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.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ministerial Ethics, Gifts, and Depositions

Mac still owes his congregation an explanation of the $307,000 land gift he accepted three weeks after he came to pastor us. He owes us a better explanation than "I'm paying for that house" (uh, we're paying for that house), and something better than "Last time I checked the U.S. government said I could live anywhere I wanted."

He can strut around like he did Sunday night and tell us in the most theatrical manner how "Kingdom Killjoys" at church take the insignificant, minor details in church and blow them up to find a reason to complain...and he can tell his congregation to "shut 'em down" when the "killjoys" bring up such matters that rob their joy.

It still doesn't address his problem: he needs to deal with the land gift. It ain't a minor thing when at the very least he accepted a land gift that on the surface appears to be unethical - taking a large gift from one of the donors of his church.

But most ministers won't give answers or explanations about income or gifts unless forced to do so.

And its not easy to force them to do so.

And with the recent bylaw changes at FBC Jax, there is no way the membership could ever force Mac or the church to give details of this gift or other financial matters - the moment that a member files any legal action to access financial information, the bylaws will allow the member to be kicked out for violating the bylaws - since the bylaws now state that all members have forfeited their rights to file any legal action against the church.

But there was an interesting lawsuit involving a church and a member where a minister WAS forced to give details about a gift received from a member. Read this interesting article about a deposition given by a former minister of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach (FBCWPB).

Lawsuite Reveals Ministerial Ethics Breach

About 4 years ago a mentally-ill member of FBCWPB inherited several million dollars. The pastor and other ministers of FBCWPB allegedly began to "...systematically, repeatedly, and relentlessly solicit money" from this lady, who had inherited the money from her great-grandmother. Within several years she was destitute.

The article above zeros in on one particular minister, Tommy Weir at FBCWPB - a graduate of Criswell College and Liberty University. According to court records, Tommy Weir accepted a $25,000 gift directly to the minister by the woman, whom Weir says he hardly knew.

Several interesting questions asked by the author of this article:

"Should he have asked [the woman] to process her gift through the church?

Should a minister ever accept a personal check from someone they don’t know, especially a $25,000 check? Is that wise decision making?

Although he was leaving the church, the church was still his employer. Did Weir have an obligation to report such an unusual gift to his employer?

Should the church have had a clear policy about employees accepting checks directly from church members?"

Weir was forced to give answers to some hard-hitting questions about his gift. No doubt he would not have provided ANY truthful answers to ANYONE on this gift unless forced to do so under oath by a lawyer and the threat of perjury.

It is a sad day when our church won't get answers from Mac Brunson about his $300,000 land gift he and his wife accepted just 2 weeks after arriving in Jacksonville - from a man that Mac hardly knew. If Mac was able to do this, what about other ministers at our church. Can they now accept large gifts from members too and claim its a private matter and no one's business? Or does that privilege only rest with "God's annointed", the mega-church pastor?

Some questions Mac might have to answer some day:

"So how long did you know this man at the church that gave you the land gift worth $307,000? When did you first meet him face to face?"

"On what date did you learn that this gift was available to you? Were you and/or your wife made aware of this gift before or after you accepted the job offer at FBC Jax?"

"Did you think it strange a man you hardly knew wanted to give you a quarter of a million dollars? Would you characterize your relationship with the giver of the $300,000 give as one of 'love and affection?' as stated on the deed?"

"Did you discuss this gift with your wife? What was her view of the gift, did she want to accept it?"

"Did you have any reservations about taking such a large gift from a man you hardly knew?"

"Did the church reduce your relocation package in proportion to the size of the land gift?"

"Would you allow one of your ministers to accept such a gift, even if both parties said it was a private matter, and it was for love and affection?"

"Was there any spoken or implied requirement attached to the gift that you were aware of?"

"Did your decision to play the commercial/testimony of the business owned by the sons of the man who gave your this gift - was it at all influenced by the fact that this man gave you the gift? Did this man, ever, say, or even hint or suggest at any time that he might expect some sort of quid pro quo for the land gift? "

"Did you discuss with this man other options for donating the land that might benefit the entire church and not just yourself?"

"What policies existed at your church that governed the accepting of such large gifts directly from donors, and not requiring the gift to go through the church? What policies exist now that govern you and other ministers actions regarding gifts made directly from church members to the staff members?"

