All year long Mac has said giving is strong, and July was the strongest month of giving in the summer in years Mac said. So aren't we STILL known as a giving church? Notice in this clip that Mac challenges us to give to the maintenance needs of the church to prove that we are a giving church. No, we gave the money already, and Mac and the lay leaders have squandered the $15 million and now there is no money left for things that SHOULD have taken priority...but more on that in my next article.
Now as you listen to those, some of you will say, "Mac isn't saying you AREN'T these things, just that in past years you WERE known as these things". True...but in this sermon Mac makes no attempt at all to say anything positive about our church NOW...he does what he has told us for 2 1/2 years not to do: dwell on the past and look to the past. That is what he does now, pointing to the past, and cleverly painting a picture of a church that is past its prime.
If this isn't disgusting enough, to hear a pastor talk down his church just 2 days before he sends a letter out asking for a million dollars to pay for upkeep of our facilities, believe it or not this sermon got even worse. In this one sermon Mac not only decided to rake us over the coals and tell us how sorry we were, he also chose to motivate us through legalism. Yes, that's right. Mac the historian who loves to talk down "legalistic lists"...Mac the slanderer who told his pastor friends in North Carolina that we were a "hotbed of legalism" behind our backs, that we are a people with lists but "no real relationship with Jesus Christ"....lo and behold Mac passes out his own dose of legalism in an attempt to motivate us to do what we should.
Here is what Mac said after indicting his church.
"When you joined this church you were making a commitment to do several things. We probably ought to write these things down and give them to everybody who joins [CAN YOU SAY "LEGALISTIC LISTS"?]. There are some things that are expected out of you. There are some things you expect out of the church but I want to tell you something when you join this church you are expected to be a tither [how's that for loving motivation - this is legalism my friends]. Not because I said it but because the word of God teaches that. You say 'I didn't know it'. [ and then threateningly] You know it now. You're expected to be faithful. You ought to be here every service. We have three services a week. Some of ya'll didn't know that did ya? Sunday morning, we'll be back here at 6:10 tonight and Wednesday night. You're expected to pray for one another. That is a ministry you commit to when you join this church....if you prayed for one another you'd like each other better."
No mention of love as a motivation. No mention of how we might benefit from church attendance. No mention of giving out a love for the Lord to His church. No allowance for some who can't make it every service. This is classic, old-fashioned, KJV, fundamental legalism.
And we can't leave off this classic Mac legalistic yoke that he hung on our necks Sunday:
"Everyone of you that knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior you have a spiritual gift. You have a stewardship of that gift. And if you come in here and God's given you the gift of singing, of playing, of teaching, of leading, of working with children and all you do is sit on a pew and soak it up, you're sinning against the Holy Spirit. You say 'well that's mighty strong'. Yeah its strong."
We didn't say its "mighty strong"....you misheard us Mac, we said its "mighty wrong". There is nowhere in scripture that says a person who just comes to church sits in the services and doesn't serve is "sinning against the Holy Spirit". They might have family problems that keep them from serving. They may be ill. They may have a child with special needs. They may have to work two jobs to make ends meet and can't serve in any capacity but all they can do is come to the church service and worship the Lord (and when they get there to hear an encouraging word from the Lord they hear Mac's anger and legalism). Church, this is dangerous stuff. A man so arrogant, so puffed up that he thinks he can throw this garbage around judging people to be sinning against the Holy Spirit, trying to scare people into serving. I declare if anyone is sinning against the Holy Spirit, it is Mac for preaching this garbage.
And to think we're rushing to get Mac to preach out in the southern side of Duval County and northern St. John's county with this mean, legalistic preaching in a satellite campus? And to think we allowed him to use $200,000 of our church funds to spread his legalism on nationwide TV on the INSP network while our babies are put in a leaking, soggy, preschool building in need of repair. All you pastors in southern Duval who might be concerned about the big dog sheep stealing from your church: JUST LOVE YOUR CONGREGATION, PREACH THE WORD AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM MAC THE KNIFE. Christians who are under the nurturing care of a loving, humble, faithful pastor will take one listen to Mac's meanness, his legalism, his anger... and they'll be running for the doors.
