"...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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Video Voyeurism of Sammy Nuckolls - Were There Any Victims at Lifeway's FUGE Camps?

Very quickly after the news story broke that Sammy Nuckolls, the 2011 SBC Lifeway FUGE Camp Pastor, was arrested for video voyeurism, Lifeway quickly removed any and all evidence of him from their websites. This included blog posts describing his testimony and spiritual experiences at FUGE camps, and web pages of conferences at which Sammy preached. At the bottom of this post are the ones that Lifeway has deleted that I have found.

So Lifeway is embarrassed about Sammy's arrest and their close relationship with their organization. That is understandable. But does that warrant them quickly removing any evidence that they once associated with him?

Let's hope Lifeway's quick Internet scrub of Sammy's name and testimony doesn't signal that they are going to turn a blind eye to other possible victims of Nickolls' while he was a camp counselor. Is Thom Rainer and Lifeway just going to hope that this all blows over with as little damage to their image as possible? Will they reach out to Sammy and offer him spiritual and psychological help?

According to news reports Sammy admitted to doing this to two other women prior to the incident for which he was arrested. So it wasn't the first time.

Question is, how many other victims were there, and was this the only perverted behavior he has engaged in? His victim that reported him to the police trusted him based on his position as an evangelist. He was a guest in their house during a revival. They trusted the "man of God" and never thought in a million years that the traveling evangelist would actually set up a videotape to record the wife of the house bathing. Apparently Sammy had no trouble using his position as a "man of God" to get access to his victim.

Voyeurism is just one of a family of sexual dysfunctions called "paraphilias", and the American Psychiatric Association says about these behaviors:
"The essential feature of paraphilias as recurrent, intense, sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving nonhuman objects, the suffering or humiliation of oneself or partner, or children or other non consenting persons. "
So according to the APA this behavior is recurring, and they are intense urges, and they can involve children.

Also, it is unlikely that Sammy just started doing this recently, as the APA says about voyeurism specifically:
"Onset usually is in persons younger than 15 years, and the disorder tends to be chronic."
So let's hope that Lifeway will encourage their FUGE staff and counselors to cooperate with police to report any of Sammy's behavior in the past that might have been suspicious. Lifeway can scrub Sammy's name and story from their websites, but they can't scrub any past actions as a Camp Pastor.

And let's hope that Sammy gets the help he apparently needs.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

SBC Lifeway's 2011 Youth Camp Pastor Sammy Nuckolls Arrested for Filming Woman Showering in Her Own Home

SBC's Lifeway 2011 Youth Camp Pastor at their FUGE events has been arrested for secretly filming a woman showering in her own home.

Sammy Nuckolls is a Southern Baptist evangelist who preaches primarily to youth groups in Southern Baptist churches, and has been featured by SBC's Lifeway as a "camp pastor" at their "FUGE" summer youth events. Also, as seen at left, he has some affiliation with Robert Morris' Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. At Lifeway's FUGE blog they have already removed February 1, 2011 and October 10, 2011 blog posts written by Sammy, the former which said in part:

"Since 1995 I have been involved with FUGE as a camper, youth pastor, and camp pastor. As a camp pastor each week is different and exciting. It has been wonderful watching students and adults encounter Christ and respond to His truth and His greatness." Sammy Nuckolls on Lifeway's FUGE blog (accessible through Google Reader)

And apparently being a Lifeway FUGE camp pastor has been "different and exciting" for Sammy in more ways than one. Tonight it was reported on WMC-TV that Nuckolls was arrested for the crime of "video voyeurism". Sammy admitted to using a hidden camera in a pen to record a woman in her own bathroom - apparently Sammy was a guest in the house while he was in town for a revival - and he positioned the pen in her bathroom to record her taking a shower.

In this account given in Blytheville Courier News, we see Sammy isn't too sharp - he thought the woman wouldn't notice his "over-sized pen" left in the bathroom:

"The victim told officers that when she went to take a shower on that day, she noticed that Nuckolls had left several hygiene items laid neatly out in the bathroom, including an oversized pen. As she continued to get ready to shower, she discovered that the pen had a USB connection. She said she left the bathroom and Nuckolls immediately went into the bathroom, then to his room with the items he had in the bathroom, including the pen."

