"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Untouchables: Spiritually Elite Leaders and the Unwillingness to Be Held Accountable

Larry Jones and Feed the Children Ministries, based in Oklahoma City, are in the local news because of a lawsuit filed by five current Feed the Children board of directors who say that Rev. Jones made several decisions, without board permission, that have reflected poorly on the ministry. It goes without saying that nobody could know all the details of the problems at Feed the Children, and there are always two sides to every story, but it is evident that there are concerns by those intimately acquainted with the ministry. First, there seems to be a very serious nepotism issue at FTC. Jones family members are working for the organization and drawing large salaries. The board members have also expressed concerns over what they believe to be an abuse of authority. They allege Rev. Jones is centralizing the decision making process at the one billion dollar non-profit organization to include only Larry and close family members and friends - excluding those who question him. Board members also say that there is a curtain of secrecy over financial improprieties, and at least in one case, a cover-up of a $100,000 embezzlement. Finally, board members allege there are intimidation tactics used to prevent anyone from finding answers to legitmate questions being asked about the operation of the non-profit ministry. Thus, the board members have gone to the civil courts to protect the organization they love.

This past week I spent an hour on the phone with a man who is the Watchdog Blogger, a long time member of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida. The Watchdog has blogged about problems that he believes have arisen at his church, and his concerns seem to parallel those of the board members at Feed the Children. The Watchdog is highly educated, has a family that loves the kingdom and their church of many years, and is intimately acquainted with First Baptist Church, Jacksonville. The Watchdog has expressed his opinion that there has been a curtain of secrecy over a land gift and other financial benefits to pastor Mack Brunson and his family. He has also blogged about church salaries and benefits (i.e. several thousand dollars in office remodeling) given to Mack's wife, Debbie, Mack's son, and Mack's friends from a Dallas management agency. The Watchdog is most concerned with what he believes to be an intentional and radical change to the church bylaws which hands authority to a select group of trustees appointed by the pastor rather than the congregation as a whole. This bylaw change, according to the Watchdog, was pushed through the church business process with very little notice, discussion or debate. The Watchdog has also blogged about a number of other issues, raising questions that he believes need to be asked. The Watchdog has not gone public with his name, receiving a great deal of criticism for blogging anonymously, but explained to me he remained anonymous out of fear of retribution from powerful civic leaders who are members of the church and could intentional seek to ruin his name and business. He told me his compelling story, details of which are startling, because he said he trusted me.

His fears of retribution may well be justified. In 2006, when I blogged about my disagreements with doctrinal policy changes at the International Mission Board, changes pushed by trustee leaders behind closed doors, and doctrinal changes that exceeded the convention wide approved Baptist Faith and Message, I put my name to what I wrote from the very beginnnig and sought to only write about issues - leaving out all names. According to a former staff member at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Debbie Brunson, an IMB trustee herself at the time, told the staff at FBC Jacksonville that I was promoting the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and was a liberal. Debbie was herself an IMB trustee leader at the time, but never approached me personally about any of her concerns. Yet, she felt comfortable talking to members of her own staff about me in order to seek to make the issue about me personally and not the questions I was asking. The tired tactic of conservatives in authority is to call "liberal" anyone who questions them about what they are doing. My objections with the new doctrinal policies was a matter of conscience, but I soon found that gracious dissent, even when one signs his name to it, is treated quite harshly by those who consider themselves denominational elitists. When they don't like the questions being asked, they tend to move toward attacking the character of the person asking the questions.

When one visits with the FBC Jacksonville Watchdog it will take only a couple of minutes to hear his heart. He clearly has a concern for the health of his church. He sincerely believes that things are taking place that will eventually harm the future of FBC Jacksonville. I have expressed my disagreement with him about remaining anonymous, but I understand his desire not to have his name splattered all over the internet for people to google his name and see all the horrible stuff being said about him. There are a number of people who have said ugly things about me and have published their words on the internet. Try googling my name. It is not pretty. At one time that caused me concern, but not anymore.

The best changes in any organization only come when someone is willing to take the heat for speaking about the need for change. I have encouraged the Watchdog to stand by his convictions, to continue to write his blog, and to reveal his identity when he feels led by the Spirit to do so. He has already done it to certain people he felt needed to know. The sad part is leaders of FBC Jacksonville believe they have identified the Watchdog, and according to at least one person who was in a closed door meeting of church leaders last Monday night, the man alleged to be the Watchdog was accused of stalking Debbie Brunson and stealing the Brunson's mail. How silly.

Elite and powerful SBC leaders must be reading from the same playbook. Do what you want when you want. Don't accept being questioned. And, if somebody has the gall to question your decisions or actions, attack the person.

In my opinion there should never be any hesitancy for any Southern Baptist to ask any question he or she desires of someone in 'authority.' If a church member has a question about my salary or benefits, wants a copy of our church bylaws, or desires information about our ministries, he will be given answers to his questions in full -and commended for asking. The same freedom should be given to trustees and board members of Christian non-profits. Full transparency in all aspects of any Christian ministry is not just desired, it should be expected. However, it is my belief that there has risen a culture in the SBC, reinforced by training received at many of our seminaries (not all), that emphasizes pastoral authority and seeks to convince people that they are not to "touch the Lord's anointed." It's as if some leaders in the SBC expect to be treated as kings, and everyones' calling in life is to serve the king and tell him how wonderful he is. CHRISTIAN ministry should be just the opposite. Any leader should be known as a servant to all. A true leader welcomes all questions and answers them fully, and he will not care what people say about him because he is not in the ministry for personal advancement but for the kingdom of Christ's sake.

In short, nobody in the SBC should be considered untouchable.



In His Grace,


Wade

142 comments:

Joe Blackmon said...

1) FBC-Jax Dawg is a coward. Oh, and you can quote me on that.

2) I totally agree with you that every person at every level should be held accountable. We are stewards of what God has given us--time, talent, money. Those in leadership are to be held to a high standard and should never shy away from questions, even hard ones.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

That may be your opinion, but frankly, I see the Watchdog as one who feels he has NO authority, is in danger of losing his job through influential people in the community seeking to ruin his reputation, and is wrestling through the issue of why such drastic actions and "intimidation tactics" (his words) are being used against him, his wife and his familly.

I may agree with you that he should not remain anonymous, but I would fall short in calling him a coward. I would call him a very intelligent man who loves his church of many years, but is wrestling through how he makes matters of conscience known without retribution to his family.

The fact of the matter, Joe, is I identified myself and the hardball tactics against me were very real. Whether he is named or anonymous, the one issue that should be asked is this:

Is what he is writing legitimate?

If it isn't, then just ignore it. I sometimes scratch my head when those in authority seek to attack the one raising the questions.

I think to myself:

Don't they know that their hardball tactics only LEGITIMIZE what is being written?

Anonymous said...

Wade have you talked to Dr Brunson and Debbie to get their side of the story? You said you were told she said you were supporting the CBF. Did you ask her? You are going on hear say or do you have facts? Do you have the right to get involved in the affairs of a church you are not the member of nor the pastor of?

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

There is nothing in this post that is not already public informatin available to all except for the deacons meeting which was behind closed doors last Monday night. The former FBC staff member, who was himself in the staff meeting where Debbie maligned me, asked that I not give his name lest his own ministerial career be ruined.

I called FBC Jacksonville last Friday and will be calling the church at 10:00 a.m. in the morning to speak with both Pastor Brunson and Mrs. Brunsons if she is available. The purpose of the phone call is to ask them several questions that pertain to a very specific post about that will go up later this week.

I am more than happy to visit with both of them. As to whether or not I should say anything about First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, that is a good question. I am simply fulfiling my promise to never allow a Southern Baptist to be mistreated by an overt abuse of authority without coming to the defense of the powerless.

In His Grace,


Wade

Anonymous said...

There IS some kind of 'play-book' out there.
Found this on Free Good News.com

"Here are the distressing facts about Dr. Hagee (a terrible show of lack of stewardship):

1. Dr. Hagee's compensation was over 6x the average (that's 600%)! That's $900,000 for 2002, working an average work week of 16 hrs ($1,081 per hour). This is an obvious IRS violation for excessive compensation, based on the average pay of his peers.

2. Diane Hagee, Dr. John Hagee's wife, is on the Board of Directors and makes $100,000 for 20 hrs of work per week ($96 per hour).

3. Matthew Hagee (John and Diane's son) made $14,650 for 5 hrs. per week ($56 per hour).

4. The Board of Directors consist of these three, plus one other person who was paid $0 for an average of 1 hr. per week. Obviously, this Board is controlled by Dr. Hagee and his family, an IRS violation. (Nonprofits are forbidden to operate for the personal gain of an individual or family; they are to operate for the public good. The IRS is well aware of scammers setting up operations for personal gain... it has been tried many times. Click here for the dictionary definition of nepotism, of which this is a classic shameful case.)

5. Dr. Hagee is also Pastor of Cornerstone Church (click here for details). He also receives an unknown salary from this Church. He may also get an unknown amount of money from royalties of publications. These are unknown, because he is not required to report it.

How much should he make? The average for his peers was about $140,000 per year. This would be quite generous for Dr. Hagee, because the revenue of his organization is substantially less than the average of his peers (generally a larger revenue commands more compensation).


Update 3/31/05: The organization's 2003 tax return (filed Aug. 2004) is now available on line. Click here to review it. Dr. Hagee's compensation grew... it is now $949,000! However, his wife and son have had major salary reductions. The family still has 3 of the 4 Board Member positions, an obvious IRS violation.

Update 4/18/05: It turns out Mr. Hagee's doctorate degree isn't earned; it's an honory degree from Oral Roberts University. In additional, it is also evident that Hagee is one of the promoters of the evil "prosperity" gospel"

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm . . .

nepotism

secrecy

padding a board of trustees with family members

'anger and indignation' if questioned

attacking the credibility of others who disagree with financial dealings

inflated salaries

covering up embezzlement of huge sums of money




To quote Yeats:

'what rough beast,
its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem
to be born ?'


There appears to be a real problem involving basic ethics in certain areas of the church.

Don't ministers have to also follow a code of ethics, the same way other professional people do?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the Watchdog is a coward. I believe he loves his church, but if he has legitimate arguments and evidence for the wrong things happening at his church then he would be a lot more effective if he at least came out and said, 'this is who I am, this is what I know.'

Instead, he hides behind him not identifying himself while he says things that are not proven. If he really believes that he has a valid point to make he wouldn't be afraid show himself.

Even if he got outed by his church and community at least be willing to take a stand on principle. When you cannot do that, you are a coward.

Michael Scott

Benji Ramsaur said...

Pride is so tricky to me. Once you think you have it licked in one area, behold, it can rear its ugly head in another area.

Now, combine pride with faulty thinking on ecclesiology and I think you have some real trouble.

If pastors work it...work it...work it politically to remove accountability in the church, then I think they are deceived about the real danger they put themselves in.

Anonymous said...

No one can understand the price of speaking out until they have done it and been ruined. As a single mom, I did it and have lost everything. Ruined by a mega church with deep roots in the community. My child has no financial future and we are ruined even losing our home.

I wish I had been a coward. It was not worth it. People do not care and will work hard to protect those in power because they do not want to admit they have supported such people.

Going anonymous from now on because there are few real Christians out there anymore

Joe Blackmon said...

Wade

I stand by my assessment. Matthew 18:15-17 doesn't say anything about dealing with a brother in Christ who is sinning as an Anon. If, as he claims, the church has fingered the wrong person as FBC Jax Dawg then he most certainly is a coward by allowing someone to be accused of something he is doing.

John Daly said...

The wisdom of having an elder led church would have come in handy in this case. And I would advise the dawg to either get in the fight or get out. It appears right now,you're doing neither. In addition, he may be dealing with unregenerate hearts in this matter, and they will wage war as such.

If the stakes are too high, shut down the blog, find a new place to worship and begin anew.

Thy Peace said...

Amen.

God bless you, Pastor Wade. What a comparison between your church and fbc jax? In yesterday's service, you have your church members vote by a secret ballot for hiring a full time staff member. What a contrast?

Reading Fbc Jac Watchdog and the readers comments, when Pastor Mac was hired, he only gave one sermon to fbc jax members. Members were not given proper time to assess his pastoral abilities. Given what has happened at Bellevue and FbcJax, I have come to believe, these positions are appointed by SBC powers to be.

What a sad waste to see a church go from Lindsay's humbleness to current leadership?

