As we wrap up another year of blogging on the Watchdog, here are my choices of the top 10 stories covered on this blog in 2011.
10. Ergun Caner Controversy Continues, Caner Makes SBC Comeback: In less than a year after Ergun Caner left Liberty University over his decade of deceit, in 2011 Ergun Caner has made a remarkable comeback by getting hired at fundamentalist Arlington Baptist College as the Provost and Vice President. Soon after the hiring was announced, Brett Shipp of WFAA did an outstanding TV news story on the hiring and highlighted many of Caner's exaggerations. But perhaps more remarkable than Caner getting a new job with a Christian college is how he was given prominent speaking gigs in the Southern Baptist Convention. He had a speaking role at a meeting at the 2011 FBC Jax Pastor's Conference, and preached at Ronnie Floyd's Cross Church using it to again paint himself as a victim of "haters". And to top it all off, in the most brazen and nonsensical move, FBC Jax granted Ergun Caner access to the eyes and ears of their middle and high schoolers for a week at camp by hiring Caner as the summer camp preacher. As I posted here, Caner is STILL stretching the truth and not being completely honest with congregations about his past.
9. Year of the Crybaby Pastors: the series of posts I did on crybaby pastors (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) complaining about criticism were very popular. This seems to be a recurring theme amongst mega church pastors, as they have difficulty with the idea that as they use social media to get their messages maximum exposure, their sermons and ministry tactics will be evaluated and criticized using the same social media.
8. Departures and Hiring at FBC Jax: there were two significant departures this year from FBC Jax - Jim Smyrl left on less than friendly terms from FBC Jax and quickly started a new SBC church, and Shelly Baumgarner-Norman, the long-time children's director at FBC Jax left this fall. Smyrl is currently a bi-vocational pastor. The preaching duties Smyrl performed were partially filled by Danny Crosby - who quickly declared in one of his first sermons that the pastor's salary "ain't none of yo' bidness", and he took aim at those who dare to criticize their church and pastor.
7. Evangelist Tim Lee Defends Caner: I published a story in May about Liberty University's trustees actually forcing Caner out in 2010, which prompted evangelist Tim Lee to chime in on the blog to express his disagreement with my article. Lee claimed that he was head of the committee that actually wrote the vague statement by Liberty when he was let go, and Lee declared on my blog that "I was Chairman of the committee that crafted the statement concerning Ergun. We never once found that he lied." As far as I know, this is the only place where someone on the Liberty committee has spoken publicly about the Caner dismissal from Liberty.
6. FBC Jax's Mike Hogan Loses Jacksonville Mayor Race: Long-time FBC Jax member Mike Hogan lost the Jacksonville mayoral race to virtual unknown Democrat Alvin Brown in a close run-off election. Hogan was the hands-down favorite to win the election, and not many gave Alvin Brown a chance. As I documented on the blog, Mac Brunson called Hogan to the platform the Sunday before the election, asked he and his wife to kneel at the altar, Brunson laid hands on Hogan, and prayed a very long prayer asking for "Godly leadership". I called Brunson's laying on of hands and prayer an "ordination" of Hogan as mayor. This stunt to bring Hogan to kneel at the front did not sit well with many in the community. FBC Jax deleted this portion of the service from their website video podcast - but Watchdog readers can still view it here.
5. James Merritt Pushes Suspected Pyramid Scheme: one of the dumbest moves in 2011 by a mega church pastor has to be James Merritt - former SBC President and pastor of Cross Pointe Church - using his church facilities and his own personal influence as a trusted pastor to push the Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) multi-level marketing scheme. After videos of his pushing FHTM in his church went viral, they were taken down and then Merritt issued a statement through a spokesman denying the "rumors".
4. Jax Pastor Accused of Voyeurism: Berean Baptist pastor Greg Neal was accused this past year of video taping women in his office as they undressed. The church kicked out the church member who took video evidence to the police, and then Neal issued a public denial with his bobble-headed members standing behind him. Neal was never charged with a crime because too much time had passed between the actual video taping and the submission of evidence to the state attorney's office. Greg Neal is still co-pastor of the church.