"What was your decision making process of accepting the gift, given the contents of your book that counseled other pastors to avoid accepting gifts; gifts much smaller than this one you accepted? Did you foresee any ethical problems, or appearance of ethical problems in accepting such a sizeable gift so soon after arriving at FBC Jax?"

Mac owes an explanation to his church of the land gift. Of course he doesn't have to answer detailed questions like the ones above...just be honest, explain what happened, explain why it was or was not unethical. If he has any regrets or would do it differently, tell us and apologize.

He should have never accepted that gift, unless he was willing to be totally open and honest and transparent with his congregation concerning the details of the gift.

We hope he provides answers now on his terms in his way.

Or who knows, at some point he might find himself being asked more difficult questions not on his terms. And no theatrics or yelling will help then. Only the facts.


Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

From Maurilio's twitter:

maurilio: For those wanting to know the Trooper flashed his lights but did not pull me over. The Immigrant escapes again.

maurilio: @kksberna the lipstick thing backfired.

maurilio: What happens when a state trooper is speeding and you try passing him? :-(

maurilio: Great meeting with the Church at Brook Hills' team. Now driving home wondering how Sea Camp is going for Marcus.

maurilio: Getting pelted with tiny hale in Birmingham. Hmm.

Was he twittering, while driving?

Unless his car has human speech recognition, this is a disaster waiting to happen. It's hard to use your thumbs on a phone to text your experiences to twitter to the world, all the while driving. Maybe Maurilio has lots of practice and he can twitter even when/while asleep.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"The facts of the case disclose a disturbing breach of ministerial ethics -- both in what the ministerial staff did and did not do. Additionally, the church appeared to lack guidelines for employee accountability and protection."

As to the land gift, if Mac did make the trustees aware of the gift he was receiving, they should have not allowed it, or required it be told to the congregation so we could all rejoice in this wonderful gift (even if the man wished to stay anonymous he could). The trustees could have required the gift to be given to the church regardless of the tax consequences, or that Mac's compensation or relocation package be adjusted in proportion to the gift.

If one or some of the above were done making what appears on the surface to be highly unethical actually ethical, then those facts should be communicated to the congregation at this point.

Hate to keep beating the drum on this readers, but Mac chooses to not only keep silent, but as we saw Sunday night he still is holding on to his mantra: this is nothing, insignificant, nothing to be bothered with. He calls those who would be concerned about the land gift and his other abuses and actually dare to bring them up as "Kingdom Killjoys" who magnify the miniscule in the church for the purpose of robbing the joy of members...who are legalists. He won't relent. His best defense is a good offense, is what he figures.

He is trying to intimidate people into not talking about what they learn of him. If you do verbalize it, you're a Kingdom Killjoy, a legalist, a Pharisee.

The land gift is not miniscule. It is not legalism to demand answers and explanations.

Openness and honesty are required.

Anonymous said...

I have been in a Baptist church most of my life. The Baptist have changed. Churches in general have changed. Gone are the days of the Godly preachers you could (in the most part) trust and believe. We are in the "falling away". I must say also, I have watched this transition come about slowly for years. I have watched preachers say and preach one thing while doing another. I have watched them hold up a bible (?) and say it is Gods Holy Word and then tear it down piece by piece. Destroying faith in the validity of the Word, and in the preacher himself. I have watched them "tell" others how to live and what to do while doing just the opposite themselves. The rules apply to all but them. And then you hear the excuses of "Well that doesn't affect me." Or, " well that is my PRIVATE business". So let me get this straight, if it's private business it isn't subject to ethics, public examination, even though you are receiving public money donated from the people in the form of salary. There is right or wrong in Gods eyes. And HE will deal with that later. But don't claim to preach Gods Word for the rest of us and then not apply it yourself.

This type of stuff, is most likely why I will never trust a preacher again. I have seen preachers hurt people, damage their faith too many times. I don't need a church that badly. I personally don't think there are many true churches left. Just because there was once a church on the premises, doesn't mean it is still Gods church. It is an organization, existing for the various reasons people still attend. But it fools very few and particulary not the Lord.