The woman went immediately to the police, they promptly arrested Sammy, and he admitted to the crime as well as filming two other women in similar fashion in Mississippi. Notice in the image above that Sammy was a Lifeway FUGE Camp Pastor in July at Mississippi College.

Good thing the woman went directly to the police with the evidence. In a similar crime here in Jacksonville, women were secretly recorded with a hidden video camera as they changed clothes in the office of a Baptist pastor. That video tape was found by leaders in the church, but the recording was never reported to the cops for about a decade until after the statute of limitations had run, and no one was held accountable. And the guy who went to the cops with the evidence was pronounced to be of the devil and was thrown out of the church.

But all is not lost, Sammy is out of jail now and in fact was Tweeting again tonight.

Sammy's website is down, and already Lifeway has removed references to Sammy from their blogs and websites - but you can still access their deleted blog posts through Google Reader which is where the shot at the top of this post came from.

Moral of the story: beware of Southern Baptist evangelists who leave big fat pens laying around in your restroom.

Or just beware of Southern Baptist evangelists.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crosby Follow-Up: He Berates Woman for "Running Her Church in the Ground", Yet He Criticizes His Former Church in His Internet Resume

A previous post on this blog highlighted how Danny Crosby, the new adult education minister at FBC Jax, told a detailed story of how he verbally chastised a woman in the middle of a restaurant whom he overhead criticizing her pastor. He used this story to then arrogantly proclaim to his FBC Jax audience about Mac Brunson's salary:

"It ain't none of yo' business!"

Danny said he told the woman she would have the blood of lost souls on her hands, the blood of people who died and went to an eternal hell all because she dared to criticize a pastor in a private conversation he overheard at a restaurant.

Danny said the woman made his blood boil, said he couldn't help himself but to let her have it right there in the restaurant. Apparently her "running her church down" was such an offense to him he had to put her in her place.

And if that is not bad enough, Danny decided that story to be so important that he recounted it all for the peeps of FBC Jax so they would know how evil they are if they criticize their pastor.

Yet today, if you go on the Internet and look at Danny Crosby's resume [update: that would be YESTERDAY, as his resume is no longer on scribd.com], he is running down HIS former church, the Cloverdale Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama where he served as "Senior Pastor" from June 2007 to October 2008. He says, on his resume about his former church:

"Discovered various doctrinal differences, philosophies of ministry, had to confront serious immorality among church leadership, and experienced great resistance when we began to grow."

So while a woman "running down" her church in a private conversation made his blood boil, apparently it is fine and dandy for him to run down his former church as being involved in "serious immorality", and for having "doctrinal differences" (that is a loaded statement as well). And then he gives a swift kick to his congregation because they resisted him when they began to grow.

I wonder what the Cloverdale Baptist Church leadership's side of the story is on the short tenure of their former pastor, Danny Crosby?

Shouldn't Danny know that it "ain't none of our business" to know of the corruption at Cloverdale Baptist Church during his tenure, or that they had the audacity to "resist" the growth under his leadership? Does Danny have blood on his hands now like that woman in the restaurant? Do I now have blood on my hands for pointing to his Internet resume statements?

His resume is quite interesting, I've never before seen a resume of a pastor where he lists all of his accomplishments at churches. Something very odd about that. And I've certainly never seen a resume where someone speaks ill of a former employer on the resume! Imagine a resume that lists as one of the applicant's accomplishments at his previous job: "Had to confront my bosses for their shady and unethical business practices. As my sales numbers went up, they started getting jealous and I met great resistance." After I stopped laughing I would put it in the circular file since the applicant doesn't have enough sense to know not to speak ill of former employers on a resume.

Here is the excerpt from Danny's resume where he sticks it to his former church. I would provide a link to the resume, but it has mysteriously disappeared from the scribd.com website as of Tuesday.