So there you have it. Poor Mac. He is stuck in a backwards looking, non-evangelistic, un-giving, un-loving church. And he chose the Sunday to tell us just two days before he sends us a letter asking us to give a million dollars to upkeep on our facilities that he has let slide for 2 1/2 years while spending money on everything else.
"The Letter" will be the next article this weekend.
What a joke you are sir.
Watchdog: Please don't disparage the KJV or people who are faithful to it. It was used in this church for over 150+ years by Godly loving pastors to teach and lead us in God's Word. The KJV is not responsible for its own misuse!! Legalism comes from the heart not the Word misapplied.
Thanks for all you do and thank you for allowing us anonymous to comment again.
Memo to Mac Brunson:
Sir, when you use "manipulation" rather than "motivation" to entice church members to tithe, contribute money beyond tithing and contributing their time for church participation in activities, you are drawing on the Principal.
After a while, people are worn out because of this.
When you use motivation, you only draw on interest. And it keeps on giving.
God bless you Sir.
Just checked out Maurio Amorims twitter site. Looks like he had a good time last night at a "wine tasting" party. How bout that, the guy Mac uses to plot the future of our church and who comes down to meet with staff in Deerwood to decide how to reach people with the gospel - he goes to wine tasting parties with his friends. Maybe we could do that to draw crowds downtown, have a First Jax wine tasting party - we'd be sure to draw lots of lost people to that!
WD & other Astute readers: How long will the church members who "know better", going to put up with this man and HIS AGENDA? Having been a member of this church for many years, I can tell you NOTHING going on is SPIRITUAL!!!! This latest "wine tasting" comment certainly tells us where the ones with influence over our pastor(?) stand in relation to where our church stands. I can safely say, having known both Dr; Lindsays, this would not pass with them. We are paying big bucks for the so called expertise(?) of people that don't hold to our traditions, our beliefs as to what scripture teaches, or the lifestyle that we (most of us) live. Call it "legalism" if you want to. I call it spiritual CHARACTER. Something that doesn't seem to matter at FBC much anymore. I see compromise as the hallmark of the membership and the leaders, most of whom were long time members during the Lindsay days. Shame on you gentlemen, you sold us down the river.
I posted a note on his blog, asking Maurilio if he drinks wine, since I agree it does look like last night he went to the same party as his other Twittering friends, which was a wine tasting party. Just curious what Maurilio's own personal view is on alcohol use, since I do question the wisdom of a Christian going to a wine tasting party. One of Maruilio's clients is FBC Jax, and we have always held to the position that abstinence from alcohol is the wise choice for Christians. But maybe that makes us all legalists in Mac's and Maurilio's book. I think it a legitimate question since Mac relies on Maurilio on advice and strategy for the future of our church.
I would strongly urge ALL Watchdog readers to peruse Jim Smyrl's Blog's articles on Theology Driven Ministry (TDM).
On LOT of levels, it's very disturbing.
I have tried to examine myself, if the disturbing aspects are due to the SIN in my own life or something else.
Here is an excerpt from his article Birth, Breast, Beast:
It is a competency because the battle of our day is against ideologies birthed in the evil of Satan, nursed at the breast of traditionalism, and trained at the feet of humanism.
The general theme of TDM is produce biblically based critical thinkers. I believe this TDM program has been going on for over one year now at fbcjax.
Now, I question where these thinkers are? Are they questioning the direction of TDM? Are they questioning the direction of the leadership of fbcjax? Are they questioning "manipulation" by fbcjax leadership?
I do not see them questioning at all. The only person I see questioning is Watchdog here and Pastor Wade Burleson on SBC, IMB and the treatment of women.
Where are ALL these critical biblically based thinkers?
I have not come across them on Watchdog's blog.
The disturbing image I have of TDM is of a worm turning over a living body (fbcjax) inside out. Normally, worms turn over the dead body into reusable matter. What I find is of worms turning over a living body of fbcjax.
This is not a pleasant picture.
Was there anything wrong with fbcjax before TDM got started? This almost feels like a corporate takeover, except it's happening inside out.
I am afraid, fbcjax will not be recognizable after a couple of years. The sad thing is this has begun to affect the music ministry too.
