"...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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thomas Twitchell Blog: "Tim Guthrie Winning Truth? Surely You Jest"

If you've followed the Ergun Caner story this year, you no doubt have heard about the SBC pastors like Tim Guthrie, Tim Rogers, and Peter Lumpkins whose staunch defense of Ergun Caner rivals the Democratic spinsters who defended Clinton after the Lewinski affair.

Guthrie is the worst: he is incoherent at times, contradicts himself in the same articles, and lashes out in vitriol and anger at Caner's critics.

Thomas Twitchell has written an excellent blog comparing the Caner defenders to those of Clinton, and points out the latest Guthrie lunacy in his latest attempt to defend Caner by falsely accusing James White of "bearing false witness", otherwise known as "misspeaking" to Guthrie and other Caner defenders..

Click below to read Twitchell's article, it is a great one:

Thomas Twitchell Blog: "Tim Guthrie Winning Truth? Surely You Jest"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SBC Prez Who Might Even Listen to Lowly Bloggers?

Last week the Wartburg Watch reported that a certain man who is a former SBC church member but has been shunned in recent years may have a meeting scheduled very soon with the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bryant Wright.

If this is true, and I understand that it is, even one more reason why I like Wright - some other reasons I gave here.

Here is the link to the Wartburg Watch article, which as of this writing has 24 comments:

Perhaps There is an SBC Prez Who Cares What the Little Guy Thinks

Wouldn't that be something if our new SBC president was willing to meet with someone of little stature - at least as far as the SBC power brokers are concerned - who shares the concerns expressed on this blog and other critical SBC blogs?

What if you had a meeting with Bryant Wright, and wanted to express some of your larger concerns about our convention? What would the top 3 things you would like Wright to address?

My top 3 would be: 1. addressing every concern that Christa Brown has been callling for in regards to tracking sexual deviants and creating a means by which victims can be heard and helped and not shunned; 2. A call for complete financial openness and transparency within the SBC and SBC churches so we all know where our money is going; 3. A system by which misbehaving Baptist pastors are held accountable and disciplined by a board of their peers, like most other professions have. The interim LBTS president called for this years ago.

Go to the Wartburg Watch article above and comment, or feel free to comment here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caner Whopper: My Madrassa Was in Beirut...By That Did He Mean "Beirut Restaurant" in Toledo?

As more of Caner's deceptions become known, the defenders of Caner appear more and more ridiculous. And more is yet to come, maybe the worst yet, BUT we shall see.

One of the more recent Caner defenders to go public is Mac Brunson, pastor of FBC Jax, as his defense was posted on Stormin' Norman Geisler's site last week. Brunson is Caner's close friend, and co-author. At least Brunson doesn't blame Muslims and Calvinists, and Brunson does mention Caner's "sorrow" and "grief".

Below is another Caner video; some new footage not seen until James White put it on his blog last week. It is Caner at Harbor Light Assembly of God, Freemont, California, on September 22, 2006. It contains the standard Caner yarns and tall tales mixed with racial stereotypes: came to America as he was getting ready for college, learned English from TV, he never drove a taxi or worked at 7/11, came as a "missionary", prayed on a rug in the high school bathrooms - you know, those typical "misstatements".

But Caner tells a new one: his "madrassa, his training center" was in Beirut.

That is interesting. He led FBC Jax to believe he was "raised in Europe" and trained there in Islamic Youth Jihad when he came to America...but now the training center has moved to Beirut.

Memo to Norm Geisler: this whopper is an easy one to explain away on your website, as you see there is a restaurant in Toledo, Ohio - where Caner moved after he came to America - called the "Beirut Restaurant". It has been serving fine Middle Eastern cuisine since its establishment in the 70s. So perhaps his "Islamic Youth Jihad" in Toledo one time met at the Beirut Restaurant for a meal on the 39th day of Ramadan, thus it is not a lie to say that his training center was "in Beirut." He did not say "Beirut, Lebanon" - thus it's obvious he meant "in the Beirut Restaurant". I know that sounds like a stretch, but hey, I'm just trying to help Stormin' Norman out. I'm sure he can use a little assistance now and then. At least I'm helping out more than Craig D, who is content on bashing James White over and over again as a means of defending Caner. Maybe he and others should instead do some real research to help Geisler out.

One more eye-popping claim by Caner in the vid. It seems he took the liberty of throwing his deceased father under the bus, saying that his father came to America with multiple wives, and that he lied to authorities saying they were his sisters! Imagine that, saying that your dad committed the crime of polygamy, when nowhere in any divorce papers was this mentioned. If his dad WAS a polygamist and lied about it, why on earth would he want to tell that story to the public? I know, it was all for Jesus, right?

Taking a step back, I have some larger questions in all of this, as this is growing into the Great Evangelical Cover-up.

- How did Caner's embellishments get started and why did it go on for so long? Why were these fibs not nipped in the bud by those in authority over him at the time?

