Friday, October 31, 2008
We welcome Governor Huckabee to our church and am happy to host him. He has a new show on the Fox News channel that airs on weekends and is getting rave reviews.
However, we hope his appearance at our church won't hurt him in the future. Its very likely that Mac Brunson will use this as an opportunity to advance his own brand - Mac will be on the platform with him no doubt, will introduce him, etc. A great attempt for Mac to bolster his own image. However, I can see in the future when Huckabee runs for president again they will pull out the video of Mac Brunson blaming 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, high gas prices, and the current economic downturn on God and ask Governor Huckabee: "Why did you go speak at a church and take the platform with someone who blames God for America's problems?"
Below is the video once again. Notice that Mac is not just saying that God could use these unfortunate events; not that God can work through these events...no, you will see Mac speaking on behalf of God in the first person, saying that God was actively working to bring all these things about in order to wake up the His people, that God tried to do it with blessings, but is now trying to get our attention through "buffeting" via 9/11, Katrina, gas prices, and economic calamity. Mac traces our current problems back to the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and our failure to respond appropriately to that, and then God decided to bring 9/11 and the rest.
So when you take the platform with Mac Brunson, Governor Huckabee, keep in mind that the footage of you and Mac will be aired right after the clip below of Mac blaming death, disaster, and calamity directly on God punishing Americans.
Unfortunately, Governor Huckabee, Sunday night might be your "Jeremiah Wright" moment.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Mac Brunson is abusing our church in many ways. As I've said, abusers will often get emboldened when they get away with their abuse, and we see this here. Mac felt emboldened to the point of perpetuating a carefully crafted lie by completely mischaracterizing Sheri Klouda's testimony concerning the scriptural validity of her lawsuit against Mac's buddy Paige Patterson and the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. Sheri Klouda responsed to this lie on my blog here.
When you listen to the audio clip below you will hear Mac coldly refer to Sheri as "that person" and he says that Sheri Klouda admitted on the stand that her lawsuit violated 1 Corinthians 6. This is no small matter to Sheri. This must be very hurtful to Sheri as she is a seminary professor and takes great pride in living her life in accordance with the scripture that she teaches. To have Mac from one of the most prominent pulpits in the SBC delcare that Sheri admitted to have violated scripture in her lawsuit is to call her a hypocrite. It was a shameless attempt by Mac to rub salt in Sheri's wounds, and to show off to the SBC that he's not afraid to stick up for Paige Patterson. Too bad that the SBC Today faithful can't see this has nothing to do with one's opinion on Klouda's lawsuit - it has to do with lying about and ignoring Sheri's own testimony concerning the validity of her lawsuit.
I can only wonder...where is Debbie Brunson in all of this? As a woman serving in the SBC as an IMB trustee and as a prominent staff member (dare we say "co pastor"?) at FBC Jax, wouldn't she be incensed to hear her husband slander from the pulpit another woman serving in the ministry? Unlike Debbie Brunson, Sheri Klouda isn't riding the coattails of her husband to land a cush job at a mega church and a spot on the IMB board...unlike Deb Brunson, Sheri Klouda must support her family due to her husband's chronic health issues. Can't Debbie Brunson show a little heart and get her man to come clean and apologize to Sheri and to FBC Jacksonville? Or is she as cold-hearted as Mac? Its the least Debbie Brunson can do, given that she couldn't offer any support to Sheri while the whole mess unfolded at SWBTS even though Sheri was a member at FBC Dallas.
So listen below as Mac delivers his cowardly encoded lie. He isn't even man enough to use Sheri's name, and isn't even man enough to acknowledge that he is talking about a woman...only "that person". Coward. And he certainly isn't man enough to admit that "that person" is actually a former church member whom he pastored at Dallas and never offered one helping hand to her while her world collapsed. The people at FBC Jax should DEMAND that Mac apologize. But they won't. They don't care.
Come on, Mac. Humble yourself and apologize. Deb, perhaps you can help him.
But as Lee Corso says, "Not so fast, my friend".
Before the SWBTS students think Mac is some kind of A+ preacher...before they think he is the next Jerry Vines or Adrian Rogers....we want the students at SWBTS to see Mac in action from a recent sermon. Preaching a really important sermon to his congregation. A stewardship sermon, where Mac has the duty of calling his sheep to action, to spur them to give and to serve like they've never done before. Mac's church faces a steep hill in 2009. Our neglected facilities need $1 million in urgent repairs - urgent in the sense of "neglected" while other out-of-budget special projects were undertaken. We have a school starting soon. Mac is opening a satellite church despite our facilities being at less than 1/2 their capacity. So we need a real stem-winder from Mac - one that will just motivate us to love Jesus, love the church, and to commit our time and money. What does Mac do? What sermon does he pull out of his holster? What did Mac learn at SWBTS? How did they train him to preach to his sheep on such an important occasion?