I sincerely pray for Our Lord Jesus Christ to convict the hearts of those who think they are powerful and who think they are ahead and treat members and others who ask questions like dirt, your [leaders] soul is in question. You will soon be demanded of an accounting. And it is coming. May God have mercy on your souls.

Joe White... said...

Wade,

It appears that everything you write is tainted in some way by your own personal experiences. Just once I would like to read a post about only one subject. Instead, we get a post about Feed the Children and Rev. Jones, mixed with a little FBC-Watchdog, your IMB Board experience, and a smear against some (not all) of the SBC seminaries and Mac and Debbie Brunson?

FBC-Watchdog is a coward, end of story (especially if he has allowed the wrong person to be charged as you suggest). If he disagrees with the current leadership, fine, stand against it or leave. But don't do it behind the cloud of an anonymous blogger. By the way, I see you are allowing anonymous blog comments again. What happened there?

One thing I can agree with you about is the need for transparency in organizations, churches, and from leaders. The day has longed passed for this to be the case.

Thy Peace said...

To give you a brief glimpse of the shenanigans at fbc jax leadership:

This was the first comment I posted at fbc jax watchdog's blog on Aug 12th 2008. This was my first foray into any SBC blogs.
-----------------------------------
ThyPeace said...
People who are "portly" are because of different reasons - as people get to their late 40's, their metabolism slows down and they start putting on weight. Also it could be due to genetics, that slows down metabolism. Most of these people are not gluttonous, but body weight builds up slowly if their metabolism slows down.

I understand sometimes, Dr. Brunson gets carried away with his sermons (not fully reasearched examples or misquoting or denouncing sins), but on the whole he is positive and helpful.

I am not a member of fbcjax. I listen to fbcjax internet broadcasts and love your church. The music is exceptional. And I also learn so much from Dr. Brunson. I am a "new" christian and I can not compare Dr. Brunson with Dr. Vines or prior pastors.

Mr. Watchdog, I may not agree with you lot of times, but I have to admire your courage and persistence. I pray that god will heal all of us and fbcjax.

AUGUST 12, 2008 8:06 PM
-----------------------------------
And then this is what happened ...

Thy Peace said...
I have always felt, that there was a group of paid staff or volunteers parsing the comments on this blog and trying to connect the dots to identify bloggers on this site. They did identify me fairly quickly (within two weeks), because of my comments. We will see how this play out.

DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:28 PM
-----------------------------------
FBC Jax Watchdog said...
Thy Peace - I thought you were not a member, and an out-of-towner? Why would church staff then want to find out who you are?

DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:34 PM
-----------------------------------
Thy Peace said...
They identified me from my comments, and they targeted me by breaking the video stream of fbcjax and showing the taped comments of Pastor Mac reading some of my comments (from my first post) and trying to "make fun" of my two words I ascribed to him. They were not that negative. Most of that comment was actually in support of him then.

Such is life. When the leadership is under fire, even mild dissent is considered and equated with worse and worse. I do not wish to compare them to dictatorship, but at least their reaction was such.
-----------------------------------
DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:40 PM
Anonymous said...
Thy Peace, how do you know that they know who you are?
-----------------------------------
DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:44 PM
Anonymous said...
Thy Peace,

What??? How the... ?

DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:48 PM
-----------------------------------
Thy Peace said...
My first comment was made in the 2nd week of August. My comments were fairly naive. Earlier I had emailed Pastor Mac and Jim Whitmire, about how much I liked fbcjax and their music ministry.

If you remember the easter - Media evangelism fund: They started announcing it, with my comment read as the first one. I am from Philadelphia.

I am probably the ONLY person who watches fbcjax from Philadelphia. From the video stream, they can easily find out who is watching from which cities.

Also, when then broke my video stream, it took them about 3 attempts for that to take place (over one week period).

As I look back, I just find it very funny. It would have been easier, if only Pastor Mac learnt how to to blog. He or one of his help could have posted a comment in this blog. But they did not. They choose to send a taped video comment back.

I also noticed soon after that, ALL of Pastor Mac supporters stopped commenting on this blog. They only came back recently.

DECEMBER 4, 2008 2:59 PM
-----------------------------------
Thy Peace said...
Think of it as ... constant disconnections, followed by auto-reconnections ... after a lot of them, their taped video segment, then disconnection .... then the regular service.

This was my first comment, that elicited the response from fbcjax leadership:

ThyPeace said ...

DECEMBER 4, 2008 3:24 PM
-----------------------------------

Thy Peace said...
It's very easy to identify the city you are from your IP address. The tracker on WD's site is mostly accurate. For reasons I explained earlier, I seem to come from europe or california. But the video streams, they would have done it correctly as coming from philadelphia.

I am not upset over it. At that time (about 3 months ago) I was. But now, it's actually a blessing in disguise.

I have discovered through WD's blog, other blogs and richer SBC theological discourses on blog sites. So on the whole, I have been richer after this incident.

I am not angry with anyone. I only wish the best for fbcjax.

I feel if the leadership only allowed participation of the sheep in the decisions of the management and allowed dissent, the Church would be a richer place.

Elder rule vs. Congregation rule : Elder rule might work IF they allowed for transparency in their operations.

I am sure all these questions will be brought up in the next month as this member who is being brought before the discipline committee for blogging comments on this blog site.

DECEMBER 4, 2008 5:24 PM
-----------------------------------

Anonymous said...

As a Southern Baptist for decades, the way I choose as most biblical and ethical is . . . Wade's way and the way of the blogger he mentions in this post.

NOBODY try to keep the truth--the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--in either our churches or our agencies; each is something we're doing TOGETHER with each other and the Lord. Who cannot understand THAT?

And, ANYBODY who calls a brother in the Lord a coward without speaking to him directly about the matter at hand ought to refrain from typing his OWN name so that the rest of us won't think THAT person is just plain STUPID!


David

ezekiel said...

A little dose of Spurgeon that I thought spot on when looking at the events around here the last couple of months. Make sure you know which side you are on, and bring all your shovels, axes or whatever you can use. Warefare it is. Let's make sure we fight on the right side and leave the idols to someone else.

Praise God for all the sharpening happening around here.

Morning
“But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.”
- 1Sa_13:20
We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action, and talents which have been thought too mean for service, must now be employed. Coulter, and axe, and mattock, may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favourable or unfavourable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.
Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the Papists, how they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Mark the heathen devotees, what tortures they endure in the service of their idols! are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavours, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all! The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!

Andrew Dyer said...

Wade,

You said in the second comment that he "is in danger of losing his job through influential people in the community seeking to ruin his reputation, and is wrestling through the issue of why such drastic actions and "intimdidation tactics" are being used against him, his wife, and his family"

If you hadn't identified that statement as being the Watchdog, I would have thought that description could have been used about Brunson. The arguments Watchdog are hiding behind are EXACTLY the same ones he is leveling at FBC leadership.

By the way, anonymous slander, compounded by the fact it is against an elder, is unbiblical. The Bible has guidelines for how these things should be handled.

Joe Blackmon is right

Anonymous said...

To all of you who keep calling the Watchdog a coward I would ask you if you remember in "Back to the Future" Marty McFly was always tempted to respond inappropriately when his nemesis Biff would call him a "chicken." Marty would say "nobody calls me chicken" and then would fight or get himself in worse trouble. This is the same tactic you all are using against this Christian brother who writes under the name Watchdog. You want him to puff himself up in pride and say "no one calls me coward, I will put my name out there so they will know I am no coward." It is not going to work. The man is a man of conviction. Besides, presumably the church has his name and knows who he is anyway, so he is not anonymous to Mac and Debbie Brunson, yet they still have not contacted him. And, as you can see, they have already began taking action against him and making up lies about him.

Grow up and discuss the issues. Calling him "chicken" or "coward" is not going to work.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

The secret ballot vote in all three services for our Great Commission Pastor (Discipleship, Small Groups, etc . . .) garnered a 99% affirmative vote.

After seventeen years of pastoring at Emmanuel (yesterday was our 17th Anniversary) I've learned that longevity, servanthood, and transparency are the keys to developing trust in leaders.

In His Grace

Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

There is also one small possiblity that my experiences with people have opened my eyes to a style of leadership which is foreign to my understanding of the kind of leadership we need in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Thy Peace said...

About how the fbc jax leadership identified Watchdog:

My understanding of Google Privacy Policy is, they are to also notify you, if when a law enforcement submits a subpoena to identify users.

NYT: One Subpoena Is All It Takes to Reveal Your Online Life

Google Privacy Center

EFF: EFF Applauds Google Resistance to Government Subpoena

-----------------------------------

I think I know how they identified who the WD is.

1. My best guess is, they approached either comcast or bellsouth with a subpoena to reveal the identity of a customer of a given ip address valid on certain date.

2. How did they get WD's ip address? Several ways ...

- One is they can easily embed or watermark one's ip address through the video and audio streams and downloads from fbcjax/316 networks.

- Cookies and malicious scripts that reveal your identity and your hard disk contents, that can be selectively targeted for certain users (based on past habits). This can also be easily done, if WD's browser has not disabled scripts, when visiting questionable sites ... say like most of Maurilio's web properties in question.

3. About WD stalking Debbie Brunson and trying to read their emails, is only a ruse ... a dirty opening to extract or reveal your true identity to get a subpoena issued.

I personally think there are lot more clever ways they could have used to find who WD is, but given their lousy technical help, this is the best they could do.

johnjaxthebaptist said...

Whatever the Watchdog is blogging about now pales in comparison to this question: Did his church use/abuse their power and authority to violate his privacy to discover he was the blogger? It is my understanding that Federal privacy laws may have been violated to find out who the blogger was. And after years of not being able to find any dirt on this blogger, they may have resorted to fabricating stalking and mail stealing charges to get this information released to their president and trustee, A.C. Soud, Jr. If so, this is much worse than any of the abuses being blogged about so far.

Also, the church should be disgraced and embarrassed by their banning of the man's sweet, Christian wife who was forced to set in her car and cry while her daughter sang for the Lord inside. There were no accusations against her at all, except that she "associated" with her husband. Yes, these men bullied this lady who had no shepherd to stand up for her and protect her. They hurt her deeply and forced her to move her entire family from the church they all loved. All of her kids were raised from kindergarten to their current grades there and she served in various ministries there for decades. Then she was banned and now her name is being slandered. Shame on them. Many of her friends still attend there.

And shame on those of you who would call her husband a coward. The cowards all stood in support of this non-biblical and non-loving resolution. The cowards all sit quietly while Mac runs over a sister in Christ. The cowards serve trespass warnings without ever even attempting Matthew 18, the cowards won't even confront the man with any evidence against him so he can defend himself, the cowards stomp around on stage and beat down their congregation to "put the fear of God in them" if they ever have any questions/concerns, the cowards include the man's wife in their discipline process against the man to try and divide his family and harm his marriage, the cowards secretly accept a $307K land gift three weeks after arriving, the cowards make major bylaw changes without any prior discussion or making the proposed changes readily available, the cowards live an hour from the church on an oceanfront condo for their first year, the cowards never once explained how an anonymous coward blog with no credibility could have hurt their finances, reputation, ministry, etc.

So brothers and sisters in Christ, it is Mac and the trustees, particularly A.C. Soud, Jr, who are the cowards. This lady is due an apology. But like Sheri Klouda, these men will never apologize. They enjoy feeling powerful over Christian ladies.

debbiekaufman said...

Anonymous single mom: Please email me at kaufmd@gmail.com. If you wish to know a little more about me before you email me, click on my name which will take you to my blog. Thank you.

Josh in FL said...

Wisdom is proved right by her actions.

Yesterday's Bible study was from Luke 22:24-27. It's a good reference to look up with respect to this stuff.

=)

W said...

It is sad to see you taking up the cause for the Watchdog. He is/was a cancer to his church and should have beem removed--and he was. Read some of his past posts and you see what a malignancy he was in that church. I just wonder what he will do in his new church since he has moved his letter. If I were the pastor of the new church, we never would have taken him.

Anonymous said...

W - the pastor in the new church has no reason to worry about a blogger. Why? Because he has many decades of faithful service, is open and honest and transparent with his people, and is not a CEO millionairre charlatan. If he was, then you are right, he should be very afraid of the Watchdog. What about you? You worried about a blogger that exposes pastoral abuse? Hmmmm.

it is written said...

