2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

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

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pie Charts and "Giving Units"

How does Mac choose to motivate his sheep to give to the Lord's work? Not by teaching the New Testament principles of giving. Never once in his two-week series on stewardship did he present the New Testament principle laid forth in 1 Cor 9:6-7. He didn't even bother to make his case for the legalistic teaching of tithing. I noticed he wasn't quoting John MacArthur on the issue as he does most Sundays, as John MacArthur knows that the Old Testament practice of "tithing" is not applicable to Christians today and to hang the legalistic yoke of tithing on Christians is unfair and unscriptural.

I don't wish to debate the issue here, just point out how Mac doesn't use the Bible to teach on the subject, but instead, in his closing remarks the Sunday before Chest of Joash, Mac puts a pie chart showing the average American household budget on the image screens and says:

"You spend 24% of your salary on housing...you spend 22% on recreation and pleasure, that's amazing...we spend 19% on healthcare...we spend 17% on our cars...and 15% on food...under 3% is what you give to charity. You're not going broke because of the church. You're not going broke because you're giving something to the church."

Then Mac says:

"If we've got 5000 giving units in this church, if we make on the average $50,000 that would be $25 million to the church and we're struggling to meet a budget between $15 million and $16 million. If everybody gave a tithe we would never have to mention the issue again."

Sounds like a good Amway pitch. Yeah, right. If we had given them $20 million Mac would have spent it and would be holding his hands out for more, trust me on that. Poor Mac, he had to "get by" with just $15 million when if his stupid sheep weren't spending so much money on entertainment and cars, Mac WOULD have had $25 million! Mac sure doesn't sound very grateful does he?

And yes, Mac views us all as his "giving units". Hear that southern Duval County? Mac is counting up his "giving units", and make no mistake, he wants you to go to bible studies at our Life Link homes so he can get you and your giving unit over to the satellite. Once they do the "bait and switch" by drawing you into a home Bible study and moving you over to a "satellite church"- once you're there you'll be taught the legalism principle of tithing, that you are required as a member in good fellowship, to fork over 10% of your income to Mac Brunson. Yes, you people over at someone's home, you will be expected to give 10% of your income. Listen to Mac say it right here. We'll take that tithe you give not for your local satellite church, but it will come back to the FBC Jax coffers downtown so Mac can do what he wants with his school, give Maurilio a raise, and other "special projects" that Mac needs. "For God so loved the giving units...." and "The giving units did swim"....some great stewardship sermons in there somewhere.

And in the divisive Brunson way...Mac makes the case that either you tithe or you're "out of fellowship" and if you're out of fellowship, its "obvious".

"Now I realize preaching on this makes some people uncomfortable. And that tickles me to death. You don't know how I enjoy that, maybe too much, maybe that's a little bit flesh. But I want to tell you something. Those of us who tithe don't mind hearing about tithing. Those who don't get uncomfortable. But I want to tell you something, it's Biblical....Church, let me tell you something...we will tithe, we will give...the church is made up of people who made a resolve under Jesus Christ that we will have certain things in common...one of the things we have in common is we're going to give and support this ministry. And that makes some people uncomfortable because they're not part of the fellowship. They're out of fellowship. They're out of fellowship. And its obvious."

So give, tithe, because if you don't you will be out of fellowship, and we'll note it because its so darned easy to spot you recalcitrants.


Ramesh said...

I wonder how Mac came up with the Average Household? Does it include non-christians? Does it include ALL the people who do not do any worship spiritually?

If he did, then the 3% makes sense. I am assuming 1 out 3 households actually go to church in the US. Then they are actually giving 10% of their income, which when averaged with the rest of the population becomes 3%. Of course you can include Hindus, Moslems, Jewish people too.

Then this statement by Mac:
You're not going broke because of the church. You're not going broke because you're giving something to the church.
is not true.

My take on fbcjax making $15M a year, is about 5,000 households are tithing. Now, I have read elsewhere that fbcjax has close to 30,000 members. I do not know how they are counting members. Do they include children, husband and wife as separate members? I am assuming that's what they are doing to puff up the numbers. If they are, then there are about 5,000 to 6,000 households that are part of the church membership.