3. SBC Evangelist Sammy Nuckolls Arrested for Voyeurism: Huge story this past year was Sammy Nuckolls' arrest for video voyeurism. Apparently Sammy got his jollies from using a spy pen with a video camera to video tape women. Sammy was once a preacher at Lifeway youth camps.
2. Mac Brunson Complains of His Tough Life, Then Issues Blanket Apology: for nearly 5 months of 2011 Mac Brunson preached out of the book of Job. A good portion of his sermons seemed to focus on how Christians are supposed to handle criticism (see #9 above), and in one sermon he spent several minutes belly-aching to his congregation just how tough his life has been as a mega church pastor having to deal with criticism. He even went so far as to say that he did not want to come to be the pastor, but that he had to come because God "drove" him to Jacksonville. The following Sunday Brunson gave a strange blanket apology for anything he's ever said that has offended anyone.
The #1 story for 2011 will be posted on New Year's Eve, so check back in on Saturday!
What type of narcissist posts his own top ten list? And you criticize Brunson for retweeting quotes about himself?
Watchdog: Do you think anything has changed in the SBC or churches in the last five years based on these stories? And if not why do you think nothing changes?
Anon - thanks, I completely forgot about that. Yes, Brunson, or whoever is running his Twitter account, is the only preacher I know who regularly retweets positive tweets about himself.
Hi Debbie - I assume you are asking if highlighting these stories on blogs has changed anything.
Absolutely it has. Nothing like shining a light on what these preachers say and do that can open people's eyes that are supporting these men and their temples. But change takes time, and in the context of organizational religion it will take a continual effort by many to keep highlighting and analyzing and discussing the trends in churches today. It's not difficult to understand: most mega churches today function as businesses who have a product to sell and market. Giving consumers in their market more information will do nothing but help the consumers make better choices.
It may be hard to detect the change, but a few reasons why I know things are changing: when pastors who lead extremely privileged lives and have millions of fans openly whine in their pulpits about criticism, hold conferences about how to deal with critics, and when they even try to wipe the Internet clean of short video clips of their deeds and words, you better believe THEY know the power of blogs to alert people. As citizens of the U.S. we know the power of shining light into organizations that previously operated in the dark, or that controlled the messages that their members hear. In fact, sometimes all that is needed is a little light to effect big change.
There are some troubling signs such as the explosive growth of the emergent churches, and they are among the ones who wail the loudest about their critics, whom they regularly disparage calling them "haters". It is troubling when a Caner goes on and on as though his decade of deceit never happened, but keeping a light on Caner again is accomplishing something. It is information about the organizations that support him, pay him, and have him into their churches and youth groups. That does help the consumers. :)
So my plan is to keep my blog going into its sixth year and be a place where people can read articles and watch videos of what is going on in churches today. I appreciate the emails I get from members or former members of these churches that help keep me alerted to possible stories worth highlighting on the blog.
Lastly...I think I might have shared this on the blog before...during the depositions in 2010 John Blount did admit that the church leadership decided to stop calling families at FBC Jax as "giving units" after the blog post "Pie Charts and Giving Units" that I posted in the fall of 2008. So sometimes change comes in tiny bits. :)
Oh my goodness, who in the world do you think you are? Nothing you ('Watchdog', 'Tom Rich', whoever you are) do causes any change. Only God does. Write 'till your hearts content (or get a real job). You are wasting your time. Only God cares and will make any changes that need to be done.
You would make a great mega-church pastor with your ego and narcissism. At least you consistently run true to your character.
Like I said, progress little by little: above one of my "haters" here acknowledges that mega church pastors have large egos and are narcissists! Now THAT is progress! Your comment made my day! ;)
Anonymous....good grief!...get a grip!
On the subject of vain Tweeters, you ought to follow Albert Mohler's feed; it's a regular Hallelujah Chorus.
The comments from WD's critics (haters:) show that he is doing a great service. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be getting under their skin so much!
Just reviewed the material on Caner. I mean, wow. Unbelievable.
The problem, as I see it, is that Caner has some very influential church leaders on his defense, but Caner's response just doesn't pass the smell test. They want to protect Caner because in doing so they protect themselves, because admitting he is a liar shines the light on them that they employed/used him.
So, yes, this blog does help. Thanks for summarizing the top watchdog stories of 2011. Can't wait for 2012.