Many churches and preachers today, put me in mind of our current GOVT. You don't have to pay your taxes to be an elected/appointed official. Rules and ethics arn't important, you can still be a part of the governing body that makes MORE rules for the general public to obey or suffer the consequences. But you the official, are not subject to same rules. After all everyting can be FIXED. Some get away with failing to tell the truth or maybe ALL of the truth under oath but you can still be the authority over others, telling (demanding) them to do what they are told. And you can still get paid + perks, but the same rules don't apply to you. What a job!!! So take your pick the church or the govt. Much the same from where I sit in many cases. So some preachers would be at home on the payroll of the govt.

Another similarity: We did't get to read the changed by-laws, but they were passed (shoved through) and we are told we must live and abide by them in order to be in the church. Well, Congress didn't read the "stimulus package" they just passed. Nor did we read it or have any say so in it's passage but we must live by it. SEE WHAT I MEAN!!!!

To you real preachers that still preach the uncompromised Word of God. To you who are in the ministry doing Gods real Work...Bless you and we need you. You will hear "Well done good and faithful servant".

Anonymous said...

If Watchdog is understanding his Bible 99.9% (as Mac says ANY bible is 99.9% accurate) he (WD) is not guilty of anything. He has sufficient bible knowledge to question things being done. Just as being a U.S. citizen we have a right to question things being done by our government. We all do. Its granted under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in or out of the church, in or out of the Govt. It's called Freedom of Speech. The church should set the highest standards in all venues of existence. If it does not then the fabric of that institution could sink to a lower mark than the government itself. No man is an island to himself..whatever he does affects us all collectively. By their fruits you shall know them. What fruit is being produced in churches of today?

We earn the right to question our Government by, abiding by it's laws, paying taxes to supportit, fighting in it's wars to protect our country and way of life. Working to make it a better place to live. Being loyal to our birthright which is what the Founding Fathers gave us. And in general being "good" citizens. Why should we not have a right to question a church or pastor when issues arrive in which we are concerned. As we do the same actions with the church, as above.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. I am at a loss as to why it is wrong for someone to give a gift to their pastor, regardless of the size? Please explain (i'm not being combative, i am truly inquisitive) what is the difference in someone giving the pastor a steak for supper, and someone giving him land to build his house on?

Anonymous said...

WD - about two years ago, I became concerned that Dr. Brunson seemed to be angry, harsh, and aggressive to his congregation. I asked some Godly men I know, who don't live in Jacksonville but who watch the services on the internet, what their impression was. At first, they told me I was over stating it. Then later, they said they saw it too. Their explanation: That the man is under pressure so he believes he has to be tough and aggressive or he will have many hundreds of people asking him tough questions. Now, some 2 years later, he continues to do this. I think you have explained it well. He must believe that if he stays on the offense, the poor helpless sheep who have no shepherd, will be too afraid to ever ask him anything again.

And when he saw the great multitudes, he was filled with compassion because they were as sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus wept.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. I am at a loss as to why it is wrong for someone to give a gift to their pastor, regardless of the size? Please explain (i'm not being combative, i am truly inquisitive) what is the difference in someone giving the pastor a steak for supper, and someone giving him land to build his house on?

In the corporate world and Govt. service it is a firable offence. Your judgement is tainted by the giver. It goes by the terms bribe, pay to play. We are all to familiar with this in the political world. Your church, just as mine, is run like a business not a body (Family) of believers.


FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 1:39 - fair enough question. We've tackled that on the blog before, but let me recap.

For any leader, head, of a corporation, profit or non-profit, religous or non-religious to accept an usually large gift from a stakeholder in the company is universally seen as unethical. Gifts given to employees, ESPECIALLY those in positions of power and leadership in the organization is so potentially damaging to the organization that most organizations have specific rules governing the acceptance of gifts by their employees from people like customers, vendors, govt officials, etc. Ask anyone who works in a local corporation at our church, and they will tell you they have specific guidelines on what they can and cannot accept as gifts. Sometimes a monetary limit is put on it along with a requirement to report it.

If the head of the Red Cross was found to have accepted a $300,000 gift from one of its donors, he/she would be fired. If the leader brought that to the board of directors for approval, very likely the board would say "No Way"...let the guy give the gift to the organization and not the leader of the organization.

So just the appearance of that gift, considering no other evidence, shows it to be unethical on its face, requiring openness and honesty about the circumstances that would prove it NOT unethical.