Watchdog is by no means the coward!!The true COWARDS are those who through there authority attempt to destroy anyone who would dare question THEM("To much is given;Much is required")!!W.D.has legitimate questions and concerns,but rather than answer them McDonald and his henchmen would go after those whom they thinks is the W.D.and attempt to destroy them rather solve the issues..Pope Mac has been a problem no matter where he's been(Dallas)and he is definetly he CANCER at FBC Jax!!!!

debbiekaufman said...

W: I find it disturbing that you would not accept him. I have seen some of the video and listened to some of the audio over at the Jax blog, and I find it more disturbing than the fact that Jax is pointing out obvious wrongs. The chewing out of the congregation for supposed non-performance is troubling to me to say the least.

Thy Peace said...

"I just wonder what he will do in his new church since he has moved his letter. If I were the pastor of the new church, we never would have taken him."

Here is a great idea. Why not SBC provide a database of all SBC Church Members and have a dossier of their activities? So when members who move from Church to Church, all the trouble makers can easily be identified.

I am sure it is lot more palatable than maintaining a database of pastor sexual predators and other sexual predators who are in the leadership.

Stop Baptist Predators: Here's a Baptist database

Stop Baptist Predators: Teeth-grinding over GuideStone

Anonymous said...

Anon,

You are ridiculous to claim the Watchdog has been transparent. HE IS ANONYMOUS!!!

Pam

Anonymous said...

Anon,

You are ridiculous to claim the Watchdog has been transparent. HE IS ANONYMOUS!!!

Pam

Wade Burleson said...

I am amazed a the number of anonymous commentators anonymously criticizing the anononymous Watchdog. Please.

At least Joe and John have signed their name to their criticism, as have I to my criticism of abuse of authority.

I have left my cell phone number with Mack's personal secretary and look forward to his return call. My next post will be about how a large church should handle a disgruntled church member - a member by the way who is not anonymous to the people of FBC Jacksonville, but remains anonymous on the internet to keep his name out of the spotlight.

Blessings to all, including you anonymous commenters!

:)

Alan Paul said...

Wade- Sorry to see you are allowing anons on your blog again...

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Paul,

I've decided that I will take the opposite approach of those who shut down comments and open my comment section up even more.

Two things occur when people post anonymously. Either they ask good questions that deserve an answer, which I will give, or they attack my character and person, to which I will not respond - nor delete.

One of these days Southern Baptists will learn that both types of anonymous comments only enhance credibility, not diminishes it.


Blessings,

wade

Darby Livingston said...

Really anonymous comments can be just as truthful as non-anonymous ones. They're just more annoying as well. I wonder if the hand in Daniel 5 left a signature. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Darby,

I never thought about the handwriting on the wall. Was it an angel? Was it God the Father? Was it the pre-incarnate Son of God?

No signature, but the message was loud and clear: mene, mene tekel upharsin - God has numbered your days and found you wanting, your kingdom is taken from you.

The message, though the author is unknown, is the focus. I have discovered that when the message is uncomfortable, the recepient attacks the author, known or unkown.

We should be asking about the message. Is it true?

Anonymous said...

The problem now isn't the FBC Jax Watchdog. The problem now is how this situation is being handled by FBC Jax. And if false allegations are involved, this isn't going to be good. For the CHURCH.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wade,

Amen! Many of you guys just want to shoot the messenger. Instead of calling the Watchdog a "coward," why not ask yourselves if the things he's written ring true? He's backed up his accusations with documentation and audio and video of Mac in his own words.

The facts are the facts regardless of who's revealing the facts. I seriously doubt the same people who are hurling the "coward" accusation would be any more inclined to take the Watchdog seriously if he did sign his name. You seem to be of the "touch not mine anointed" camp. In the words of Anon 10:01, "Grow up and discuss the issues."

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wade,

I hope I'm wrong, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Mac (not Mack) Brunson to return your phone call. He won't even answer signed e-mails and letters from members of his own congregation.

Anonymous said...

All of this talk about anonymity has got me thinking. The term “coward” is sure getting thrown around a lot, and that is unfortunate. I wonder if anyone here has ever read or heard about the Marprelate tracts? They were written by (anonymous) Puritans in 1588-89 criticizing the abuses of Anglican bishops and clergy. They knew the consequences if they were discovered, but they could not remain silent. In fact, two men (both ministers) died (1 executed, 1 died in prison) because they were linked to the printing of the tracts. The printer, Waldegrave, had his press confiscated and was financially ruined. It is debatable whether or not the authors were ever really discovered. When the Anglican Star Chamber issued an edict in 1586 declaring that the Anglican church had the power to license and/or forbid all printing in the country, these men knew that they must speak out, but they didn’t necessarily want to die for it. After all, when a “trouble-maker” is discovered and dealt with (i.e. ruined by those in power that he critiques), then the criticism is silenced and people remain in the dark about the issues. Please note, there’s a stark difference between a willingness to die for the testimony of the gospel, which I would do, and a willingness to die criticizing an institution. Most of us would rather live and go on criticizing the institution, seeking to make reform than to die and have our voices for reform snuffed out. I love the SBC and want to see it reformed for instance, but I will not die for it. That’s a privilege reserved only for my sweet Savior and family.

Add to that list of contemptible cowards names like John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, men who published anonymously (OK…they used the pseudonym Publius) the Federalist Papers, called by many the most important political documents outside the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in our nation’s history. Cowards they were… discard their ideas.

Also add to the mix more contemptible cowards like Thomas Paine (Common Sense was anonymous upon publication) and the dozens and dozens of revolutionary war era and anti-slavery tracts published anonymously (see Gutenberg.org for a list). Also discredit the information of historical figures like the anonymous (until his death) “Deep-throat” who let the nation in on major political scandal and corruption in Washington D.C. Guess he was a coward too. Also there have been numerous corporate whistleblowers who have anonymously helped bring justice to out-of-control corrupt companies. Cowards each one...

Incidentally, just this morning in the latest issue of Discipleship Journal, I read a touching testimony about a man ministering to his son in the midst of a drunk-driving incident. The article was signed “Clive Wellington” with the note that this was a pseudonym for an unknown author, probably in order to protect the reputation of his son and his son’s ability to heal and move on with life. I should have been enraged by the article, questioned its truthfulness, and immediately ripped it out of DJ, calling upon them to either print the name or retract the story! Puhleeaze!

A few years ago, I attended a Voice of the Martyrs event where a former Pakistani Muslim who was now a Christian spoke against the evils of Islam. He had to travel, write, and speak under a made-up name to protect himself and his family. I guess without knowing his real name, I should be suspect about his claims. I cannot call his Imam in Pakistan and verify his claims, so he should be discredited…right?

Basically, the history of anonymity in writing is long and rich. Usually (almost always) anonymous writing is done by those NOT in power rightly criticizing those IN POWER who are in a position to shut-up and shut-down the anonymous source, thus putting an end to the public’s knowledge of the corruption. Those of you who are so quick to call others cowards can do so precisely because you support those in power or have nothing to lose (i.e. you’re not in ministry at a SB church or institution!). It’s OK to put your name on your criticism of Wade or Watchdog, because if some of the “higher-ups” look you up or run into you at the state or national convention (and believe me, they do!), they’ll thank you and pat your back! NOT take you to task or blacklist you like they have others!

I personally know a student at one of our seminaries working on his dissertation who was told (off the record) by more than one prof that he had better stay away from blogging or commenting or signing his name to anything critical that could be used later against him if he hoped to have a future at all in the SBC! At times, he has been scared of being kicked out of his program because of being critical of leaders, pastors, etc… during open discussions. Now he just sits quietly and withholds any criticism until he graduates.

Wade is in a unique situation…and I thank God for him. He has the strong support of his congregation and the knowledge that he will continue to be employed in the face of what he writes. They know and trust his character and integrity because of many years of ministry. He knows he will not lose his job by speaking out. He also knows (from experience) that he is not on anyone in the SBC’s list of “up and comers” for future leadership in SBC life. He walked those halls for a while and found out what happens when you refuse to “play the game.”

Many others are not in the same position, and thus, remain anonymous. In itself, that is no reason to discard what they write. Staffers at a mega-church led by a superstar are powerless. Speak out and lose your job, plain and simple. Lose your benefits, pack your bags, and plan to relocate…IF you can find anyone else to employ you after being fired by one of “the boys.” Likewise with seminary employees, agency employees, etc… SBC life is a very small, tight-knit community with lots of nepotism and inside-talk. Many of the mega-church leaders and inner-circle guys preach for each other regularly, defend one another publicly, speak at all the seminary chapels, serve on the same boards, room their kids together at the same schools, and on and on it goes. If you are critical and you make yourself known publicly, you will be shut out from future impact in the SBC.

Those of you who want to throw the term “coward” around, open your eyes to the reality of what’s happening. Look at what happened to Wade. Read the reports at fbcjaxwatchdog. Look at the facts. This man (whoever he is) was a loyal member of the church for MANY years under Lindsey/ Vines; why would he just “snap” when Dr. Brunson came on board? Could there be some substance to his accusations? You’ll never know because you don’t want to.

If you don’t want to believe what an anonymous author is saying, it wouldn’t matter if there was a name attached to it or not. Even if their identity was known, you still wouldn’t believe it. If there’s truth to what they are saying, then who cares if you know their name or not? Will those being criticized answer the criticisms with substance? I hope Dr. Brunson calls Wade back and clears the air, but I don’t foresee that happening.

It’s easy to sit on the winning side and take pot-shots at the whistle-blowers. It’s easy to call them cowards and discredit their work so readily. It’s much tougher to admit that these MIGHT just be honest Christian people telling the truth. It’s much tougher for many in the SBC today to admit that their heroes might be flawed.

Still anonymous…

Anonymous said...

Concerning calling people liberal:

The last two elections for the U.S. Senate in Oklahoma seem to prove that all you have to defeat a candidate is to call them a liberal enough times and they will be defeated.

Same with the SBC.

If Jesus and Satan were running for office in Oklahoma (possibly in the SBC as well?) would Satan win if he called Jesus a liberal, (which He - Jesus - is)? At least He certainly was by the standards of first century Judaism.

Susie

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 3:24,

Well put. Thank you!

Dr. Phil said...

Pastor Burleson, for no reason you have once again deleted my comment regarding Mr. Bumpkin's mental instability. It's just as well, he has since removed the bizarre self-made videos that reveal his psychological condition. However, my intelligent and beautiful assistant has found this ancient self-made video Mr. Bumpkin posted of himself as a child.

Chris Ryan said...

Dr. Phil,

This really isn't necessary, and is entirely unbecoming.

No we don't all agree, but if we are going to ask for them to disagree in grace, we should practice a little grace of our own.

Doug Mize said...

I don't think anyone can biblically defend anyone who opens one of these anti-church, anti-leadership websites like the one at JAX. I don't know what Mac will do with this upcoming phone call but most pastors would not appreciate another pastor contacting our disgruntled church members who run anti-church websites promoting dissention, and then post the material for all the world to see. I may speak with them but only to instruct the wayward pastor in Prov. 26:17,
"Like one who takes a dog by the ears, is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him."

We all have a stake in sharing and standing on the Gospel. We must grab that dogs' ear any day. Yet too many of us get to easily side-tracked by grabbing at things we should avoid. I too have been guilty of that and been bitten.

We can do better than this for the Kingdom of our Savior.

Sam said...

Doug,

Hopefully, you as a young 38 year old pastor who identifies with Baptification and has two beautiful kids will see the value of leading a church with a spirit of love, gentleness and openness. It's not about protecting turf. It's about helping the kingdom be more Christ like.

Greg Alford said...

Concerning First BAPTIST Church Jacksonville…

The Watchdog is most concerned with what he believes to be an intentional and radical change to the church bylaws which hands authority to a select group of trustees appointed by the pastor rather than the congregation as a whole.

I admit that I know absolutely nothing of the current leadership of FBC-Jax, however if my memory is correct their former pastor the infamous Anti-Calvinist Jerry Vines, along with speaking out against the growing influence of Calvinism in the SBC, has also spoken out against the growing trend of younger SBC pastors and their churches adopting an Elder lead polity.

As someone who has taken a lot of flack over the years for leading my church to adopt an Eldership polity, I must admit that when I read that FBC-Jax has now given their new pastor power to appoint the trustees of the Church I just laughed. I guess Dr. Vines need not worry about FBC-Jax ever adopting an Eldership… they have rejected Congregational and Eldership polity in favor of an outright “Dictatorship”.

