"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bellevue Asks for Donations for Steve and Donna's Vacation, AKA Their "Time of Refreshing"

It is just so darn difficult to be a mega church pastor these days.

With the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and Barrack Obama still in office, and the coming Iranian treaty, mega church pastors are agonizing over the fate of our country and the soon-coming judgment of God. And as many pastors are saying, it is only a mater of time before they will be thrown into prison for not conducting same-sex weddings. These guys have it tough. How do they endure such hardships?

But Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis is doing something about it! They have announced to all the good folks at Bellevue that their pastor, Steve Gaines (affectionately known as "Pastor" in first-person), needs an extended vacation to refresh from all these pressures.

And best of all, the good folks at Bellevue have the wonderful opportunity to give money to a special fund to PAY for Pastor and Donna Gaines' "time of refreshing".
"The church is giving Pastor and Donna extended time off in July 2016. They will travel to England where they will retrace the lives the men who have been part of great awakenings in the past as they take time to pray, study, and refresh". 
Come on. Why not just say it like it is. They're giving the man and his wife an extended vacation. They're not retracing steps, or studying the "Great Awakening". They're going to Europe for a vacation and will stay in luxurious hotels and will go sightseeing. They're not going to just be "praying, studying and refreshing".

But turning a vacation into a spiritual journey back to study men (no women presumably) of the past, and to say they will be praying and studying while there - allows the church to with a straight face hit the people up at Bellevue to give money to pay for "Pastor's" vacation.
"If you would like to help fund the cost of this time of refreshing for Pastor and Donna, please indicate your gift in the same envelope and make your check payable to Bellevue Baptist Church."
Yes, the Bellevue members get to help fund a "time of refreshing" for Pastor. Maybe cut your vacation short so you can help "Pastor" pay for his.

This sort of shameless fundraising should sicken the people at Bellevue. They should be outraged that their pastor who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits, who earns stipends when he goes and preaches at other churches - is not going to pay for his own vacation and they are hitting up the church members instead.

But I'm sure the people of Bellevue love it. By giving to "Pastor's" vacation, er "time of refreshing", they feel like they are giving to God himself. Another deception of the gullible.

Who else does this? Do private companies solicit employees to pay for the "time of refreshing" for the owner? Do CEO's of corporations solicit shareholders or customers or employees to pay for the CEO to take an "extended time off"? Of course not. But CEO's are not "men of God", like pastors.

Here's my take: I say megachurch pastors like Gaines' and others deserve a pay cut, and need to have shortened vacations and not extended ones. Their influence on our culture has waned. Mega church pastors have shown our culture that what really matters in modern-day Christianity is fund-raising, huge buildings, and large staffs with lots of professional holy men with seminary degrees.

So Bellevue peeps, tell Steve and Donna to pay for their own time of refreshing, just like you pay for yours.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stovall Weems is Having Joyce Meyer Speak at Celebration Church April 22nd

This says it all about the state of evangelical Christianity in Jacksonville: the largest and fastest growing church in our city, Celebration Church, is having none other than prosperity preacher/millionaire Joyce Meyer in to speak at a conference.

For only $129, YOU TOO can go and hear Joyce Meyer speak to church leaders. Yes, Stovall is giving Joyce Meyer a platform in our city to speak to church leaders and church wannabe leaders.

Do we really want Joyce Meyer here to speak in our city? Meyer and her money-making enterprise (known as her "ministry") were investigated by Senator Charles Grassley's Senate Finance Committee back in 2007 and 2008 for possible tax violations. Grassley focused on whether Meyer and five other "ministries" improperly used their tax-exempt status as churches to lavishly enrich themselves and their families.

It is a travesty that Stovall brings Joyce Meyer to our city. She represents everything that is wrong with evangelical Christianity. Her board is made up mostly of family members. Most of her kids and their spouses are on the payroll. She has a net worth of around $25 million and her ministry spends a tiny fraction of their revenue on actually helping anyone.

But I've said it here multiple times: Stovall himself preaches a prosperity gospel, so this doesn't come as a complete surprise to the Watchdog. 

Welcome to Jacksonville, Joyce Meyer. Hope you don't stay too long.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lifeway Introduces New Storehouse Tithing Bible Translation - the RSTB

Today Lifeway is introducing a new bible translation to help preachers and churchmen teach the important first-fruits storehouse tithing doctrine to their church members.

The translation is called the "Revised Storehouse Tithing Bible", or RSTB for short.

"We have sought input from some of the best fundraising pastors in modern evangelicalism to provide this valuable resource to pastors as they teach the sheep the absolute necessity of forking over a minimum of 10% to their local church", said a Lifeway spokesman.

Contributors to the RSTB include Steve Gaines, Ed Young, Frank Page, and also John Hagee. Robert Morris, best-selling author of The Blessed Life and storehouse tithing teacher, was the editor of the project.