5. James Merritt
A partial of his sales pitch
Thank you for answering my question Watchdog. I guess I am impatient. :)
Great year. Thanks for your work and my apologies for the "Christians" and "pastors" who set out to help themselves to the money in the collection plate that was given for the cause of Christ and is instead providing luxury living for egomaniacal narcissists.
They have attacked you and sicced their minions on you because, when they do wrong, the truth really can hurt.
Stockade fences have been reinforced, supporters have coalesced around their leaders, leaders have become more media savvy and they have realized the need to have "each other's back."
The blogs have ultimately strengthened the defenses of the leaders they had hoped to take down.
It is now impossible to uproot Mac Brunson.
Kudos to the Dawg for helping make Mac Brunson invulnerable to future attacks.
Watchdawg has been like a flu-shot immunizing Mega Pastors against further attacks.
Well done Dawg - dryly
Seneca Griggs (December 30, 2011 3:04 PM) said: “Stockade fences have been reinforced, supporters have coalesced around their leaders, leaders have become more media savvy and they have realized the need to have ‘each other's back.’ ”
This sounds more like organizations which have gone on an Alamo style defensive, as opposed to organizations which are successfully adapting to and capitalizing on the power of the Internet.
Seneca Griggs (December 30, 2011 3:04 PM) said: “The blogs have ultimately strengthened the defenses of the leaders they had hoped to take down.”
Given how you characterized the said strengthening of the said organizations’ defenses, I would say that this would be the first step towards the organizations in questions' self-destruction. This is because while such a strict stiffening of defenses does indeed render them impervious to attacks from outside sources, the price of such a strict stiffening of defenses usually entails increased internal pressure on everyone inside the organizations in question to be progressively more unthinkingly loyal and zealous. And, inside such an environment, people can and do easily turn on each other for various reasons.
In short, these events represent the classic prelude to an organization’s death by increasingly cultic behavior.
FBC Jax Watchdog (December 30, 2011 7:43 AM) said: “But change takes time, and in the context of organizational religion it will take a continual effort by many to keep highlighting and analyzing and discussing the trends in churches today.”
I agree that change, even inevitable changes like the ones mentioned immediately above, still take time to come.
But the problem is that history will keep repeating until you learn from it and act upon what you learn from it. This applies to the phenomenon of cultic behavior in Christian churches. This means that Christians must learn exactly what causes cultic behavior in Christian churches and effectively address these causes in order to stop this phenomenon from repeating itself. Otherwise, this particular war between Christian authors on the Internet and those cultic individuals who the said Christian authors wish to hold accountable will keep going without end.
There it is—your grand challenge, your grand purpose—right here.
In doing this, you will display the salt and the light which your critics say that you do not have.
Sensei Griggs said:
"The blogs have ultimately strengthened the defenses of the leaders they had hoped to take down.
It is now impossible to uproot Mac Brunson."
Your clueless Jack. All you see is your dear leader and you fail to see the larger and ultimate picture, namely the integrity of God's good name and character.
When religious thuggery is conducted like some Spanish Inquisition to some mild criticism, you apparently see no issue. Only a stooge would accept that conduct.
But wait, you can't see much at all, you are basking in the glow of your dear leader and missed the real issue.
Never mind about trashing the civil rights of a person or using so-called leaders to institute an unethical and illegal campaign against a dissenting opinion. That ain't important, it all comes down to emperor worship.
Dude, when you place a man above God's good name and reputation, you have the problem. You are then a reflection of your god. You know the one, the megalomaniacal narrcissist you adore.
Same old wah wah wah, you men worshippers can't see the larger issue or allegiances required of a disciple. Any guy who causes HIS name to stink will not get my dollars or my following. Nope, not happening.
Then this guy weighs in:
What type of narcissist posts his own top ten list? And you criticize Brunson for retweeting quotes about himself?"
Really now? If you had the savvy to run your own blog, you too could make up any kind of list you wanted. IF you did, I do not see how that would be narcissist or a megalo. It would just be your on spouting of opinions and display of facts. More of the wah wah wah crowd.
(oh and WD, you are indeed doing a great service to shine light on dark murky figures in the ministry, who need to repent or get out of dodge. I have mentioned it before, but thanks again.)