God save us, from these foolish critical biblically based thinkers. They want us die to our selves.
I question, are they? Are they dying to their selves? Ask them to show us the way, as the saints of old did.
I challenge both Mac Brunson and Jim Smyrl to lead us in this. Sirs, become like the saints of old. First, die to your own selves. Please show us in your OWN life, what it's to be a christian.
Then the Watchdog will fade away and so will myself.
I do not wish to be so critical, but I feel I am being forced to. The leadership wants drastic changes. I question this. They want the changes taking place from outside in. I disagree.
Following Jesus is a violent battle. But this battle takes place inside each believer's heart and soul, where the Word with the help of Holy Spirit, guides the believer in this violent battle. No one can do this on their own or from outside help, except by the grace of God and by his mercies.
Am I foolish to question this TDM? Am I foolish to question both Mac Brunson and Jim Smyrl?
Open Memo to ALL of FBCJAX:
The cure for the current "problems" at fbcjax, are given by Watchdog comments in the earlier thread. I know, you all think Watchdog is a troublemaker and the same with "Thy Peace".
Please these words seem to be born of simplicity, love and truth. I personally feel the Holy Spirit is speaking through here. Don't scoff now.
Read this slowly.
Lindsay taught to love Jesus and love people. It was simple. Love the Word, love Jesus, love people. Invite people. Preacher tells them about Jesus and what a difference he can make. Preacher tells people what a life of loving Jesus looks like, how to love Jesus, warns them against sin - as a loving father, not a mean dictator.
You know what is funny. Mac preaches about how we used to be cutting edge. It shows you how ignorant even Mac is about what made FBC Jax successful in its mission. Vines and Lindsay used to joke about how people would come to them wanting to know what their secret was. How they did it. The secret was there was no secret. It was a man of God in the pulpit preaching the Bible faithfully, word by word, lovingly, sincerely, with no axes to grind, no alterior motives...people taught to be thankful, taught to serve and give not out of obligation or legalism, but out of love for their savior. And people did this.
Please get rid of ALL the buzzwords and acronyms of new ministries and procedures. Just follow what worked for FBCJAX all these years before Mac Brunson came on board.
You say that is OLD stuff and we want new. I say you are crazy. Why change what worked in the past?
If you have read this comment, I pray for God's blessings and peace to you. I will pray, even if you have not read the message :-)
STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT OF MEMBERS: Did you know that FBCJAX has a clause in the bylaws that you are in a covenant with the church when you join this church? That is right! Check it out!
Are we to have a covenant with a church? Is that scriptural? Are we to have a duty to the the church or Mac?
This is all from PURPOSE DRIVEN.
And all of this NEW CUTTING EDGE SUNDAY SCHOOL STUFF, that is SMALL GROUPS, PURPOSE DRIVEN.
WHEN ARE WE GOING TO WAKE UP?
Mac said we are not going PURPOSE DRIVEN. Brothers and Sisters, HE LIED...
FBCJAX IS A PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH.
thy peace: Brother, and it is a pleasure to call you and Watchdog my brothers, First Baptist Church Jacksonville will never ever be what it once was. When Mac came here he forever changed this Baptist Church.
He changed the MUSIC, TO MIXED MUSIC
He changed worship to DUTY.
He changed sunday school to SMALL GROUPS
He changed Holy Spirit led Church and preaching to AGENDA DRIVEN STORY TELLING
He changed this Baptist Church to A NONDENOMINATIONAL CHURCH
He changed the Holy Bible, GOD'S WORD, to mean JUST ANY BIBLE
etc, etc, etc
Seeing that he has changed all of these things, is it only fitting that he can now DEMAND THAT YOU GIVE, ATTEND AND DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THAT HE WANTS?
The folks at FBCJAX have accepted all of this. After all the pastor said it is OK. Isn't it?
P.S. Satalites, this is no more than CATHOLICISM. Think about it!!!
What do you do when you can't buy a new car? You repair your old one and keep driving it till it falls apart and then buy another used car. What happens when you do not have $5-7,000 to upgrade your roof? You repair the damage and live with it. What happens when you don't get a raise? You live without it. People, we are in a deep recession and as we cut costs we expect the rest of us to watch their costs as well including the church. There is no such thing as a free lunch since it cost someone (taxpayers) who make it available.