But even more than this, if you consider the other circumstances around Mac's arrival and the gift, it creates even more suspicion of it being unethical:

- it was given by a man whom Mac hardly knew, only three weeks after he arrived. So did Mac know of the gift when he accepted the job? Did our finance committee or those negotiating the relo package know of it so that his package could be lowered?

- he won't address it with his congregation even though he knows its an issue with some of his sheep. He told a 1/2 lie in saying "I'm paying for that house". Well, actually someone paid for the LAND, which we usually include in the description of our "house". If there was nothing wrong with accepting the gift, why not mention it? If it was God's doing, then tell us so we may all rejoice with the pastor and this wonderful gift that God worked out.

- Mac's defenders have said its a private matter...that doesn't even pass the laughable test...that is utterly ridiculous to say that the leader of a mega church accepting a quarter million dollar gift from one of the donors of that church WHOM HE BARELY KNOWS...to suggest that is a private matter and no one's business is proposterous. What if Dan Elkins or Kevin King were found to be taking gifts from members that were equal to their church salary...would Mac be OK with that? Of course he wouldn't and rightly so.

- he wrote a book that cautions pastors against accepting gifts. Why would he accept a gift of this magnitude when he wrote for others not to? Strange.

- other actions mentioned on this blog point to him possibly making decisions to benefit himself and his family financially.

- About a year and a half after the gift was given, Mac aired a professionally produced testimony/commercial highlighting the business of the two sons of the man who gave the gift - RIGHT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SERMON. Not saying this WAS quid pro quo, but it gives the appearance of quid pro quo. Just a coincidence that the only business highlighted in a video in a sermon in Mac's tenure is by the man who gave him $307,000? What a stunning coincidence.

- We now have the benefit of looking back at how Mac and Maurilio view "marketing" at our church. They have in the last two PC's sold advertising and promotions, even selling the mentioning of names from the pulpit. So with that mindset, is it illogical to assume that this business that was highlighted in the middle of the sermon "bought" that advertising time with the $307,000? Not saying they DID...just pointing out how it gives the APPEARANCE that this was the case, given Mac and Maurilio's propensity to SELL promotions. They know the power of marketing to church members, and they are not afraid to "sell" that, and to use it to raise money. It rings hollow when Mac sells "platinum advertising packages" at our PC for $12,500, and then claims there is nothing quid pro quo about taking a land gift and then showing a video of the business of the man's sons.

So that is what is wrong with a $300,000 gift accepted by a pastor just three weeks after he arrived.

It stinks.

And his steadfast refusal to address it is making the stench worse.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I'll add: pastors who pastor small churches that find it difficult to pay a decent, livable wage to their pastor...sure it would make sense if there was a man of means who could help the pastor out. But let the church know so they can rejoice how God moved in the man's heart to give the money.

And all of this....Mac makes a hefty salary and benefit package from our church...given the land gift and the stay at Amelia Island and the $100k, 3000+ office suite....and they he has the brazen brass cahonies to tell us "Praise Jesus He didn't give you a raise" is so far over the top, that everytime I think of it my blood boils.

But that is Mac at his best - he will beat his sheep over the head for the very things he himself does.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:39pm,

I think these folks are concerned more with the question of why did the pastor ACCEPT the gift rather than why the giftor OFFERED the gift.

I'm here to tell you there is no problem with either OFFERING or ACCEPTING a gift regardless of size, in Pastor Brunsons case.

The Sensitivedog has a problem with ethics, combined with the ministry, and he can't sort out his own thoughts and opinions to discern correctly between the two. It's a classic case of Spiritual Abnormality Syndrome. Or SAS.

And there are many side affects of SAS. Such as ADD, Affected Disciple Discernment; AOCD, Alpha Omega Communication Dysfunction; and AIDS Absolute Incoherent Discipline Syndrome (this specific side affect must be controlled with a special CDC drug, Church Discipline Committee drug.

As you can see, all of the above are very serious and many spiritual deaths have occurred because of the infectuous syndrome, SAS.
I'm glad Anon, you have not become affected.

Anonymous said...

Here's a real life example, a CEO of a major corporation gave an expensive piece of jewerly to one of their preferred partners and both were fired from their jobs. If the secular world holds to this narrow perspective, shouldn't the church hold a tighter standard?