It's interesting that corporate America takes note of what bloggers and their "customers" say. Look at Netflix, Bank of America and recently Verizon. They all have changed their positions based on what the people are saying.
Not so with mega-church preachers. They ignore, deny and label their "customers" as haters. They treat their churches as businesses, force-feeding mandatory/compulsory tithing, yet disregard anything that is said negative about them.
Christianity is free, but their brand of church, which they spend countless amounts of money on to market and attract new customers, requires commitment on the part of the church-goer. I believe it is to their folly to ignore the voice of the critics. After all, people are free to just walk away and take their checkbooks with them.
At some point people are going to be fed up with mega-churches in general.
Why are people so upset with corporate greed, yet excuse, defend and tolerate the greed from the pulpit? I hope this changes in my lifetime.
Thanks WD...keep shining the light. Its ironic, the very ones that are taking advantage of congregants tell you to provide them with wealthy retreats, ten percent of your income, come to church and work all times of hours during the week, take a week off and help with the summer retreats, give more on special projects, etc, etc. Its a business! Jesus says is neither hot nor cold. No wonder people are catching on. Bloggers realize the real deal. Hope 2012 is even better for you and yours.
We know we have passed from death unto life if we love the brethren. Strange that those who disagree about financial arrangements, Bible doctrine, and employing family members causes seperation. Marking those according to the Bible is only against those that deny the deity of Jesus Christ. How shallow can some people be in just following a man!!!!
"You are wasting your time. Only God cares and will make any changes that need to be done."
Really, then why were the Epistles written? Paul was wasting his time listening to the Holy Spirit with all that counsel, admonitions, etc. He should have just let God handle it. We know He never works through people.
"The blogs have ultimately strengthened the defenses of the leaders they had hoped to take down.
It is now impossible to uproot Mac Brunson.
Kudos to the Dawg for helping make Mac Brunson invulnerable to future attacks."
Seneca, it is not about uprooting guys like Brunson. It is about informing the sheeples who follow him instead of Christ. Or thinking that following guys like Brunson IS following Christ.
When the money dries up or more folks are on to them, guys like Brunson movve on.
They will always have followers but they want to garner tons of followers to themselves. It is a duty to warn people about these hirlings and charlatons and encourage folks to study on their own with the BEST teacher: The Holy Spirit.
But the problem is that history will keep repeating until you learn from it and act upon what you learn from it. This applies to the phenomenon of cultic behavior in Christian churches. This means that Christians must learn exactly what causes cultic behavior in Christian churches and effectively address these causes in order to stop this phenomenon from repeating itself."
I bookmarked your site when I found a link on the Nuckolls story a few months ago. I enjoy your blog. Very informative. Please keep it up.
Maybe part of the mega-church pastors' problems come because they have self-righteous critics in their churches who criticize everything and support nothing.
Oh, I forgot, most of you don't actually attend a church (because you can't find one perfect enough) and you certainly never tithe or support your church financially.
No wonder they ignore you.
"No wonder they ignore you."
You just walk right into these don't you?
This blog would most likely have died a unread death if Brunson had ignored it. There would be less stories about whiny pastors if they just "ignored" people. From Perry, to Mohler to Chandler to Brunson to even the new NAMB president. They DON'T ignore.
"Oh, I forgot, most of you don't actually attend a church (because you can't find one perfect enough) and you certainly never tithe or support your church financially. "
Will you please show me in the NT where a building was built and maintained by the Body of Christ to support financially?
Me thinks you do not understand what the word "church" means.
Great Job Tom. Happy New Year!
Seriously, Thank You for your efforts as they do make a difference!
Happy New Year, WD! Thank you for educating your readers about pastors and leaders who steal, abuse, and exploit their members and followers. Your blog ministry IS making a difference.
They met in caves and homes in the New Testament but someone had to pay for the upkeep. Caves get cold in the winter.
"Oh, I forgot, most of you don't actually attend a church (because you can't find one perfect enough) and you certainly never tithe or support your church financially."
I faithfully attend and financially support my local church who has never in the 6 years I have been there ever preached a sermon on compulsary 10% tithing. We may be small in number but spiritually rich. We are always ready to support the church.