Why should we go into debt in order to fix things that should have already been taken care of out of the $16M? I say stay within your budget or don't buy it!!!
This would be a good example of TDM!!!
Possibly it wasn't God's will to start up a school $500,000.00 (the $7-8,000 tuition yearly, is beyond the means of most members at FBC. Or Insp $180,000.00. And these are just the start up costs. "Owe no man anything" is a good practice.
The last 2 1/2 years have cost us dearly, in many ways not only financially.
What's sick is how Mac earlier this year said "praise Jesus" we all didn't get our raises because we would have used the extra money to get into debt. He said our problem with finances is not that we need more money, but we need to manage the money we do have better.
And here come's Mac, in fine hypocrite form...holding his hand out wanting an extra million for maintenance expenses when we have met the budget. So our message to Mac: YOU DON'T NEED MORE MONEY, MAC. YOU NEED TO MANAGE WHAT WE GAVE YOU A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
Also, wasn't it just choice how Mac lectured us about how important it is to "keep our commitments"...he said it three times...and of course we were all wondering then why he didn't keep his commitment to serve on the mayor's Crimve Prevention Steering Commitee, when his absence at 5 of the 7 meetings was an embarrassment to his church when it was reported on in the newspaper.
Mac can sure talk a good game, but he can't walk it.
And one last ridiculous act today: Mac actually put up a pie chart showing how the average family spends their money, with 3% going to charity, 20% to housing 22% to automobiles, 17% to food, etc. His point was that "no one is going broke by giving to the church", implying that we all have a bunch of "margin" and need to be giving more to the church.
OK...hey Mac, since you're holding your hand out for a cool million to repair our facilities, will you put a pie chart up showing how the church is spending its $15 million? Show us how much goes to facilities, pastor and family salary and bennies, staff salary and bennies, missions, etc. Show us THAT pie chart before you criticize us on how we spend our money.
And pastor...if the best you can do to compel someone to tithe is to tell us that Homer Lindsay, Sr. once had all the tithers stand in church (which I've never heard that he did that - and people I've asked don't ever recall that), you are a weak preacher. You know that tithing is not supported in the Bible as a command or obligation to Christians. That is legalism. We are to give out of love and the blessing we have. Some of us may need to give 1% or less...some of the ultra rich might need to be giving 25%. Because you give 10% or 15% and brag about it from the pulpit doesn't impress us, because we know you're earning about 10 times the salary as the average church member.
What a sad day it is at FBC Jax, when the preacher is trying to get his way, trying to motivate his church to accept his leadership through intimidation, guilt, and legalism. How far we've fallen.
Question to the gullible sheep of FBC Jax who tolerate Mac slandering us as being a "hotbed of legalism", while he himself attempts to put a yoke of tithing on his church:
Mac loves to throw John MacArthur quotes to us to make his really strong points to us...so if tithing is to be taught in the church as a command for Christians as Mac has done two Sundays in a row...then why does John MacArthur say the following:
New Testament believers are never commanded to tithe. Matthew 22:15-22 and Romans 13:1-7 tell us about the only required giving in the church age, which is the paying of taxes to the government. Interestingly enough, we in America presently pay between 20 and 30 percent of our income to the government--a figure very similar to the requirement under the theocracy of Israel.
The guideline for our giving to God and His work is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver."
Watchdog....do you have a job? Do you have a life? Could you do Mac's job any better? I seriously think not....shut up and stop critisizing!!! GO TO ANOTHER CHURCH!!! PLEASE!!And get some counceling for your low self-esteem issues!You are a wanna be journalist...go apply for a job at the Florida Times Union psycho!!
Change in a church as old as fbcjax is very hard. Especially change wrought through dynamic leaders.
I believe Mac Brunson raised this issue about 6 months ago, when he commended fbcjax with going through so much change.
I do not know when the search committee looked for Mac Brunson, if they anticipated all the turmoil that would bring to fbcjax.