Anonymous said...

It also makes it look like the person who gave the land was trying to buy "favor" with the pastor. That is exactly what it is. Why not sell the land and give the money to the church or a needy organization? Why give it to someone you don't even know, 'cept to curry favor. Really it is tantamount to a bribe. Sure paid "dividends" (as Mac would say) when he got a free commercial out of the deal. I suppose this bigshot land-owning business man thinks he can buy his way with God in the same impressive fashion. Tacky and low are the best things I can say about this scoundrel. Mac and Deb LUV, LUV, LUV tha money! The more the better. This "donor" is no idiot. He figured out the quickest way to the pastor's heart. Work it!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I will not ascribe any motives to the giver of the gift, and I don't want to be critical at all of the giver or the boys who own the business.

This is all on Mac.

He could have said NO.

He said YES, with a huge grin I'm sure as he signed the deed.

He could have said: "I think the Lord would be better served selling the property and givng the proceeds as a seed gift when we start the school or satellite campus."

He could have said: "I trust God to meet my needs through the god-ordained position of "pastor", and the good people of FBC Jax are generously meeting my family's needs through salary, generous allowances, and even my wife is going to be on staff. So hold on to your gift brother, and pray how else the Lord might have you use it. I'll pray with you about it."

Or maybe Mac did say that, and then called back and said "The Lord said 'take it Mac!'"

But Mac said, "Let me tell you something...you better believe I'll take it."

And by the way, Mac points out in the chapter of his book about ministerial ethics:

"There are personal ethics and professional ethics. The pastor should practice both. In the Bible people in leadership positions were called upon to have higher ethical standrds that the other people of God. The pastor should never see how close he can come to the line between what is ethical and unethical, but he should stay as far away from it as possible."

So Mac has a much higher standard of ethics than the giver of the gift. Mac had to know he might compromise his integrity if he accepted such a large gift. He must know that its in the best interests of his church and his reputation to not take six figures from a donor to the church - that it would look bad not only to some in the church, but also the city. Mac should know it would give the appearance that perhaps he was enticed to come here with money and favors.

But perhaps the gift was just too good to pass up. Or maybe if it were just his decision, he wouldn't have taken it, if you know what I mean.

So its all on Mac. He is not living up to the standard that he sets for other pastors, in this one area.

Anonymous said...

Truly unbelievable!

The people on this site who condone a person in a not-for-profit organization (or any organization for that matter) accepting an "unusually" large gift without as much as making full disclosure on such gift are so lacking of basic principles that guide most people every day of their lives that it is almost comical - as if there is a punch line just waiting to be delivered.

This isn't buying our new pastor and his family a steak dinner @ one of Jacksonville's finest restaurants - this is a "$300,000.00" gift for love and affection from someone who has not had the benefit of having many years to love that person, has not had some life changing event impacted by that person and who has no blood, marriage or any other family connection to bless this person.

Yet - hey no problem - this happens all of the time. What's the big deal? Jealous? Please...

Mac violates his own advice on a regular basis. He is void of the basic conscience it takes to not fall prey to such temptation. He is an example of the person who says they would not do something unethical until the price becomes right. You remember those games we played as kids "would you eat it for $1.00? $2.00? nope...$100 maybe...$1,000 ok...same thing just a few more 000,000s.

Snap Out Of It! People who need something different in their lives are relying on you...

Anonymous said...

3:13 pm. You are so absolutely correct. Preachers should hold to the highest standard..which means nothing more than $50-$100 like most corporations.

Can you see some multi-millionaire trying to give Billy Graham a private jet, a new house, or $500,000 cash. Billy never took these type of things and he stayed in his little log cabin for years and years. The Lord also blessed him with long life, perfect partners in evangelism, a good ministry, a good wife, children,and grandchildren. He never made over $100,000 a year. He is the example of a wise servant. He is the model every pastor should imitate. I believe Dr Lindsay Sr gave his home back to the church in his will. There's real wisdom!!!

Anonymous said...

Pastors, we need to reflect again on 1 Tim 3. The qualifications of a pastor. Anon 3:56 you may be right. Mac may have a conscience problem. If he doesn't listen to his conscience then greed, lust, good report, good behavior and the need to be sober, are no longer a concern for him.

Anonymous said...