I wonder what Dr. John Sullivan the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, also an outspoken critic of Eldership, thinks of this new direction that FBC Jacksonville is heading? With the amount of money that FBC-Jax gives to the Florida Baptist Convention each year, I am predicting that we will hear crickets coming from his office on this one.

Laughing in Florida…

Grace Always,

New BBC Open Forum said...

Dr. Phil,

I don't intend this to be mean-spirited so please don't take it that way, but all I could think of when I watched that video was this.

Anonymous said...

Greg - excellent commentary. I too have wondered what John Sullivan thinks about all this. Of course he won't say anything. Perhaps he might pick up the phone and call this accused brother and apologize to the man's wife on behalf of the State convention.

Anyway, A.C. Soud and Mac Brunson are Hypocrites! Why do I say that? Because they did not, or could not, even mention the man's name in the church service (for whatever reasons), yet they DID tell the deacons his name and the deacons promptly spread the word and one man even called the accused's new church! Outrageous. They knew it was not wise to slander him from the pulpit, but they allowed their deacons and trustees to do so privately.

Too bad that as far as we know, NOT ONE deacon has called the accused to get his side of the story. And you wonder why we call those guys Kool-Aid drinkers. Not one to call him and say hey, friend/brother, is this true? "What are your responses to these charges?" No, not one.

But the Bible says, "there are NONE righteous, no NOT ONE!" Prophetic about FBC Jax staff, deacons and trustees. I didn't say it, the Bible did! Take it up with the book! (stomp)(amen myself)(take off glasses and glare)

So far the only man to call the Watchdog (same as accused or not?) was Wade Burleson. Again, Wade shows class and integrity lacking in so many others that criticize him.

Thy Peace said...

I wonder what Dr. John Sullivan the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, also an outspoken critic of Eldership, thinks of this new direction that FBC Jacksonville is heading? With the amount of money that FBC-Jax gives to the Florida Baptist Convention each year, I am predicting that we will hear crickets coming from his office on this one.

Dr. John Sullivan is a member of Fbc Jax.

Thy Peace said...

Fbc Jax Watchdog: To What Lengths Will They Go to "Shut You Down"?

Anonymous said...

Wade:

1. I agree with the principle of complete openness with books and information to any member of a church or contributor to a non-profit organization.

2. I have always wondered how "Pastoral Authority" squared with "Democratic Congregationalism." Seems in reality if the pastor can be fired by a vote of the congregation, he really doesn't have authority. This just proves there is no such thing as a perfect system of polity. There are dangers on almost any end of the spectrum.

3. If you asked me to repeat anything that the watchdog said, I couldn't. I have not kept up with this.

4. The only exception to number 3, is that I have heard that First Jacksonville obtained a court order against a man who is barred from coming to court, and that they know who watchdog is. I have asked a friend (who is not a member of FBC Jacksonville) to get me a copy of the order so that I could read it.

5. Last year, I was involved (on the tangents) of a situation in our city. A large SBC church was torn asunder by about 60 members who did not like what was being done. One of the men (a former chair of the deacons) was particularly vociferous and started his own blog.

Essentially, these 60 people said that there were financial improprieties, that they couldn't see records etc.

The 60 members could not carry the day at the church business meetings, so they sued the church. The court dismissed their lawsuit, except for the part about access to records. They got the records. They showed nothing big. The rest of the church was not moved to fire the pastor or the other staff over any revelations.

All the while, some of the 60 members were handing out fliers every Sunday at church detailing what they said were abuses etc.

The pastor left. He has located a new job and is doing well.

The church is not doing well. The 60 members who could not convince the church to vote with them essentially hurt the church that they claimed to love (and I am sure they do love).

Not even the 60 members are happy now, even though they ran the pastor off. The vast majority who backed the pastor are leaving, too, because they don't want to be in a church that is so divisive and has such divisive people.

6. So, what's a member to do who fails at waking his fellow members to what he sees as wrongdoing at the church?

7. And, what's a church to do when someone in their midst has vocalized concern to a practice or issue, but did not win the day or persuade enough members to go along with his perspective? What if the member comes to church and hands out flyers each week chronicaling the believed wrongdoing of the pastor and staff? What is the member comes to business meetings and keeps bringing up the issues, and looses the vote? What if the majority of the church just doesn't agree with this guy?

8. These are tough questions, and I am not sure there is a right answer in many cases.

9. In this case, I am interested in reading the court order. I wasn't sure if you were aware of the order or had read it. I was interested in it from a professional standpoint and because the church that I mentioned early on considered getting a similar order.

10. It's easy to say what one would do if in someone else's shoes. If I were in watchdog's shoes, and the church would not hear me, I would either 1) keep attending but try to be a peaceful influence. I would have already expressed my thoughts, and that's all I could do until another vote came along, or 2) I would move on.

It seems that trying to remain and being either a noisy trouble maker (if he's wrong) or a prophet without honor (if he's right) is not really a good option.

The people here seem to have voted with the pastor and against the watchdog.

That is a classic result of democratic congregationalism.



Louis

Anonymous said...

Wade:

Should add - I dislike, extremely, nepotism.

Louis

Thy Peace said...

To What Lengths Will They Go to "Shut You Down"?

To those people at FBC Jax who refuse to read this blog because someone at church has told you that it contains "lies, slander, and innuendo" about the wonderful Mac and Debbie Brunson: if you've never read this blog, or if you know people who refuse to read it, read or send this one article and tell them if they don't read anything else, they should read this article.

After the Deacon's meeting 2/23 and the FBC Jax Mayor A.C. Soud's pious speech Wednesday 2/25, the question on this blog now has become:

To what lengths will Pastors Mac and Debbie Brunson, and their President of the Trustees A.C. Soud go to shut down this blog? To what lengths will they intimidate, or even slander a person, to get them to shut this blog down?

Whatever you think of this Watchdog blog, this blogger has a legal right to own and operate a blog site that offers opinions and analysis, and even parody, of Donald M. Brunson and the goings on at First Baptist Church. If there is slander that has occured on this blog, then by all means get a court order and force the Watchdog to remove it.

But the Watchdog has a right to own and operate this blog. Yes, a legal right. Just like Mac does to stand in his pulpit and preach without threat of someone trying to shut him down or shut him up, so does this blogger have a right to blog. You have a right to read it or ignore it. Many thousands of people have chosen to read it, even though its an anonymous source. And this bugs Mac, Debbie, and A.C. They're used to controlling the messages. They hire consultants in Nahsville to carefully craft the marketing messages that go out to the masses. But they can't control this blog. They don't want people to read it. A.C. Soud apparently views this blog as an "attack on the church of the Lord Jesus Christ", and of course if this blog is doing that, then who could argue with the most noble cause of shutting it down by all means necessary to defend Jesus Christ.

I'll put it this way, to use a Mac-ism: "The last time I checked, the Federal Government says I have a right to own and operate a website, even if it is critical of Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church." (Click here to hear Mac's version)

Its time for the good people at FBC Jax to consider what is being done by the leadership of our church in response to this blog. How are they going to deal with it? Will they be more open and transparent? Maybe address some of the valid issues raised here? Or is the Brunson Doctrine: "Shut 'em Down" at all costs?

Well, sad to say, the reports are swirling that the FBC Jacksonville deacons were told Monday night 2/23 that the person who has been accused of owning this blog - the man that A.C. "Anti-Criticism" Soud was piously denouncing in his edict last Wednesday - was accused in the meeting of:

- stalking or photographing or filming Mrs. Brunson while she was jogging;

- stealing, or reading the Brunson's mail or email; and

- and that the church obtained a court order from a judge to allow them to force Google and/or Comcast to tell them the name of the owner/administrator of this blog.

If it is true that the Deacons were told this about the accused, and if its true that a court order was obtained to find the identity of the Watchdog, there is a major issue brewing at FBC Jax that's about to get very ugly. And possibly public.

The man accused of owning the blog has never stalked or photographed or violated the Brunson's privacy in steaing their mail or email...PERIOD...and those of you who know this man's identity should know better than to believe such absolute rubbish. And if any of you believed that information as a basis for signing trespass papers without demanding any proof or explanation, SHAME ON YOU. You've drunk the Kool Aid if that is the case, and you need to open your eyes. And if this lie was spread to the deacons and then to the church members and to the new member's church to harm him and his family, well, one can only imagine where that will wind up....especially considering the accused told John Blount very clearly on February 13th for him and the discipline committee to leave him alone.

Even if you think the Watchdog to be a wicked fool, surely it must bother you that your church leadership is involved in getting court orders from a judge to find out the identity of a blog that they don't like. If we're Theology Driven, where in scripture does it say that is a tact to take? Or trespass papers? If the person who was obtaining this court order from a judge was given emails and IP addresses from Google concerning this blog site, then perhaps he also forced Google to give him IP addresses of those of you who have POSTED things that he thinks are "unjust criticism". Maybe they want to know who posted certain anonymous posts, and they'll come after YOU and put the fear of God in you!

The accused has reached out to several deacons for the purpose of finding out FIRST HAND what was said about him in the Deacons meeting, and what was said about what lengths the church went to find the blogger's identity...but nothing. They won't talk to him and tell him. Since the November 28th letter was delivered to the accused, he has asked on numerous occasions: WHAT IS THE BASIS OF THE ALLEGATIONS. They won't tell the accused, but apparently they told the deacons. And the deacons won't tell the accused. That would be "gossip" I suppose. In the name of the "church of the Lord Jesus Christ", don't tell the man what the accusations were against him!

The name of the accused is out - those of you who WERE at the deacon's meeting, or the wive's or close friends of deacons - you know the man's name. Would there be any of you who would have the integrity to tell the accused exactly what was said about him and stalking and stealing mail, and what the basis of the allegations were? You can find the accused's phone number very easily.

Give him a call.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to see that "one of our own" has caught the eye of wade. "Still Anon" we are so proud of you! Keep it it!

Anonymous and proud of it.

PS: Hi Alan Paul :-)

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax is a church run by committees and I'm sure they are well aware of the many things that the Watchdog brings up. Obviously they have approved and that is their right.

I have a feeling that the WD is a guy over 50 who is disgruntled because he's not the one in authority and making key decisions. I am not a fan of Mac Brunson but FBC Jax belongs to those who are members and they can decide to do whatever they please. And in this instance, they decided to proceed on without the Watchdog.

As a pastor, I applaud their taking steps to have the WD removed from membership after all the vicious things he has said and his encouraging members of the church not to tithe. Please don't insult our intelligence by saying that WD is just a member with concerns. Read his blog and you will soon discover the truth about him and his tactics.

The only problem is that you won't know his name since he won't post it.

I also find it interesting that the malcontents in Memphis are quick to jump on WD's bandwagon. Seems to me like "birds of a feather, flock together."

Anonymous said...

Wade:

Also, kudos for a secret ballot vote. The only way to go.

It allows people to vote their consciences without enhancing divisiveness in the congregation.

On calling the Pastor at FBC in Jax, I understand your desire to do so - to get both sides.

But another commenter got it right. I don't think that if I were Dr. Brunson or the leadership at FBC that I would be making statements to other pastors about this situation, especially if the courts have been involved.

Someone commented on the potential impropriety of the church finding out who the watchdog is.

Again, let me start off by saying that I know precious little about this case.

I have heard that a court order was obtained against the watchdog that bars him from the church. I really don't know that to be true.

However, if the church did anything wrong here, in obtaining a subpoena or obtaining an order, that would have been and still could be brought to the court's attention, and it could be a basis of liability.

That's why I doubt that anything actionable was done.

Louis

Anonymous said...

You can be sure that FBC Jax has enough lawyers in their membership that they knew the legal grounds they were walking upon.

You will never know if the church served the Watchdog with those papers since he isn't man enough to state who he actually is.

Anonymous said...

I am going to write this anon. call me a coward, but FIRST, go walk where I have.

Is the undercover drug agent a coward?

Is the undercover secret spy who helped stop the war a coward?

Was the french underground a coward?

Is the man who has been undercover in a drug kingpens group for years a coward?

are police informants considered cowards when they help stop crimes or help find a missing child?

THE COWARDS ARE THE POWER BROKERS WHO RUIN LIVES AND DESTROY ALL WHO WOULD CHALLENGE THEM.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I am nearly always a supporter of you and your causes but in the case of the Watchdog you have lost me. I find it hard to believe that you could discern in a hour long phone conversation that he and his family love the Kingdom and their church when you can also read all the things he has done to tear it apart.

I have a feeling you will get a very chilly response from Mac Brunson (if you ever do get to talk to him) after he reads your comments in today's posts.