"Tapestry of Green" on Every Page of the Bible

Lifeway says the RSTB will help church members see that tithing really is a common theme found throughout the Bible.

"Just as the tapestry of red, Christ's redemption, is found throughout scripture pointing us to Jesus Christ, so on every page of the Bible we find the first-fruits storehouse tithing principle, the blessed 'tapestry of green', that points Christians to securing God's blessings and avoiding God's curses through giving the first 10% of our income", said one of the RSTB editors.

The RSTB has several unique features: it is color coded - verses having to do with storehouse tithing are highlighted in bright money-green. Also, unique tithing icons are used throughout, such as those highlighted verses that refer to Christians getting blessings for their tithe are marked in the margin with "$" symbols, while those that speak of God's curses for not tithing are marked with either an icon of a purse with holes in it or a devil's pitchfork.

To help Christians fully understand how important it is to tithe to avoid the wrath of God, the RSTB includes modern-day translations of verses dealing with first-fruits tithing principles that have been uncovered in scripture by the today's evangelical tithing experts.

For instance, when Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt 6:33, KJV)

has been translated with the help of Perry Noble to read:

"Tithe ye first to your storehouse, and money, clothes, and food shall be delivered unto you." (Matt 6:33, RSTB)

Another great example of interpreting Jesus' words in the context of modern day storehouse tithing doctrines, is Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matt 23:23, NIV)

which has been shortened through translation, with the help of Frank Page, to read:

"Woe to you, you non-tithing Christians, you hypocrites! I've paid for your sins and delivered you from hell, now PONY UP!!!" (Matt 23:23, RSTB)

Steve Gaines has been on the forefront of the storehouse tithing interpretation in the New Testament, and helped correctly interpret the Acts 5 account of Ananias and Sapphira. Some of the translated verses include:

"But a certain man, named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and did not tithe on it....and Peter said 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lived in a stolen house and driven a stolen car belonging to men, but thou hast sent thou offspring to school with the tithe belonging to God.'....and Ananias, hearing these words, and Sapphira with her stolen jewelry, fell down and gave up the ghost and the tithe." (Acts 5:1-5, RSTB)

Old Testament verses have been interpreted to aid Christians in seeing that the modern day church is the temple, and that their pastors are the modern day equivalent to the Old Testament priests.

For instance:

"A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." (Lev 27:30, NIV)

is translated as:

"A tithe of everything in your paycheck, whether it be your salary from work, or the hourly pay at your second job; even your welfare or social security checks, - they all belong to the church, it is holy to the church." (Lev 27:30, RSTB)

Lifeway acknowledges that the RSTB will have its critics, but that these are mostly recalcitrant bloggers who don't tithe anyways.

One such critic, FBC Jax Watchdog, says he offered the RSTB translation team a helpful modern day translation of Malachi 3, saying that it is the most misused verse in the bible on storehouse tithing.

"They weren't too interested in receiving a modern-day translation of Malachi 3 that reflects how God would apply it today to the church", said the Watchdog. "You see, what the storehouse tithing preachers don't want you to know is that the book of Malachi was directed at priests of Israel and the sons of Levi. So in Malachi 3 God is upset that the priests, not the people, are misusing the tithe and thus robbing God."

The editors instead went with the Perry Noble translation of Malachi 3:10:

"Fork ye over all the tithes to the church, that there may be large budgets in mine house, and prove Pastor now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the bank account of heaven, and pour you out money to pay your bills, so much that there shall not be room enough to store it and thus you'll have to give even more to the church." (Mal 3:10, RSTB)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ergun Caner Version 4.0 is Released - and C.B. Scott Rehired at Brewton Parker

Things can't really get any crazier around the on-going Ergun Caner saga. Caner is preaching at a youth retreat, while C.B. Scott is rehired at Brewton Parker by the new incoming president after he was fired by the trustees for spilling the beans on Ergun Caner, leading to Caner's resignation.

Then, just a few weeks after Caner resigned in disgrace at Brewton Parker over the allegations of using racist language, and allegations of "sexting" at the campus, Caner pops up at the New River Fellowship Church. Butch wasn't there to receive the terms of his church discipline for his moral failings in Georgia, but instead was able to go spend a weekend preaching to the young skulls of mush at a New River youth retreat.

Yes, just a few weeks after being accused of saying he was "n**ger f****d" by the Brewton Parker trustees, and allegedly engaging in sexual text messaging, Ergun the Warrior was called by God and New River pastor Scott Crenshaw, to tell the kiddos about Jesus.

I wonder if Scott Crenshaw informed the parents at his church about the allegations against Caner at Brewton Parker. My guess is that Pastor Scott told the parents at New River - much like Bucky Kennedy in Georgia - that Ergun was chosen as the youth retreat speaker not in spite of the allegations, but exactly BECAUSE of the allegations of racism and sexual text messages. That is how things go nowadays in the circles Caner travels.