I am a pastor. I do not pastor a mega-church. After reading this blog off and on, and after attending the last several pastor conferences, I can certainly say that I see why some of these issues have been raised.

I do wish, Bro. Brunson would issue a defense in his name, but he has his advisors and his reasons.

One thing that I see that I would say, and have said to some of the people I have pastored. Some will obviously disagree with this. The church has every right to determine how much they offer to pay me, and in my opinion every member has every right to know how much that is. Paul said to "provide things honest in the sight of all men."

However, while the church has the right to dictate how much they pay me, they do not have the right to determine how much I make.

For example, I have had a man angry at me, because at one stage in my ministry my wife accepted a job. (not in the church.) It was his opinion that my wife's salary ought to be deducted from the amount the church paid me. I obviously disagree. Now the finance committee may take my overall income into account when setting my salary. However, thanfully, every finance committee that I have ever served believed that it was the churche's responsiblity to care for my family, and not other outside sources.

I see the concern over the "$300,000" land gift, but I too have been given gifts. (never that much) I have been given books, I have been given small amounts of money (placed in my vehicle), I have been given clothes, I've been given food, I've been given free labor, I have been given football tickets, I have even been given a new heat and air unit for my home. (NONE OF WHICH I ASKED FOR) The point is that all of these gifts were in proportion to the means of the giver. No doubt every pastor has received things like this. And every one that has done something for my family expressed a clear desire for no one else to know about it. They want the glory to go to God and none else. (Sometimes I have not known who gave these things.)

Maybe my "older pastors" told me wrong, but as one put it, "if you have basement full of eggplants, when someone in your church wants to give you eggplants, you say Thank You."

I assure you that not one gift that I have recieved has been received with pride and satisfaction. As a matter of fact they are always accompanied with an awkwardness, and an overwhelming sense of undeservedness.

I do know of pastors who "chase" these things. I also know of pastors who these things "just come" to them.

Now granted, none of the things that the Lord has graced me with through these people have come at first sight. Usually they are after times of ministry and difficulty.

Sometimes God gives things that He wants his preachers to have through His people.

For better or worse, the church is NOT a business. It is a body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without stutter or stammer, there are pastors who abuse the graces of God. There are men who have Money Driven Ministries.

But not every minister, who has received blessings and benefits are money mongrols.

There are some (that have been given gifts) that still have their heart and head focused on the Lord Jesus, and I pray that not every pastor is written off because of a few rotten ones.

Anonymous said...

Reading Maurilio's "twitts" is disgusting! How can he twitt about "sexual" and "perverse" things and call himself a Christian?! How can Mac Brunson honestly associate himself with Maurilio? My tithe WILL NOT go to the "storehouse" of Brunson and Maurilio! My tithe will go to the real needs in life, where CHRIST will be glorified! Honestly, I'm fed up with this!

Anonymous said...

I may just be another stupid Baptist Pastor, but I think that if you will just give your problems to God and let Him handles them, you wont have to fuss and moan all the time (like you are doing now)
If someone gave him something, it is none of your business!
You should be spending your time spreading the Word of the Lord to people in the community instead to acting like children.
And one last thing, you may not see it now, but God is going to make you wish you tithed like you have been told to... the Word does not say to give the 10th to any good thing in the world, no, it says to give it to your local church... therefore, if you are a member at FBC Jax, GIVE YOUR MONEY TO FBC JAX! If you dont like the way the church leaders are spending it, then let them answer to God!
Believe it or not, God is in control, not YOU!

Pastor Tex

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Pastor "Tex":

Thanks for chiming in, but I reject your argument, and believe it to be naive and anti-biblical.

We are not to just blindly give our money to the church and not expect some accountability.

We are not to just "let God" handle things with our church leaders.

In case you didn't notice, God is not in the business of stopping pedophiles and swindlers and the like and removing them from positions of leadership. He doesn't walk around and point them out, or strike them dead, or remove them from their positions of leadership.

Doesn't mean he can't do it, its just that God expects humans to do that. Obviously.

As a resident of Jacksonville that has seen the damage to lives that your false thinking has produced at Trinity Baptist Church and Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, I know your thinking is wrong.

