Friday, March 20, 2009

The High Cost of Stifling Criticism and Dissent

Most Americans know George Washington was the first President of the United States (1789-1797). Few Americans know that John Adams was the second President of the United States (1797-1801). Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in the 1800 Presidential election and served two terms (1801-1809) as our third President, and Founding Fathers James Madison and James Monroe served as our fourth and fifth Presidents respectively (1809-1817; 1817-1825). The first five Presidents of the United States (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe) are all considered some of the finest Presidents among the 44 men who have served in that capacity during the 220 years since Washington's initial inauguration. All five Founding Father Presidents, save one, served two terms.

President John Adams is the one President among the first five Presidents to serve only one term (1797-1801). The Executive Mansion (now known as The White House) had just been built in the city of Washington (1800) and President Adams had moved into the Mansion with his family only a couple of months before he lost the 1800 Presidential election to Thomas Jefferson. Adams really desired to serve another four year term and was very bitter that he lost. Instead of welcoming incoming President Jefferson on the day of his inauguration as is the custom of departing Presidents, Adams left the Executive Mansion and the city under the cover of darkness the night before.

Why would a man with John Adams background, qualifications and strong desire to serve as President lose his bid for a second term? Why did those who had the power to elect Adams not allow him to occupy the office of President for another four years, particularly since it would be customary in the elections to follow for Presidents to be granted two terms?

Most historians say that Adams was not elected President for a second term because he pushed Congress to pass The Alien and Sedition Acts. President Adams was very sensitive to criticism, and though he claimed the Acts were designed to protect the United States, most citizens attacked the acts as unconstitutional and believed they were designed to stifle criticism of President Adam's and his administration. Newspaper editors, political pundits and even some ministers were arrested for speaking out against the government and President Adams. The Sedition Act (officially call An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States) made it a federal crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials. Most historians agree that the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts was the low point of President Adam's administration and believe it directly contributed to his removal from office. Thomas Jefferson denounced the Sedition Act as invalid and a violation of the First Amendment, and he was elected President in 1800, ending John Adam's term as President after only four years.

One of these days men and women with power, whether it be ecclesiastical, political or corporate will learn that attempts to stifle dissent and criticism will only ultimately result in the people you lead turning against you. It was true in 1798 and it's true 210 years later.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

65 comments: said...

Wow Becca! You are quick. Smile. I wrote this in about ten minutes and hadn't yet proofed it before I published it. I caught it and corrected it before I saw your comment. Thanks! Tell your wordsmith husband I said hello! Love reading his columns!

Byroniac said...

Interesting post. Good read!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Adams was indeed the second president and spelled his last name with only two "a's". I think the president lives in the White House (two -- or three -- words).

"One of these days men and women with power, whether it be ecclesiastical, political or corporate will learn that attempts to stifle dissent and criticism will only ultimately result in the people you lead turning against you."

And those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it (e.g. Mac Brunson.)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

What a timely post Wade.

Here is the "sedition" part of the act:

"And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years."

Compare to an excerpt from the FBC Jax Deacons Resolution of 2/25/09:

"And whereas it is the belief and expression of the deacons herein that division, strife, and discord caused to church members and unjust criticism and ridicule of the ministry, staff, leadership, pastor, and people expressed to the general public at large in any form and by any means by any member of the church should be viewed as an attack against the Lord's church contrary to scriptural truth and confronted aggressively in accordance with Scripture and the disciplinary provisions of the bylaws of the church."

G. Casey said...

Well, if they need to know who else blogs on your site..I quit the anonymous blogging as well

Alan Paul said...

Here! Here! Let's pray that leaders will wake up and realize that Jesus didn't call them to power so they could protect it (their power).

Steve said...

Those reasders of reports coming out of Missouri law enforcement leadership may feel the Sedition Act is back with us, with official labelling of Libertarians and supporters of Ron Paul and Bob Barr as likely terrorists.

And we've so long thought of MO as such a calm home of happy, tolerant Baptists!

Ramesh said...

From the above Wiki quoted article:

Elections of 1800

Main article: United States presidential election, 1800

Although the Federalists hoped the Act would muffle the opposition, many Democratic-Republicans still "wrote, printed, uttered and published" their criticisms of the Federalists. Indeed, they strongly criticized the act itself, and used it as one of the largest election issues. It also had enormous implications on the Federalist party after that point, and ended up being a major contributing factor of its demise. The act expired when the term of President Adams ended in 1801.

Ultimately the Acts backfired against the Federalists; while they prepared lists of aliens for deportation, many aliens fled the country during the debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts, and Adams never signed a deportation order. Twenty-five people, primarily prominent newspaper editors such as Benjamin Franklin's grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache but also Congressman Matthew Lyon, were arrested. Of them, eleven were tried, Bache died awaiting trial, and ten were convicted of sedition, often in trials before openly partisan Federalist judges. Federalists at all levels, however, were turned out of power, and, over the following years, Congress repeatedly apologized for, or voted recompense to victims of, the enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Thomas Jefferson, who won the 1800 election, pardoned all of those that were convicted for crimes under the Alien Enemies Act and the Sedition Act.

In case of Fbc Jax, clearly it's a local church and they can pass whatever laws/regulations they deem necessary, but look at the costs of stifling dissent and criticism. I felt here Pastor Mac was very sensitive to criticism and his anguish was seen in many sermons, where this anguish leaked out impromptu.