Then on the average, they are giving about $3,000- per household. If you incude all the special offerings, my guess is total amount given to fbcjax on the average per household is about $4,000-.

Even if we assume a generous tithing percentage of 10%, then the average household income is about $40,000-

Realistically, it might be less than 10%, households are contributing as tithe. (I am including special offerings as part of the tithe)

Now I questions, how can these households afford to send their children to fbcjax academy?

They simply can not.

Only the household making more than $100,000- can afford to send their children to fbcjax academy.

My guestimate about the percentage of households in fbcjax who can afford to send their kids to fbcjax academy is about 5%.

The way this church is going, I would not be surprised if they issued special "Tithing Member" badges to be worn during church. Then they can proudly display how much a part of the fellowship they are of.

I am sure this will boost morale in the church.

Ramesh said...

I forgot to add this to the earlier comments.

Let's add up all the percentages of the average household spending:
(24% + 22% + 19% + 17% + 15% + 3%) = 100%

What this tell me is, Mac is using the above number on Net Household Income

The amounts I quoted earlier now make lot of sense. It tell me, that fbcjax members are actually very generous. Lot more than, Mac gives them credit for.

Anonymous said...

"If we've got 5000 giving units in this church, if we make on the average $50,000 that would be $25 million to the church and we're struggling to meet a budget between $15 million and $16 million. If everybody gave a tithe we would never have to mention the issue again."

Man, I'd sure like to be "average." {sigh} Mac Brunson is so out of touch with the common man and woman in the pew it's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would give a lot more to FBC Jax if I thought it was going to meet the needs of people in our city...NOT pay exorbitant salaries to the CEO pastor, pay his wife's salary, pay his son's salary, remodel his luxury office suites, pay for him to travel so much, give him big bonuses, etc. Only pennies on the dollar go to real ministry, so I give my tithes and offererings elsewhere. $15 million to FBC Jax is plenty.

Ramesh said...

I happened to watch both the web broadcasts today. Here are some of my observations:

Mac seemed very subdued today (after the initial outburst against older men leading astray the younger men). I get the distinct impression that he is reading Watchdog's posts and comments. Maybe someone is passing the digested version to him. Either way, it's getting to him. I mean the information.

Mac made comments about people might be putting empty slips (without commitment).

I sincerely hope he changes for the better. But it looks you all have been through this road before.

Anonymous said...

The Bible does not teach tithing but it does teach giving. Tithing as under law would assume that we could ever begin to repay our debt to God. Only Christ was able to do that. We give out of love not law. Who is Brunson or any of the other chaletans who teaches tithing to say that they will not allow the Lord to bless you until you give at least a tithe rather than to abide by Gods word as is shown in 2 Cor.9:6-9. If God has our hearts He will have our pocketbooks also; but these charletans have no faith that whatever God ordains that He is also able to bring it to pass. I have actually heard some of these types to brag about thir ability to raise money. Iwould not want to stand before a righteous God and have to answer to Him my ability to have been able to get more money out of His people than He had been able to get by laying it on their hearts to give. These people are just not willing to settle for what God provides. I have never heard any of these who preaches your duty to tithe to explain their responsibilty to use the money as the Bible instructs. The government has to take care of peoples needs because the church has failed to do so, but these church rulers does not give any credit for this fact and still trys to put us on a guilt trip to pay tithes and offerings above a tithe.



Ramesh said...

for Truth said:
"If God has our hearts He will have our pocketbooks also; but these charletans have no faith that whatever God ordains that He is also able to bring it to pass."


The above sentence is the heart of the current tithing debate. It looks like the Lindsays/Vines understood that sentence fully. I am not saying Mac does not understand it, it's just he is bringing his baggage with it and distorts its meaning. I hope he realizes the wisdom of Lindsays/Vines when they were pastors of this great church.
Since it looks like the fbcjax administration is reading these posts and comments, I have a request to make of them.