I am sure WD readers would love to hear the Cloverdale Baptist side of the story about the supposed "immorality", and the "doctrinal differences" and "resistance", but as Danny says: "It Ain't None of Yo' Business!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

David Barton at FBC Jax: Our Declaration of Independence is Nothing More Than a Listing of Sermons - and Other Such Nonsense

"Historians have documented that every single right set forth in the Declaration of Independence had been preached from the American pulpit prior to 1763. You know what that means? It means the Declaration of Independence is nothing more than a listing of all the sermons we had been hearing in church for the 20 years leading up to the American Revolution." David Barton's Revisionist History Lesson at FBC Jax, 9/11/11
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Last week Karl Giberson and Randall J. Stephens published an article entitled "The Evangelical Rejection of Reason" which points out how men like Ken Ham and David Barton - and those pastors who promote them in their churches - have helped create a "parallel culture" in Christianity that is extremely rigid and anti-intellectual.

In other words, more and more, to be a good soldier in the American evangelical army you have to check your brains at the church door. You have to believe special versions of American history, and you have to discard scientific evidence concerning the true age of planet Earth. This is why more and more of our youth are bolting from church, according to George Barna, as young people see churches becoming more antagonistic to science.

David Barton is a perfect example of how churches like FBC Jax are bringing in kooks, presenting them as experts who have special biblical and historical knowledge, and causing people to scratch their heads as they try to reconcile what they hear from the pulpit with what they learn through science and sound history. No different really, than a preacher bringing in Ergun Caner to tell stories of his days growing up in Turkey watching American television.

If you don't believe me about the kookiness that is being told in pulpits, get a load of this video of "historian" David Barton - the first part is from his "sermon" at FBC Jax on September 11, 2011, followed by a discussion with Kenneth Copeland that you're sure to think is a Saturday Night Live parody skit.



And who is aiding the likes of Ham and Barton to get their version of history out to the peeps so they can get the deeper knowledge on things like the age of the earth and "true" American history? Why, of course, mega churches such as FBC Jax and Bellevue Baptist Church! Mac Brunson gave David Barton the FBC Jax pulpit on 9/11 and soon after Mac gave his pulpit to Ken Ham and friends for a Sunday morning and Sunday night Young-Earth fest.

David Barton heads up "WallBuilders", which is dedicated to the education of people about the Christian roots of our nation, and to help shape public policy. He is a pseudo-historian, and many Christian historians call into question his lack of historical integrity and ridiculous assertions about the nature of our founding documents. For instance, he asserts that 52 of the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence were "evangelical Christians". He has gone on the record saying that Glen Beck, a Mormon, is a Christian, and Barton believes some very, very nutting things about "principalities" having control over certain governments - and that HE can sense them.

Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis have built an entire ministry around the concept that the earth is only10,000 years old, and their view of the earth's age leaves no room for a believer to consider one of the Old Earth Creationist theories that many Christians believe is supported by scientific evidence. For Ham, to believe in an OEC theory is to be anti-Christian and anti-Bible. Ham says:

"Believing in a relatively “young Earth” (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator." Ken Ham

So to not believe in a young earth would necessarily mean you are undercutting the authority of the Bible and its infallibility. This is the division that Ken Ham and those who push him and his beliefs in their churches are creating. The Wartburg Watch has some excellent articles on Ken Ham and the damage he is inflicting on Christianity.

Too bad that preachers can't just preach the bible in their pulpits. They now have to bring in their friends as "experts" on history and Islam and paleontology and have created a Christian sub-culture that requires Christians to permanently remove their thinking caps.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Many Pastors Only Give Lip Service About Missions - But Their Passion Really is for Cruises and Vacations to the Holy Land

I wonder what IMB missionaries think when they return stateside and see churches advertising for cruises with their pastor and family, and trips to "Walk Where Jesus Walked".

Did you know just how many of these Holy Land trips occur each year?

Just one Holy Land company alone, Discovery Worldwide Ministries, in the past year and a half is arranging for nearly 60 "Walk Where Jesus Walked" Holy Land tours. See some at left, then more below after this post. Most of these pastors you've never heard of.

This just reminds me that sadly, pastors and their marketing consultants view congregations as a "market" to be tapped for selling goods and services. I wrote about it last year here when FBC Jax's marketing consultant wrote about churches being a "goldmine of opportunity" for book publishers.