If you look at the costs from these perspectives (fbc jax administration, fbc jax members, readers/commenters to Watchdog):
- money spent
- time spent
- mental anguish

I posit that it would have saved all of the above, if they lovingly addressed the issues of criticism than to stifle it.
Thy Peace said...
"Did the timing have anything to do with the Chest of Joash service and the committments and special offerings?"

This is what happens, when one does not truly trust Our Lord Jesus Christ, but is swayed by ones own emotions. The cause for the low commitments to the Chest of Joash was 99% due to economic conditions. And as Christians, we are to accept that this is God's doing. Only The Holy Spirit can compel or motivate people to give and not any edicts or grand standing from the pulpit. We have to acknowledge the sovereignty of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit in our lives.

My gut feeling of all this is, Pastor Mac just wanted all this to end, in which ever way was expedient to them. I am afraid it was his anguish over how to handle this issue that drove him and fbc jax leadership to this point. My question is, why was bad advice given to fbc jax leadership on how to handle this issue? It's all Man and no God in this.

I truly am not angry at anyone. Either at Pastor Mac or his supporters. This is what happens when one acts outside the bounds of wisdom as laid by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Could this be said of WD too? Possibly. But the questions asked on this blog, though they appear divisive, critical and sarcastic, are only a reflection of life in Church. Why do we need to run away from such questions? Even if they are troubling. Can not God be glorified on how the questions if answered properly, bring grace and mercy from on high? And truly the wisdom in answering such questions only comes from The Holy Spirit and The Spirit appears to work when one humbles themselves.

MARCH 20, 2009 8:55 AM


Ron said...

Could you remind us of the wording of the IMB trustee policy on how trustees may publicly comment on IMB trustee actions. Is it still in effect

Anonymous said...

That's a good example from history. The one big difference between the presidency and, oh, let's say, the pastorate of a church is the word power. I've always believed that the source of power in a church was the Holy Spirit. When the world's kind of power is given to someone in a way that was never intended, there are problems. When dissent is stifled because of it, it calls the qualifications of the leadership into question.

Anonymous said...

So easy to throw money into the 'Chest of Joash' or, in this case, maybe we could call it the 'Chest of Mac'; we walk away 'justified' that we have 'contributed' and our duty is done.

So, not enough money?

Maybe instead of money, God might want a more personal offering: men AND WOMEN of the church to come with tools to repair the physical structures of the church that need work done on them. Why not? So they are not 'professionals'; there are those among them with experience who can teach and guide and supervise. And, best of all, no one is going to 'walk off' with the gifts of their labor and 'spend' it elsewhere.

Just an idea.

Change is not always bad.
When money is low, people can find 'other ways' to contribute.
Good ways. And perhaps even, ways more meaningful to them, to the church, and to the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace,

In case of Fbc Jax, clearly it's a local church and they can pass whatever laws/regulations they deem necessary, but look at the costs of stifling dissent and criticism.

I agree there is a cost to stifling criticism and dissent. FBC has and will pay further cost, even if it means less people, for a while. the church will deal with these things within their walls.

Watchdog made his dissent and criticism public and pushed for the right to have a voice but watchdog has regularly stifles criticism and dissent to his behavior and comments by refusing to publish all comments which are submitted.

I am simply troubled by someone who wants something from someone but refuses to do the same thing for others.

Yet, I do believe there is a commitment by many that only certain people need to be transparent. IMPO, no one who demands transparency should be less than transparent themselves. And I am not speaking of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

To JLE who wrote "IMPO, no one who demands transparency should be less than transparent themselves"

"What a tangled web we weave, when first we . . . . . "

Who was the FIRST to hide secrets?
Who set the tone for this disaster?
Who claimed the 'authoritative' role of a shepherd and a role model for the Lord?
If one is going to seek resolution for a problem: ask who is responsible FOR that problem's existence. If that individual intiated the trouble: should they not also take responsibility for its resolution?

Someone kicked a dog.
The dog howled, behind a bush where it could not be seen or kicked again.
And everyone is mad at the dog, for making noise?
'Someone' is looking to find the dog and kick it again.
Where do you stop the cycle?

Anonymous said...

Yet, I do believe there is a commitment by many that only certain people need to be transparent. IMPO, no one who demands transparency should be less than transparent themselves. And I am not speaking of anonymity.

Sat Mar 21, 12:54:00 PM 2009


WD does not have the power here. Never did. You want to ignore that BIG fact. Mac Brunson was able to use the Sheriff's office AND the state attorney to scare WD. This involved comcast and others.

Now, that is power. And power abused. The people of Fla have a right to know. Elections are right around the corner.

It is NO longer a 'church matter'. And that is Mac's fault. Not real smart.


Anonymous said...

"I am simply troubled by someone who wants something from someone but refuses to do the same thing for others."

JLE, We see now why WD did it the way he did it. He discerned what kind of people he was dealing with. Folks who would abuse their power. Mac Brunson, by his own actions, has only proved him right.


Anonymous said...

All members of the SBC need to be 'Watchdogs':

Once a 'leader' has been proven to intend to cause harm knowlingly to others; does this openly to intimidate; and dares Christians to speak up against their 'authority', then they need to watched. They need to be watched VERY CAREFULLY INDEED.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sorry Jon - my "stifling dissent" by not putting up some of your more posts hardly compares with FBC Jax's. Your post about me "stifling dissent" is exactly why I stifle your dissent.


oc said...

I wouldn't worry about it Watchdog. Anyone who uses 3 different screen names probably needs stifliing.

Anonymous said...


Ridiculous comparison. It's an issue of duty. WD has no duty to provide an open forum on the Internet for those who disagree with him. As a pastor, Mac Brunson does have a duty to be receptive to and to respond lovingly to the concerns of the members of the church.