- Who was his pastor when he started spreading these tales after 9/11 who might have been able to counsel him and discipline him about lying?

- Where did Caner work, and who was his boss at the time, that might have had opportunity to speak to Jerry Vines before and after Caner's FBC Jax sermon in November 2001?

- Why was the due diligence on Caner not done by the heavies in the SBC to confirm his testimony?

- Who knew or suspected that Caner was fibbing after 9/11, and who did they tell?

- Or did NO ONE have any idea that he was lying about his past? Are we to believe that NO ONE that knew Caner pre 9/11 knew that he was fibbing on the preaching circuit?

- Did he preach at his home church after 9/11, and did he embellish his story with those there that knew him pre 9/11? If not, why not?

I will ponder those questions in coming posts, so stay tuned.

And now, here is the latest episode of "Caner Gone Wild":


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rick Scott at FBC Jax - Brunson Appropriately Preaches on Lying

Rick Scott, Republican candidate for Florida Governor was present at First Baptist Jacksonville today to get the customary mention from the platform and applause, afforded to any political candidate who shows up.

Funny thing is, Scott had to listen to an excellent sermon on lying by pastor Mac Brunson.

This was like Bill Clinton showing up to hear a sermon on adultery.

How appropriate Scott had to listen to a sermon on lying. Scott has been successfully blasting his fellow-Republican Bill McCullum with misleading attack ads, and has taken a double-digit lead in the race. If Scott wins this primary against McCullum it will all but ensure a Democratic win for the Florida governorship, as there is no way Scott will get elected governor in a general election given his troubled past.

You see, Rick Scott was the hotshot back in the late 80s and early 90s who built the nation's largest hospital chain and then saw it all come tumbling down when his company, Columbia/HCA, was found to be defrauding Medicare. Scott was forced to resign, but walked away with millions in cash, and hundreds of millions in stock.

It is really unfathomable, that a millionaire who made his dough when the company he was leading defrauded taxpayers of billions of OUR OWN money, is using that money to blast a guy like Bill McCullum in false attack ads. How fitting though that he had to listen to a hard-hitting sermon on lying, as his company did lie and mislead Medicare to boost their profits.

Are we Republicans and conservatives in Florida really that gullible to give this guy a shot at the governorship? I'm no fan of Bill McCullum, but the fact that this guy has a double-digit lead over McCullum is troubling, and shows that money can buy just about anything in politics. McCullum does have a decent record of public service, and here comes a guy with hundreds of millions and a history of leading a company that defrauded our government and he is headed toward buying a victory in the primary.

Interestingly, news reports are saying that at least one person present for the FBC Jax service today approached Scott and asked him to stop his attack ads against Bill McCullum.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some Helpful Articles by Les Puryear About "Calvinist" vs. "Reformed" Pastors

Les Puryear has posted a series of articles on the issue of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention. I found them very interesting and helpful.

In his articles, Les distinguishes between a pastor being "Calvinist" and being "Reformed". Big difference, says Les. The discussions are interesting, a bit over my head at times, but helpful.

Over at the SBC Today Bunch Podcast, Les was a guest on their latest episode and they discussed his articles. Les said that he plans on putting his posts into a booklet form for free distribution to small churches. His goal is to provide a resource to smaller churches in the SBC who need to ask the right questions as they search out a new pastor. According to Les and others, many churches have been split when a pastor is hired and the church finds out after-the-fact that he is "Reformed" and tries to convert the church.

Perhaps some WD readers who are interested in this topic will take a look at Puryear's posts and see if you agree with him. I know many of us have disagreed with Les on many issues (like the tithing issue and the email issue over the two SEBT professors earlier this year), but maybe his views on this might be helpful. And I commend him for wanting to help smaller churches avoid becoming victim to a Reformed pastor who sneaks in and then decides to convert it to a Reformed church.

This I think is the first article, dated June 23, 2010 addressing the topic:


which then led to a series of posts distinguising between "Calvinist" and "Reformed" from that time frame through July.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brumley Article on Jax City Council Prayer Issue: Some Watchdog Thoughts - Funny and Serious

Update: TU Reporter Tia Mitchell has an article following up Brumley's asking her readers questions about FBC Jax's plan to have members go with Brunson for his invocation - she quotes the WD - check her out, and chime in on her comments section!
-------

Read Jeff Brumley's article in the Times Union today on the latest news of the Jacksonville City Council prayer policy:


A couple of miscellaneous comments from the Watchdog in response:

- I'm glad that Brumley has gotten the word out that Brunson has invited his church members to hear his prayer. I wonder if Jacksonville citizens will see this as I do: FBC Jax again flexing their political muscle to make a statement ABOUT prayer, rather than just being grateful for the privilege and coming to humbly pray.

