Remember people: we must view everything that is done with a skeptical eye, as to the "marketing" strategy behind it. I wonder if that letter was the brain child of the two men whose names are on it. I mean really, its one thing to express thanks and love to the pastor...but the detail that they go into about WHAT it is they are thankful for sounds disingenous to me. Why? Because most of the things they say about Mac and how great he is AREN'T TRUE, and they seem to address the very concerns expressed on this blog. This looks to me, and I could be wrong, but it looks to me like an attempt to manipulate the average church member who is beginning to get concerned over Mac and his antics. This letter is a way to try to show the congregation that despite people being concerned over Mac's leadership, he has the full support of the two top lay people.
This looks more like a letter composed by Trey or Honey and passed to A.C. and Dave for their approval...especially since the first version posted on the website had some editing comments in it until the church took it down. I challenge either man to post here and say that they stand 100% behind the content of that letter, and maybe even address a few of the comments below.
But let's look at phrases used:
The opening line: "Thank You, Dr. Brunson, Staff, and Members:"
So this is addressed to everyone...but the content doesn't address the staff or members...it is a love letter to Mac and his family, but the person writing this started by thinking they would express thanks to everyone, but they forgot and just addressed how GREAT Mac is!
"...our deepest gratitude to you, Debbie and the family for all you mean to First Baptist"
So its to "you" (Mac Brunson) not to the members and staff. And of course we need to let everyone know that we thank God that we have the entire family, Mac, Honey, and Trey...they have saved us from the terrible course we were on. Let the record show: from Day 1 we have had to pay all three for their service.
"...we are not only thankful for your embracing the legacy that we have enjoyed for more than 60 years..."
What are they talking about? The man came here and told us to stop "worshipping the past"...his only "embracing" of our legacy are those parts of the legacy that HELP HIM! If he needs to convince us to tithe, pull out the Homer Lindsay, Sr. and Jr. quotes. If he doesn't get 150 prayer partners, he lashes out at us and says that "six years after Homer Lindsay raised up men I can't find 150 men that will pray with the pastor." If Mac wants us to love him, he will remind us we loved and respected the other guys. He presumes to know what Homer, Jr. would think about something when he never met Homer. And let it be noted that Mac has actually done what he could to take slaps at our legacy to SUIT HIS PURPOSES. While speaking at SWBTS and Criswell College in November, he has said that our church lied to Homer, Sr. when he came, about the amount of our debt. Mac says that Homer, Sr. was wrongly attacked by the deacons when he purchased a "neon sign"...and he decided to tell a story painting Homer, Sr. as a legalist by demanding that people don't clap in church. So spare us, Dave and Judge Soud, the statement that he "embraces" the legacy. The only part of the legacy that he wants to embrace is the total power and control we granted the other guys, and he wants the same respect that they had.
"...thank you...for the establishment of the First Baptist Academy..."
A bit premature, don't you think? Let's hold our thanks until we see how the school starts and if we can fund its start-up. It is NOT yet established. There is no school yet. No students, no teachers, no computer equipment. Just a Children's Building, a pastor's suite, an unannounced vote to take $500,000 form the general offerings (which we don't have) to hire the headmaster and pay the A-group for a website and promo videos and a sales and marketing strategy. Its a bit premature to give thanks to Mac for establishing that which doesn't exist yet.
"Thank you...for the Theology Driven Ministry that educates and promotes knowledgeable Christian living..."
Yep, thanks to Mac and Jim for small groups. What would we have done without TDM? Is what we see from Smyrl - attacking Catholics on our website in the name of "educating" people about their poor theology in the most offensive terms possible using the words "cult" and "cult leader"...is that what we are thankful for in TDM? I'm not thankful for TDM. TDM should go in the trash can. We don't need a gimmick ministry method...just do the right thing for our church, be open and honest, and implement things that will help lead people to Christ and disciple believers. And please don't tell me, that according to the TDM we MUST do small groups if we're going to do life application. That's an insult to my intelligence.
"thank you...for your personal integrity in assuring the transparency of all opertions of the Church and its ministries."
Wow. Transparency? Where's the transparency? Maybe transparency if you're on Team Brunson or the Trustees or the head Deacon man. But no transparency whatsoever for deacons or the regular church member. Where was the transparency when our bylaws were changed?Where is the transparency on the land gift given to Mac by ONE OF OUR DONORS? What would Mac do if he found out his staff was accepting gifts from our church donors? Would he put up with that? OF COURSE NOT!!! He would tell his staff: "We pay you, and you are not to accept any money from church members, especially very large gifts." So please don't tell me about Mac's personal integrity and transparency. Our church is NON TRANSPARENT, and Mac has only served to make it LESS TRANSPARENT than it was when he arrived.