Anyway, WD isn't doing anything to stifle dissent. You're free to start your own anti-WD blog any time you want. Unlike Mac Brunson, he's not trying to take steps to prevent you from sharing your own views on your own blog.

Rex Ray said...

Frank Harber spoke on Pride at:

He said, “Ego stands for edging God out. Pride says that I don’t need God—I’m independent.”

God calls Christians to be poor in spirit, so pride—often disguising itself as false humility—must be crucified daily, according to Harber.

Harber shared a major regret...His baseball coach substituted another hitter for him at a critical time in the game, he said. At that moment, he quit the team…Out of pride Harber said he refused to play baseball the following year, thinking he was hurting his coach…

He warned to be leery of pride spotters in the church, which he said can be a haven for mean-spirited, critical people.

I believe Harber had more of his subject as a pastor than a ball player.

What did he mean in saying, “Be leery of pride spotters in the church”?

Let’s see, a ‘pride spotter’ would be pointing out what a pastor was doing through pride. But Harber said that would make them “mean-spirited, critical people.

Before he was fired, he kicked four people from his church at Colleyville, TX that did not agree with him.

I believe his pride turned down a quarter of a million to leave because he demanded a million. He left with nothing but took some members with him.

I believe Mac considered the Watchdog a pride spotter.

Rex Ray said...

I believe the following is on topic.

August 25, 2006 Colleyville
In the aftermath of a response by Southwest Seminary President Paige Patterson, Local News Only (LNO) requested a review by the Executive Editor of ABP.

In a column written by LNO Editor Nelson Thibodeaux titled The Harber Legacy the role of the pastor in the church was discussed and references made to Dr. Patterson's philosophy on the matter.

In an Email to the Editor, Dr. Patterson's offered a angry reply that his position was misrepresented.

The Associated Baptist Press (ABP) currently has an article on its online news site about the unfolding events at the Colleyville First Baptist Church, with a photo credited to Local News

LNO contacted Greg Warner of Jacksonville, Florida, the Executive Editor of the ABP.

ABP describes itself as " the nation’s first and only independent news service created by and for Baptists."

LNO requested that Mr. Warner review the column and offer an objective opinion. The following is Mr. Warner's response, unedited and posted here with the permission of Mr. Warner.

I'm glad to help if I can. Here's the crux of your disagreement with Patterson:

"The Patterson-Pressler coalition changed the role of the pastor in Baptist church life. ... The Patterson-Pressler coalition insists that the pastor is the unquestioned ruler of the church.

... Dr. Harber's adaptation of Patterson's teaching at FBCC (that his authority was not to be challenged), had the effect of a dynamic evangelist becoming estranged from many of his own members. "

Prescott and McClatchy (both friends of mine) are attributing to the "coalition" of fundamentalist who now control the SBC an opinion about the role of the pastor that Patterson himself would not accept in whole.

Prescott and McClatchy are right, in a general sense, that the SBC fundamentalists teach and practice an authoritative pastoral role, but there are many variations of that within fundamentalist ranks.

Patterson himself apparently finds a place for the authoritative pastor WITHIN the traditional congregational model (where every member gets a vote).

I suspect that Harber would favor a more centralized governance that gives the pastor and a small group of select leaders (elders) ultimate authority, as evidenced by the changes he instituted at Colleyville.

Both positions give the pastor more authority but they are not identical.

Meanwhile, the specific language of "the pastor is the ruler of the church," which Prescott and McClatchy attribute to the "Patterson-Pressler coalition," really originated with W.A. Criswell, who is the godfather of the SBC fundamentalist movement and Patterson's former and longtime pastor at First Baptist of Dallas.

This sentence also gets you in trouble: "Dr. Harber's first effort as pastor resulted in a power grab designed to replace the authority of the congregation with the pastor as the unquestioned ruler of the church."

This may be true, but Patterson can't be blamed for it.

The "Patterson-Pressler coalition," which is now a vast network of fundamentalists and conservatives with a wide spectrum of views and leaders, must shoulder some blame for emphasizing pastoral authority and hiring seminary teachers like Harber who teach it.

Perhaps more telling than Harber's view of pastoral authority is his vision for the Colleyville church to become a regional church or perhaps a mega church.

This ambition has been the hallmark and Achilles heal of far too many young pastors that have emerged from the fundamentalist-controlled SBC and the tutelage of Patterson and others, and which has developed into a kind of hero worship of the mega church pastor.

In this regard, centralized pastoral authority and selectively applied "church discipline" have become means to an end for many impatient pastors unwilling to let the congregation decide its own vision for the future.

So the dispute you are having with Patterson seems to boil down to this: Prescott and McClatchy attributed an over-generalized position to the "coalition" which Harber apparently supports but Patterson does not.

And your article oversimplified the variety of opinions that exist about pastoral authority among SBC fundamentalists.

You are to be forgiven. More careful research might have prevented that mistake. But I suspect your readers are not interested in such nuances.

Greg Warner
Executive Editor
Associated Baptist Press
Jacksonville, Fla.

oc said...

JLE, Jon, Jon L Estes, whoever you are today or think you are at this moment in time...

Don't ever post a comment on the topic of being "transparent". You have posted under at least 3 screen names. It's hard to trust someone like that.

Just sayin'.

Jon L. Estes said...


I have often posted with my google account and many have checked out who I am. Regardless if I use my initials or my whole name, I am not in hiding. The dog has even emailed me in the past seeking my input to his blog but then refused to post my comment.