And I can't say that I blame Mac one bit.

gereja said...

I think SBC tradition gives too much power too a handful of people an some popes--and this special group of people appoint each other and the constituencies just amening the appointments. Just look at the seminaries' chapel schedule and you will see the same guys are rotating around filling pulpits and positions. This looks like Illinois' dirty politics; except sanctified by citing Scripture. It stinketh.

Lu Mo Nyet

Anonymous said...

Wade said:
Don't they know that their hardball tactics only LEGITIMIZE what is being written?

I see no one has written about this statement. From someone who new Mac in his first Church (SNBC) after graduating from seminary. I can not understand why he has not meet with WD personally with out any one knowing, before this thing got out of hand. To at lease try to work out his problem with Mac leadership. If you are not guilty of what he has charged you with Mac? The best way to fix this problem at the beginning was to ignore WD. Let him enjoys writing about you. Art, The Old Gray Fox.

Lydia said...

"Anyway, A.C. Soud and Mac Brunson are Hypocrites! Why do I say that? Because they did not, or could not, even mention the man's name in the church service (for whatever reasons), yet they DID tell the deacons his name and the deacons promptly spread the word and one man even called the accused's new church! Outrageous. They knew it was not wise to slander him from the pulpit, but they allowed their deacons and trustees to do so privately. "

How can the church vote to discipline an anonymous person?Did they just decide that whatevr the leadership told them was true? Was it cowardly to have this vote against a no name? Seems strange. Folks are outraged at WD but not the leaders. What could be their reason for not releasing his name if they are so right?

And, It was not a secret vote but they were asked to stand and then no one asked if there were any opposed. There was no discussion from the other side. It was a star chamber or kangeroo court.

I cannot imagine how people think Matthew 18 would work in this instance. We are not talking about personal offenses just between brothers. We are talking more about wolves and hirlings. WD was making the impropriaties known.

My question is why didn't they just ignore the blog?

Anonymous said...

Just to ask,
do Debbie and Mac live like grand-poobahs the same way PP and Dorothy do? Lavish home, luxuries, huge salary (no questions tolerated)?

I know that Debbie is an
"employee' and draws a salary, but is it known how much?

Curious

Lydia said...

"I personally know a student at one of our seminaries working on his dissertation who was told (off the record) by more than one prof that he had better stay away from blogging or commenting or signing his name to anything critical that could be used later against him if he hoped to have a future at all in the SBC! At times, he has been scared of being kicked out of his program because of being critical of leaders, pastors, etc… during open discussions. Now he just sits quietly and withholds any criticism until he graduates."

And this is why it works so well. AFter a while...oh about 30 years...No one will tell the emperors they are naked.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"FBC Jax is a church run by committees.... "

Don't kid yourself. It's my understanding their finance committee was disbanded with the covert bylaw changes over a year ago. All the "power" in that church is held by the pastor and a handful of rich, elite trustees. Other committees may have been disbanded as well. Watchdog or someone else at FBC Jax is in a better position to speak to that than I, but FBC Jax is NOT a church run by committees. It's a church run by a dictator and his yes-men.

"I also find it interesting that the malcontents in Memphis are quick to jump on WD's bandwagon. Seems to me like 'birds of a feather, flock together.'"

Thank you. I'll take that as a compliment although I know that's not how you meant it. It's more like WD jumped on our bandwagon since Bellevue is about a year ahead of FBC Jax in this process, but I have to admit Steve Gaines is bush league compared to Mac Brunson. Steve could take lessons from Mac. Kudos to Watchdog for shining the light on Brunson's abuses. Someone needs to.

it is written said...

I as a Pastor support WD's cause....Many of the Pastor's blogging here in support of Mac and on WD'S site are probably much like Brunson....NO Pastor is above being challenged if there appears to be legitimate improprieties...Darrell Gilyard was one inwhich many of the same comment defending Brunson were used to defend that deviant.."If you don't like it move to another chruch" take!!!If Dr.Dog is wrong then Pope Mac should prove him wrong!!!I personally am tired of Pastor's hiding behind some believed idea that they can't be challenged because they supposely have some vision of the direction the church should go given by God(How about sticking to the Great Commission)...Absolute power corrupts one absolutely...In my humble opinion Mac has serious character and otherwise issue's..

Anonymous said...

ANDREW wrote this:

"By the way, anonymous slander, compounded by the fact it is against an elder, is unbiblical. The Bible has guidelines for how these things should be handled."


Yes, Andrew, the Bible says not to fear 'reproach' BUT ONLY IF YOU KNOW RIGHTEOUSNESS AND GOD's LAW IS IN YOUR HEART.

So, Andrew, WHY are Mac and Debbie and the good judge Soud reacting to what THEY SAY is 'slander'?

The fact that they are reacting is a give-away that they are very fearful of being brought out into the light for examination.
This begs the question: 'what do they have to hide?' ???????????



"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
--Isaiah 51:7, 8

P.S. Churches are such wonderful perfect places, until 'people' join them. Then, churches are
'perfect' anymore. Ever wonder why?

Anonymous said...

correction: Then churches AREN'T perfect anymore.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Last year, I was involved (on the tangents) of a situation in our city. A large SBC church was torn asunder by about 60 members who did not like what was being done."

Unless I'm mistaken, Louis is referring to the Two Rivers Baptist situation involving Jerry Sutton. The so-called malcontents' website is now "inactive," but you can still find plenty of information on Google. Don't just take Louis's word for it.

When the court order was issued for Two Rivers to provide financial records to the members, instead of complying they rushed to destroy the records. How do we know this? Some of the members went dumpster diving behind the church and found them! I wondered at the time why the court didn't find the church in contempt. As I've said before, these guys can be pretty clever, but they're not very bright. If you're going to destroy records, don't just drop them in the dumpster. Take them somewhere off site and shred them! Actually they said they found some very interesting things in those records, things I would hardly classify as "nothing big."

To say that these 60-something people destroyed Two Rivers is like saying the Watchdog is destroying FBC Jax or that I'm destroying Bellevue. Please... you give us malcontents way too much credit! When will you guys wake up and realize it's abusive, self-appointed, dictatorial pastor-popes who are destroying these churches? I'm not saying church members are perfect. And no church or pastor is perfect either. We're not living in La La Land. There are some legitimate troublemakers in many churches, people whose only goal seems to be stirring up trouble just for the heck of it, but don't lump people genuinely concerned about their churches asking legitimate questions in with the professional malcontents.

If pastors would be humble, loving, accessible servant/shepherds to their flocks instead of hijacking existing churches and setting themselves up as little kings and insulating themselves with a tight circle of rich, powerful yes-men, there wouldn't be nearly as many "malcontents" to deal with, and the bloggers wouldn't need a platform. I think you pastor types who call the Watchdog a "coward" and "a cancer on the church" (feel the love!) and criticize him so loudly need to take a long, hard look in the mirror because I think a lot of this stuff is making you squirm.

Thy Peace said...

Two Rivers Baptist Church - Lessons for FBC Jax?

Sutton Ousted at Two Rivers: Lessons for Brunson and FBC Jax - Part 1

Thy Peace said...

Anonymous said...
WD, I just have one question. In your opionon is there anything good or positive that Mac has done for FBJC?

DECEMBER 26, 2008 3:40 AM
-----------------------------------
FBC Jax Watchdog said...
Anon - absolutely there is. the watchdog has given at least one list somewhere on this blog, I believe it was this past summer...here's a quick list of positives about Mac Brunson, good things he's done:

1. Hired Jim Whitmire

2. Increasing our focus on world missions

3. Overall some changes in the worship music have been very positive

4. Made good hires on other new young ministers on staff

5. Is by all appearances a wonderful father and husband, and he and his wife have raised three great kids.

6. Is also a wonderful son who loves and cares for his parents and siblings

7. He's not a "pretty boy", effeminate preacher. He's not concerned with his outward appearance like so many preachers who gel their hair, wear fake fingernail polish and seem to be pre-occupied with their looks. I like this about Mac very much.

8. Despite what some bloggers have expressed here, I believe Mac is a genuine bible-believing preacher, that he believes the entire bible. I believe he has allowed those around him to get him off focus.

9. Mac is not afraid to tackle very tough social issues. He was outspoken on the marriage amendment, on abortion, and other issues. He gave I think one of the best sermons I've heard on the topic of homosexuality this past summer and watchdog said so at the time. It was Mac at his best.

10. As he said on Christmas Eve, his decision to have an annual Christmas Eve service is excellent. Good move.

11. Mac has not even a hint of any sexual scandal anywhere in his past and has very high morals in this regard in his personal life.

12. He has challenged our church to consider a school - that is a good thing. WD has taken issue with the methods he used to accomplish it, and the reasons given for the school have been bogus. WD doesn't believe it the best use of our funds to reach our community as Mac says, and WD doesn't think it a NECESSITY in order to reach our community as Mac has proclaimed in selling it to his congregation. Not that we shouldn't do it, but it should be a decision made by the church if its to be done. And how does our church decide to do new projects that require capital? RAISE THE MONEY, not TAKE THE MONEY.

13. Mac has NOT taken us full blown toward the "7-11" worship music like many mega SBC churches have gone. Jim Whitmire has introduced our church to a wide array of Christian music, while keeping many of our traditional hymns.

There are others that I could think of.

For all of his good, there are just two PRIMARY things that keep him from being the leader he could be: 1. His pride; and 2. His trust of people around him that are making VERY bad decisions on his behalf and that have convinced him of how change must be implemented.

DECEMBER 26, 2008 8:35 AM
-----------------------------------

Anonymous said...

Even if what the Watchdog is saying is true he is handling the situation unbiblically.

How do people not see that? I am not saying he has no valid points, but Scripture clearly lays out how to handle this type of situation.


Kevin

Christiane said...

quoted from 'The Great Mysteries' by Andrew Greeley:

"They (the followers of Christ) sometimes allowed the degeneration of local communities, ceaselessly fighting among themselves and
excommunicating (denying communion with) one another at the drop of a particle. They have sometimes taken away the legitimate independence of the local assembly and tried to reshape the Church on the model of a midieval monarchy, a Renaissance absolutist state, or a modern corporation. They have sometimes tried to impose an oppressive uniformity that denied the rightful variety of the human condition. They have often fallen victim to internal quarreling that occupied almost all of their time and energy."
(pp. 91, 92)


And all of this in a attempt to, as human beings, perfect the 'church' as a human structure, all the while forgetting that, in our humanity, perfection is not to be had.

So we struggle, and ultimately learn, that it is only through the mystery of Christ, who came to teach about God's unifying love, that the Church can exist as it was meant to be.

We must begin to accept one another: all being different,
yet each one indispensable;
each one needed and important.


Goodness, think about little Bella and great big Tara, joined by a unifying love and trust, in spite of their differences;
or maybe joined in love and trust BECAUSE of their mutual need to care and be cared for.
This is a great and beautiful mystery. L's

Anonymous said...

Reasons churches cannot reach the people they want to reach OR keep the people they do reach:

1. Normal attrition/migration in the city (the population of the community moving in/out of the city, and between neighborhoods in the city);
2. Low quality ministries (have the ministries--but the quality is low, possibly because have too many ministries rather than only the ones which result in lost people getting saved and/or saved people getting on-mission with God);
3. Unresolved issues within the body (even the core group of the congregation finally will throw-up its hands in disgust and go to find/start another church where peace can prevail).

Any senior pastor with years of experience who doesn't realize the three above are true--and doesn't conduct his ministry accordingly--is not a thinking pastor (but maybe a bull in a china closet)!

It's PERFECTLY alright for believers to point out the failings of other believers--we simply have to be ready to be judged the same way (Matthew 7). We must be the brother in the Lord who can give correction graciously (Galatians 6), AND the brother who will receive the correction well. NO CHRISTIAN HAS ARRIVED YET, even if he's pastoring a church as big as Wade's or one in Jacksonville.

Oh, God: please help us all to grow up! Amen.

Anonymous said...

Even grown-ups still need their Father. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd "had it up to here" with one senior pastor with whom I served. When the "straw that broke the camel's back" situation occurred, I went to talk to the chairman of the church's personnel committee--so he'd know why the senior pastor was coming to him in a few days to ask for me to be fired after I griped him out good! The chairman spent the entire following night in prayer, then coordinated an appropriate correction which included the personnel committee and the deacon body. The senior pastor was told without question how he would conduct his ministry--but chose not to do so, was approached later by deacons representing their entire group, and the pastor resigned to assume leadership of a church in another state. The other ministers of the church and I honestly tried to assist the senior pastor serve better, as the congregation rightly desired; he wouldn't get on board. The man holds a PhD from an SBC seminary and is a likeable, intelligent guy; it did the congregation little good day-to-day, however.