Sir(s), can you please add both audio and video (if possible) recordings of Lindsay Sr., Lindsay Jr. and Vines sermons on your website. You can put some sample of them. This is for posterity and for education of current and future generations of fbcjax. Thanks.
Lot of white space in the bottom of the earlier comment. I do not know, if WD can edit it at this stage. Thanks WD for all you do.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a while back that Dr. Brunson was preaching that we should be thankful we didn't get that raise since we would just blow it anyways. In other words, none of us knows how to handle our money and we would be better off making less, not more. So why doesn't he believe the same way for his church? Is he saying that FBC deserves a raise but you and I don't?

Anonymous said...

Why are Baptist using Theology Driven Ministry that comes from Presbyterians? Also, it appears that most all of the staff will be discussing TDM at the 2009 Pastor's Conference. I wonder how many Presbyterian Churches allow Baptist to come in and proclaim some new approach to salvation in their pulpits? I would not believe any would.

I suggest this is another Purpose Driven idea and will be like some new fad that will quickly die out.Its a current buzz phrase. In the Baptist Press one of the Presbyterian pastors likened the influence of salvation to a community effort. Most of the communities I have lived in do not support Christians and even most Baptist churches do not win "any or few to the kingdom" so this idea of community is unbiblical. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two and thats what FBC did for years and it worked. Now we learn that's passe and we need a new approach. Kind of like something "fresh", "new", or aprons on our ushers and deacons. What happened to that fad? Guess some pastors just want change for the sake of change without really praying for the Holy Spirit to take over. Sounds like there is more Flesh than Spirit that has entered into the church. Sorry folks, but I just don't get it. The world is entering the church not the reverse. Just give me that old time religion. Strong preaching on hell, sin, and the Devil. The Devil hasn't changed his strategy for thousands of years while the Christian church goes from one extreme to another and nothing seems to be working. We see awana, soccer, Upward this and that. What's next?? More changes!!!

I recommend we get back to basics. Let the Sunday School teachers teach the lessons like they desire asking the Lord to bless the message that they compile after studying their Bibles all week. That made perfect sense in the past and I for one see no harm in returning to what worked.

Certificates from some seminary do not necessarily a teacher make.Just like some pastor with a Phd does not always make one a real pastor that is loving, caring, and who actually preaches the Word. Unless the teacher has a gift of teaching those certificates are about as valuable as some of the stock traded on Wall Street. It's like some preachers that know what "the Greek" says but have no clue what God says.

Ramesh said...

To Anonymous September 29, 2008 11:17 PM:

What did you mean by TDM coming from Presbyterians? Can you please explain? I am curious.

I fully agree with your sentiment. The early apostles and saints were ordinary people. They were unschooled. Look what happens when the grace of God is poured out on them. See the fruits exhibited by them.

I am not saying education is bad or certification is fruitless. In Christianity, it's the heart that matters. Knowledge is just knowledge, unless it's assimilated by prayer, walking the walk with Jesus into the soul and heart of the believer's being. Then all this is exhibited as fruit, that comes out of the believer.
I have been thinking about the effects of our blogging and comments on the fbcjax administration.

As I said earlier, it seems there is good deal of readership of this blog at fbcjax administration. I am sure they are reading it to see who the dissenters are. But it's also getting to them. I mean the message being conveyed through the blogs and comments. They are not just reading, they are also reacting to it.

After watching Dr. Brunson, being subdued on Sunday, I realized the true impact of this blog and comments.

I had assumed (I was wrong to do so), that since Dr. Brunson is sensitive to criticism, he would not be reading the WD blog. How wrong I was. Now it looks like everybody is reading this blog and reacting.

In lot of ways I feel sad, but at the same time, there is hope.

Hope in that, fbcjax administration will realize the effect of the changes they have instituted on the members. Hope in that, Dr. Brunson and staff do not push away anyone who disagrees with them, but would embrace the dissenters with Christian love and understanding.

Sad in that, I was causing lot of anguish to Dr. Brunson and others.

Say what you will of Dr. Brunson. I sincerely believe he is an empath. Watch how he narrates history stories or lessons. He seems to re-live the stories as he tell them. That's what makes him a powerful and believable speaker. The effect is, he has to relive that emotion as he process that story in his mind and when he tells it.

This explains, why lot of times he is in anguish about bloggers and critics.

