The visit of Mike Huckabee is a perfect example of why I have been warning the people of FBC Jax about the prostitution of our church under the leadership of Mac Brunson.
Of the many things I have been critical of Mac Brunson for, here are four of them that I consider to fall under the category of "prostitution of our pulpit" - selling our pulpit for financial gain.
1. Hosting a non-evangelistic event called "The Time to Stand For Israel" in November 2007, at the request of "influential deacons" who "had a financial stake" in Israel. This event was supposedly to raise funds for an Israeli hospital, which as I pointed out in my blog last year (here, here, here, here, and here), happens to perform abortions. Mac rationalized this by saying "Jesus was a Jew", and "the Old Testament is still in our Bible", and "we are not sponsoring the event, but we are hosting the event".
2. The airing of a "testimony" commercial of the Collins Builders company in the middle of Mac's sermon, giving the appearance of a "quid-pro-quo" favor in return for the $300,000 land gift given to Mac by the Collins' family.
3. The selling of promotional time at the 2008 and 2009 Pastor's Conference - including $750 fees for exhibit booth space, selling advertising space in the conference bulletin for $1000, selling advertising time in the dinner hall while attendees eat, and going so far as to selling "promotional packages" that include mentioning of the advertiser from the pulpit.
4. Mac Brunson using our church bulletin and web site to advertise for his own "Holy Land Trip" events that are not official church-sponsored activities.
If you asked any church member 10 years ago if any of these four events had a remote chance of ever happening in our church, 100% of the people would have said "NEVER - our church will never stoop so low". We never thought that these kinds of things would happen in our church, but they all have in the first 2 years of the Mac Brunson regime.
What does this have to do with the Huckster coming to our church?
Mike Huckabee is a paid speaker. He gets paid for making these kinds of speeches.
So, if our current leadership is capable of SELLING promotional time in our church for money and favors thereby allowing marketing messages to be delivered to us in the guise of religious "testimonies"....then it stands to reason and is no stretch at all to consider that they would BUY promotional time from an influential speaker to speak on behalf of our pastor to deliver a "bought" message to us in the guise of religious speech or testimony. I'm not making the case that this is so with Mike Huckabee, but we as a church are now left to wonder if Mike Huckabee is coming to our church because he wants to deliver a message, or did Mac and Maurillio seek him out to help Mac's image? Or does it even matter at this point?
"So, if our current leadership is capable of SELLING promotional time in our church for money and favors thereby allowing marketing messages to be delivered to us in the guise of religious "testimonies"....then it stands to reason and is no stretch at all to consider that they would BUY promotional time from an influential speaker to speak on behalf of our pastor to deliver a "bought" message to us in the guise of religious speech or testimony. "
A wise pastor would realize this problem WAY BEFORE they held their first fund raiser at our church. A loving, discerning pastor would understand that using our church for raising funds is dangerous and opens up a Pandora's box that can never be closed - at least perhaps until new leadership is in place.
Therefore, we now are left to wonder as a congregation when a speaker comes or a testimony is given in our church: Is this a message from God via the Holy Spirit, or is the message man's doing and we're being marketed? We thought Jim Cavezal came last year to give a "testimony"...no, he came as part of a purchased "promotional package" to sell the tape series he was a part of, and so our preacher's son could receive glory for having "raised" money for the conference. Now Mike Huckabee comes...rest assured he will say nice things about our church, and our pastor...he will butter us up big time. And we will be left wondering: are those his real thoughts, or did our pastor buy a promo from Mike Huckabee?
P.S. Its interesting to note that the Huckabee supporters have found the Watchdog blog and one of them started a thread discussing my article about Huckabee coming here. You can go to this thread and read their discussion here. You will see that they are pooh-poohing the idea that a visit to our church with Mac on stage could be politically damaging to Huckabee at some point in the future. Some of them even calling this blog a "right wing nutjob" blog. Their posters do admit that this is just another one of Mike's paid speaking gigs, so there is no harm in him associating with Mac Brunson. I still maintain: Huckabee doesn't need the potential grief from the liberals in 3 years when he runs again...airing him hugging Mac, and them playing some of Mac's stupid statements like his detest of pants below the waist, how he hopes the federal government doesn't help Jacksonville if we're hit by a hurricane, and how God himself caused the most catastrophic moments in America over the last 10 years. You're welcome to come to our church Governor, and believe me, anytime we can avoid a sheep beating at the hands of our pastor we are relieved...but trust me, you don't need the potential problem your visit may pose in the future.