Watch this brief video, the first of three parts that we will show in advance of Mac making a return trip to his alma mater to preach at chapel, and you can decide for yourself. And please, when its over, say a prayer for FBC Jax. And SWBTS students, remember: this is how NOT to preach a stewardship sermon. The last scene is "how to come across as an angry, fundamental, legalistic" - its a classic.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Mac's house backs up to hole #12, so perhaps the back 9 will include a quickie tour of Mac's million dollar, 5600 square foot home. Then these missionaries can see what they could have had if they had just stayed here in the states and tried to become a megachurch pastor...and our members participating in the tournament can see what their tithes and offerings they give to God for the furtherance of the gospel help pay for!
The tournament involves prizes and giveaways...rumor is that one of the prizes is a one-night stay at the Brunson "Lincoln Bedroom", with a private tour of the Brunson office suite at the church. All participants in the tournament get 10% off any exhibit booth at the 2009 Pastor's Conference and 50% off any Mac Brunson books and coffee mugs. A drawing will be held for all hole sponsors for a 30 second commercial to be played in the middle of Mac's Easter Sunday message next April.
Here is the information from the FBC Jax website showing the golf outing costs and promotional fees. Watchdog will be there, as he is a near-scratch golfer and is looking forward to playing on Mac's home course.
Friday, October 24, 2008
This is a clip from September 2008, in a service that was two weeks before FBC Jax's "Chest of Joash" Sunday where the church members submit their pledge card for the church's annual budget.
In this video Mac explains that there are some serious facility maintenance issues that must be corrected immediately, and they total nearly $1 million. He even has pictures. And he doesn't bother to explain why these weren't taken care of in our operating budget which the church met - he doesn't explain why other "special projects" that he unveiled during the fiscal year were addressed before these important repairs. And he doesn't even bother to lovingly ask the congregation to sacrficially give to meet these needs. Instead, he asks us which of us have homes in such disrepair - and then he plays the "debt card" as he likes to do. He actually threatens us that our 60+ year record of being debt free is in jeopardy unless we pony up and fork over to him $1 million in two weeks' time. As though the facility problems were caused by US and not him and his misplaced spending priorities. And the manner that he says it is about as unloving and arrogant and condenscending as it could be done.
Why the videos you ask? Easy. When I saw Mac put a video on our website with him in a santa hat telling everyone just how much he and Honey care for the poor, and they are proving it by ringing a bell...I realized that he will spare no expense to use all church resources available to let everyone know what a great, loving, caring pastor he is. He knows how to use the power of the visual to build his brand. But so can we use the power of the visual to show what is happening to our church. Enjoy.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Its amazing really, that this sort of thing is now coming forth from the pulpit of First Baptist Jacksonville. To explain that God is causing this calamity and the suffering of innocent people is beyond the pale. It not only gives people the wrong impression of the nature of God, but it strikes fear into the heart of God's people. Using Mac's logic, I suppose we can explain other calamities and suffering, such as children dying everyday from starvation and malaria - is that God's doing to in an attempt to get our attention?
This is what happens when a preacher gets away from expository preaching and begins to rely on his oratory skill and story telling and history. Mac here takes the story of Hosea and Gomer from the Old Testament, and spends several minutes translating that into modern day to tell us that God is punishing us.
Preachers, just stick to preaching the Word.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
More to come.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Notice Mac didn't bother to tell us today that he would be out all week preaching. Our previous pastors told us what they were doing if they traveled. If Vines was traveling to preach, he would tell us for three reasons: 1. He wanted us to be praying specifically for him; 2. If he was going to be out of the pulpit that Wednesday he showed us the respect of letting us know, and telling us who would be in the pulpit; and 3. HE SHOWED US COMMON COURTESY AND ACTED LIKE HE HAD SOME ACCOUNTABILITY TO US. How laughable is that? The pastor being accountable to us? Do you remember when Mac declared he was accountable to us? That was a joke. He thinks because he says something it is so. Actions speak louder than words Mac. We know you don't view yourself as accountable to us. We're just stupid sheep that are supposed to give the dough so you can earn your "base" salary from us, and then your book deals and preaching circuit is where you earn your extra spending money.