Can senior pastors be wrong? Absolutely (I used to be one--and I know from experience)! Can their fellow ministers call-it on them when the senior pastor is wrong? Again, absolutely--and if they have any integrity as Christian men, they will for the sake of the body and its ministry to the community. Should a matter ever be permitted to get that far? Absolutely NOT--but maturity (spiritual AND emotional) is required.

I agree: no one "has arrived" until the Lord Jesus comes for us. Everyone reading here, please learn a lesson: we need each other to be better, like iron sharpening iron--though, if the iron could speak, it'd probably cry "Ouch!" sometimes. Let's indeed grow up, people.

Anonymous said...

People need to repent of 'PRIDE'.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, anonymous slander, compounded by the fact it is against an elder, is unbiblical. The Bible has guidelines for how these things should be handled."

This is great news! Now, I just have to get the title of elder given to me by some mere men and no one can touch me unless three courageous souls are willing to be ruined first! Folks will believe me over them because I have a title and lots of important folks will back me! Yeeeeeeehah! This ministry gig is great...

Lydia said...

"I am not saying he has no valid points, but Scripture clearly lays out how to handle this type of situation."

Exactly like this:

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.


written in a letter for all to read for 2000 years.

Anonymous said...

I know that this off topic but: Feed the Children is a ONE BILLION DOLLAR ngo. i think the IMB is at 1/3 of that in total budget. can you imagine what God could do through the IMB with ONE BILLION DOLLARS?

sad to hear about this situation with church leaders.

Anonymous said...

REFLECTIONS FOR LENT

God of the day and of the night,
in me there is darkness,
but with you there is light.

I am alone,
but you will not leave me.

I am weak,
but you will come to my help.

I am restless,
but you are my peace.

I am in haste,
but you are
the God of infinite patience.

I am confused and lost,
but you are eternal wisdom
and you direct my path;
now and for ever. Amen

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945

Anonymous said...

LENTEN REFLECTIONS:
from Genesis 22

6
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
7
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. "Father!" he said. "Yes, son," he replied. Isaac continued, "Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?"
8
"Son," Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust." Then the two continued going forward.
9
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
10
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
11
But the LORD'S messenger called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.
12
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."
13
As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
14
3 Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, "On the mountain the LORD will see."
15
Again the LORD'S messenger called to Abraham from heaven
16
and said: "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son,
17
I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies,
18
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing--all this because you obeyed my command.''

Anonymous said...

A former staff member at Emmanuel told a friend who told me that the ushers dump the offerings each Sunday into a duffle bag belonging to the Burleson's. They decide what money is distributed where. He also has 2 Mercedes Benz automobiles, matching Harley Davidsons, and a private jet. Sound ridiculous? Of course it is! Same goes for the accusations against the IMB, the Pattersons, the Brunsons, and whomever is next. What happened to contacting the accused BEFORE posting information on your blog? Guess your version of the Bible doesn't contain Matthew 18. Come on, Brother, people deserve better than this.

MIKE

Anonymous said...

"Guess your version of the Bible doesn't contain Matthew 18. Come on, Brother, people deserve better than this."

Where does scripture teach us to use Matt 18 on a wolf? YOu do not use Matt 18 on a wolf or a hirling. You expose them.

Mac did not personally offend WD. WD was making facts known about a wolf. Did Mac take the 300,000 land gift? Did he change the bylaws? Where ARE the bylaws? How come the pew sitter cannot see them? Did he hire his son? His wife? Why are salaries a big secret? Is he marketing Jesus for a profit?

The sheeple can decide and they did. They like the wolf. Some people think majorities are always right. But scripture teaches different.

This is Matt 18 stuff? Perhaps you need to go back and study more...in context. Start at the BEGINNING of Matthew 18 to get a better idea of what Jesus is teaching there.

Matt

oc said...

Mike, maybe YOU should do some research before making the holy pronouncement. Whose version of the Bible doesn't include Matthew 18?

oc said...

PS. God not only gave us all the Bible, he also gave us common sense to use it in the proper contexts. If we will do so.

Anonymous said...

I was addressing the fact that Wade makes accusations and claims to have sources yet we never see hard facts in any form or any names (not that there always have to be). He spews venom about others and then adds the little line, I have a call into them and haven't heard back from them yet. My point is if you're going to publish accusations like these and all the others, get your facts straight, contact the accused, ask them for their side, get actual, factual evidence then post and post the evidence with it. Anyone that knows understands he has a vendetta out for Patterson and just for kicks in the mean time has decided to start on Brunson. He did the same thing at the IMB, which is why he is no longer there. If there are problems, illegal, immoral, etc, then by all means SB's need to know and let's deal with them. But this 7th grade stuff--my buddy told me about a girl that does whatever... come on, that's so junior high. Can we graduate to a higher level?

MIKE

Anonymous said...

oc,

Where does it say in your Bible to expose a wolf or a hireling and if that's what your version reads, where does it say to take information anonymously. Mine says "don't receive an accuasation against an elder unless you have 2 or more witnesses." I'm pretty sure posting it anonymously on a blog isn't dealing with the problem. Why can't people be men and go see the person and get the facts straight? That's the point.

MIKE

New BBC Open Forum said...

I know someone who's good friends with the brother-in-law of Wade's personal pastry chef. He said it's just an itty bitty duffel bag and assured me Wade's got only one Mercedes and one Harley Davidson. The other Harley belongs to Wade's wife.

New BBC Open Forum said...

MIKE,

See Matt's 11:50 p.m. comment. Besides, it seems to me there have been thousands of witnesses of "Elder" Mac's transgressions. Apparently you haven't been reading much about the FBC Jax situation, but if you had you would know that Mac does not respond to members' e-mails or letters, even when they're signed. He doesn't return phone calls either, does he, Wade? (I still hope I'm wrong about that.)

Bob Cleveland said...

MIKE,

A clue:

When you say Wade "spews venom", you destroy any chance you have of credibility.

oc said...

Mike,
This isn't about Wade. If you would care to do the research, you might find that the facts about Brunson may outway your dislike for Wade and your assumptions concerning his intentions. That way you might just be able to get beyond your emotion and give any evidence a just hearing. Just a thought.

oc.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I don't know you and have never heard of you. I'm sure you are a wonderful person and please don't take this the wrong way but I wasn't looking for your "crediblity" approval. I'm not the one with the burden of proof here. I'm not the one making accusations. I'm giving my opinion.

OC,

I'm sure I don't know as much as you about the Brunson situtation. That isn't the point. I don't dislike Wade or have any emotional feeling for him one way or the other. I don't know him, haven't spoken to him or met him. The point is he reports rumors as facts with no support or basis and posts it as fact with no regard for the person accused. As I stated before, if Dr. Patterson has committed illegal acts or wasted SB money then let's see it and deal with it. He's a different story, he answers to us, the SB people. Mac Brunson answers to his church. Ask Wade about a conference call he had arranged before the convention and said an IMB trustee pulled a knife on him in the hotel. It never happened.

MIKE

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Dear MIKE,

All I needed to know about Mac Brunson is that he presided over a situation where the mother of a child sat weeping in her car while her daughter sang to the Lord in the church.


What else is there to know, Mike?

For the love of Almighty God,

what else is there to know ? L's

P.S. If Mac Brunson's congregation had cared about him, they wouldn't have allowed this kind of thing to happen. Maybe no one cared enough to reach out to him and try to stop him.

It's a shame.

oc said...

I'll try one more time, Mike.

Look at the facts. And no, I'm not asking Wade about any conference call, because this, once again, is not about Wade. It's apparent that you won't see clearly until you can get over whatever you have against Wade.

I just had an idea. Maybe if you forgive him, even if he doesn't accept your forgiveness or acknowlege any transgression, you may be able to get over it and move on. Then at least you can then deal with the facts of the post. Just another thought.
oc.

Jeff said...

I have not read every comment. Its almost impossible for me because its like being in a room of 100 people all talking at once.

But that doesn't keep me from posting and adding another voice to the crowded room. :)

I maybe some what off topic, but while working on a sermon tonight. I was confronted with what I believe is the biblical exhortation to practice church discipline.

How do we practice church discipline in the age of bloggers?

I am not commenting directly about bloggers at FBC Jax, or BBC.

At what point has the church crossed the line from biblical discipline to revenge.

I think many people neglect discipline because it can get messy, and it can be abused.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the idea of 'discipline' to
teach? And in the Christian faith, it should be to teach as if one were a 'gentle mother', with compassion and care.

An 'intervention' by caring people can make someone think about an issue and, if they know, that others care ABOUT THEM, they will not be turned away or put on the defensive.

It's shouldn't about 'punishment' but about re-directing someone toward the Lord. And it should involve deep prayer because it will be the Holy Spirit helping the person to redirect his steps in the end. Thoughts?

Chris Ryan said...

Jeff,

I think that the first thing you must ask is whether or not the term 'church discipline' is appropriate. I for one, do not think it is. I don't think that gives the correct connotation to what is being sought. There is no punitivness to the process. It is a process of restoration.

The process is meant to restore unity where there was discord (brought on by sin, by misunderstanding, etc). Where a church or church member isn't seeking the restoration of unity in its actions, it has crossed the line. Where the person confronting doesn't do so because they want to be able to better worship with the brother or sister they confront, they have crossed the line.

And to apply to context, where one issues restraining orders they are no longer practicing restoration. But if WD is posting to cause strife and not so that he and the Brunsen's can worship together, if he would continue posting though he had no intention of returning to that church, then he too has crossed the line. I don't know WD and haven't talked with him so I can't claim to know whether he has gone too far, but I think it is obvious that the Brunsen's have stepped too far in front of Christ in this instance of church discipline.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Watchdog of FBC, Jax on A LOT of things he writes and is concerned about. He has many legitimate questions that need to be addressed and answered.

However, I do NOT agree with Wade Burleson sticking his nose into the affairs of another local church he has zilch to do with. He should be ashamed of himself.

Questions he has about the IMB, SBC, SBC seminary's, etc, and the supposed abuses he thinks are taking place, are fair game. I don't agree with many of his assertions regarding these, however, again, for Wade to publicly blog about alleged abuses of a sister SBC church is a disgrace.

For one pastor to delve into troubles within another church is a complete shame and Wade should know better. Truthfully I think he does know better. Could it be that his own personal dislike of Mac and Debbie Brunson, because of personal issues related to the latter's alleged comments regarding Burleson and the IMB have clouded and stained his judgment?

Wade, you should be ashamed of yourself and many are very embarrassed for you because of this latest blog. I hope every pastor reading this will be alarmed at Burleson's encroachment into the affairs of another church. Your church and YOURSELF may very well be next.

How pitiful, Wade.

Anonymous said...

It is an honorable thing to defend the innocent.

It is not honorable to speak in defense of a situation where abuse is taking place.

Wade has many times attempted to speak for victims of spiritual abuse.

What he does, at cost to him, is not anything to be ashamed of. He is trusted by people. He may be one of the few real leaders left in the SBC. :)

Steve said...

Memo to Lost World:

Please do not misunderstand! Even though some of us are hit-and-run angry haters, we actually like truth and honesty, and Surprise! - Love each other as a whole.

Please observe fireworks shows with protective eyewear and don't stand or smell too closely when fur is flying.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

. . . So, Aquilla and Pricilla probably should have minded their own business instead of seeking to help Apollos improve his understanding and practice of some important theological matters. And Paul shouldn't have sought to correct Peter and Barnabas about being hypocrites--certainly not in front of so many other Christians. The Old Testament prophets should have kept on pinching figs and left God's people alone, for Pete's sake! And we all ought to let each other stay only a mature as we each can become by ourselves--and we all should just deal the best we can with the ruin which is bound to result. Even though that, in no way, expresses the biblical concept of "love" that the Lord Jesus spoke so much about.

That's the COMPLETE FOOLISHNESS some people are suggesting in this blog thread!