- Let's see, if FBC Jax can get hundreds to file in for the prayer and then quietly leave after the "Amen", maybe the Jews and the Muslims and then the Lutherans and the Catholics can do the same - maybe even outdo the FBCJ'ers.....and then maybe Jack Webb can set the prayer rotation by the number of people who turn out! Maybe we can have an "Amen meter" measure the intensity of the concluding Amen. If FBC Jax has hundreds show up next Tuesday, they get first dibs on the next prayer date in the rotation. If the Catholics only get a few: back of the pack you slackers, you don't take your faith serious enough!

- Or better yet: if they really want to pray that badly down at City Hall, maybe we can get the religious folks to PAY for the privilege! This could actually be a city revenue enhancer! Churches pay zero taxes on their revenue, so this could be their way to finally contribute to the city coffers. In fact, City Hall can follow FBC Jax's lead and start CHARGING for the privilege of getting time on the City Hall stage! FBC Jax charges ministries for "promotions packages" during their pastor's conference to sell exposure on their auditorium screens and on bottled water and conference bags and every other way imaginable, so maybe the city can hire a promotions firm and it won't be long until we hear:

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our August 2010 council meeting tonight....let's give it up for MAC Baaa-RUNSONNNN...tonight's prayer and bottled water is brought to you by the good people of FBC Jacksonville...where Jesus is number one, and we take church discipline to a ho-nutha level!! Now, the man you've been waiting for, the pray-er of the day-er: heeeeeeeere's MAAAAC!"

We can call it "Prayer for Pay" or "Let the Pray-er be the Payer".

Ok, back to some serious thoughts:

- FBC Jax seems to make the wrong moves over and over on this matter. Redman demands the Muslim professor to pray like a trick pony. Smyrl declares the Catholic church a cult, and that Muslims must be converted or our kids will come under Muslim law. Yarborough tells reporter Mark Woods he is not sure Muslims have a right to hold political office. Brunson gets the privilege to be the first to offer a prayer under Webb's tenure, he tells his followers to show up en masse for the prayer. What's next?

- I wonder why Brunson declined to be interviewed by Brumley. He has complained in the past about not getting positive press coverage from the paper, and here Brumley wants to get the word out about his prayer. Is Brunson not speaking to Brumley anymore?

- The story says Jack Webb is Catholic. Yikes, that spells trouble for him with the FBC Jax folks on the council. Jim Smyrl, FBC Jax's 2nd in command preacher behind Brunson, has written and preached that the Catholic church is a "cult", and has called a priest a "cult leader". Smyrl has even gone as far as telling his followers at FBC Jax that they should befriend Catholics so they can confront them with "living a lie" as a Catholic. Will Smyrl be there to confront Webb about living a lie? Is Yarborough and Redman concerned that they elected a cult member as the council president?

- Yarborough is concerned that this move toward opening the prayer to other faiths spells trouble, possibly leading the city to "decay". I think having too much Baptist influence in this city - FBC Jax in particular - has already spelled trouble and embarrassment for our city, so maybe we should be looking for inclusion of some others.

Actually, I'm not all that concerned about whether there is prayer at the City Council. I don't think God is impressed at all, and He probably rolls his eyes when he sees these professional religious leaders piously praying in public. Most of them will read a prayer they have written, and many will be using the prayer not so much to talk to God, but to talk to the city council through the prayer.

But I think City Hall needs to be more like the modern day evangelical mega church: to the greatest extent possible, use religious-oriented events like invocations as opportunities to raise revenue from gullible religious folk, charging dollars wherever they can be charged.

It is the modus operandi in the church nowadays, so why not City Hall?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recommendation for Jack Webb's City Council Prayer Policy: Require the Pray-er to Stay

Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb (at right) has implemented a new policy for the opening prayer of the city council meetings: people of different faiths and denominations will be invited to give the opening prayer on a rotating basis. It used to be just a Christian prayer delivered by the council chaplain (who is always a Christian), but after the hullaboo created by Don Redman's "hey, pray to your god for me Mr. Muslim" demand of a UNF professor last April, Webb's policy now will be to allow other faiths in to offer the opening prayer.

Sounds great. I don't have a problem with that.

And look at the bright side: it will finally allow Don Redman to get what he wanted a few months ago: finally Don will get to hear a Muslim praying in the City Council chamber "to his god"! Remember, one of the attorneys from the General Counsel's office stepped in to save Redman from himself, and the man did not have to pray as Redman asked.

Be careful what you ask for Don - you wanted a Muslim to pray to his god in City Hall, looks like your own actions finally will help make it a reality!

But here's a thought for the City Council:

Part of Jack Webb's new prayer policy should be that any professional religious man or woman invited to offer the city council's opening prayer, will be required to sit and stay for the rest of the council meeting. Yes, if we grant you the opportunity to pray, take a seat in the front row, and listen to the entire council meeting out of respect for the city - and maybe silently pray during the meeting. This will allow that religious leader to get a better idea of the needs and struggles of the city of Jacksonville, so they can then take something back to their religious institution and see how they might help meet the NEEDS of the city - and maybe allow them to put some feet to their prayer.

No pious "Here I am, here's my prayer, see ya later!"