I think Mac operates in a paradigm of FBC Jax being in a sense his own private corporation. He's the President and CEO, his wife is the vice president, and his son is the LWO (I'll let you figure that out - we'll see how back some of you readers go on the blog). Since this is HIS company, and we are merely low-level "employees", he doesn't need to tell us what he is doing or where he is going or when he's out of the pulpit. Its none of our business. Its HIS church, not ours, and he is accountable to no one.
And let me tell you something. I made some comments on the pseudo-sermon this morning that if there are many people who struggle with the security of their salvation as Mac says, its because Mac himself preaches confusing sermons that would make an immature Christian doubt their salvation if they don't fall into line with Mac's orders. He preaches legalism in giving and service, has said that God is a God seeking to punish us with higher gas prices and falling stock prices, that God is looking to "zap" us when we get out of line.
But tonight was just an example of empty rhetoric. His one point tonight: DON'T LEAVE GOD OUT OF THE EQUATION when things get tough. I do declare, from the FBC Jax Watchdog Blog: Mac Brunson's entire tenure is full of decisions made leaving God out of the equation. I've chronicled them on this blog and won't bore you with the details. The way he beats us up when we don't do what he wants (after all we answer to him not the Holy Spirit), how preaches legalism in giving in service and giving, his changing of bylaws without telling his congregation, telling us that God is "gonna zap us"....even when he ripped us up one side and down the other because he didn't get 150 men to pray with him...those are all examples of MAC LEAVING GOD OUT OF THE EQUATION. So brother pastor it rings hollow when you preach to us to not leave God out of the equation. To all but the ardent believers who have been baptized in your Kool Aid, we see right through it all.
Here's one for you Mac: Don't you trust God to meet your needs by the salary you draw here? Don't you think God can take care of those seniors at Pigeon Forge without you vacating your pulpit here to preach to them and grab another paycheck? Stop leaving God out of the equation Mac.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I am hoping that more of our members are becoming aware of this blog so that they can at least consider another paradigm of what is happening at our church. I know the vast majority of members view Mac as the jolly ole preacher up there, the good ole boy redneck who just loves to preach, and tells a good joke and they sit in Sunday services and giggle at his antics. Well, there is another side to the story of Mac and Team Brunson that this blog is trying to get members to consider.
So keep spreading the word, FBC Jax readers of this blog...don't be afraid to email this blog to any of your Sunday School associates. If you have an email distribution list for your department, be bold and email this blog address to them. If you don't feel comfortable doing this for fear of attack on you and your family (which will likely happen if you were to do it), then go to www.gmail.com, get yourself a new email address with an email name that is not descriptive of you, and email it anonymously. It is very important that people at least consider what is being exposed on this blog. If you do suffer for daring to bring up this blog to others, you have an open venue at this blog to expose those who are trying to harm you or your family.
And if you believe that Mac is harming our church, you now have only one vote, and that is your wallet. The congregation has had taken away from it the ability to call a special business meeting in the recent bylaw changes, so there is no more congregational rule. So to withhold your giving is exactly playing by the rules of the new Brunson regime at our church. To them its all about the dollar, and he who gives the most money gets the most exposure - give Mac $300,000 tract of land and you get a 3-minute video shown smack dab in the middle of his sermon right after preaching about Jesus' suffering in the garden (is that not sick?). But on the other extreme we now know that if you can't come up with $750 for an exhibitor's booth, you can't tell pastors about your Christian ministry or business. And it doesn't get any more obscene than this: if you can't pay the registration fee for the pastor's conference, you can't even show up for the sessions - which are held at the facilties that your sacrifices paid for over the past three decades. Don't have the money, you're shut out. It sure is a "new day" at FBC Jax. That's why our logo be "Linking Wallets to Team Brunson" instead of "Linking Lives to Jesus Christ"
I'd like to think that our lay leaders can help us out of this mess, but they are entrenched with Brunson. The man who is the head of the finance committee (if that committee still exists) has been touring Italy with the pastor. Other lay leaders and board members who have financial interests in Israel got Mac to allow them to use the church to raise money last fall for an Israeli hospital that performs abortions, so don't look to the board members to help in this. The paid staff? They have either drunken the Kool Aid and can't look objectively at what is happening, or they do see it but for fear of their jobs they can't do anything.