I do not mean to disrespect him, by saying this. On the contrary, I have lot of respect and empathy for him. I know what he is going through.
Lastly I would like to share two links. They are two articles posted by Pastor Wade Burleson on his blog on March 09 and 11 of 2006.

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

What To Do If You Find Yourself In a Spiritually Abusive Religious System

I would encourage everyone to read this blog articles and their comments. The comments show the give and take of the discussions. You do not have to agree with Pastor Wade, but his articles are always an interesting read to me.

Anonymous said...

thy peace: Per your request: Go to Founders Ministry website and retrieve the one that shows www.founders.org/blog/2007/04Theology-driven-ministry..It will retreive the Baptist Press article. Then click on "story on the talks". Then you will find the following quote: "The Christian walk is a community effort because we are to live in the shadow of and image of God who not only does community, He is community". Paul Tripp, President of Paul Tripp Ministries made this remark at TDM conference at Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest, N.C. March 26-27, 2007 when he and Sinclair Ferguson pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S.C. were giving lectures on theologically driven ministries.

You can probably hear both of their entire messages at the Southeastern Theological Seminary by pulling up that website which sponsored the two day seminar.

I do not believe that statement since Jesus Christ said in so many scriptures to avoid the very appearance of evil, seperate yourself and come out from amongst them, narrow road and a broad road, different soils, prodigal son, etc,etc,etc. We as Christians are saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and nothing else but the blood. The community in Jesus' time nailed him to a tree along with the two beside him; the community at Rome in a larger sense decapitated the apostle Paul, the community at Patmos attempted to boil the apostle John in oil. Just look at the local level of where you and I live. Most pastors take the high road and do not even visit the areas where they preach....its too dangerous for them. SO MUCH FOR COMMUNITY.

The cold hard facts are that people are going to hell for want of a savior that has taken second place in most ministries to gimicks, hooks, programs, and anything other than hard preaching on sin!!! This is why we are called the church of LAODICEA.

Anonymous said...

thy peace: All of this concern for the pastor, I fear is misplaced. Believe me if you were a member of FBC, and he knew who you were, you would be "out of there". The pressure would be too much. FBC is NOT the church it once was. The previous pastors were truly called of God. They were faithful to their calling AND they loved the people. The things that Brunson complains about, he has brought on himself. You can't keep kicking people and expect them to love you. You have read the litany of abuses that Watchdog has posted. These are not just imaginary situations, but actual. I think you need to get over this "sympathy, empathy" or whatever, take the blinders off and see what's real. The rest of us are living with it.

As to this Theology Driven Ministry stuff: It's just another substitute for actually being a called preacher, preaching the Word of God to a lost sin sick world. Eph. chp.4 vs. l4: "That henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:" Stay in the Word, if it doesn't agree with the Bible, then it's not of the Lords making. I am very supicious when I hear an angry preacher demanding money while saying in the past "he never wanted to be a local pastor, he wanted to be a lawyer or something else". I believed him on that one. So my advice would be go forth and prosper elsewhere. We need a man that loves the Lord, His Word AND the People.

Anonymous said...

Theology: "a professional course in relgious training". Isn't it ironic that the 11 disciples never attended a university and were considered unlearned. But, those in charge, the Pharasees and Saduccees were all religious graduates and they never got close to finding out who Jesus was, even after He told them who He was. The disciples knew who He was...so much for education into religious thought. You take your eyes off of Jesus and the Bible and your education is worthless in my opinion if you are going to follow the Lord as a minister. I have nothing against education. I would not like having a doctor operate on me if all of his grades were D or C-. I want the best in that regard but education does have its limits especially when it comes to faith and being born again. Billy Sunday and Charles Spurgeon never attended college or took seminary classes. They, like the disciples just walked with God and believed in the written Word.

I find it odd that the Baptist church for over 200 years in America now has to draw on Theology Driven Ministry in order to be faithful to its past,i.e., doctrine, sound bibilical preaching, helping the needy, being faithful to the scriptures, assisting the widows, and promoting the general welfare of its congregation. This all centered around "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and the new commandment the Lord expressed "love thy neighbor as thyself". Adding anything else to the equation only gives rise to works and what man can do to help God out with His plan. All of these new slogans and programs are taking us backward not forward. Just a thought.