or not, he is God's man to lead FBC Jax and he has decided to start a school. You have no right to question his authority or leadership. If you can't in good conscience follow his leadership and give him your love and support (ie: financial donations), you owe it to your church and family to attend elsewhere. Why stay and be a complainer if you cannot get on board? Thanks for posting this.
Hi Churchmouse - I agree. He has decided that he wants to start a church. I'm not questioning his authority or leadership - but I am asking that he be open and honest with his congregation regarding financial matters.
How do you know he's God's man to lead FBC Jax? Do you have a direct line to God and God told you that Mac is God's man? As I said, I and others who share my concerns are just as called to FBC Jax as Mac Brunson is...so please spare me the "get on board or leave" argument. If you don't like me raising questions and demanding honest answers of the pastor, then perhaps YOU should go somewhere where there aren't people like me.
Also church mouse...Mac Brunson has said on at least one occaision that the church will be voting on a school. So I and others fully expect that vote to take place.
churchmouse and watchdog, you both make interesting points we all need to seriously consider and pray about. At what point do we just blindly support and contribute to "God's man" without using any of our discernment?
Is there ANY point where we as the congregation might humbly require some accountability and transparency? I think we would all agree the answer to that question is YES. Unfortunately, the bloggers here, and the pastor's supporters, seem to differ on where that point is.
For me, it was a combination of the nepotism, book deals, preaching circuit, free million dollar ocean front condo use, free gift of $307,000 piece of land, taking the conference room from the children's building for his personal office suite, his whining and complaining about emails, and his criticizing our congregation to other respected SBC leaders.
What will it be for the rest of you?
I guess a good debate is the question of... Is church a democracy or do we blindly (in faith) follow our pastor’s initiatives? One natural course has to prevail.
I believe there is always an opportunity to debate authority but is the selected decisions the problem or the act of authority (power) over us?
Do we say, “God, let me decide” or is it “…as you command, God!” The conflict is the interpretation of the command. Agree?
I don’t think that God commands us to have our children attend public schools but rather should our children do so? Isolation from the world is good to a certain age but not as responsible mature Christians. That should be decided by the parents.
Of course this is my interpretation.
Be in prayer…
Why are you and the people you allow to comment on this anonymous?
Hi Robin - fair question. In a church the size of FBC Jax, there are some people (a very small minority) who will attempt to bring harm to those persons who dare to raise any questions or objections to leadership in the church in this type of forum. So many people who are posting here choose to remain anonymous. To many people like Mac Brunson and others in staff and lay leadership, this anonymity in emails and blogs totally discredits any information shared here, but so be it. The information discussed here can be readily evaluated based on its own merits, and if anyone objects to what is said, or believes things said here are factually incorrect, they can post here anonymously and express their views. A Mr. George Well has posted here with his name as you have, opposing the blog, but we welcome his input here any time.
Anon 1:15p - I in no way advocate a "democracy" for church governance. Our church has always taken the view that the pastor is the leader of the church, and our church has never had a problem as far as I know in following the leadership of the pastors. I've discussed this in prior posts.
However, this pastor has shown some very troubling tendencies that are causing many in the church to doubt his ability to lead, and to question his motives in certain directions he has taken us. The blatant nepotism, the accepting of a $300k gift from a donor of the church, the use of the church for a non-evangelistic fundraiser for a Jewish hosptial at which abortions are performed, his denegrating our congregation to other pastors around the SBC, contradicting explanations for budget shortfalls, and now trying to manipulate the congregation into getting behind his school idea by telling us that "people aren't home anymore" as a reason why we need a school to reach the next generation...these things cause many to wonder what is going on in our church because we're used to following leaders who have more stability, are more honest, and don't seem to want to manipulate their congregations.
Thus, the blog - to discuss and bring to light these things that people in the church deserve to know.
watchdog said: How do you know he's God's man to lead FBC Jax?
I ask a different question: How do we know God's plan for FBC Jax?
Perhaps it is God's plan for our church to go through difficult times and Brunson is God's man for that purpose. God's plan doesn't mean we have goodness and happiness all the time. We have heartbreaks, sorrows, etc.
Remember how God allowed Israel's enemies to overcome them because the Israelites drifted away from Him. And whether we wish to admit it or not, many of FBC-Jax members have drifted away from God and our purpose in serving Him. Yes, there is still a core group....mostly those who attend on Wednesday nights. But witness: Not enough teachers on Sunday mornings/nights; people not willing to serve in leadership positions; and many of those that do aren't following through on what they should be doing or don't show up church meetings.
Regardless of how you slice it, the things that are happening at FBC Jax - whether you view them as good or bad - are God's plan.
Anon 10:45 - I do understand what you're saying. I can't say I agree that many people at FBC Jax have drifted away from God. Perhaps they have, but I don't see it.
"Regardless of how you slice it, the things that are happening at FBC Jax - whether you view them as good or bad - are God's plan."
I think that is a dangerous, negligent view to take.
Was it "God's plan" for Bob Gray to molest children? Perhaps that is what Tom Messer said to himself on that day in 1992 when Bob Gray lied to the congregation about the allegations against him and Tom Messer KNEW Bob Gray was lying and that Gray was indeed a serial molester...perhaps Tom Messer said to himself "Perhaps this is all God's plan, Good or Bad, I won't say anything because we just have to go through this as it must be God's plan because Bob Gray is God's man"
I'm not suggesting we are anywhere near that much of a crisis and please I'm not comparing Gray to Brunson...but my point is...if things are happening that are clearly not right in our leadership, then people should not stand idly by waiting for "God's plan", because perhaps its not all God's plan and God is wanting people to take action. We have to AT LEAST CONSIDER the possibility that God doesn't want us to sit around watching "God's plan" unfold.