And the person should agree NOT to make a show by asking their followers to go to the council meeting JUST FOR THE PRAYER. Make a show of your prayer, and we'll not ask you or anyone from your institution to come back.

If the pious pray-er doesn't have time to sit down and stay for the entire meeting, get someone else to pray. If their time is too precious and they can't stay, then let them find something else to do that evening other than praying at City Hall.

If they will use the opportunity to make a statement ABOUT prayer by having a showing of their faithful followers for the prayer, we don't need them to pray. The opening prayer is not ABOUT prayer, it IS a prayer.

And let's hope the religious men who pray, including Mac Brunson, can learn one thing from the politicians: when politicians show up at FBC Jax during election time to get recognized from the platform during the service by Jim Whitmire, at least they have the courtesy of staying for the entire service and they hear the message from the preacher.

Imagine if they just showed up to get recognized, and then left because they were just too busy. Even worse, if they brought an entourage with them, and they all stood up and left after they got recognized. Think FBC Jax would recognize them next election cycle?

Can't the pious pray-ers return the favor to the politicians at City Hall and stay for the entire "service"?

Just a thought.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mac Brunson Calls for FBC Jax Members to Flood July 27th City Council Meeting for His Prayer

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew's Gospel, 6:5

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

Clay Yarborough, FBC Jax member, Jacksonville City Councilman, and the new council "Chaplain", has selected his pastor Mac Brunson to be the first minister to say a prayer at the City Council under new council president Jack Webb's rotating-faith-prayer policy.

That is fine and dandy, one would expect Yarborough to select the high-profile Brunson for such an honor, since he is a member of his church.

But Brunson apparently is going to use this opportunity given to him not just to pray, but another chance to flex the FBC Jax political muscle by having his church members actually show up en masse in the council chamber just for the prayer.

During the Sunday July 18th evening service at First Baptist Jacksonville, Mac Brunson announced to the faithful that he is the man selected to pray at the July 27th City Council meeting.

But then he made an unusal request: he asked the entire congregation present to show up at the City Council chamber, to silently walk into the chamber for his prayer, be present to hear his wonderful prayer in Jesus' name, then silently walk out. The purpose he says, is to send a message to the city that "this is a city of prayer."

Then, Mac says he doesn't want it known that his church is showing up!! He says the church would edit the sermon to delete this announcement for broadcast. But the Watchdog did catch wind of it, so we'll put it up here on the blog for others to read about it and comment.

Maybe Mac should just humbly show up, not let anyone know he is coming, and certainly not attempt to make a spectical by calling for all of his church members to come. Just pray in Jesus name for our city and our leaders. Pray for the financial shortfall our city faces and the need for sound fiscal policy in city government.

Then quietly leave and let the City Council do their job.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peter Montgomery Didn't Get Memo of Caner's Exoneration

While the Tim Guthrie's and Norman Geisler's continue to live in their alternate universe where Ergun Caner never lied and has done nothing more than get a few insignificant facts wrong, and was not demoted by Liberty but was instead exonerated by them - more and more people inside and outside of evangelical Christianity are correctly assessing the Caner debacle.

One such person who sees it is correctly is Peter Montgomery, writer for AlterNet.

Montgomery was one of the first writers to do an in-depth story critical of Caner back on May 10th, 2010 and in fact called Caner a "Jihadi Fraud". Within a few days of his article being published, Liberty University changed its tune and announced they would be doing an investigation.

This morning Montgomery has another article up declaring Caner to be "demoted" and "stripped of his leadership positions", and gives an excellent summary of Caner's deceit, the blogger's efforts in exposing it, and the resulting controversy over Liberty's investigation and actions.

No matter how hard Guthrie and Geisler try to spin the story and make it about lying Muslims, recalcitrant bloggers and heretical Calvinists out to bring a good man down, people inside and outside of evangelical Christianity are seeing the Caner debacle for what it really is: a guy who misled gullible Christians for nearly an entire decade into believing he was a former "towel head" and "sand nigger" (Caner's words) Jihadist trained in 9/11 style terrorism who spoke Arabic. And when found out, he was demoted and stripped of his leadership position at his seminary. Is it really that hard to see the truth of what has happened?

As more people do see the truth, Geisler's and Guthrie's task becomes more difficult, and the list of those they must attack grows. First it was just a "lying Muslim", then a few crazy bloggers, then heretical Calvinists. Now it is publishers with the initials HH, and probably liberal media writers will be added to their list.

Expect Geisler and/or Guthrie (if we can track the whereabouts of Guthrie's blog site) to post an article within 48 hours telling us how we can't trust anything on Alternet or written by Peter Montgomery because they are liberals. I can see it now: yes, liberals are all lying, like Muslims, and bloggers, further proof of Caner's exoneration.