Why don't these pastors advertise for "Walk Where the Poor Haitians are Walking" to lead people to serve for a week at a children's orphanage in Haiti? I'm sick of hearing pastors bellyaching to their congregations about not being "missional", and not giving enough to Lottie Moon. Maybe if so many pastors would stop viewing themselves as celebrity tour guides, and start actually leading real mission trips people would follow them. But if pastors travel to get down and dirty in an impoverished nation, no one would gather to hear their great sermons. No glory in serving in overseas missions with the poor and dirty, unless maybe the church media folks go with you and film it all.

Maybe Lottie Moon offerings are down and giving overall is down in churches because people are beginning to wise up - they see so many pastors not walking the walk, just talking the talk. How committed is a pastor to missions when they try to entice their congregation to spend thousands on a vacation with them?

These Holy Land trips are big business. The nation of Israel pushes them. They love them so much they flew their Minister of Tourism over to speak to the FBC Jax Pastor's Conference last February to tell pastors of their responsibility to lead groups to walk where Jesus walked. Who thought we would see the day when the pastor of FBC Jax would sell access to his platform to have an Israel government official hawk Holy Land trips to pastors? You can't make this stuff up - it is getting hard to parody these guys anymore.

There is one company, American Israel Travel, that has special "pastor familiarization tours", where pastors and their spouses can purchase a 10-day trip for a discounted rate of about $1400 per head, with the incentive of getting reimbursed if they book a return trip with their congregations. From the AIT website:

"The purpose of this tour is to properly inform potential group leaders about Israel as a travel destination so they can share their experiences with others and return to the land as group leaders. As an incentive, should you return to Israel within 18 months of this FAM with 20 or more paying passengers, we will return refund the tour cost along with your tour host benefits."

Yep, any pastor can go on a Holy Land familiarization trip with this company and then get reimbursed, PLUS earn "tour host benefits" if they can get a group to come back in the next year. Nice gig. Would love to know what the "tour host benefits" might be.

This company covers all potential Christian markets by hosting: "Footsteps of Moses Tour" (I'm not kidding), "10 Day Catholic Tour", the "10 Day Protestant Tour" and the "10 Day Evangelical Tour", and the "10 Day Emergent Church First Fruits Tither Tour" (ok, I'm kidding on the last one). Or go with Daniel Rona, as he is an American, a Jew, and an Israeli, and a Mormon - he has multiple markets covered.

I thought it almost comical that Mac Brunson was getting after his peeps this past Sunday night about not being excited about missions and "knocking on doors" - and encouraging people to give to Lottie Moon - when his church is advertising on their website a Mediterranean Cruise and tour of Venice for $4000 a head. These guys have no shame, and they think we are idiots and that we don't see their hypocrisy.

But in the interest of fairness, I wanted to give equal time to more pastors for these Holy Land trips. It is not fair that I was giving free advertising to the Brunsons, Gaines, Hunts, Nobles, and Jeffress on their trips, when there are so many struggling pastors who are trying to get in on the Holy Land Trip movement.

And I know there are pastors out there that DO lead their churches on true mission trips to serve the needs of people. But imagine how much more would be done if the effort expended in getting people to visit the Holy Land with "Pastor" was used to get people to travel with "Pastor" to a place truly in need of ministry.

This is big money, and another example of the gold being mined in "them thar pews".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Minister at FBC Jax Piously Tells Church Members: Preacher's Salary "Ain't None of Yo' Business"

Danny Crosby is the new FBC Jax minister hired around the time of Jim Smyrl's departure. He is preaching on Sunday nights when Mac is out of town.

He is doing a good job of taking it to the church members. In the video below he tells a story of how he put a woman in her place after he overheard her criticizing her pastor about his salary. In the middle of his story he tells the faithful Sunday night attenders at First Baptist Jacksonville about their need to know the pastor's salary:

"I'm not gonna ask ya, I'm gonna tell ya: It ain't none of yo' business. Ya'all didn't like that. [repeats] It ain't none of yo' business."

Sorry, Danny, it is the business of every member what the pastor makes. Why is that so hard to understand? They pay his salary, and thus if a member wants to know what the compensation package is for the megachurch pastor, they should be able to find out.

He then goes on to recount how he treated this woman who criticized her pastor. Danny lovingly tells this woman:

"After you've run your staff and your pastor in the ground, I have no desire to come to your church, especially if I have to sit next to you."