Wade and all of you have my permission: CORRECT ME WHEN I NEED IT, EVEN IF I APPEAR NOT TO LIKE EITHER IT OR YOU. I can be WRONG, and I want to be the first to admit it--but sometimes I won't, so point it out when it's true. Thank you for caring that much, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord--whom I need in order to become all God wants me to be. Seriously. Galatians 6 (do it, but do it appropriately--because it could be YOU the next time)


David

Anonymous said...

oc,

What exactly did you want me to forgive Wade for? He hasn't personally done anything to me. As I stated before (maybe you missed it) it isn't anything personal, I don't know him. No one has answered the question I raised earlier that why do people continue to buy these accusations without documentation. Maybe some are true, I don't know. But you can't keep slinging thest things without some hard proof. How about answering that question instead of others that I didn't ask.

Christine,

If we fired or disciplined pastors on the basis of making children cry or upsetting church members, most of us wouldn't keep our pastorates long. We usually upset people regularly. So I'm not sure what your point is or what it has to do with the other accusations.

MIKE

Anonymous said...

FBC JAX bylaws were changed back in Nov 2007. We had never any reason to be suspicious of previous pastors so no one really thought anything would be done that was a "significant" change. The bylaws were NOT explained, the church was told they could inspect them in the church library.

The change in church governance occurred by that bylaw vote and no one knew what they were voting on. Also tucked into the bylaws changes is the handy little phrase that members forfeit their right to any legal action against the church. PLEEEEEZZZZZZZ.....


You have to check them out just like you would a book and the church knows the names of all who have read the new bylaws.

If a pastor or committees running a church are not going to be honest and forthcoming with the changes they are making then what is there for the members to do.

I think it is easy for a lot of you to criticize the watchdog but I don't think you have the whole picture of what is going on at the church.

Pastors, would you tell your deacons to turn in anyone who had questions or said anything nonpositive about your church? Asking questions at fbcjax is not recommended.

If someone is charged in a court isn't the onus on the prosecutor to "prove" the person guilty yet the church of the Lord Jesus Christ has not even risen to that standard? If the church has so positively identified him/her as they believe then the onus is on them to prove it, otherwise isn't it just "gossip"?

hurting...

Thy Peace said...

Christa Brown: Bully Bylaws

Leaders at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville pushed through some bylaws that institute a process for any member who has a “grievance” against the church, its pastor or staff. As reported on a watchdog blog, the process involves (1) Matthew 18 reconciliation, followed by (2) arbitration with the Florida Baptist Convention.

But that’s not all. After setting up this process, the FBC-Jax leaders put on their steel-toe boots and delivered this kicker of a clause:
"By joining this Church, all members agree that biblical conciliation efforts shall provide the sole remedy for any dispute arising against the Church. All members waive the right to file any legal action against the Church in a civil court or agency."

I know bylaws are boring, but no one should snooze on this one. This bylaws clause is designed to cripple any who might attempt to bring church wrongdoing into the light of day.

These are bully bylaws.

No matter how egregious the conduct of the church’s leaders may be, members who seek to challenge them will find themselves paralyzed. Their backs were broken when these bylaws were adopted, and they didn’t even realize it.

Thy Peace said...

To all the pastors who do not do this, shame on you. You all want to do mighty works for Our Lord Jesus Christ, but you stifle dissent and any questioning. You want to shine mighty in the eyes of Our Lord, but you neglect to help the down-trodden, humble and meek.

In my opinion there should never be any hesitancy for any Southern Baptist to ask any question he or she desires of someone in 'authority.' If a church member has a question about my salary or benefits, wants a copy of our church bylaws, or desires information about our ministries, he will be given answers to his questions in full -and commended for asking. The same freedom should be given to trustees and board members of Christian non-profits. Full transparency in all aspects of any Christian ministry is not just desired, it should be expected. However, it is my belief that there has risen a culture in the SBC, reinforced by training received at many of our seminaries (not all), that emphasizes pastoral authority and seeks to convince people that they are not to "touch the Lord's anointed." It's as if some leaders in the SBC expect to be treated as kings, and everyones' calling in life is to serve the king and tell him how wonderful he is. CHRISTIAN ministry should be just the opposite. Any leader should be known as a servant to all. A true leader welcomes all questions and answers them fully, and he will not care what people say about him because he is not in the ministry for personal advancement but for the kingdom of Christ's sake.

Thy Peace said...

WSJ: Banned From Church

On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."


Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff's officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs. (Listen to the 911 call)

The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.

-----------------------------------
Tom Ascol, does things little differently about this aspect. Here are his comments:
WSJ on church discipline

When a person is removed from the membership of a church in keeping with our Lord's teaching in Matthew 18, he or she is not to be "shunned." Neither should they be forbidden to sit under the public preaching of the gospel. They need the gospel and, while we cannot treat them as members any longer, we should welcome them the same way we would a "Gentile or tax collector" (in other words, an unbeliever). We recently had a member who was excommunicated several years ago show up for a worship service. I was glad he was there and told him so. I prayed for him during the worship, that God would capture his heart with the gospel. This is far from the caricature that is portrayed in the WSJ.

There is a difference in church discipline and "pastor discipline." I have known of a few cases where overly zealous pastors tried to remove problem members in the name of church discipline. But, because their congregations had not been adequately taught and were not fully on board with the process, it really wasn't "church" discipline at all.

One of the first things a faithful pastor must do when he finds that a church has neglected the practice of corrective church discipline is teach. He must carefully explain passages like the one cited above and 1 Corinthians 5. Then he must teach some more. And then some more. He must lead the membership to see and embrace what the Bible says about the integrity of a church's identity and testimony as the body of Christ. Only after a congregatoin has been adequately taught can they be expected to properly carry out the practice of church discipline.

Where this goal is intentionally pursued with patience and love, the practice often can be reinstituted in a healthy, God-honoring way. This is one of the greatest needs in American evangelical churches in our day. While caricatures must be avoided and abusive practices must be rejected, the engagement of loving oversight and accountability breeds vitality and unity in a church.

Thy Peace said...

It is sad to note, in Jesus's day, lepers were the lowest of the low. Jesus welcomed them and healed then.

Now a days, people who ask questions are the lowest of the low. They are labeled as trouble makers. Their reputation goes from church to church and they are barred entry to the churches, because some pastors (may be most) do not want the headaches of tolerating and answering to these pesky questioners. They just want blind and dumb sheep, who follow without asking any questions.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick when pastors ask questions like: "How would you like one of your members to be blogging about you" or "How would you like Wade sticking his nose into your church business?"

My response is, unless I am doing something abusive, I won't fear any blog or any pastor calling me. But if I am GUILTY of abuses that I don't want to see the light of day...then I agree, the Watchdog and Wade must be "shut downnnnnn."

Are you humble, god-fearing, pastors of integrity worried about a blog? Of course not. Of over 40,000 SBC churches, I see only ONE blog about one man, Donald Brunson. Hmmm. Maybe he is the problem and not the blogger. What a concept.

Anonymous said...

I don't guess I care if someone remains annonymous or not, but I hate that they remain that way because of fear. I know I've never been in such a situation, but I want to offer them hope that the bible deals with just that issue. We are not to fear man, especially when we are doing what is right. There is coming a day when the oaks of bashan will be brought low, and those that are humble and lowly will be exalted. Live in the hope of the return of our King, and walk bravely to do what you think is right. Wade, I think you have done this. Thank you!
Robert

it is written said...

Anon 10:15:00am...I as a Pastor thank you for that comment..If I'm not doing anything wrong iI have nothing to worry about!!Pastor's should live in glass houses!!

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

I have visited with the person who is the accused. Watchdog has been very open and transparent with me.

The treatment of this man by church leaders is astounding. Sure he blogged about the church and financial matters with which he has disagreed. Sure he blogged anonymously about his dissent over church leaders' decisions to change the bylaws. Sure he's been critical, even sarcastic. But does that negate what he writes?

I signed my name to what I wrote regarding the IMB and experienced hard ball tactics. Anonymity is not the issue. The abusive actions of church leaders is the issue.

Church leadership went before a judge and falsely alleged the owner of the blog site was videotaping the pastor's wife and stealing the pastor's mail - all in an attempt to get a court order to have Google and the internet service provider turn over the name and identity of the owner of the Watchdog blog. This kind of hardball tactic is unconscionable.

Further, this action by church leaders only legitimizes the writing of Watchdog. It seems that church leaders have taken the approach "shut down Watchdog's voice at any cost."

Then, when church leadership found out who Watchdog was, rather than calling him, rather than answering his questions, rather than pastoring him, rather than encouraging him and being open and transparent with him, they moved against him. They issued a trespass warning. Again, they made false allegations to others (the police) without ever giving to Watchdog the reasons for the trespass order (i.e. "you were videotaping the pastor's wife jogging" or "you were stealing the pastor's mail), which of course, he would have adamantly denied.

What Watchdog was doing was writing about his concerns over bylaw changes, nepotism and financial dealings of the church.

Then, after Watchdog and his family decided it was time to leave the church and after they joined another church, FBC Jacksonville called all the deacons together and informed them of the horrible, dangerous actions of ________________,.

I vowed a long time ago I would not be silent when I saw people being abused by men in power in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I am fulfilling my promise.

Mike, church leadership, like you, believe that it is none of my business what FBC does. I accept their decision and assume that is why former AC Soud, Rev. Blount, and Dr. Brunson do not wish to visit with me.

They should then also expect that I will be very direct in my criticism about the manner in which they have stifled dissent, intimidated members, and moved to centralize control.

I have an obligation to the kingdom of Christ and the Southern Baptist Convention and a man and his family.

Blessings,

Wade

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Dear MIKE,

If you read what I wrote earlier,
my question had something to do
with 'the love of Almighty God'.

The incident that I refer to is symptomatic of what can happen when people lose sight of what the Church is all about.

This question of 'authority' has only one response: the 'head' pastor of a church is a servant of the people of God, not their master. There is only one HEAD SHEPHERD, Mike, and that night, was His Spirit evident in the hearts of those who made that mother weep? L's

it is written said...

Thank You Wade..I'm a Pastor here in Jax,Fl and 100% behind the Dr.Dog and his quest for transparency at FBC Jax...It is really encouraging to me to see a Pastor as yourself with a love for Christ and His sheep and willing to stand against those in power who would harm them..If it means anything;I stand 100% with you against clergy abuses no matter who and what denomination!!!

Thy Peace said...

I would encourage any of Pastor Wade's blog's readers, who have contacts in the Media, to please disseminate this post and information. Please do your best to spread the news. Let the light shine on abusive practices. Thanks.

johnjaxthebaptist said...

Wade - thank you for being a "pastor" and defending this family (sheep) that had no pastor at FBC Jax. You have written and done much to earn my respect, including your support and efforts to raise funds for Sheri Klouda. I look forward to reading your book. I pray that God will keep His hand on you, your ministry and your family as you stand in the gap for others who have no power and no voice. (except their keyboard)

Blessings to you, brother, pastor, and leader who has integrity and serves the Lord and others.

Anonymous said...

Jeff:

I think that you asked the most important question in the comments.

Blogging aside, what does a church do when one member or a group of members disagrees with an action the church took or is taking?

If the person who "loses" the day on that issue (bylaw change, expenditure etc.), then a choice is to be made.

He may feel that the important thing to do to continue to talk about it -in meetings, with flyers or a blog - whereever.

It just seems that at some point "enough is enough."

Problem is, you can't force people to be reasonable. You can't force the person who wants to complain to keep his complaints in a respectable tone, at the appropriate time etc.

What usually happens in these situations is that the church leadership (pastor, deacons, elders, committess, whomever) feels that the criticism, after being given a hearing, should be toned down, so that the congregation can move foward.

The member, in most of these situations, however, gets more loud, direct, creative etc.

Churches at this point face a lose/lose situation.

If they let is go on, the guy keeps showing up at church, collaring people, handing out material, or he keeps emailing people, the spirit of the church can be severely damaged. Who wants to go to a church where this is going on?

In one situation that I know of, the pastor was accused (3 persons removed) as having an affair by the guy who did not agree with the direction of the church. The "affair" supposedly happened years earlier. The member had no first hand knowledge of any affair, but he obtained an "affidavit" from someone who wasn't involved either, who claimed that she "believed" there had been an affair years earlier. The member circulated the affidavit.

The pastor denied an affair. The person who was claimed to have had an affair with the pastor denied an affair, and there was no evidence of it.

But this member just circulated what he had heard because he truly believed it, and felt called of God to bring the pastor to repentance.

As I said, pastors and churches caught in this situation, are in a lose/lose situation.

If they let this go on, the member can continue to try and disrupt the congregation to the point of spreading things that are untrue.