So let's play by THEIR rules...he who has the dollars has the power and the privilege. It used to be the joke around town that the more you gave to FBC Jax the closer to the front you could sit. Now in a sick way that joke has come true - the more you can give, the more marketing exposure you can gain. Don't have the money, no exposure or even access to the events.
So withhold your dollars from Mac, and watch his power and influence wane faster than you can say "Come help us Calvin Carr".
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So come on church, let him know. You need to email the pastor about your disgust and expect a response. If you get a response from him that is unacceptable, send it to the Watchdog and we'll let everyone look at it. Mac needs to be shamed into reigning in his son and Maurilio's plan to sell sponsorships for $12,500 and exhibition booth space for $750. Ask him why he has turned our Pastor's Conference into a marketing bonanza...ask him where the money raised from Pastor's Conference registrations and advertising revenue goes. Last time the Watchdog checked, there are no revenue line items in our church budget that indicate money from this conference. So where does it go? He owes us an answer. He's accountable. At least that's what he said.
So you're a non-profit, Christian organization that has a real ministry that you'd like to tell the pastors about to see if the Lord might move in their heart to invest in your ministry? Well, you first have to INVEST IN MAC'S WALLET and fork over $750 for an exhibitor's space! Can you believe it?
Wow, how generous! You get TWO BADGES, a DRAPED TABLE, TWO CHAIRS, and a POWER STRIP! Hey Trey, how much will a third chair cost? Oh, and we'll run the vacuum cleaner also. "General cleaning of exhibit area"? How about including "air conditioning" and "moderately worn carpet" in exhibit area.
There's the buzz word: CUTTING EDGE in the above advertisement.
Are you incensed? Mac, I'm told from inside reliable sources, is absolutely incensed over this blog. GREAT!!! Because we're incensed over this Mac.
If we're charging this much money in our pastor's conference, how much longer until we start selling advertising space in our church bulletins?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
There you have it church. If Mac is willing to sell our pulpit and I-mags, there is not much he WON'T do....
I know that pastors all over the SBC read this blog daily. I'm asking you to share this blog site with pastors around the country who might be considering coming to the 2009 Pastor's Conference at First Baptist Jacksonville.
Mac and his son Trey and likely their marketing consultant Maurilio Amorim are hell-bent on fleecing to the maximum extent they can the attendees at this conference established by Jerry Vines as a ministry to pastors and was never intended to yield profits through selling the attendance of godly pastors as marketing units to the highest bidder.
Not only are they charging $260 per person, but they have now begun to charge $750 for a Christian organization to set up an exhibit booth, and they are now selling "sponsorships" valued up to $12,000 that include perks like videos shown on the video screens in the auditorium. Even your attendance at the dinners is used to entice potential sponsors as they say "up to 2000 in attendance for dinner" so you'll see marketing messages even while you're sitting down and enjoying a meal on our dining room.
The $260 per person registration will yield about $900,000 in revenue, when there is no real facility rental cost, much of the labor is volunteer from members at FBC Jax who take vacation time to help out...and now Mac and his son Trey - the one Mac bragged "raised $100,000" last year for the pastor's conference - has a web page up on the PC 2009 site giving the details of these sponsorships to generate over $100,000 of advertising revenue. And we don't even know where all this money goes.
Visit the church's website, click on the Conference header, click on the Exhibitor's link, and click on the hyperlink to view the brochure explaining these advertising sponsorships. It will turn your stomach. The hyperlink there is a pdf file that can be downloaded to your computer, and if you like email it to your pastor friends so they can know what Mac and his son are up to. Or get the file here:Those of you attending and paying your $260 - you're a "market unit" to the Brunsons - your attendance allows them to sell advertising and marketing space.
Pastors that find this blatant display of opportunism and greed - where the conference established by Jerry Vines in the 1980's to minister to pastors is now set up to charge $750 for a stinking table and two chairs to display a Christian ministry or Christian business - where $12,000 or the highest bidder gets certain marketing perks...PASTORS IF YOU FIND THIS DISTURBING, PLEASE LET MAC BRUNSON KNOW. LET'S SHOW MAC DURING THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES THAT WE'RE DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND AGAINST HIS GREED. I hope that pastors will cancel their registration and demand a refund, and pastors will email Brunson to tell him enough is enough and you're passing this year.