Oh, I love the men of God when they act so pious and put troublemakers, especially female troublemakers, in their place. Of course this story is designed to send another signal to the FBC Jax church members: toe the line, don't criticize, don't question. If you do, the staff members will be there to let you have it.

Then he really lowers the boom on this woman as he tells her:

"I believe with all my heart that one of these days there will be people that stand before God, accountable for blood on their hands, for people like you, that run pastors and staff members and churches in the ground and keep people from coming to the house of God and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ."

How gracious. Yes, he passes judgment on this woman whom he doesn't know, right there in the restaurant. What a hypocrite, because not 5 minutes later in the sermon Danny declares that no one can judge another person's heart except God himself. Yet as the super spiritual man of God, he is able to judge a woman based on her comments about her pastor, letting her know that the blood of lost people will be on her hands.

There were other parts of this sermon where Danny warns criticizers and complainers. He already is doing a great job carrying the water for Mac.

One thing is for sure: Danny, you have found a great place at First Baptist Jacksonville. You will fit right in. You're at a place that for about 5 years now has been taught there is nothing more evil than to criticize a pastor, and what salary the preacher makes is not to be questioned by anyone. I can't wait to hear Danny preach on the tithe.

First Baptist Church members, you have a winner, in Danny Crosby. He's not afraid to beat the sheep.

Jacksonville residents, get ready for the loving "Arms Around Jacksonville" - but whatever you do, when the FBC Jax members minister to you around town don't dare criticize the pastor or ask anyone how much he makes. If you do Pastor Danny will heap burning coals on your head.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pat Robertson to Mom Who Asks for Advice Because She Can't Pay Her Mortgage: Don't Rob God, You Still are Obligated to Tithe 10% to Your Church



"They [the Pharisees] tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger." (Mat 23:4)
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Those are the words of Jesus, warning people about the religious, pious men of His day, the Pharisees.

We still have these pious men today, only they aren't a Jewish religious sect. They are within modern evangelical Christendom. They have turned Christianity from the release of sinful men and women from the burden of having to try to please God with their works and their alms through simple faith in Christ - into a strict religious system that demands conformity to religious practices, tells people how they must think and what rules they must obey to earn the blessings of God. They use tactics of guilt and shame in the process - and, oh by the way, they get filthy rich while doing it.

A perfect example of a Pharisee in action is the video above of the Reverend Pat Robertson answering a mom's question about the conflict between paying her bills and paying her tithe. Instead of offering grace and freedom and truth about caring for her family first - he sticks to the "thou shalt not rob God" line, that to receive God's blessing she must continue to tithe 10%. He piously tells her that God is her "financial partner".

Robertson then tells her the ailment:

"I don't think you're managing your money properly, that's the thing."

Of course Pat doesn't know this woman or her circumstances. All he knows is she doesn't tithe, and thus she must not be managing her finances properly. Perhaps the problem is she is giving to much money to her church, and needs to care for her family, and maybe even her church needs to begin helping her. You see, that is the perversion of the storehouse tithing doctrine. Ten percent is the manufactured standard used by preachers to set up a chasm between blessings and curses, financial obedience and financial mismanagement.

God save us from these self-serving windbag preachers who continue to lead Christians astray in real life matters such as finances.

I ask: what is more perverted than a "holy man of God" who tells people his holy book contains the very words of God, and then purposely misinterprets his own holy book to mislead people regarding finances for their own selfish gain?

Monday, October 17, 2011

October is "Pastor Appreciation Month" - Show Your Pastor Love and Support by Booking a Spot on His 2012 Cruise or Holy Land Trip NOW!!!

Readers: October is "Pastor Appreciation Month", and to show my appreciation to the mega church pastors in my life who have been such a blessing, I make this post!

I want to remind my readers that one of the best things you can do to show appreciation to your "Man of God" this month is to book a reservation on his 2012 Cruise or Holy Land trip! If you can't make it, but are a person of means, the Watchdog would gladly accept a paid-in-full reservation on your pastor's trip!