He is an interesting character but we know who he is now...

By the way, who are you?

oc said...

I'm fine Jon. Thanks for asking. And I still use the same screen name, on every single comment I make. You don't.

Anonymous said...

When FBCJax has had enough of the 'Mac and Debbie' Show; they will fire them. Very likely by that time, much monies will be spent to shore up the egos of this 'leadership'. As for the blind flock, they need WD to be the guide-dog who leads them away from the abyss.
Is following after the 'pop idols of the pulpit' also called idolatry; 'cause it sure 'ain't Christianity.

Mac and Debbie's 'joy in Jesus' is costing the sheep way way too much.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thought OC...

You say don't trust me because I use multiple screen names.

jle, Jon Estes, Jon L. Estes...

Yet you trust WD who has used multiple screen names.

FBC Jax Watchdog, anonymous...

I guess your trusts criteria is flawed.

oc said...

Jon, Jon L Estes, JLE, anony...
Whoever you decide you are this day...

You have a lot of nerve to ask who I am when you are the one who prances around the internet with three or more different names. Are you even seeing the irony of all this yet?

Curtsey as you exit.

Anonymous said...

It is fairly strange how this new resurgence of conservatism has led in regards to women in ministry. I have found it not uncommon for some in this resurgent to scorn the secular collegiate academic field of counseling and yet also not allow women to be chaplains. I knew of one young lady that wanted to do outreach in a hospital as a chaplain that had her degree in some area of theology and yet her church would not ordain her for chaplancy. She went back to get a degree in counseling. I thought it was absurd how it was handled. So this is the apparent message from what I gather...if you want to do counseling as a woman you will need to avoid any type of chaplancy and go the secular route?? But this is the typical triangulation that is coming out the movement.

Anonymous said...

'triangulation' ?
or 'strangulation' ?

works out same for women, no matter how you spell it.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be canonizing all dissenters and that surely isn't the case. Some are just plain old trouble makers that try to act spiritual. I tend to think that is the situation in Jacksonville and Memphis. Just read their blogs--it should tell you the truth.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be canonizing all dissenters and that surely isn't the case. Some are just plain old trouble makers that try to act spiritual. I tend to think that is the situation in Jacksonville and Memphis. Just read their blogs--it should tell you the truth.

Sat Mar 21, 10:27:00 PM 2009

Anyone who questions the 'anointed' ones are troublemakers. We understand that. Only the leaders are spiritual and they deserve to live like kings and see the world on tithe dollars. We get that part. They are special. A special clergy class.

And using a member who works in the sheriff's office to go after a blogger is just fine if you are a mega church pastor with connections. He is entitled. I think that is in the NT somewhere. I know Paul teaches the special clergy class to stifle all dissent and use the power of the civil government if need be to do it.

Just keep giving them your money and you will be fine. Maybe they will bless some cloth for you. Or you might even get to talk to them on day at church! That would be a real treat. Just to stand next to them and be noticed!

Jesse said...

If the deputy is connected to the church somehow, there may be a violation of his/her actions under "color of law." The following are excerpts from FBI's website:

U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges, prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and seize property, to bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly force in certain situations.

Preventing abuse of this authority, however, is equally necessary to the health of our nation’s democracy. That’s why it’s a federal crime for anyone acting under “color of law” willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law. “Color of law” simply means that the person is using authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government agency.

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating color of law abuses, which include acts carried out by government officials operating both within and beyond the limits of their lawful authority. Off-duty conduct may be covered if the perpetrator asserted his or her official status in some way.

Fabricating evidence against or falsely arresting an individual also violates the color of law statute, taking away the person’s rights of due process and unreasonable seizure. In the case of deprivation of property, the color of law statute would be violated by unlawfully obtaining or maintaining a person’s property, which oversteps or misapplies the official’s authority.

Filing a Complaint

To file a color of law complaint, contact your local FBI office by telephone, in writing, or in person. The following information should be provided:

• all identifying information for the victim(s);
• as much identifying information as possible for the subject(s), including position, rank, and
agency employed;
• date and time of incident;
• location of incident;
• names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witness(es);
• a complete chronology of events; and
• any report numbers and charges with respect to the incident.

You may also contact the United States Attorney's Office in your district or send a written
complaint to:

Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Criminal Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20530

Anonymous said...

Brunson, Patterson, and any other
'son' of a B.I. movement that is 'out of control' might garner a lot of tithe money for their own purposes. Question is, on Whose Authority do they do this?

WHO is authorizing these extremely lavish life-styles.
Is it scriptural?
Is it supported by the bfm2k?
Is it the policy of the SBC ?
Someone has all but told these guys to 'help themselves'.
Who did this?

Ramesh said...

SGM Survivors: The “Sin” of Anonymous Blogging?

For some reason, the “Powers That Be” within Sovereign Grace Ministries have decided that anything communicated anonymously is sinful.

Now, I can understand why, where relationships are concerned, anonymity can cause problems. For instance, in a true “Matthew 18″ situation (one in which “your brother [not an organization, not a system of thought, not a large group of people, but a brother] has sinned against you”) , it is biblical and productive to go to that specific individual and address that person’s offense face to face. In such a case, speaking out anonymously would not be so godly, helpful, or appropriate.

But most of the situations discussed here on Sovereign Grace Survivors do not involve mere individuals. Most of the situations discussed here involve people who have been “offended” (hurt, disillusioned, disfellowshipped) by an organization, by the organization’s teachings and rigid, graceless system of doing things.