You can make a difference. But your attendance at the conference will be a vote for the greed and arrogance and marketization being brought into what used to be the flagship church of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Shame on you Mac Brunson and shame on your son who is responsible for this.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Yep, four days. He's going for four days to preach at his buddy Phil Waldrep's "Senior Adults' Celebrators" conference in beautiful Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee. Not going to preach a revival. Not preaching to seminary students. Not seeking to save the lost. No, he's going to preach to a group of seniors. For four days. Not that they don't deserve a quality speaker, but Mac is a busy pastor of a large church - he has a DAY JOB is what I'm saying, so to preach a four day sermon series is a bit much.
Monday, October 13, 2008
It's official: Mac is the Jeremiah Wright of the Southern Baptist Convention. We can now call him Jeremiah Brunson. Maybe Jerry Brunson for short.
I'm trying my best not to think Mac is a false teacher. I'm trying hard to view him as just a preacher who has an anger problem who likes really nice things and who tries to manipulate his congregation by stretching the truth and scripture every now and then. But then he goes and says something like what he said Sunday night and I then have to wonder how this guy is even in the Southern Baptist Convention, how this guy ever landed a preaching gig paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars per year...and I wonder did he really did get a doctorate degree from SWBTS. Have we checked this guys credentials?
Mac was preaching Sunday night October 12, 2008, that God's goodness to us is God's way to get our attention, but if God's goodness doesn't do the trick, then God resorts to purposely seeking ways to hurt us.
According to Mac, all that America has suffered of late: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, an oil crisis with $4 a gallon gasoline, and an economic crash - its all caused directly by God in an attempt to punish us for not responding to him during times of blessing:
"You think God hadn't been actively doing something? God says 'I've been active all this time. I've been active putting into place all these things [referring to 9/11, Katrina, oil crisis, economic crash], I've been actively seeing how high I can get gasoline for you Americans, I've been actively seeing how I can cause the economy to crash because if you will not turn to me in my blessings on you I will take them away as Hosea took away the blessings of Gomer."
Mac isn't saying that God can teach us some things through these difficulties. Mac isn't saying that God might allow these things to be used to draw people to him...no, Mac is saying God is actively, purposely, CAUSING, God is the AUTHOR, God is bringing into existence all these things as punishment for us not turning to him when he gives us blessings. Even worse, MAC IS SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF GOD...Mac is presuming to know what God says about these events, Mac presumes to speak the mind and heart and will and intent of God.
This is heretical. This is abusive. This is cultish. This is dangerous. For a man to speak as though he speaks on behalf of God and tells his followers that God is ACTIVELY PUTTING INTO PLACE terrible events in our lives is to lead his followers astray, trying to implant an irrational fear of God, seeking to distort their view of God's role in the affairs of man - this is dangerous stuff.
But this is Mac's view of God. Its not the first time Mac has given us his dark vision of who God is and how He deals with us. Mac believes that God is waiting to "Zap" us. I blogged about Mac's distorted view before. Click here to listen to Mac explain that God is waiting to "zap" Christians. This is consistent with Mac's preaching on giving. He doesn't preach giving out of love, but out of fear of God and duty to Old Testament scripture.
So let's deliver the message to all of Jacksonville - we have the answer for all of that ails our economy and world - straight from God's lips to Mac's ears - the rotten economy is not the result of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and people taking mortgages out that didn't pay them. Its God! God is doing it to us! Hear that Jacksonville! Hear that recalcitrants?
Our new chorus:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
As of 10/3/08, the budget committments were $8.5 million, compared to an annual budget likely to be around $16 million. Mac tried to fleece us for a cool million in cash that day, but only got $245k (which ain't bad).
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mac Brunson on the Salvation Army Kettle Drive
Really? Is that what this kettle drive says? A 25,000 member, $15 million annual budget church manning a kettle to generate a net $3000 for the poor in our city?
I find no fault with the church coordinating a kettle drive. Its a great idea. We can do it with no problem at all. Its the least we can do. With our numbers we could man 3 or 4 kettles. We should do it. And we can feel good about it.
But let's be straight: it in no way tells our community that we care for the poor despite what our pastor says in his Santa Hat and Salvation Army Apron. As I said in my previous post the net contribution of our manning the kettle will be around $3000.
Mac a few Sundays ago used a pie chart to guilt us all, the church's "giving units" he called us...into giving more to the church. His pie chart showed what terrible givers we are, that we only give on average 3% or our total income to charity. We sat there stunned. No attempt to remind his church about the New Testament principles of giving. No loving reminder of how much we are indebted to Christ. No, Mac closed out his sermon with a pie chart to show that we are spending so poorly, and declaring "you're not going broke by giving to the church."