My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He hung all the stars in space...trillons of them. There are buildings which call themselves churches...some are broken cisterns. They follow a leader who oftentimes is out only for what he and his family can enrich themselves. We are all called to be pastors and can accomplish this task without asking someone to give us 10% of their money. Most Megas never work they just prey on simple minds that are convinced that they are God's Man. Payday someday is going to happen to them. They never believe in forgiving their enemies. They never preach on the last commandment given by Jesus. Such is their lot in life and when they retire they are ashamed of what they did while in the "ministry". But, then its too late to apologize for their behavior.
Your grandfather, the real Seneca Griggs, must be spinning in his grave that you have stolen his identity and continue to post your vain babblings using his name.
I spoke to my newphew today and he relayed a story to me concerning his former pastor. While attending a deacons meeting the pastor said that he didn't particularly like some of the tv preachers but did like some of their techniques one of which was to invent a catastrophe in order to get the people to come up with money for a building campaign. My newphey asked the pastor where in the Bible was the authority for this tactic. The pastor ignored him and would not answer, however, one of the other deacons told my newphew he should be ashamed of himself for questioning the pastor in this matter. It wasn't long for my newphew to be a deacon or associated with that church. I told him I was proud of him. He now serves as a deacon in an Independent Baptist church.
When the pastor learns you won't follow him especially when he is wrong look for another church because two cannot walk together if they are not agreed on as to whats in the Bible. That is the moral to this story.
Keep the light shining Watchdog.
'Mark', I'm sure you appreciate your 'small' fellowship, but,if you are not being taught to tithe your 'tenth', you are not being taught out of the Scripture. Might want to find a Bible Teaching Church... just sayin'.
In keeping with the New Year I am resolved to be James "Seneca" Brown this year.
Blogs that, theoretically, encourage anonynimity have "outed me" and I have seen the error of my ways.
Now when I point out how Jaxwatchdog has actually strengthened the hand of the mega pastors (for better or worse) I'll proudly sign off with my real handle.
James (call me Seneca) Brown
If your nephew is in an independent Baptist church then you'd better hang on because they are even worse than Southern Baptists. Mark my words because it will happen sooner than later.
Let's see. We were promised the big story on New Year's Eve and it didn't happen. Now what would Tom Rich do to Mac if he did the same thing?
"'Mark', I'm sure you appreciate your 'small' fellowship, but,if you are not being taught to tithe your 'tenth', you are not being taught out of the Scripture. Might want to find a Bible Teaching Church... just sayin'."
Tithing is no more required under the new covenant than is keeping the 7th day sabbath or avoiding shellfish or having to go through ritual cleansings. This is the difference between the old and new covenant. It is you that I suggest should study what the old covenant was and what is required under the new covenant. Frankly, what your pastor is teaching you is wrong. I have studied this subject for many years, and lived many years keeping the old covenant laws until being set free from the law through Christ.
Oh, and if you want to be vigilant about tithing under the old covenant, you must know that there is not one tithe, but THREE, that is required of you. A second tithe is to be kept in order to attend the "feasts" as well as a third tithe, every three years which is to be given to help the poor. So, that's 30% of your income.
Are you sure you are being obedient now?
James "Jimmy" Brown huh. Interesting - dryly.
Amen to everything Mark has said. And WD, Happy New Year, brother!
"Mark"...blah blah blah, 'you people' who do not want to tithe always come up with sutff like this. 'Old Covenant' 'New Covenant' yada yada. Bottom line is you want to find any excuse you can and not do what is right - which in this case is, to Tithe ! The Bible is very clear of what to do with you money. The teaching is from the Bible, not pastors. The command is to each of us. I have tithed since a very young age and would not dare stop, and, for your information, yes, maybe sometimes it is more close to 30%.
I do this because it is what God tells us to do, not that someone else tells us to do, the blessings and favor that I receive are not able to be measured. You should not look for excuses, but, do it !
Tithing, Mac, Mega Churches, Perry Noble, Ed Young, Steven Furtick, Black Preachers, and any Christian Leader who does not do things the "old fashioned" way.
That is what you hate.
Your Hate is ugly, ungodly, and demonic.
I hate the way you hate.
How come we haven't been treated to the #1 story? We're all waiting with our forked tongues and asp-like lips.
"I hate the way you hate."