No doubt, some of the SGM defenders are still reading this and sputtering, “But without knowing precisely who is saying these things, how will our pastors know whether or not what they say is accurate?”

How, indeed?

Well, for starters, as I’ve pointed out before, while nobody expects SGM pastors to possess super-human memory capabilities, it’s highly unlikely that most of them can’t remember what they no doubt think of as the “hard cases.” I mean, are there really that many instances of church discipline run amuck within Sovereign Grace churches? Are there really so many instances of bad counseling sessions that end up as clashes of will between pastors and their counselees, where the counselee/member is ultimately excommunicated?

I’m pretty sure that most SGM pastors can remember, with ease, precisely how they behaved in the stickier situations they’ve encountered over the years.

And if they can’t remember?

Well, Sovereign Grace Ministries is an organization that most definitely believes in taking notes and keeping records. Pastors typically maintain extensive files on their church members, with all sorts of detailed information about the members’ various struggles, issues, and sins. Especially in cases where members are in conflict with their pastors, copious notes are kept. There are veritable filing cabinets full of memory-joggers for the unfortunate pastors who suddenly have developed memory failure. All they’d have to do is leaf through the thicker manilla folders and refresh themselves as to precisely what went down and what they did.

So what is up with SGM’s obsession with anonymity? If they don’t need to set up personal meetings with individuals, why should they care whether or not people are posting here under their full real names?

Why is anonymity a sin? The Bible doesn’t seem to think that anonymous sources are sinful. After all, several books of the Bible have come to us from anonymous authors, either in part or in whole. Many SGM folks’ favorite book of the Bible - Proverbs - was penned by several other anonymous wise men, and not just Solomon. We aren’t even 100% sure of the human authorship of some of the books in the New Testament.

Certainly, the Bible would be Exhibit A for the obvious fact that God can use anonymous writers to speak truth and get His message across.

And even the FBI has recognized that anonymous sources can speak the truth, no matter who or what they are. Otherwise, why would they spend millions of your tax dollars establishing anonymous tip lines to gather information that they then use to nab criminals.

Why can’t SGM get this? Why can’t they just EXAMINE THEMSELVES, examine their organization, and ask themselves if they’ve ever done the things that have been discussed here? Are they guilty of these things?

And if they ARE guilty of these things, why can’t they admit it, and then change what needs to be changed?

Why would they need to know my name, or your name, or Commenter XYZ’s name, in order to change what needs to be changed?

See, I think that SGM leadership’s obsession with knowing names is much more about CONTROL. Their critics have said, again and again, that SGM’s system of thought and leadership structure is all about control in the first place. And you know, SGM’s apparent hang-up with anonymity would simply serve to further prove this point.

After all, anonymity prevents them from maintaining control, and if their critics are correct, these guys cannot give up control.

With anonymity, they can’t pinpoint precisely which person they can pick apart or condemn so as to avoid dealing with the truth of the criticisms the anonymous person is leveling at them. They can’t go after an anonymous commenter’s character, or head on over to the anonymous person’s current pastor to threaten retribution.

All they can do is listen to what the person has to say.

Why - WHY - is that a sin to these guys? Why is that so difficult for them?

Anonymous said...

Is it 'dissent' to question those in power in the church who keep secrets?

Or is it the DUTY of the people of the church to uncover what is hid by the darkness?

From John Chapt. 3

"And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.

But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.'

IT IS BIBLICAL TO CALL THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH INTO THE LIGHT 'so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.'

Dissent from authority?
Who's dissenting?
Maybe it's those pastors who keep money secrets from their congregations and then claim that they have the right to do it. They are in violation of the third Chapter of the Gospel of John.

Anonymous said...

When 'certain' big-name pastors in the SBC have shown a willingness to hurt the sheep, potential victims have the RIGHT to protect themselves and their families AND THE DUTY to warn their fellow Christians with a 'heads-up'.

It's not the anonymity that bothers the supporters of 'certain' big-name pastors; it's the fact that they can't get to the anonymous source to 'shut 'em down' or to create such chaos in their lives that their families would be affected.

POTENTIAL VICTIMS: stay anonymous, stay safe, protect your families

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace,

I was just over at SGM Survivors and read the most recent post. Thanks for citing it here for Wade's followers to read.

Looks like we frequent some of the same blogs.



Christiane said...

Anglican Lenten Resources

"A startling passage teaches us how worldly values are so foreign to Jesus' teachings.
The secret of leadership is not to be the boss but to serve.
Never before has such a radical idea of leadership been put forward.
To this day most leaders do not have an inkling of it:
"after that, He (Jesus) poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet, drying them with a towel wrapped around him.

Jesus takes on the most menial task a leader could undertake in that society.
Peter is incensed at this.
Peter's pride is hurt that a man whom he reveres would so humble himself.

Jesus explains in a later verse,

"Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one anothers feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him" (verses 14 ff.).

There is no theory here.
To me this is not subject to interpretation or theological analysis.
This is love put into practice.

The one who leads must learn to serve.

Only then can he be truly a disciple of Christ.

Only by example can we lead others to Him. None of us is above doing what He calls us to do.

The gospels give us what we need to know of the man we know to be our Lord. He is a man of action, a man of compassion and man who leads by example.. "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:17).

Roger Bureau

Christiane said...

from Gospel of St. John

" A man named John
was sent from God.