People at these churches saw wrong going on, and they thought "oh well, God will take care of that pastor who is touching little boys and girls"...or some thought "my pastor would never do that". Meanwhile, the monster was digitally penetrating little girls in the baptistry during the baptismal service. No, Tex, God wants people to stop the abusers in the churches. Sexual and financial abusers. Sorry, that's the way it is.

Got that? Don't like it? Shook up enough? Good! Take it up with Da Book, don't take it up with me.

Anonymous said...

When I read this stuff, my mind goes back to Mac telling us prasie god we got no raises because we would have just misspent the extra money...then he bragged about his "margin" I think he called it. Heck yeah, I'd have tremenous "margin" in my finances if I was accepting 300 grand from church members.

My boss will fire me if I accept a gift worth more than 50 bucks from our clients or from one of our service providers or suppliers. But I guess these preachers can take as much as they want from whomever they want. God bless 'em.

Ramesh said...

If Pastor Mac went public with this gift from the beginning, and informed the Church that he was given the gift, then maybe the outcry may not be that big. Even though it may not be ethical to receive such large amounts of gifts from Church Members, but if he was upfront about it, maybe the Members could level with him. Just a thought.

There's a good post on Wade's blog ... It's actually just a quote, but it's good and might be relevant here:

"The Sermon Is The Preacher Up To Date"

What is Preaching?

"Preaching is the art of making a sermon and delivering it. Why no, that is not preaching.

Preaching is the art of making a preacher, and delivering that.

Preaching is the out rush of soul in speech. Therefore, the elemental business in preaching is not with the preaching but with the preacher.

It is no trouble to preach, but a vast trouble to construct a preacher.

What then, in the light of this is the task of a preacher? (or of anyone sharing his or her faith).

Mainly this, the amassing of a great soul so as to have something worthwhile to give. The sermon is the preacher up to date."

Bishop Alfred Quayle
American Methodist Bishop

If the preacher doesn’t live his sermon, it falls on deaf ears.

The above text comes from Rex Ray's comment on Wade's blog.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to what it would take to finally make peace at FBC JAX. If Mac were to get up and answer the charges about the land gift, would that do it? Or has too much transpired that it would be too little, too late? OR would the dog just find something else to hiss and moan about.

I am just wondering if there is the possibility of a "peace treaty" or not, with the understanding that all sides involved may not get EVERYTHING they want.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

Ethics Daily: God, the Globe and Greed

My knowledge of economics and global financial systems wouldn’t fill a thimble. But I do understand greed, opportunism and fear. And as I watch the players in the global crisis (present company included because like most readers I have a retirement fund) and our attempt to point fingers at an identified culprit, I hear the childhood reminder that anytime you point your finger at someone, three other fingers on your hand point back at you.

We are all bathed in greed. Home buyers wanted more house for less money invested. Lenders wanted the quick payoff of signing up people for loans they knew were beyond the borrowers’ abilities. Banks wanted buckets of loans that could be sold off. Bundlers of loans had a profitable market for as many as they could create. People bought these bundled loans on the assumption that they were certain winners.

Meanwhile, those hired to regulate the process kept their hands off. They assert that there was nothing they could do; their job was to let the market keep growing.

Now we’re burned. The leprosy of greed has fallen on us.

Investigators today ask: Where were the watchdogs who should have foreseen this crisis? Didn’t anyone have second thoughts about this legal variation of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme? Didn’t anyone see that this was a house of cards?

Anonymous said...

It is my humble opinion, that the "honor" of the sacred pulpit at FBCJ has been seriously compromised. What does that mean? That means that, this great church was blessed of God because Jesus was preeminent in the preaching. Jesus was the reason the past preachers walked into the pulpit. Jesus was indeed exalted in every thing this church did. There was no need to question what the church stood for, or what the preacher stood for. Now Jesus has been shoved into the background, while the preacher has made the existence of the church for and about him. This church MUST come back to the FOOT OF THE CROSS. This once great church must find herself in the life of Jesus once again. The very fact that people are being served trespass notices, the fact that some are NOW concerned with giving advice to the preacher, instead of being occupied with witnessing and leading others to Christ says volumes. I don't say that these people don't witness, but I am saying that their time and thoughts are seriously concerned with how to protect this pastor. People, please go back to your roots in this church. Get rid of your pride, and your misplaced loyalties. Ask the Lord what is the "honorable" thing to do. Please all find the "FOOT OF THE CROSS" again. And let this church again be a "Lighthouse" for Jesus. If you find fault in these remarks please take them as heartfelt concern for the honor of this church, and for the desire to see Jesus exalted once more from her pulpit.