Ergun is now "Ergun 4.0". Version 1.0 was Mike Caner, the George Castanza-looking nerdy preacher from Ohio. Ergun version 2.0 was released after 9/11, as Mike Caner became Ergun Mehmet Giovani Caner, the terrorist who was "trained to do that which was done on 11 September". Version 3.0 was released after Ergun was busted for his tall tales - he became Ergun the Warrior who has attacked by bloggers and evil judges who required him to pay for his frivolous lawsuits to quiet his critics.

Now Ergun is Ergun Version 4.0 - the conquering hero who rescued Brewton Parker from extinction, and who "quit" his job to become more like Jesus. Said Caner to the New River faithful on Sunday:

"I quit my job - at the age of 50. I got Brewton Parker out of accreditation problems, off of 'double death penalty' - and to celebrate it, I quit. I want to come home....I want to heal, and I can't heal, if my title is more important than my heart."

So Caner didn't resign over his racist slurs, or because of allegations of inappropriate behavior, he did it out of his most noble intentions that he didn't want his title to be more important than his heart; whatever that means. And in Caner's view, it was himself who saved Brewton Parker.  

Sadly, Ergun still can't quit telling tales about himself.  And he won't as long as there is a market for his stories to be told.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Remembering Homer Lindsay, Jr. - Fifteen Years After His Death

Readers - 15 years ago today, Homer Lindsay, Jr. died after a brief battle with cancer. In remembrance of the date of his passing, I am re-posting the article below, posted by yours truly, back in the summer of 2010. Enjoy. Notice since this article posted, Anthony George has left Aloma Baptist Church and now is at FBC Atlanta. A few paragraphs were slightly edited from the original posted article.


Anthony George, Pastor of Aloma Baptist Church (Winter Park, Florida) was saved at FBC Jacksonville when he was in high school in Jacksonville in the late 70's or early 80's when FBCJ was pastored by Homer Lindsay, Jr. (picture at left).

Well, Anthony George was the speaker at a revival meeting at North Central Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida June 20-23, 2010. Many of you know that Calvin Carr has been the pastor of North Central since 2007.

In one of his sermons at the North Central revival a few weeks ago, Anthony George gave a very moving testimony of the kind of preacher Homer Lindsay was. He spoke of how Homer Lindsay was in stark contrast to what George called the "hip hop" preachers today in the SBC who seem to be going through a mid-life crisis. Lindsay was the opposite of this - a man who was out of style, but still connected to people by teaching them to love Jesus and love people, and through his life showed them that Jesus was real and alive.

Listen to the five-minute clip below for a true and humorous rememberance of a pastor who was taught to love Jesus by Homer Lindsay and went on to became a fine pastor.

Anthony George Remembers Homer Lindsay, Jr. from FBCJax Watchdog on Vimeo.

I think Brother Anthony has it right about Lindsay. He was a mega church pastor who didn't seek to be a mega church pastor. Lindsay didn't guilt people into obedience or browbeat people into submission or teach people to be "churchmen". He didn't appeal to people's emotions by trying to be hip or cool, and he didn't have a certain schtick to his preaching that gave him a niche market on the preaching circuit. He wasn't a great story teller or historian, and he didn't have a fantastic, remarkable testimony that made people want to come hear his yarns and tales.

He was just a guy who loved Jesus, and loved lost people, and his life's mission was to tell them about Jesus, and to preach the bible in a very plain fashion.

In other words: Homer Lindsay was the absolute antithesis of the modern day megachurch pastor.

He pastored his flock. He didn't travel to speaking gigs week after week. He didn't go on the SBC preaching circuit. He never sought any glamor or recognition. He never wanted to turn his fame as a mega church pastor into book deals of his latest sermon series - in fact what books he did write were really just copied "booklets" given away for free in the foyer of the church to anyone who wanted them. He viewed Jacksonville as his primary mission field. He did broadcast the entire services live on TV as a means to reach people and serve shut-ins, but he didn't seek to produce 30-minute TV shows of his sermons for broadcast on phony-baloney hair channels like INSP or TBN.

When considering the state of the SBC: maybe Lindsay SHOULD have gone on the preaching circuit just a bit, and maybe he should have gone to the seminaries to speak to the next generation of pastors more frequently.

Then maybe the SBC wouldn't be in the mess it is these days if more pastors were emulating his example, instead of acting like rock-star, jet-setting celebrities out to make a buck and build their own family brand name.

And maybe we would have less of the mega church wannabe pastors who empower these celebrities by defending their sins and excesses and licking their boots every chance they get.

Thank God there STILL are some SBC preachers more like Lindsay, some even at larger churches. It's just that we don't hear much about them - they aren't in power at the SBC and they're not on the preaching circuit - they are busy pastoring their flocks.