He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
8 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites (to him) to ask him,

"Who are you?"
he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
"I am not the Messiah."
So they asked him,
"What are you then?
Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him, "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?"
He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying out in the desert, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day, he saw Jesus coming toward him and said,

"Behold, the Lamb of God,
who takes away
the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
'A man is coming after me
who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'
I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.
I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
He said to them,"Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,

"We have found the Messiah"

Ramesh said...

Anonymous said...

I heard that one of reasons FBC was able to get a subpoena to Google/Comcast is because you showed a picture of the Brunson's house in their gated Deerwood community when you were describing the $1,000,000+ home that Mac lives in. The picture of the house 'proved' that you could enter the gated community and be the one who could stalk Mrs. Brunson while she ran and also you could be the one who stole their mail.

MARCH 21, 2009 11:24 PM
FBC Jax Watchdog said...
Anon 11:24 -

Well, that would be a good explanation, except anyone that looks at the picture on the blog would clearly see it was taken from Google maps street view. And they would clearly be able to go to Googlemaps and see the picture there exactly matched the picture on street view.

Here is the picture of the Brunson's house from October.

Chest of Joash a Royal Bust

If you look at the picture there, you will even see the rotate buttons captured on the picture itself...this is very clearly a screen shot of the Google street map.

MARCH 21, 2009 11:54 PM


Here is the Google Maps and Street View of Pastor Mac's home.

Ramesh said...

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...
Excellent post, Pastor Wade.

I wish you were leading the SBC and teaching the up and coming Pastors. Great example of humility and Christlike love!

I feel I would receive the same type of response from my Pastor if ever warranted. True, transparent leaders are able to lead this way.

Thank you for your example, I hope that this is passed around to many. I so wish Pastor Brunson would have handled things this way. I applaud Dr. Vines for the way he has appeared to graciously handle several things that have happened recently as well.

We need to start a new blog entitled - "REAL LEADERS, REAL LIFE, LIVING LIFE TRANSPARENTLY" and include personal stories of transparent, Godly leaders. Hmmmm, sounds like a pretty good idea...
Wed Mar 18, 11:36:00 AM 2009
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
Mon Mar 09, 11:16:00 PM 2009


Bob Cleveland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The more that is learned about the ccrruption of Jesus' church at FBCJax, anyone could understand why WD wanted to stop it.

Gated communities?
million plus dollar homes?
undescribed 'positions' with salaries for family members of the 'pastor'?
trips to Europe?

FBCJax is not a church.
It is the feedbag of wolves.

Anonymous said...

Yea, the Paul states to the Corinthians to not associate with those who say thay are brethren and who won't turn from cravings for excessive luxury (coveting) also....that is hardly preached about any more

Ramesh said...

I would encourage everyone to listen to this sermon of Pastor Wade. I believe in this sermon, the blog of Pastor Wade's meets Emmanuel. This sermon cover all the previous posts both recent and long ago posts. This is almost a nexus that is coming together in one sermon.

If you watch the video, it's titled "The Anointing of the Father", March 22, 2009 - Part 11 of series (1 Jn. 2:26-27). The sermon is from 28:08 to 59:04. You can access the videos from here. If that does not work, try this.

The sermons notes are not yet posted, but when they do, they will be here. Look for #11.

If you are long time reader of this blog, then this sermon is for you.

G. Casey said...

Saw the Chest of Joash Bust picture of Brunson's home and was astonished....this is NOT modesty that Paul admonished at all....

Anonymous said...

The description of the Brunson Palace did not mention if the dog houses were air-conditioned.

If the Brunsons want to keep up image a la Tammy Faye, they better get those dog houses air-conditioned.

No disrespect to the memory of Tammy Faye in mentioning her along with the Brunsons.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least Jim and Tammy Faye were KIND and LOVING to the people who gave them the millions.

Anonymous said...

As I said, no disrespect to TAMMY FAYE. Most people loved her and miss her. She was a sweet woman.

Anonymous said...

Who are the most historians you cite? As a history prof, I would have to disagree with your evaluation and state that the XYZ Affair more than anything damaged Adams' chances for a second term.


Ramesh said...

Wiki: John Adams

Re-election campaign 1800

Main article: United States presidential election, 1800

The death of Washington, in 1799, weakened the Federalists, as they lost the one man who symbolized and united the party. In the presidential election of 1800, Adams and his fellow Federalist candidate, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, went against the Republican duo of Jefferson and Burr. Hamilton tried his hardest to sabotage Adams's campaign in hopes of boosting Pinckney's chances of winning the presidency. In the end, Adams lost narrowly to Jefferson by 65 to 73 electoral votes. Just before his loss, he became the first President to occupy the new, but unfinished President's Mansion on November 1, 1800.[52]

Among the causes of his defeat were distrust of him by "High Federalists" led by Hamilton, the popular disapproval of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the popularity of his opponent, Thomas Jefferson, and the effective politicking of Aaron Burr in New York State, where the legislature (which selected the electoral college) shifted from Federalist to Democratic-Republican on the basis of a few wards in New York City controlled by Burr's machine.[53]

Wiki: XYZ Affair

The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic episode in 1798 that worsened relations between France and the United States and led to the undeclared Quasi-War of 1798. John Jay's Treaty of 1794 angered France, which was at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain and interpreted the treaty as evidence of an Anglo-American alliance. U.S. President John Adams and his Federalist Party had also been critical of the Reign of Terror and extreme radicalism of the French Revolution, further souring relations between France and the States[1].

Ramesh said...