Sad thing is, the harder and harder Geisler and Guthrie defend Caner and attack his critics, the more difficult it makes it for their friend to confess and ask for forgiveness from those he has deceived on the evangelical speaking circuit. At this point, if Caner does make a public statement apologizing, it will confirm the idiocy of his ardent supporters.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

At Least ONE of Caner's Publishers Has the Integrity to Call for a Caner Explanation of His "Misstatements"

Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press has reported that one of Ergun Caner's publishers, Harvest House Publishers, is "saddened" by the Caner controversy, and hopes Caner will personally respond to the allegations surrounding his statements made "over the years".

Imagine that. Someone other than a blogger, a Muslim, or a Calvinist, has actually called for Caner to personally explain his "misstatements".

What is funny about this: Harvest House has published at least two Geisler books! How can this be? Did not Geisler educate his publisher, letting them know that Caner has been exonerated, and has already apologized? Do they not know that these calls for Caner to explain himself are playing right into the hands of Satan, having their roots in a lying Muslim and a Phoenix-based heretical Calvinist?

Someone please call Tim Guthrie, Tim Rogers, Peter Lumpkins, Norman Geisler and Volfan of the SBC Today Bunch: they need to start a letter writing campaign to Harvest House and their outlets explaining that Caner HAS ALREADY apologized, and that he has been exonerated by Liberty! Why, Caner might not have even been demoted, he may have chosen himself to not stay on as president!

Countdown to an SBC Harvest House boycott has begun! Our SBC Executive Committee needs to get on the case!

Memo to Thom Rainer of Lifeway: PULL ALL THE HARVEST HOUSE BOOKS FROM THE LIFEWAY SHELVES! They don't agree that Caner is exonerated and they dare to call for Caner to explain his misstatements!

Seriously, bravo to Harvest House Publishers, who published Caner's book "Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics" coauthored with Ed Hindson in 2008. Harvest House has also published three titles for Caner's brother Emir.

Here is the Harvest House statement:
"We are saddened by the controversy that has risen as a result of the self-contradictory statements made by Ergun Caner over the years. And, we are concerned that the allegations surrounding his statements have not yet been adequately addressed by him, and we are hopeful that he will personally respond to them soon."
Yes, "over the years". Like almost 9 years. Seeing as they have taken their time in responding, it is safe to assume that Harvest House has looked very carefully at this issue, and they "ARE CONCERNED". Notice, they have not said their author is exonerated. No, they have concluded, unlike the Caner Keystone Cops, that he has yet to address these misstatements, and THAT HE OWES THEM AN EXPLANATION.

Indeed. Thank you Harvest House. A voice of reason in the madness.

Now, for the other publishers: Kregel Publications has apparently drunk the Kaner Kool-Aid, and they have trumpeted the same defense of Caner as Geisler and Friends. The B&H Publishing Group has not yet made a statement about the Caner controversy. B&H published Caner's book "Why Churches Die", coauthored with FBC Jax's Mac Brunson back in 2005. Brunson mentioned from his pulpit in 2009 that he was working with Caner on a revised version...this may be delayed, as the authors perhaps are considering a complete rewrite, given the Caner and Brunson experiences over the past year or so. Lots of new experiences to write about when it comes to controversies in the church - especially how to deal with pesky bloggers, Muslims, and Calvinists in the church. :)

Stay tuned for Geisler's rebuttal to the Harvest House statement. Anyone want to help Geisler write his rebuttal to HH in the comment section of this post?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Pastor's Rememberence of Homer Lindsay, Jr.: The Antithesis of the Modern Day Mega Church Pastor

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). The last time George preached at FBC Jax was in spring 2006 before Brunson came - as I recall he told us we were in for the "Big Mac Attack". He hasn't been back since.

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 he left First Baptist Jacksonville in 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.


-------------
Watchdog Related Articles:

"Is the Iron Still Swimming - Part 1" - September 30, 2008

"Is the Iron Still Swimming - Part 2" - September 30, 2008

Monday, July 12, 2010

Times Union: Churches Want 10% in Hard Times; City Wants 9% More Also

On the front page of the Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Florida), Jeff Brumley has an article entitled "First Coast Ministers Urge Parishioners to Tithe, Even in Hard Times".

There is some irony in the timing of this article for residents of Jacksonville. While the paper reports on the front page that pastors are encouraging people to fork over 10% of their money to God during these tough times, the paper has also reported in the last few days of how the city of Jacksonville is going to hike our property taxes by nearly a tithe (9%) to fix the city's financial ills - while simultaneously cutting city services.

The church says "fork it over" because the Bible says so...the city says "fork it over", because, well, we have the right to take it. Amen? Amen!

As I have blogged here on this site over the past year, the doctrine of "storehouse tithing" is one that is not supported in scripture, and in my opinion is often misused by pastors to get people to fork over 10% of their money to their church. Instead of preaching New Testament grace giving, they teach Old Testament tithing.

In the article, Brumley cites an example of Mark Brunnell, the former All-Pro quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaquars, who recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of some investments gone bad. According to Brumley, even though Brunnell is experiencing "financial woes", he is tithing 10% of his $1.55 million salary to his Jacksonville church.