As you can see above, a Med Cruise on the Norwegian Jade with "The Brunsons" is advertised on the FBC Jax website, and is proudly advertised as an "event" of the church! The people of Jacksonville can feel proud to know that one of the most advertised ministries of the tax-exempt mega downtown church is for the really committed Christians to spend thousands of dollars to cruise with their mega church pastor! The above ad has been prominently displayed on the church's front page website for months as a ministry. The deadline for booking a spot is October 31, 2011, so the time to act is now!

Yes, these are difficult economic days for many people, and church giving is at historically low levels as many Christians are unemployed and underemployed. But mega church pastors continue to display their great faith in God and his sovereignty, by trusting the Lord to provide the travelers to go with them on their 2012 trips!

So the Watchdog's first choice is to cruise the Med on the luxury Norwegian Jade with the Brunsons. Imagine, you can sail the same Mediterranean Sea that Jesus sailed during his earthly ministry. The cruise is a steal for only $3000, and for only $650 more you can walk the same streets of Venice where Jesus vacationed and shopped for sandals during the early days of his earthly ministry.

If the Norwegian Jade cruise with the Brunsons is booked, or sailing on a cruise ship in the Med is just not spiritual enough for you, praise the Lord there are still some other options for Southern Baptists!

You can "Walk Where Jesus Walked" and where Robert Jeffress IS walking by taking a trip to the Holy Land with Robert Jeffress! At the FBC Dallas website advertising this trip, Robert Jeffress said:
"Nothing will do more for your spiritual growth than this time in His land. The hotels are beautiful, the food is fantastic, and the fellowship will be blessed. Do not miss this trip of a lifetime!" Robert Jeffress
Yes, the nation of Israel is "His land". God is there, and you should go there to experience God. Of course the only thing that will do more for your spiritual growth than to go to the Holy Land would be to "slice off a hunk of your assets" and give it to the FBC Dallas building program. But just as good as that is slicing off a hunk and going to the Holy Land! Again, if you can't make it but still want to support your pastor, the Watchdog will travel in your stead.

Update: Rumor has it that for an extra $750 you can spend 3 days and 4 nights after the Holy Land trip, with Dr. Jeffress and Mitt Romney, touring upstate New York to learn about the roots of Mormonism. Robert and Mitt will take you to Palmyra, New York where the angel Moroni delivered the golden plates to be translated by Joseph Smith, which became the book of Mormon.


If that doesn't get it for you, you can go to the holy land with Johnny Hunt and his wife Janet. This is the priciest of the bunch at a whopping $4270, but that is a small price to pay to be "Walking Where Jesus Walked", and to be "Walking Where Johnny is Walking".

The FBC Woodstock website says:
"We'll visit the sea of Galilee and travel to the Jordan River where we will be baptizing."
Can you imagine the spiritual boost you will receive to be baptized in the Jordan River by Johnny Hunt? Go for it!

One more Southern Baptist option: you can travel with Steve and Donna Gaines to the Holy Land on his "Tithe Where Jesus Tithed Pilgrimage". As Brother Steve says in this video:
"One of the best things I've ever done is to take a trip to the Holy Land. There is nothing like a pilgrimage to Israel." Steve Gaines
And the best thing you can do this month is show your love for Bro. Steve and reserve your spot to visit the mega temple where Joseph gave 10% of his family's income to his Levitical pastor to have the curse removed from his finances, enabling Jesus to be the Messiah. You'll visit the very spot where Malachi himself delivered the prophetic words "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me...in tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation". Nothing will help you realize the reality of the curse on your finances and the importance of the tithe than seeing where it all started - so Bro. Steve will lead you to the very spot on Mount Moriah where Abraham tithed to Melchizedek.

And if "Walking Where Jesus Walked" and "Vacationing with a Southern Baptist mega church pastor" is an oxymoron to you, then go with Perry Noble on his 2012 Holy Land trip!

And if you can't make it on any of these trips with our Southern Baptist pastors or with emergent church leader Perry Noble, then in the immortal words of Pastor Perry, "you officially suck as a human being".

There you have it, Watchdog readers. These are just some of your traveling options in the coming year. Demonstrate your love and commitment to your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month by reserving your spot on one of these vacations, er I mean ministries.