If the church or pastor acts, then they risk looking heavy handed, especially if the church tries an unsuccessful personal approach that fails and then ends up engaging the courts and law enforcement.

I am not a pastor, but have seen more than a couple of situations like this up close.

There are no easy answers. And there are no winners.

People probably just need to get a better sense of social maturity and figure out when it's time to move on when people won't hear you.

And churches need to be cautious in most situations. I usually advise churches to pull back from doing what they could do and that they not exercise their full rights because they will be seen (before the individual) as overeaching.

That takes a great deal of discipline to do.

One final thing.

I have seen court involvement in a couple of situations. It is terrible from the standpoint of the spirit and fellowship of the church.

But the good side is that it does bring some finality to many issues. And the courts are usually able to sort through what is baloney, and what are real abuses. I have seen the courts on most occasions get involved in a church operation where the pastor/staff and committees were truly stealing and abusing the congregation. And I have seen the courts on most occasions spot what was really going on - a church disagreement where the church was pleased to go in one direction and minority faction or member wanted something else, but made a bunch of unsupportable allegations to try and get their way. Courts are usually pretty good at sniffing that out, too.

God keeps our houses of worship as peaceful places. All it takes is for a handlful of people to change that.

You just can't make people behave and act like adults.

Louis

Dienekes said...

Mike and others questioning the validity of Wade's discussion of this issue:

Seems to me the burden of proof lies with the accuser, Watchdog. It seems Watchdog has attempted to provide this supporting evidence on his site through video, audio, transcripts, etc.

If Wade wants to publicize or add his voice to issue, his burden is to verify the validity of the accusations themselves, not the guilt of FBC Jax leadership. In other words, Wade needs to look at the supporting evidence for the accusation and determine whether the case has merit to be heard. He seemingly has done so via personal contact with Watchdog and personal examination of the evidence Watchdog presents.

The guilt or innocence of the accused (FBC Jax leadership) is to be determined in court (or at least the court of public opinion). THAT determination must be made upon the presentation of exculpatory evidence by the accused (FBC Jax).

Watchdog is not wrong for accusing those whom he believes are guilty, so long has he provides evidence of wrongdoing.

Wade is not wrong for publicizing the accusation, provided he does due diligence to ascertain that Watchdog's case is not frivolous.

We now await FBC Jax's legitimate presentation of evidence that contradicts Watchdog's accusations. I would expect men of integrity to be quick to defend their honor and do so in an honorable way. Not sure we've seen that yet.

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace:

You are one of the most thoughtful commenters on this post. I truly enjoy your writing.

I will not be taking the advice to call the media to try and spread the misery at FBC Jax or the Watchdog.

I believe that is a matter for that congregation to sort out, in accordance with that congregation's polity.

If the congregation of that church voted to do something (accept a gift, pay the pastor more, change the bylaws) what interest do I have in that.

If the congregation or committee voted to kick the Watchdog out, that's none of my business either. I might disagree with their decision if I had all of the facts (which I don't), but since I am not a member there, I don't want to meddle with their process.

I also believe that the courts have already become involved in this, though I have not read what the courts have done. If one side or the other has been abusive or untrue to the courts, I assume that both sides have the right to petition the court effectively.

I also understand that Watchdog wants to be anonymous. Getting the media involved will only put more pressure on him and his family.

If Watchdog wants to involve the media, or the church wants to involve the media, that's fine by me.

But I certainly don't want to invite the media to their dispute.

Louis

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax owes noone on this blog nor Wade an explanation. I find it interesting that Wade so easily accepts the Watchdog's explanation for everything. Surely he has been a pastor long enough to know better. There are always two sides to an issue.

If I were Mac, I would not accept nor make any contact with Wade. This is basically none of his business and he doesn't have a dog in this hunt.

I'm sure not convinced that the Watchdog didn't videotape the pastor's wife nor steal their mail after reading his posts.

Its time to move on to something that is relevant to the Kingdom of God--and our butting into their affairs is not.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

It is absurd to speak of moving on to other issues in the kindgom of God while making anonymous criminal charges against Watchdog.

We are dealing with matters in the kingdom of God. We are confronting leaders who can't stand people to have the ability to question their actions.

In His Grace,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Dienekes:

I agree with almost everything you said. Up to the end.

I have advised organizations (including churches) NOT to comment on things that are said about them. I have worked with PR firms who usually have taken the lead in that.

The reason is that responding to allegations that one believes are unfounded (I am not judging here at all as to the truth) usually only gives a bigger platform to the person making the allegations.

For example, if a pastor is slandered, he will probably come out ahead ignoring it. The slanderer doesn't care that he has slandered the pastor. If the pastor responds, he gets into a public fight with the slanderer. It's like the old addage about mud wrestling with a pig.

So, even though men/women of honor will often go to the press or court to defend their honor, sometimes the wise thing to do is let is pass. That is particularly true for an institution that has an insitutional life and ministries going on. They will get a lot farther fixing their reputation doing ministry than continuing a public feud in the papers or in court with someone.

Not saying that should or should not be done here.

It's just that that option didn't seem to figure into your equation.

Louis

Dienekes said...

Anon 1:22

"FBC Jax owes noone on this blog nor Wade an explanation. I find it interesting that Wade so easily accepts the Watchdog's explanation for everything. Surely he has been a pastor long enough to know better. There are always two sides to an issue."

You're correct. FBC Jax does not owe anyone an explanation. They should only provide one if they have proof of innocence of the accusations AND desire to defend such innocence. There ARE two sides to every issue. And it seems some people involved has been waiting a long time to hear the other side.

Anonymous said...

Anony:

You could be right. I looked a little at Watcdog's website yesterday. He is certainly energized. No telling what any person might do.

But we really don't know what he did nor didn't do.

That's not really the question, as I understand it.

I think that someone (maybe Wade?) said that the church had presented info the court on that. All they need is a reasonable belief that acitivity occurred. They could be mistaken, after all. But if they had a reasonable belief that occurred when they sought the assistance of the court, that's all they would need, I think.

If their belief turned out not to be true (which is often the case in many situations), that doesn't present a cause of action in any direction.

I am just not in a position or of a disposition to start making declarations about what has or has not happened. I am only a thousand miles away, and have no first hand knowledge.

But, hey. That doesn't stop most folks.

Louis

Dienekes said...

Louis,

I read your post after having published my last one.

Fair enough. Everyone must discern for himself/herself whether going to the mat with an accuser will be what's best for them and the work God has given them. Undoubtedly the Apostle Paul did not specifically address every individual that he ever heard of who slandered him or the work of the ministry. And he certainly taught (as did Jesus) to let our good deeds and love speak for themselves. Though we do have record in the NT of some of his vigorous defenses of his calling, ministry, and message.

However, I would be surprised if we found Paul to have used underhanded or unethical tactics to silence his accusers or hurt their families. If, as has been indicated, FBC Jax leadership has acted in this way, they are not letting their holiness and love vindicate them.

Anonymous said...

What's funny is everyone here is arguing over hearsay. There is no proof of anything. If there was, why would 'Watchdog' be so cowardly?

I just do not understand...

Anonymous said...

Diekenes:

Good point. It's just hard for me to gather all the facts from here.

I have sat across the table from a pastor and staff who had been slandered. They had a legal cause of action. The choices before them were not good.

It is a tough position to be in.

I can imagine how hard it must be for FBC Jax to be going through this.

And I can imagine how hard it is for the Watchdog.

Louis

Wade Burleson said...

Dienekes,

I can assure you that I have done due diligence and this is not 'frivolous.' It is emblematic of a systemic problem that needs to be addressed.

Dienekes said...

Louis,

Amen. Fallenness hurts both the falling and one fallen upon.

We must trust ultimately that the Spirit will deal appropriately with His church (universal and local) ;)

Dienekes said...

Wade,

It appears you have, and I commend you for it. And your motive in exposing the systemic problem is plain to see for any who are willing to look.

Lydia said...

"People probably just need to get a better sense of social maturity and figure out when it's time to move on when people won't hear you."

Louis, You are the master of spin. I applaud you. The fact of the matter is how the supposedly 'mature' leaders reacted to the blog. Why not ignore it? Why go to all that trouble to accuse him of criminal activities when he was presenting facts. That is right, folks. Facts.

The problem is that people ARE listening and that bothers Brunson and co. greatly. They know it is working and his dreams of a huge cash cow church are evaporating and he has to stem the tide. What better way to do it than to prove the messenger is a criminal and change the subject from Mac to WD?

Oldest tactic in the book. See, Mac knows if he stops and answers the questions, he is doomed.

Louis, you have continually been on the side of those in power on this blog. This is not a new stance for you. You are quite adept at using descripters in your comments to 'paint' a certain image of those who dare question the power brokers. In this case, you are accusing the WD of being immature.

Let's face it. We don't even know if you are really 'Louis' or really a 'lawyer'. You could be a 25 year old blogging from your parents basement for all we know. You might even be the kid of one of the power brokers.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

If the "Watchdog" no longer attends FBSJAX then why are you worried about it? Are you going to start hearing complaints from every disgruntled church member and then contact the pastor to help straighten things out? I have a better idea. If you would really like to stop abuse in the SBC, why don't you contact the thousands of churches that chew up and spit out pastors ever 18-24 months. There are alot more pastors being abused by angry, hateful church members than pastors doing what is alleged here. Are you saying that Brunson and the church leaders there are lying about the videotaping and the other things? That's pretty strong if that is what you are implying. Personally, as one lady in my church used to say I've got enough garbage on my back porch to worry about emptying someone else's. I believe the Proverb put it something like, "the one who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like taking a dog by the ears." I'm keeping my hands away from the mouth.

MIKE

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Are you saying that Brunson and the church leaders there are lying about the videotaping and the other things?"

If Wade won't say it, I will. If this is what they've said, they're lying. If Watchdog had videotaped Deb Brunson jogging (and why in the world would he or anyone else?), we would have seen the video posted on the Watchdog blog a long time ago. Do you think the Watchdog or anyone else gives a flying fig about seeing Deb Brunson jogging?

As for "stealing the Brunson's mail" or "hacking into their e-mail," again, if that's what they're saying, where's the proof? Get real. Sounds to me like someone's paranoid, and it ain't the Watchdog.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"I'm keeping my hands away from the mouth."

Maybe you should try keeping your feet away from the mouth, too.

Anonymous said...

Hey MIKE, if you saw a neighbor throwing his garbage on someone ELSE's porch, would you be as 'passive'?

What does it take for a Christian to stand up and defend another Christian, or any person, who is being abused?

Or do we all stay in our little, safe caves, and wait passively, protecting only ourselves and caring not for the plight of others? Think about it, Mike.

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

I have observed Southern Baptists abuse their power and their authority these past few years and have committed to help people I believe to be defenseless and abused. Are pastors sometimes mistreated? Of course, but in my experience, it is those in power who are usually doing the abusing, including pastors who continually remind people of their "authority."

Anonymous said...

It is absurd to speak of moving on to other issues in the kindgom of God while making anonymous criminal charges against Watchdog.

That makes no sense. Individuals can not make criminal charges. That is the domain only of the state. And that's not anonymous as an indictment or arrest warrant has to come through a government official.

I can tell someone I am going to put you in jail. But I as an individual can not.

So stop with the anonymous criminal statements, please.

Olon Hyde said...

I would like to weigh in on this topic. I can understand the desire for transparency and the ability to approach leadership with concerns. If this is not in place in a congregation, the leadership is then faced with the tremendous temptation to wield power in an unbiblical fashion.

As one commenter said, leaders are to be servants to the congregation and not lords over them.

I can speak to this issue at FBC Jax with some firsthand knowledge. When this whole thing really began to blow up last year I attended the Pastors Conference. And throughout the conference, there were snide comments made here and there--not only by Mac Brunson, but by many other leaders.

I and some pastor's I attended the conference with noticed that there was apparently a "problem" with someone blogging about Mac Brunson and the church.

When leadership feels that it is necessary for a "frontal assault" on someone criticizing the church--that speaks to the heart of the leadership. So while I will agree that FBC Watchdog should not allow an innocent person to be wrongly accused and "punished" (as though church discipline is truly necessary in this case), I can also understand his desire for anonymity witnessing the anger (and yes I mean anger) that was expressed towards his blog during the Pastor's Conference.

Jesus Reigns,
Olon Hyde

Timray said...

and we wonder why secularism is on the rise....it is because we have abandoned the principles of Jesus