Anonymous said...
I am the watchdog'wife and this is my story. I have only posted on this blog just a couple of times before. My husband is not a coward or weak or a loser , like some of you have stated.He honestly saw some "RED FLAGS"with the new administration jusk like a lot of members did. Believe me I know because a lot of them shared with me, and believe me, I know alot of people at FBC since we had been members there for 2 decades. But after a while, people just decided to live with it, but my husband felt that he wanted to shine some light and open people's eyes hoping to bring some good change to FBC and other churches that were watching , but the opposite happened, they decided to punish our entire family.I agree with the truths that were being shine on the blog, but I wanted it to stop because I knew that they were going to come after my family HARD as Dr. Brunson was being exposed. Boy was I right . These past months have been a NIGHTMARE for me and my family. My kids who were highly involved in their youth programs, Sunday School, choir and ensemble,Extreme connections and Refuge had to step down overnight with great sorrow, esp. my 13 year old, GREAT SORROW, then and STILL.They wre there 3x a week with friends that they had grown up with. I had to stepped down from my area of service with great grief and sorrow. And what do I get for all my years of service(every year I have served in multiple areas , out of love first of all Christ and second, the church,a trespass warning for associating with my own husband,just merely for being his wife.This has no excuse and I believe they owe me an apology(and my daughter and sons which were greatly affected by this trespass) as for the month of December they were dropped to some of the Christmas events while we waited for them in the parking lot. I guess "my sin" was that I was submissive to my husband and supported him even though I wanted this blog down(only because I knew in my spirit and heart that they were going to hurt my family). But to be submissive and supportive is what I have been taught all my life at FBC.Praise God our family has survived these horrible months of intense trial and tribulation and we are stronger for it. We have risen from the sinking waters thanks to the prayers of the faithful ones.We have joined a wonderful Bible believing , warm fellowship with a Godly pastor and preacher who preaches verse by verse from the Bible in a loving way. We are so blessed to be away from all the angry yelling and accusations of our former pastor that we endured. God is still with us! We needed a pastor so much and God gave us one.

So , don't blame my husband, on the contrary, I think that he is very courageous and bold to have stood up to the BIG BOYS, singledhanded.I know that I would have been like the rest and just live with it, but he was brave enough to stand up for those of us that were afraid to do so. Over these trying months, the Lord gave me some verses , and I will share just a few with you, Psalms 27,86 and 121.Phillipians 4 :6-8, which has given me much peace during my many, many sleepless nights.My prayer has been for God's will ,truth to be revealed , which will make us free John 8:32. And people that know us know of our character and our children's character and that we all love the Lord and have served Him for years.I wish some men that know my husband would have the courage to stand up and speak in his defense but apparently there is no one among the men deacons.Some of you know what kind of man my husband is, and that he would never do the things John Blount has said he did.He has high moral and values, which is shown in ours and our kid's lives.One of the things that have hurt me the most is the lies that were told about my husband during the deacon's meeting, which I fear they fabricated these lies just to get to his records,and when we found out that John Blount actually went to the Sherrifs office and filed against me a formal trspass warning this time not for assiating with a member's church misconduct, but actually for my own church misconduct as if I was a criminal.. Please,John Blount, Kevin King, What has been my church misconduct? I would love a phone call from either of these two men that came to my house that wouldn't let me go to church with my kids, that wouldn't let me sit in church to watch my daughter sing. I have been so disappointed in men that I had looked up to for so many years at FBC. I know these men, their wifes and their kids. We sat in the pew behind one of these men family for years.Please , maybe one of the 6 men who signed the letter can call me.I know and was friend s with some of their wives.John Blount , when I asked for permission to accompany my daughter during the Christmas service , but my request was denied, this time ,please tell me why you formally file a trespass warning on me with the sheriffs office. I often wonder what your sweet wife thinks of all of this.I sometimes wish that my sweet friend Shirley Lindsey were here because I know that she would have never tolerated this mistreatment of one of her friends. She would have never stood by and a let a mother sit in her car while her daughter sang at church because the mother was not permitted to accompany her daughter.And if I knew her well, she would have marched right into John Blount's office with me demanding an explanation about issuing trespass warnings and filing them with the sherrifs office, another lie. But it would have grieved her so much that is better that she never knew about all of this.By the way, are these trespass warning in effect forever. I would have love to go to the Passion Play, as I loved it last year. But , I guess I am the only person , besides my husband, that is not welcome to go in the whole city of jacksonville.

Things are not were they need to be yet, but I know God is in control. Thanks for all the prayers and Let's keep on praying. God Bless

MARCH 22, 2009 11:15 PM

Anonymous said...

So the source for WB's argument is Wikipedia. Ooooh, I am stunned into silence (sarcasm noted).

Anonymous said...

Brunson and his cronies tactics are nothing less than what Martin Luther faced.....perhaps clips from the movie Luther with Joseph Fienes should be downloaded and commented on future posts.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about 95 thesis statements for SBC reform?

Rex Ray said...

I think Greg Warner Executive Editor Associated Baptist Press, hit the nail on the head when he said: “I suspect that Harber would favor a more centralized governance that gives the pastor and a small group of select leaders (elders) ultimate authority, as evidenced by the changes he instituted at Colleyville.”

At one time, Harber was the pride and joy of SWBTS as he obtaining his doctorate faster than anyone. He said, “I went to school on how to run a church, I know how to run a church and I am going to run this church.”

Some have said the meeting was ‘illegal’ in which Harber got new bylaws passed that included:

1. The Senior Pastor shall be the leader of the Church congregation, the Church staff, all Church organizations, all Church ministries, the Leadership Board, and all Church Advisory Committees. The chairman and vice-chairman of each Committee and Advisory Team shall be appointed by the Senior Pastor.