"...thank you..most of all for your humility before the Lord and your faithfulness to the Word of God and His pulpit.."
Oh my..."humility"? The guy is the picture of arrogance every week in the pulpit. This makes me wonder, who is writing this letter? This is a letter written to counter the claims on this blog..."they say he's arrogant on the blog? He slandered Sheri Klouda and doesn't have the humility to simply apologize to us for using our pulpit to speak ill of a woman who has suffered greatly. Let's put in the letter saying that MOST OF ALL we are thankful for his humbleness." Give me a break."
We know you have come to realize that the people of FBC Jax are some of the most faithful, dedicated, and loving folks on the face of the earth."
Dave and Judge Soud, you left off Mac's descriptions of us as the "most legalistic, most past worshipping, biblically illiterate, scared, frightened, unloving, poor listeners, 'sitting and not doing what the pastor says'..." and so many other things that pastor has accused us of, both in the pulpit of FBC Jax and out of it. He "built a case" against us to tell us just how sorry we had become right before Chest of Joash, then followed that with a sermon to tell us HOW AWESOME HE IS IN ALL THE INITIATIVES HE HAS BROUGHT. All you have to do is watch his preaching and his condescension towards us and its so obvious to see how little he cares for his congregation and what his low view of us is.
So there you have it...another manipulation technique...let's use "Thanksgiving" as a way to express "Thanks" - not to God but to the pastor for being the great wonderful leader that he is accused of NOT being on the blog. The only problem is this: just saying something, and putting it on the FBC Jax website doesn't make it so. We are much smarter than Mac, Honey, Dave, and Judge Soud give us credit for.
Matt: l9:30: "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first".
Luke 20:46: " Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Vs.47: Which devour widows houses, and for a show make long prayers; the same shall receive greater damnation".
James 2: 2, 3 & 4(a) "For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; Vs.3: And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Vs. 4 (a) Are ye not then partial in yourselves".
The pastor at FBC Ocala resigned yesterday. Read about it here. I blogged about this story and its relevance to our church. I recommend after you read today's article about the resignation that you go back and re-read my blog article.
Pray for Dr. Sullivan, as reports are that he will be at the church this Sunday to try to help the church put back the pieces after this very devisive preacher finally has left.
I found this site a while ago, that deals with spiritual abuse. Cindy Kunsman authors this blog.
Concerning Things Cultic within Biblical Christianity
Spiritual abuse describes the process by which a spiritual authority misuses their power and the trust of their flock in order to meet their own needs or the needs of an organization or ideology. Many churches with sound and solid Biblical doctrine can be considered "cultic" when they practice techniques of manipulation and thought reform. Please read here concerning the many different aspects of this type of manipulation and spiritual abuse including development, practice and recovery from the phenomenon.
For readers who wish to arm themselves with weapons to counteract spiritual abuse and cultic behavior, please check out these following links:
under much grace blog by Cindy Kunsman
Please also checkout Wade's blog for links related to Cindy Kunsman:
Grace and Truth to You: Showing posts for query Cindy Kunsman
Robert Lifton describes eight signs of a cult in his book "Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism:"
Milieu control: control of the group environment and communication. (Dissent or disagreement within the group is not allowed).
Manipulation: Leaders are perceived as being chosen by God, history or some supernatural force. (There can be no questioning of God ordained authority in the leadership of the organization).
Purity demands: An us vs. them mentality is developed, in which cult members are the only pure and good. (Questioning the morality injunctions of leadership is questioning the integrity of the organization).
Confession: group confession and self-criticism is used in order to produce personal change. (The individual is never right, only the group).
Sacred Science: The cult's doctrines and ideology are considered sacred and must not be doubted or questioned. (To question is a sign of a lack of spirituality and discipline).
Loading the language: Conventional words and phrases are given special, in-group meanings. (Concepts such as 'holiness' and 'righteousness' are defined by group definitions).
Doctrine over person: Members are conditioned to feel guilt if they ever question group doctrine. One must conform to the "truth," as taught by the group. (A lack of conformity to group doctrine prompts questions of legitimacy and ultimately expulsion).
Dispensing of Existence: The group contains the elite; outsiders are evil, unsaved, and may not even have the right to exist.
The above was pulled from Wade's blog post here that I also linked earlier two posts ago.
Amazon.com: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism by Robert Lifton
Google.com: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism By Robert Jay Lifton
Did it ever occur to anyone that the pastor may have been right and some of the members wrong? Just wondering since noone seems to know the whole story.
Be sure and read the Ocala account closely because that's probably what will be happening at your church.
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