I think to be fair, readers of Brumley's article should understand just how dedicated the Southern Baptists and other evangelicals are to this doctrine of tithing. It's not just a recommendation, it is a rock-hard, biblical principle that must be adhered to by faithful Christians.

Here are a few examples that Jacksonville readers might be familiar with:

First Baptist pastor Mac Brunson has stated that Christians are absolutely obligated to give at least 10% to be in a right relationship to God and the church - that church members are expected to give a tithe when they become members. Just last fall Brunson has gone so far to say he believes our economy is in shambles precisely BECAUSE Christians are not tithing.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, has accused his non-tithing members of driving stolen cars, living in stolen homes, and sending their kids to school with stolen money. Gaines also said that tithing may be a requirement even for a person to get up and sing a solo, as he doesn't want "Betty the bank robber warbling for Jesus." Go to the hyperlinks, and hear it for yourself. One more twist: for your tithe to qualify as a biblical "tithe", it must be given "undesignated" to the church, according to Gaines. Ugh.

And there are others. This blog has examined the tithing issue very closely over the past year.

About tithing in difficult times: absolutely Christians should continue to support their churches financially. But it might be shocking to some non-Christians, that Christians would still be giving 10% of their income to their churches while at the same time they can't pay their creditors and must file for protection under the bankruptcy laws.

Is that really the Christian thing to do?

But this is precisely the advice given by Dave Ramsey, one of the premier financial experts and regulars on the evangelical church speaking ciruit, who when asked by a listener if they should reduce their tithe to get out of debt answered:

"No, I wouldn’t stop my tithe. I wouldn’t reduce it. It’s a tenth. I tithed all the way into bankruptcy court and all the way out. These are a loving Father’s instructions for His kids."
So the advice that Southern Baptists and other evangelicals have heard from even Dave Ramsey: keep tithing, EVEN IF you can't pay your creditors. Pay your church and your pastor first, then pay your creditors.

I wonder if Mayor John Peyton and the city of Jacksonville will take that excuse when it comes time to pay property taxes:

"Sorry, I had to pay my tithe to the church first. And, oh, I needed to buy my Jaguars season tickets so we can continue to pay our athletes millions each year."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Ed Young, Jr. Spoof Video

Wow, Ergun Caner has an impersonater on YouTube, and now Ed Young, Jr has one too!

Check out the video below of someone impersonating Ed Young, Jr. doing a rap video of his tag line "Whole Nutha Level".

Pretty impressive, the guy looks and sounds remarkably like Ed Young, Jr.

:)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Times Union: "Corey Doesn't Have to Testify in First Baptist Blogger Case"

As reported by Times Union reporter Paul Pinkham this week on the Times Union website, a U.S. magistrate ruled in favor of the defense's motion to not have Angela Corey deposed regarding the destruction of subpoena and subpoena request forms related to the First Amendment lawsuit.

Here is Pinkham's article:

Submitted by Paul Pinkham on July 7, 2010 - 2:52pm

State Attorney Angela Corey won't have to give a deposition in the case of a First Baptist Church blogger suing Jacksonville police and a state prosecutor for exposing his identity using investigative subpoenas.

U.S. Magistrate Monte Richardson ruled Corey doesn't have to testify about the inadvertent destruction of the subpoenas and related information during an office relocation. Richardson noted that one of her assistants already has testified about the destroyed documents and that Corey said in a deposition that she has no firsthand knowledge of the case and what knowledge she does have was presented to her by her staff.

Richardson said Corey's testimony isn't essential to the case and the information she could provide can be obtained through less burdensome means than deposing a sitting state attorney.

Blogger Tom Rich sued after he was exposed as the author of a blog critical of First Baptist leadership via subpoenas obtained by a police officer who is a member of the church with help from an assistant state attorney in 2008, before Corey took office.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Disgraced Preachers - The Word is "Malpractice"

"Here of course [in a discussion of ministerial ethics] we are not concerned with doctrine but with purity and credibility. We must expect those in positions of spiritual leadership to be faithful to their calling. If the lost cannot trust the preacher, how can they trust the message"? - Daniel R. Mitchell, 1988.

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

Last week Liberty University announced that Daniel R. Mitchell (picture at left) would be the interim president of their seminary, replacing Ergun Caner, who we all know is no longer the president as of July 1st, 2010.

I've never heard of Mitchell before - apparently he is an academic dean and professor at Liberty's seminary - but several bloggers sent me a copy of a very insightful 1988 article written by Daniel R. Mitchell entitled "Disgraced Preachers - The Word is Malpractice" (.pdf file of the article is here). Although written 22 years ago around the time of the Swaggart scandal, it is more timely today for Baptists than it was when he wrote it. Mitchell's article focuses not on just sexual sins committed by preachers, but those who violate codes of trust and honesty - "purity AND credibility" as he says in the quote above.

"Malpractice" is the term we use to describe incompetence, or reckless acts by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers that hurt people. Mitchell advocated back in 1988 that the term be applied to ministers who violate the trust given to them by the church.