I ate the way you ate and others ate the same way too sometimes. Did ya ate ya greens?
I hate Scripture twisting heretical false teachings, it's so deadly destructive towards human beings. Do I hate those that do it?
God hates Scripture twisting heretical false teachings, does He hate Scripture twisting heretical false teachers too?
Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Psalm 119:104Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
I hate every false way and teaching Christians to tithe is just one of the many false ways that go on daily...
Don’t bother joining Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven® controlled money making business sessions of “Forty Days in the Word” (which no doubt contains Scripture twisting and tickling ears teachings, everything else I have read or heard of his contains it) but study the Word of God for yourself, anytime of the day or night, freely, for the rest of your life...
TIED TO THEIR MINISTER”S APRON STRINGS
Thank you Mr Tom for your blog and things and may you and all Christians continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
"How many souls have been led to vain confidence by a man-made, evangelistic formula? How many are sent home from evangelistic services with calm, who should have gone away grieved and disturbed as the [rich young] ruler? How many unsaved children have been given assurance by the teachers of Bible classes, so that they have ceased to seek God for salvation?" -- Walter Chantry
"Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin." - JC Ryle, Warnings To The Churches
"I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order...when these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon." - Martin Luther
"What fools are they who, for a drop of pleasure, drink a sea of wrath." - Thomas Watson
About #10...I am not sure I would agree that Caner made a comeback.
Maybe it's because I am from the Lynchburg area, but most Thomas Road and LU people just shake their heads when he is mentioned. He may of had a few speaking gigs and gotten a job at a really small college, but I think he's lost a lot of respect and hopefully we won't see much of him anymore. The guy hasn't even updated his own website in ages.
I think it's safe to say the topic that "wouldn't go away" in 2011 was TITHING.
Almost every entry seems to come around to that silly debate, that has probably not moved a single person from their original stance.
Ergun spoke the other night at this church. The first 13 minutes of the 36 minute talk are fully entertainment. He continues to entertain throughout, and the message is really mostly his story and experiences and absolutely nothing that even resembles exegesis. He talks about getting the whiners out of your life and why he was a lousy pastor because he didn't like whiners. Well Ergun, maybe you were a lousy pastor because you can't exegete worth a darn and your true calling is stand up comic. Which you are actually quite good at.
Why haven't you posted the top story? I guess that makes you a liar who can't keep his word! What has the blogging work come to? You can't trust mega bloggers any more than you can trust mega pastors!
Wonder what it'd be like if you judged yourself as harshly as you judge others (see Matthew 7:1f).
Be careful about finding security in the praise of others found in the comments on this page. Their flattery doesn't justify your sinful behavior.
Treasure for your soul
(Henry Law, "The Raven" 1869)
Blessed are those who find their constant pleasure-ground in the luxuries of the Bible!
They commune with the mind of God.
They listen to a heavenly voice.
They bask in rays of purest light.
They feed in wholesome pastures of refreshment.
They fear no poison from the weeds of error.
No devious path can lead their steps astray.
Wisdom from above sweetly guides them.
The Spirit, the ultimate Teacher of His people, instructs the students. They advance safely, happily—from grace to grace.
The lessons are as vast as the mine from which they spring. They are as pure as the realms to which they call. They warn of sin—its filth, its misery, its end. They unfold Jesus—in all the glories of His redeeming love. They exhibit holiness—as the only road to a holy heaven.
Reader, heed a salutary admonition. Study the Bible, as holding treasure for your soul. Study in the earnestness of prayer. Study with eternity outspread before you. Study with the humility of a poor sinner before a speaking God. Study with faith devoutly grasping every word.
Do not close the volume without inquiring . . .
Is sin more hateful to me?
Is the world more worthless in my estimation?
Is the flesh more treacherous in my sight?
Is Jesus brought nearer to my adoring soul?
Is my heart won to more entire devotedness?
Am I more resolute to live for Him, who died for me?
""Mark"...blah blah blah, 'you people' who do not want to tithe always come up with sutff like this."
Stuff like what? What's written in the Bible? Start by reading Galatians 3, 4 and 5. False teachers were trying to add the old covenant laws to their faith. Some were turning back away from faith to legalism.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Oh, and "close to 30%" is not keeping the law. If the law of tithing is still required of Christians, then you have fallen short.
"Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence." from Douglas
I never heard these verses in a sermon. That would have been politically incorrect, I guess. It would have disturbed people. But it's right there in the Bible.
I think you should quote those verses the next time someone's telling you how God loves everybody or that we should hate the sin, but love the sinner. That's not what God does. He hates the sinner.
If I may, I would like to call attention to the contrast between what Douglas (January 1, 2012 8:35 PM) posted and what Anonymous (January 1, 2012 9:19 PM) posted. Specifically, Douglas posted exhortations which exhort each of us to act out a strict intolerance of unsound doctrine, yet, in contrast, Anonymous pointed out that people who debate each other over the doctrine of Tithing on this blog’s comment threads never change their respective positions.
Now, the question arises: How can anyone take a meaningful intolerant stand against unsound doctrine, if nobody is willing to admit that the doctrine which they believe in is unsound?
I would like to know how everyone here would answer this question.
The #1 story for 2011 will be posted on New Year's Eve, so check back in on Saturday!
This is awesome (fearful & dreadful): The God Nobody Knows
Not too many know that God very well I reckon, to most folks God is all LOVE and that is all God is and nuthin else??? Freaky!!! God wouldn’t hurt a fly, eh.
This is excellent: Answering Common Objections to Christianity from Skeptics
Very thoughtful, challenging AND true, imo.
Sorry for getting side-tracked, happens to me all the time (bit of hyperbole there).
Anon of January 2, 2012 10:18 AM, maybe you could benefit from this below, a brief look at the love of God, I pray that you are blessed by it along with others who decide to study it:
“Love.” Pages 646–50 in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
and this is a more in-depth look at the “love” of God and his attitude towards sinners and sin, including His hatred of:
THE DIFFICULT DOCTRINE OF THE LOVE OF GOD
“How, then, should the love of God and the wrath of God be understood to relate to each other? One evangelical cliché has it that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. There is a small element of truth in these words: God has nothing but hate for the sin, but it would be wrong to conclude that God has nothing but hate for the sinner. A difference must be maintained between God’s view of sin and his view of the sinner. Nevertheless the cliché (God hates the sin but loves the sinner) is false on the face of it and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, we are told that God hates the sinner, his wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible, the wrath of God rests both on the sin (Rom. 1:18ff.) and on the sinner (John 3:36).
Our problem, in part, is that in human experience wrath and love normally abide in mutually exclusive compartments. Love drives wrath out, or wrath drives love out. We come closest to bringing them together, perhaps, in our responses to a wayward act by one of our children, but normally we do not think that a wrathful person is loving.
But this is not the way it is with God. God’s wrath is not an implacable, blind rage. However emotional it may be, it is an entirely reasonable and willed response to offenses against his holiness. But his love, as we saw in the last chapter, wells up amidst his perfections and is not generated by the loveliness of the loved. Thus there is nothing intrinsically impossible about wrath and love being directed toward the same individual or people at the same time. God in his perfections must be wrathful against his rebel image-bearers, for they have offended him; God in his perfections must be loving toward his rebel image-bearers, for he is that kind of God.”
I believe all theological errors stem from a misconception of the nature and character of the God who is...
Almost every entry seems to come around to that silly debate, that has probably not moved a single person from their original stance.
Its not a silly debate. There is an entire book in the NT condemning NT Christians trying to return to the law. I have changed my position on tithing as a result of this blog. I sure didn't learn about NT giving at church.
I guess we should start a blog complaining about this blog since that's what Tom Rich did when he felt that Mac didn't keep his word.
And of course, it would be an anonymous blog like the Watchdog in the beginning.
Get a life loser!
Why isn't the Holy Spirit clarifying the tithing issue? And if he is, why is he not giving the same answer to all Christians?
Weren't the Jews famous for arguing about all the different laws and how people are to live and do things. But the Christians are supposed to have the Holy Spirit to reveal things to them as they read the scriptures. At least, that's what I was taught.
"Why isn't the Holy Spirit clarifying the tithing issue? And if he is, why is he not giving the same answer to all Christians?"
The tithing issue is clear in scripture. The problem is when men misinterpret and twist NT teachings to fit their own personal interests and agendas out of greed or ignorance.
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