Amount raised for the poor: $3000
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Dr. Allen preached a number of times in advance of Mac Brunson coming to our church in the spring of 2006. After we voted to call Team Brunson to our church, it took nearly two months for them to come to Jacksonville in which time we had a number of very high profile preachers "preparing the way" for Mac.
Those of us present back then will remember the theme of Dr. Allen's messages, that the cloud would move again for our church - according to Dr. Allen God was going to again begin moving in our midst once Mac came. Those 2 months between calling Mac and him actually arriving were great months of anticipation in our church. Most of the preachers devoted parts of their sermon to heap praise on our new pastor, and we were so hopeful.
Mac finally arrived in April 2006, and it didn't take long to see that maybe the cloud wasn't going anywhere too quickly. In fact after about a year, it seemed that the only cloud moving was the steam coming from Mac's head as he raked us over the coals. Instead of a pastor coming to love us and get busy ministering to our church and our community, it seemed like we were viewed more as a source of capital for the projects and promotion of Mac Brunson and a new market for the Brunson brand than we were a church in need of a loving shepherd to move us into the next generation.
Dr. Allen, Mac tells us that you are one of his closest friends, that you were Mac's prayer partner as he considered the call to come here. We know that perhaps you are getting one side of the story of his first 2 1/2 years, and we want you to know a few things as you come to preach to us:
- its been a rocky 2 1/2 years for our church to say the least. Although Mac has told you and Paige Patterson that he never got a honeymoon at our church, that is a lie so please don't believe that. Our church welcomed Mac with open arms, we prepared a lush office suite for him, put wife and son on staff, and he was given the reigns of our church. We introduced him to the community on Father's Day by renting our minor league baseball stadium. He had our full support. We even allowed him to bring his marketing consultant and put him on our payroll. There were some people alarmed over Mac using the NASB, but that was a small minority and that might be expected in a church that has used the KJV for decades. So we were behind Mac fully, but within the first few months he squandered the good will through his tepid effort at pastoring and preaching and his acceptance of land gifts and free rent at ocean front condos upon his arrival - made all the worse when we found out he counsels pastors in his pastor guidebook to NOT do the very things he did when he came to our church.
- Mac has likely told you that he has been opposed at every turn, that he has had a rough time for the last 2 years, we want you to know it has been EQUALLY as hard on us. Mac has preached hard. Not hard on sin, but hard on people. Not only have we had to deal with the departure of most of our staff in the first year and a half, but we've had to deal with Mac slandering us when preaching at other churches. We're used to pastors preaching the truth in love, but we're getting preaching of some truth, lots of history and legalism, and unhealthy does of pastoral anger. We're not used to it. He has told us that we are worshipping the past, that we are worshipping previous pastors. He hired one of our favorite "preacher boys" Jim Smyrl who many thought was Vines-esque when he served under Vines, but now Smyrl has followed Brunson in the style of hard-on-people preaching with very little love and even less wisdom. We've seen Smyrl transformed right before our eyes under the tutelage of Brunson.
- And we've had to deal with a pastor who seems to be a legalist. While he denounces legalism, and even declares that we are a "hotbed of legalism", he himself preaches legalism in the areas of service and giving in the church and church discipline. Our previous pastors did preach tithing, but they also balanced this with the New Testament principle of giving out of love for our Savior. But we don't get that from Mac.
So many of us are hurting. We feel like we've been brought an uncaring, self-serving preacher who wants to exert his will on the church. He changed our bylaws without even explaining why, and didn't even care enough to hold an honest vote on starting a school. We've been told that if we don't follow his lead and direction we are sinning.
We are praying Dr. Allen that you are bringing a message of hope to our church this Sunday. We've had Mac bring in preachers in his absence that also preached hard on us in defense of Mac - even our own former pastor Dr. Vines came in February 2007 and angrily preached to us about anonymous emails and people complaining about the pastor's salary - with the disgusting sight of the two men high-fiving each other on the platform after Vines declared about a troublesome church member "...I don't get paid enough to be yo pastor, bruther." Some laughed. Many of us cried at that sight.
We hope you aren't going to come in and judge us. We are a loving people. We aren't legalists. We want to follow a loving pastor-shepherd. We hope you can speak the truth to Brunson about his actions these first 2 1/2 years - and on Sunday we hope you can speak some love and truth to us.
After all, its been 2 1/2 years, and we are still waiting for the "cloud to move".