I'm hoping and praying that someone will find it in their heart to donate a trip to me and the Mrs. so that I can make my trip to the Holy Land (or sail the Med where Jesus sailed).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pastors' Mutual Admiration Societies or "Cult of Personality" - It Borders on "Creepy" at Times

What is it with megachurch pastors these days flying to speak at each other's churches, to heap praises and admiration on each other, and to tell the peeps what a great pastor they have? Is one of the functions of a pastor to fly to other pastors' churches to convince them how great THEIR pastor is?

Below is a video montage of the mutual love and admiration expressed between Craig Groeschel (pastor of LifeChurch)and Steven Furtick recently, when Groeschel flew out to North Carolina to speak at Furtick's Elevation Church. The praise they heep on each other borders on creepy. Furtick explains that Groeschel once flew to a conference on a whim recently, just to introduce Furtick and then to jump on the plane that day and fly back home, and Furtick gushes about how flattering that was for him. It is unnatural for two men to express this much love and adoration for each other in public. I'm glad they are best buds, but please, spare us the details guys. And guys - don't advertise in these difficult economic times how you are wasting air fare to simply introduce each other at a conference!

Groeschel actually tells the people of Elevation Church:
"I feel it is one of the most important callings on my life simply to support your pastor, to stand behind him....it's an honor and a calling to protect him, guard him, support him."
All an attempt to let the people of Elevation Church know how "special" their pastor is. Craig Groeschel is the pastor of perhaps the largest church in America and he uses his celebrity to endorse Steven Furtick. You'll see in the video below clips from when Furtick was a guest at Groeschel's church, where the lovefest started, and Groeschel gives a nice plug for Furtick's book.

But really, we know what this is sort of behavior is all about. We can call it the "cult of personality", or "narcissistic leadership". Ed Stetzer has spoken about the trend of "cult of personality" among big name preachers. The "cult of personality" phenomena is defined as:
"A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships." Wikipedia
Indeed, megachurch pastors want to be seen as heroes. Many crave the praise and unquestioned followship of their subordinates and don't tolerate opposition.

Narcissistic leadership is defined as:
"...narcissistic leadership is driven by unyielding arrogance, self-absorption, and a personal egotistic need for power and admiration." Wikipedia
In the past several years I have spoken to people who have experience with narcissistic mega church pastors who demand absolute loyalty, have very sensitive egos that need to be stroked constantly. They speak at each others' churches and conferences, and pour enormous helpings of praise on each other. They preach sermons that are centered more on the pastor and how great he is, how much the Lord has anointed him, how "godly" he is, and how the people of the church should "support" and follow the pastor's leadership.

Author Jack Watts wrote earlier this year about this narcissistic behavior in today's "electric church":
"Like others who have a narcissistic personality disorder, the lords of the electric church are self-centered but, unlike their secular counterparts, the leaders of the electric church are never outwardly boastful. People may be forgiving of narcissism in movie stars, beauty queens and exceptional athletes, but certainly not of Christian leaders. This is where they differ from the classic model of narcissism. Because Christ was humble, these leaders are expected to behave similarly. Outwardly, they do, especially by the message they convey to their followers. Their demeanor is always that of a humble servant, eager to follow God's will. They have taken self-deprecating humility and made it an art form, cleverly masking their compulsive craving for attention, approbation and admiration."
Yes, they have to maintain a demeanor of humility, but they pay their friends to fly in and do their praising for them.

So enjoy the montage of praise and love and adoration between Steven and Craig...and at the end you will hear Steven gush about how his rock star friend flew out to introduce him at a conference.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Was the Perry Endorsement and Jeffress Media Blitz Part of the FBC Dallas "Media Campaign"?

You have to hand it to Robert Jeffress. He is a media hound, and he knows how to use advertising and media to draw attention to himself and his church.

It seems to me that his decision to endorse Perry and grant media interviews for a solid 3 days was part of an orchestrated church media campaign. Let me explain.

On the morning of Sunday August 21st, Jeffress announced to his church the beginning of a two-month long "media campaign" that would involve radio and billboards. Included in the media campaign was the issuance of yard signs like those shown in the picture, to all church members as they left church on August 21st. Jeffress himself requested that all members place the signs in their yards for the months of September and October in support of the coming media campaign.