2. The Leadership Board shall be the express and final arbiter of ecclesiastical polity, Christian doctrine, membership discipline, questions of Church property, and shall make the final decision with respect to any other matter that shall arise concerning the Church, its internal workings, and its governance in every respect.

3. Any person deemed by the Leadership Board to…be causing, about to cause, or capable of causing disruption to the religious services and activities of the Church shall be considered a trespasser on Church property and may be ejected summarily.

Wade, where were you when this lady (a trustee of the church and a trustee of Dallas Baptist University) sent the letter below to her church on being ‘kicked out’?

She was one of four long time members that received a letter with seven signatures from the Leadership Board. The letter said no reasons were being given for removal to “save embarrassment.” They received their letters the day after their 50 member senior adult class had been locked out of the church.

Three months earlier, Harber called me “evil” when I told him he was the only one that could solve this problem and handed him the slip of paper below:
1. The Leadership Board dissolved the Colleyville Senior Adult Bible Explorers Class on 11-6—05.
2. The teacher was fired because he would not promise to always support the Senior Pastor.
3. However, about 50 long time members have continued to meet with their fired teacher.
4. Consequently, they have been denied Sunday school literature and a Christmas party.
5. If the Board rules their disobedience is “disruption”, they may be ejected from the church.
6. Is it sad the new bylaws prevent anyone standing for them? Outsider, Rex Ray 11-27-05.

(The Lady’s letter)
“This letter acknowledges receipt of a letter dated February 20, 2006 from First Baptist Church Colleyville, TX. I further wish to inform you that the proposed action to expel me from the church violates Article XI of 1990 Bylaw for dismissing a member. In part, it states such action will be valid when brought before church membership and approved by them. The assumed authority of the proposed revised bylaw is “totally out of order.” Consequently any action initiated by the Pastor or Leadership Board to expel a member is invalid and non-binding. As a Trustee of First Baptist Colleyville your dismissal letter is not enforceable…

No meetings with individuals or the entire church body have occurred…(Matthew 18:15-18)…You also stated “I refused to repent” and again I must challenge you to state reasons for repentance. As a senior citizen, widowed for 11 years to the late Herman Smith, well known in Baptist circles, I must say, I have been devastated, hurt, embarrassed and for sure, ready to clear my name of any false accusations…I have been a member of a Southern Baptist church since becoming a Christian at the age of nine…I consider my church membership a serious matter and I strongly feel inappropriate actions have been committed by Dr. Harber and…the Leadership Board of First Baptist Church, Colleyville.

Sincerely, Patsy R. Smith

On September 14, 2006, a breakfast was held for Frank Page at Tarrant Baptist Association. Ben Cole told a relative of mine that Harber reminded him of Nebuchadnezzar, who spread his arms and said “Look what I have built.”

Anonymous said...

'Patriarchy' run amok.
First it was 'subjugate those silly women';
now it's "subjugate those damn sheep or kick 'em out."

This is serious, folks,
the wolves have taken over. Better get your Bibles out
and get 'armed' for the
Gospel Resurgence:



Rex Ray said...

Is anyone bothered by this?

Harber: “I went to school on how to run a church.”

Is there a course 101 on how to run a church?

Maybe its title would be ‘Ten Commandments of Control’:

1. A church grows with strong pastoral leadership.

2. A pastor is not a dictator. He is a shepherd leader that dictates direction, creates structure, and oversees organization.
[Webster—dictator…one who dictates.]

3. It is not the deacon’s responsibility to lead the church. They do not keep the pastor in line. He does not answer to them. That is not their role.

4. An executive committee has that role.

5. A pastor must be able to appoint the chairman of deacons, finance, and personnel because they become his executive committee.

6. A pastor will seek input from his executive committee about any direction he believes God is leading the church, but ultimately he must lead.

7. Any staff issue should never be handled without consultation with the executive committee, but it would be understood that unless there is a compelling reason biblical, legal, or moral the committee would follow the lead of the pastor in staff hiring/firing/merit raises.

8. A pastor needs to be able to provide leadership over the allocation of finances. The church should follow his leadership in the allocation of those resources.

9. A pastor must know if the leadership tithes.

10. God gives pastoral leadership the vision which in turn must be communicated to the congregation.

Anonymous said...

Get some sleep Rex...3:22 sad.

Rex Ray said...

Sad? What’s sad…{Texas time 1:22} or sad that some preachers reach for a throne instead of a towel?

Anonymous said...

Riddle me this...riddle me that...RR needs to use his head for more than a place to put his hat.

Rex Ray said...

Better a head for a hat rack and a riddle than a heart looking for revenge.

Anonymous said...

Revenge? Now why would I have cause to seek revenge? I am simply exhausted by your incessant judgment.

Rex Ray said...

Let’s see, Saturday March 21, 7:12 PM, half my comment was a copy paste on what Frank Harber said. Most of the other half was what he did. (Very little was my judgment.)

Ten minutes later, my second comment was a copy paste of what others said about Harber. (No judgment on my part)

Three days later, I quoted Harber saying, “I went to school on how to run a church”, and I copy pasted ten statements about the role of a pastor. (No judgment on my part.)

You ask why you would have cause to seek revenge.

It is easy to see you want revenge if you are Frank Harber because he said to some of his Leadership Board, “I know this man. I’ve read his letter to the Baptist Standard. He is evil!”

I agree with you that I am incessant, but would you tell me what I’ve said that was so much “judgment” you are exhausted?

Anonymous said...

Wow Rex...seems like you need to refill your meds gramps.