Tonight was a disgrace and an embarrassment. Mac brings a man in to preach the message just as I predicted in my Ed Gamble post: Ed' message: You are a negligent parent, a disobedeint-to-God parent if your kid is in the public schools. How arrogant. Mac's too much of a coward to take a clear stand on alcohol in the pulpit when preaching separation, but he brings a man in to condemn people who have their kids in public schools.
Then to hear Mac give the message that he wants to see the day when people all over the U.S. come up to him and say "Are you Dr. Brunson? I'm a graduate of FBC Jax Academy". Its all about Mac.
We're going to take money from God's work at our church and give it to a school that might not be needed in our city so Mac can bring glory to himself, and we can educate rich white people who can affort $8000 tuition rates.
Let the fleecing begin.
Anon 10:45 says:
Maybe I should have just said that many members are drifting away from serving God in the church....but then to me, that is still drifting away from God.
In any case, I have volunteered in numerous ministry areas within the church - and it's sad to say that many of the ministries were hurting for people who were willing to serve in the ministry.
As another example of members' apathy or "blind faith" depending upon how you view it, go to the church library and ask to see the check-out sheets for the bylaws that the church membership passed tonight to see how many church members actually looked at the proposed changes. It's written there in black and white for all to see...and may not be viewed as being as subjective as my opinion based on my experience in the various church ministries.
I am not by any means suggesting that anyone should sit idly by while God's plan unfolds - although it appears many in our church are doing just that - or maybe they are following God's man in "blind faith" - I guess it could be viewed both ways.
What I am saying is that God has a plan...and whatever is happening or is going to happen...whether we sit idly by or speak out....is all a part of that plan, and God will take it and make it work to the good of His purpose.
Anon - I think we are in agreement.
Can you explain what the changes were to the bylaws? I thought that tonight they would explain what the changes were before the vote - they did read the changes to the Articles, but not the bylaws.
For my entire time at FBC there always seems to be a shortage of workers in almost all areas of ministry, so that is nothing new....but maybe its getting worse.
anon 10:45 said:
A quick summary of the ones I remember:
The Pastor appoints the Board of Trustees with the input from the Chair of the Deacons and then the Board is elected by the church.
The Pastor provides input and consents as to which Deacons participate on the various committees.
A disciplinary committee was established with responsibilities.
By your membership in the church, if there are any disputes with the church you agree to mediate the matter with the church. If there is no resolution with the church, then the issue will go to the Florida Baptist Convention to be mediated by them.
The amount of money that can be spent and the various approvals required were also changed.
That's all I can remember off the top of my head. It would be best to go check out the changes for yourself, as I may have erred in my description of them. And if you find that i did err in my description, then I apologize for that in advance.
Disciplinary committee huh? That must be how they will get rid of any dissenters...like bloggers.
Did the change in the bylaws address how gifts made by church members DIRECTLY TO THE PASTOR are handled and disclosed to the church?
Maybe a change in the bylaws on how to handle issues of nepotism?
Probably not, huh?
Watchdog - Some areas of concern members of FBC Jax should have based on what I am reading here, assuming most of it is accurate:
1.) Why would a person have to sign a list "in black and white for everyone to see" just to get a copy of the proposed bylaws? This might discourage some concerned members from having the opportunity to review these bylaws since their reasons for "caring" about what changes were about to made might make them look like potential "troublemakers."
2. Two of the changes listed obviously give the pastor more unbridled power and authority to select trustees and to select which deacons participate on committees. Doesn't anyone see any potential concerns with this?! Clearly it reduces his accountability even further to anyone other than who he chooses.
3. A discipline committee? This might be a good thing, but again, guess who picks the members of this committee...the pastor. Also, whatever happened to the biblical model for handling church discipline? Did this pastor decide the bible doesn't work again? First he decided door to door evangelism, as modeled in scripture, does not work. Now, he needs to create a non-biblical "discipline committe" where he hand picks the members?
4. "By my membership in the church I agree to...." What? I would like to see all the fine print of what I "agreed" to when I gave my life to Christ and went down front to make it public like the pastor told me Jesus required of us. Did they also sneak in several other things I agreed to? If so, I would like to see that list. And if so, SHAME ON THEM, trying to add to my commitment to Christ!
5. The most scary comment of all, almost just mentioned as an "oh, by the way, there is also change to the by-laws about this little topic": "The amount of money that can be spent and the various approvals required were also changed." Wow!
FBCJW - If I still attended your church, I would be very, very concerned about the nature and timing of these changes in advance of a major fundraising campaign for a new school.
A discipline committee made up people appointed by the pastor? Oh my! Check out webster's definition:
goon squad - (gune skwad) - see also: "discipline committee." A group of persons used to harrass, intimidate and influence others for the purpose of silencing any dissent. Commonly used in large Southern Baptist Churches. See also: Steve Gaines.
FBCJW - good information. Thanks. I would hope that if anyone gets contacted by any member of the "discipline committee", they will make a full report for all of us here to be able to follow along with the process. I am sure the church would want this kind of "discipline" to be very open and transparent.
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