Dr. Brunson is a very energetic and enthusiastic person. He clearly had a plan on how to shape or "re-purpose" fbcjax according to his views.
2 1/2 years into his tenure, we are still going through the changes.
When I watch some of the services of fbcjax, I am amazed at the professionalism and class of members of fbcjax. The most visible example of this is the music ministry. I believe ALL the members of the choir, orchestra, including organist and pianist are all volunteers. That is they are un-paid workers. I must assume they are spending atleast 15 to 20 hours a week contributing their time for fbcjax.
Wonderful example would be Amie Shields. I am wonder struck with the preparation she goes through for each of her songs.
The same with video people, ushers and I am sure countless people behind the scenes that make fbcjax so great.
All this blows my mind.
As Jim Whitmire mentions, the treasure of fbcjax are in its people.
So in light of all this, I urge the leadership of fbcjax to show much tolerance to its members. A pastor is supposed to be like a shepherd. And the members are to be like sheep.
Long time ago, I came across this book: A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip W. Keller, published by Zondervan Publishing House. This is a wonderful book for the leadership of fbcjax to read. It describes the roles of a shepherd and what the sheep do and how they get in trouble.
I am sure lot of the Watchdog readers believe, here it's the leadership that's got them in trouble now :-)
I would urge the leadership of fbcjax to share their budget and expenses with their members NOW (with sufficient detail). Please treat the members as partners in Christ. They are entitled to these numbers. Mainly because the leadership is asking for their support in raising the money to meet its expenses.
This is so that there can be a meaningful debate or discussion.
Change for the sake of change is unproductive. In the business world workers tend to be very slow and resist change. Some of these changes result in reduction in employees, less benefits, etc. So naturally there is no spirit of "oh boy I just can't wait for change". Here the employees have no chance it's forced upon them.
In the religious world change takes on an entirely different meaning. Members don't like it especially when they know the past has been filled with excitement, growth, working together, harmony and souls being saved, changing the Sunday school process. When you are told the past is not "cutting edge" and you know differently, then the "cutting edge" becomes a meaningless phrase and one in which most would soon not be apart of. So before anymore changes take place maybe the members should have an opportunity to voice their opinion. I suggest a survey be formulated and given to all age groups dealing with such items as:
1. more money
2. what expenditures
3. repairs or replacement
4. less employees
5. less trips
6. less specials
7. LESS COOPERATIVE PROGRAM
8. volunteer teachers for school
9. volunteer cleaning personnel
10.pay as you go philosophy
11.new trustees get fresh approach
12.new deacons get fresh ideas
13.members see actual expenses prior to paying for them
14.members see bylaws and amendments prior to voting on them
15.cell or not to cell in Sunday School
16.satellite or no satellite sites
17.increases in staff salaries ?
18.open bids on marketing groups
19.open bids on all expenses over $5000
20.budgeted items stay in line
21.anything else someone wants to bring forward or clarify
In this way the church membership decides what is in the best interest of their church and not just a select few. Remember in the early church the members had all things in common and it flourished.
With gasoline now going to $5.00+ a gallon those struggling with getting to work and feeding their families are going to be even more stressed. Getting to church will even be more of an issue during these economic slow downs and recession period.
Just my opinion.
anonymous: just don't tell watchdog to get counseling for his issues of low self esteem at the FBC counseling center or he might end up WAY worse off than he was originally...
("safe" counseling room...yeah, right.) hahahahahaha...who's the real joke on?
its me anonymous again...let me just put a disclaimer that the counseling center may be fine for everyone else, it just wasn't fine for me...and i would not recommend it to watchdog...i wouldn't recommend anyone to get counseling in their church....especially if you wish to keep attending... but, live and learn. To me it was a place to weed out "members" who don't fit the "mold". To others, it may be a perfectly helpful place. If there is something "wrong" with your story... it is my experience I should have kept my mouth SHUT. And there IS a mold at FBC Jax... Money wise, looks wise, personality wise, financial status etc. wise....I hope that in time that whole thing changes. Maybe those who fit the mold can't see whats going on or what you doing to people who have questions and don't fit your agenda, or are not rich, or are not conservative politically or whatever. I swear this is NOT what Jesus would do.
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