Anonymous said...

"Just curious. I am at a loss as to why it is wrong for someone to give a gift to their pastor, regardless of the size? Please explain (i'm not being combative, i am truly inquisitive) what is the difference in someone giving the pastor a steak for supper, and someone giving him land to build his house on?"

Mac is already paid a nice 6 figure salary. Are there no single moms or hurting families in the Body (I use that term loosely) who could use some help?

The question is: Was it ethical for a highly paid pastor to take the gift. The answer is NO

Anonymous said...

I may just be another stupid Baptist Pastor, but I think that if you will just give your problems to God and let Him handles them, you wont have to fuss and moan all the time (like you are doing now)
If someone gave him something, it is none of your business!
You should be spending your time spreading the Word of the Lord to people in the community instead to acting like children.
And one last thing, you may not see it now, but God is going to make you wish you tithed like you have been told to... the Word does not say to give the 10th to any good thing in the world, no, it says to give it to your local church... therefore, if you are a member at FBC Jax, GIVE YOUR MONEY TO FBC JAX! If you dont like the way the church leaders are spending it, then let them answer to God!
Believe it or not, God is in control, not YOU!

Pastor Tex

Pastor Tex, A few years ago your comment would have amazed me. But not anymore. My guess is you get your sermons off the internet because you certainly do not know scripture based upon your comment.

Yes, God is in control but strangly, He also left us with His Word and plenty of instruction to CHURCH BODIES. Ironically, He did not just write these letters to elders but the WHOLE body in dealing with problems. If He is in control, why do that? Perhaps because HE WORKS through HIS own.

Think about 1 Corin 5 for a moment. Shouldn't Paul have written that they should jsut mind their own business because God is in control? Or perhaps John should have written to Gaius not to worry about Diotrephes because God would handle it.

It scares me more and more each day what passes for a pastor out there. Perhaps you don't want your own congregation asking questions.


Anonymous said...

The more I observe our government at work(?) the more it resembles FBCJ. Not much difference.

Re: Maurilios Tweets: How disgusting!!!!! This guy is so into himself. FBCJ should be embarassed to be tied in any way to this guy. How can they justify giving church money to someone like him. The probable reason he gets away with it is ; HE HAS A CONTRACT...... Just like Mac has a contract with FBCJ....and the church has it's hands tied. Very sad days for Christians. But, play by the worlds rules and take the hits worldly leaders in the church hand out. The church should not be a business. Next time, if there is one, and this church is not totally destroyed.....NO CONTRACTS. Lets see if a man is truly called of God to preach or not. Christians are generous when they have a real preacher.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of taxes, did he PAY taxes on this "gift"? He MUST report this as income and pay taxes on it, or the IRS should be notified. It is certainly the business of the government.

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham earned $174,000 in compensation and $28,403 in employee benefits

Anonymous said...

I see that Billy Graham made LESS than Mac (and family). Plus the entire world knows what BG made. It's obviously PUBLISHED.

Anonymous said...

10:33 Thanks. This proves the point raised. Billy Graham has been preaching for over 60 years..long before most of these mega pastors were born. He as the President of the organization could have given himself millions but never did or has. Yet, he earns less than 15-25% of what these mega church pastors get paid. What a difference!!!

Anonymous said...

Why all the jealousy of a pastor receiving property? Are you not robbing the man who gave the gift his joy in being able to give? Are you not robbing the builder his joy in being able to give? A pastor does not need to reveal this to anyone! I think it is a very small mentality to dwell on this. And trying to place any pastor in the same light as Dr. Graham is equally silly. Dr. Brunson does not owe anyone anything in this regards. I too have given substantial gifts to men of God in the past out of my surplus and being directed of the Lord to give. Perhaps it is sin on everyone's part who is questioning the direction of God in these men who gave to the pastor. Not one of you blogs has mentioned that. Who cares about what someone is given. Do not rob the giver the joy of giving, and do not rob the receiver the joy of the gift. Frankly, I of this petty talk sounds like envy, which is also a sin the last time I checked.