Readers - my experiences through the past few years, and my observations of preachers especially of the mega church variety, have taught me that many mega church preachers have egos so large they would barely fit into their massive mega church auditoriums. And thus they don't like critics. They can't STAND public criticism.
They believe their profession, that of a preacher/pastor, to be the most noble and sacred and holy of all professions, because they are the ones "called by God" into their profession. And that anyone who would dare to be a critic, especially a public critic, of the holy and sacred position of "pastor" and his church (especially one so annointed as to be pastor of a mega church), must be of the devil.
The followers and supporters of such pastors - especially their fellow ministers and closest lay leaders - don't like critics of their church or pastor any more than the mega church pastor does, as they get the cues from their pastor about how to act towards critics. Ironically, often these pastors LOVE to use their own pulpit as a bully pulpit to criticize others Christians about things they don't like or differing doctrines or practices...but by golly let there be a public critic on the blogosphere analyzing THEIR actions and THEIR doctrines...well, they don't handle that so well.
Generally these preachers view their critics, especially persistent, public critics, as being of the ENEMY, and aren't afraid to teach this to their church members. The storyline goes something like this: these critics (often called "slanderers" and "deceivers" and "gossipers") must either be on God's side or Satan's side, and if they are criticizing a church were souls are saved and the Bible is taught, they most certainly CANNOT be on God's side. They must be on Satan's side for sure, and thus worthy of ridicule and punishment at the hands of the church until they repent. To go after such critics to expose them, or to do them harm, is to do God's will.
I have come across a situation that is eerily similar to the FBC Jax Watchdog scenario, but with some very interesting ironies and twists - and some extremes that go way beyond the story of this blog - some that are just to unbelievable to comprehend.
But these stories have at their root: mega church pastors who can't stand criticism, who teach their churches to view critics as the enemy, and the resulting efforts undertaken to identify and punish such critics. My criticism wrought me several subpoenas and a letter of 16 sins, trespass papers for me and my wife, a publicly read deacon's resolution ratified by my fellow church members, and newspaper quotes by the mega church pastor and his church president calling me terrible names...this blogger's criticism brought him, as you will see, a very different set of punishments.
Suppose I started to describe to you this scenario: a situation involving a professor who was a blogger critical of a mega church preacher, the preacher who couldn't stand for there to be a public critic of him and his church, a preacher who would equate critics and opposers to his vision as being on the devil's side, church members who didn't like the critical blogger and accused him of dissension and wickedness and evil intent, a person on the church security staff involved in teaching the blogger a lesson, and a sheriff's department involved in the ensuing investigation to find an anonymous party. And of course, brewing legal maneuvers on both sides.
You might think I was referring to FBC Jax and the FBC Jax Watchdog.
But I'm not.
The mega church is the New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
The pastor is a man named Perry Noble.
The blogger is Dr. James Duncan and the "Pajama Pages" blog he authors. (Note: his blog is not a typical "blogspot" blog and thus looks a bit odd at first glance...each article is in its own white box on the page, with the title of each article in a small green box at the top - what looks to be like a series of comments, are actually the blog posts).
I am going to close this article with a few hyperlinks; if you are curious and would like to do some research into this blogger/pastor/church scandal, there is plenty here. Very soon I will provide a summary of events for my readers to shine a light on what has happened to this blogger at the hands of this mega church. Some incredible similarities, but some awful, awful differences.
Here is a direct link to a blog post earlier this month entitled "Holy Rage at the Spring" that gives the detail on the whole bloody affair - he posted this on December 5th, 2009...its very long and detailed:
Holy Rage at the Spring - December 5, 2009
Here is a link to a radio interview of Dr. Duncan on what seems to be an Internet radio site called "Fighting for the Faith"...you can get a good feel for who Dr. Duncan is, what his intentions were behind his blog, and also hear some excerpts from Perry Noble's sermons and excellent analysis by both Duncan and the interviewer:
Radio Interview of Dr. Duncan - December 7, 2009
There are two parts to the interview, and they are very long, and they seemed to take a long time to download and start playing, so be patient.
One interesting twist in this story that I'll leave you with, and that you'll see: the anonymity in this case was NOT the blogger, but a man on the church's side, an employee of the church, who went after the blogger anonymously to teach him a lesson to try to get him fired by sending a phony resignation letter to his employer, to paint the blogger as pervert, a homosexual, his kid as a cross dresser, and to make him fear for his family's life by actual threats against him...all in the name of God to punish the blogger for the audacity in criticizing a mega church pastor.