Here are some notable quotes from Mitchell's article:

"Malpractice is the term we must also apply to professional ministers of the gospel who violate their trust. Preachers who raise money for themselves and not the work, who use people instead of serve people, who lust for power and sex and status, and who use their platform to satisfy their greed violate the code of the spiritual elder (1 Tim 3)."
And this one, referring to a "crisis in confidence" created by undisciplined
preachers:

"We must correct the crisis in confidence that is generated by the present situation. More is at stake here than just the credibility of the offending preacher. When we fail to impose discipline, fallen preachers drag every minister of the gospel - indeed the gospel itself - into the mire with them. Legitimate preachers and church leaders must call each other to accountability and demand compliance with God's standard for ministry."
Mitchell goes on to say that many local congregations "...[do] not have the inclination of the power to oust its wayward pastor..." and thus they do nothing to discipline the pastor.

And thus, we have blogs. Blogs I believe have filled the void that exists for accountability amongst the Baptists - a void that does not exist so much in other protestant denominations. That is what Christa Brown's blog is about, and so is Tiffany Croft's blog: holding pastors accountable in a religious system designed to have minimum accountability for its ministers allowing them to continue in their misdeeds. I would imagine when Darrell Gilyard is released from prison, there will be no "defrocking" of his credentials and no formal statement of his repentance or oversight of his restoration process - but he will likely just go to another church.

That may well happen, but thank God Tiffany's blog will be a voice of accountability and warning, as will Christa Brown's - and others - when that day comes.

I have long said that if there were blogs when around when Bob Gray was doing his dirty deeds at Trinity Baptist Church, the powerless would have had a voice early on and the damage he did here in Jacksonville would have been reduced by some measure. If there was a blog about Darrell Gilyard back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, perhaps some of the folks at Shiloh Baptist Church would not have been so trusting of the "man of God" Gilyard - for he came from a religious system - the Southern Baptist Convention - that was powerless to remove his credentials as a minister.

As I blogged about in 2007 in the early days of the Gilyard scandal, there WAS a voice to hold Gilyard accountable when he came to Jacksonville in 1993. His name was Pastor Harvey; but Shiloh church leadership successfully silenced him through legal processes. And before too long Gilyard was back to his old tricks. Too bad Pastor Harvey didn't have a blog back in April 1993.

As Mitchell says:
"We must view failure to maintain these standards as ministerial malpractice worthy of public censure and/or removal from ministry. The crisis in confidence threatens us all. Failure to take appropriate action will surely lead to continued widespread skepticism."
Amen.

And failure to maintain these standards will most assuredly lead to widespread blogging.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Watchdog's Response to Geisler: Listen to the FBC Jax November 2001 Sermon Again

Norman Geisler seems intent on bailing water out of a sinking boat. He has posted a lengthy response to the "Muslim" charges and "misstatements" made by Ergun Caner, but he apparently hasn't listened to the Caner FBC Jax sermon preached on November 20, 2001.

Geisler needs to let it go. The Liberty University investigation was completed, they found him to have lied, and they demoted him. Every time he tries to justify the "decade of deceit" by Caner, I will roll out the November 2001 Ergun Caner sermon at FBC Jax. And I roll it out again.

Ergun Caner at FBC Jax November 2001 from FBCJax Watchdog on Vimeo.

In Geisler's "defense" of Caner he does not deal with the FBC Jax November 2001 sermon.

I was there when he preached it, I've spoken to many others that were there, and we all had the same impression from his sermon: this man whom we never heard before was a terrorist, a "Jihadist" trained in Europe, who came to America to commit 9/11 style attacks but was saved just in the nick of time. Caner purposely led us to that conclusion. He cleverly deceived 10,000 worshippers with his story that day, while our pastor Jerry Vines sat right behind him nodding and amening, affirming his story.

That day we were duped by Ergun Caner.

Boy, were we were gullible.

We trusted our pastor to not allow a man to deceive us behind the "sacred desk", yet that is exactly what happened.

We believed Gilyard's story in 1987 about being homeless, living under a bridge, but it was a lie.

We believed Caner's story in 2001 about being raised in Europe as a Jihadist trained to "do that which was done on 11 September". Actually, he was trained to be an average midwestern boy like I was.

But it was a lie. His sermon that day started with a lie of his name, telling us: "My name is Ergun Mi'kael Mehmet Giovani Janel". He claimed to have spoken a "different language" than English as a high schooler. He claimed to speak poor English as a high schooler. Geisler does not deal with that.

He fooled us with his fake Middle Eastern accent when he pronounced "Europe" and "America."

Geisler needs to write a post explaining the entire farce of a sermon at FBC Jax, if he is to provide a complete defense of Ergun Caner.

So keep on defending him, Geisler. Or just let it rest, and let's see if Caner asks for forgiveness from those he has fooled.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chris Rosebrough: Caner Kept on Staff at LU to Not Give Victory to Calvinists and Bloggers

One of my favorite Christian bloggers and commenters is Chris Rosebrough, the founder of Fighting for the Faith radio broadcast and Pirate Christian Radio. He broadcasts several times a week from Fishers, Indiana, and is a one-man show who is supported by mostly small donors who listen to his broadcast on I-Tunes and read his blogs and various other websites. His motto is "Comparing what people are saying in the name of God to the Word of God." Much better than the SBC Motto: "Listening to God by listening to and obeying what the preacher says." More on Chris at the end of this article if you're interested.

But Rosebrough weighed in on the LU Caner decision during his 6/28/10 broadcast, and made some very interesting comments I want to share with my readers. He laughed and chuckled at the ridiculousness of the Liberty statement, calling it "corporate speak" and "political spin" and a statement which means very little - but to make sense of what the committee's findings were you have to look only at the ACTIONS Liberty took. They are what matters, not their goofy statement. No matter what they SAY, their actions speak loudly: the committee found that Caner lied, he had lied to Liberty University, and they had to get rid of him.

But here is Rosebrough's analysis of why they did not totally can Caner.

The story was rooted in and pushed by people Liberty viewed as adversaries, said Rosebrough, and they couldn't stand to give any victory to their opponents for fear that it would embolden them. A total dismissal of Caner would be seen as a victory for their opponents: Calvinists and bloggers.

Here are Rosebrough's comments on the "bloggers" who were instrumental in "pushing" the story until it eventually made its way to what Liberty considered "credible news agencies":

"They [Liberty] couldn't give the bloggers a win, you don't want to give the bloggers a win because all that does is give them credibility and embolden them. You can't let bloggers look like they have any credibility at all. And remember, whenever somebody talks about bloggers - and by the way I'm one of them - they don't ever address the content of the bloggers' points, they always instead go to an ad hominem argument where they basically say 'Listen, these bloggers, they're a bunch of people in their 40's who live in their mom's basement and probably sit on bean bag chairs in their underwear eating Cheatos all day...these are people who are malcontents and really mentally unstable.'

They never deal with the content of the arguments brought up by bloggers, instead they always go with the ad hominem....If they canned Caner that would have been seen as a big, big win for bloggers and people who are supposed to be non-credible."

I agree completely - notice he said critics of bloggers paint them as "mentally unstable"...oh how true, and I would add also as "sociopaths" and "cowards". Can't give those recalcitrant bloggers credibility at all.

Funny thing is, while I believe Rosebrough's assessment is correct, we do know one of the LU investigating committee members who is very credible, had enough sense to reach out to bloggers to get their assistance in gathering source documentation to complete their investigation. That must REALLY chap the hineys of Caner and his staunch defenders - the committee sought the help of bloggers, but apparently didn't call Tim Rogers or Peter Lumpkins. Ouch.

But we all know that the Caner decision is a victory for TRUTH - its not about bloggers or Calvinists or Muslims - it's about a decade of deceit perpetuated by Ergun Caner that has done great harm to the cause of Christ, that has finally been exposed and hopefully stopped. While many don't think Liberty went far enough, and their statement is certainly embarrasing - they took the right action, and Caner will be gone about the time a new seminary president is named, in my opinion.

Now, excuse me while I get up out of my bean bag chair and fetch some more Cheetohs...."Hey Mom, I'm out of Cheetohs!!!!"
------------------------------

Some additional thoughts on Rosebrough: Rosebrough is theologically very sound - he is gospel-centered and he is dedicated to exposing false doctrine wherever he sees it no matter if it is in the SBC, or non-denominational churches. He regularly exposes error at Saddleback and in Rick Warren's sermons and other "purpose driven" and "emergent" churches. He has been a harsh critic of Perry Noble's NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and he pulled no punches in his criticism of Ed Young's jet and lavish lifestyle - and he gave expert analysis of Young's "dog and pony show" when Young brought in John Cross and Mac Richard (prounounced re-SHARD) to tell everyone how wonderful Young is, and to explain why private jet travel is needed for Young.

His broadcasts are quite humorous - he has parody/lampoon segments poking fun at false doctrine. He does sermon reviews (egads!), and pulls no punches when preachers get out of line. I believe he is reformed in his theology, he is a Lutheran, but no question he is a solid Christian believer.

His goal is very simple: he wants people to be discerners in their churches. He wants people to compare what their preachers are saying in the name of God, to what the word of God actually says. He has an undergrad in religious studies, has an MBA from Pepperdine, and has political and corporate work experience. He ain't a professional religious man, if you get my drift.

And very important: he is independent in that his financial support is very much grass roots. He is not entrenched in a denominational power structure and beholden to church leaders. No CP dollars going to Chris! He encourages his listeners to become "Crew Members" for a monthly $6.95 donation.

He would not be a favorite of the SBC'ers, because of his more reformed views, and worst of all, he might drink an adult beverage from time to time.

You can subscribe to his radio broadcast via I-Tunes here.