So is it any wonder that Jeffress went back on his word to not endorse a presidential candidate? He told his church on August 28th that he would NOT endorse any political candidate so as to protect his church's tax-emempt status, and to not alienate members of his politically diverse congregation.

Then, five weeks later, right in the middle of the two-month long media campaign, he pops up at the Values Voter Summit pounding his fist on the podium declaring Rick Perry to be the best candidate because of his faith in Christ. In the media interviews immediately following, he raised the Mormon issue heightening further the media's interest in Jeffress and his church.

Then all over the country he was the media star for 72-hours. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, was THE headlines on all the news media. He was on every possible news outlet. You can't buy that amount of media publicity that he received.

Why would I think that his endorsement of Perry and comments about Mormonism was a slick maneuver to bolster his church's "media campaign?" Because as soon as his mug was on every TV station, the church put the video clips up on the church website! There is a YouTube channel hyperlinked on the front page of the church website with a "Pastor On Air" icon. Their site even features an icon linking to a site about the evils of Mormonism, as shown in the picture of their website at the right.

The church website even proudly displayed the video clip of Jeffress' endorsement of Rick Perry! So not only did Jeffress endorse Perry, but his church endorsed his endorsement - despite their disclaimer that the church does not endorse Perry.

Also, if Jeffress was truly interested in helping a Christian get elected, why go to bat for Rick Perry? Herman Cain is a believer. Michelle Bachmann would probably be a great choice as well if you're looking for a Christian president. But Jeffress knows the targets of his church media campaign are Rick Perry supporters! Get people to come to your church by going on the record as the preacher and church that backs Texas governor Rick Perry for president!

To those who don't know much about First Baptist Dallas and Robert Jeffress: over the past year they have begun a massive $115 million construction project of a brand new downtown campus. Jeffress preached to his peeps the need to get on board and give large gifts to the construction project, even recommending that members "slice off a big hunk of your personal assets" to give to the building program and to improve your spiritual health. As often happens when a church embarks on a construction project, the giving to the capital fund for the construction has eaten into the First Baptist Dallas budget giving. Thus, as many mega churches do, they spend money on "media campaigns", purchasing radio and TV ads, billboard spots, and in this case the clever issuance of yard signs - all in an attempt to attract more people to their church and ultimately raise revenue. I don't think Jeffress could pass up the attempt at gaining free media coverage by endorsing Rick Perry - even though he said he would not - and raising the Mormon issue immediately afterwards.

Why does Jeffress say he changed his mind and endorsed Perry and then went on the media circuit over the weekend? He told his church Sunday:

"As a private citizen and as an American, I felt like I ought to use personally, whatever influence I might have, to try to elect a godly leader and place him in the White House...now since that time, since Friday afternoon, God has opened many avenues of opportunity for me in the media to be able to do what I'm called to do as pastor, and that is to point people to Jesus Christ."

Maybe Jeffress is sincere, but he is smarter than that statement. If he thought this out, he must know his actions this past weekend will not at all help to elect a godly leader. His actions will probably will end up hurting Rick Perry, and ultimately if Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee the media and Democrats will do just what Jeffress has done. They will play the "Mormonism is a cult and a threat" mantra to the hilt, trying to scare people into not voting for Romney and giving us four more years of Obama.

The fact is Romney DOES embrace and will uphold many of the biblical values that are important to evangelicals - and he is a proven leader and a gentleman and statesman. We don't need Jeffress helping the media to scare people away from Mitt Romney.

So while this weekend Jeffress did not help elect a godly leader, Jeffress' actions at least might help his church in their media campaign and draw more red-meat conservatives to his church, that are looking to follow a nationally-known megachurch pastor.

And that is what I think this past weekend was all about.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Would a TRUE Evangelical, Southern Baptist President Be Like?

"... If Stephen Douglas had been a more orthodox Christian than Abraham Lincoln, would a 19th-century Robert Jeffress have awarded more points to Douglas than to Lincoln? Where exactly does the Reverend Jeffress propose we draw these lines? Or does he simply believe evangelical Christians should be awarded points over Mormons but not over others?" Peter Wehner, 10/9/11
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Let's get to the very root of Robert Jeffress' message this weekend. It was not that Mormonism is a cult; Christians know that it is not a denomination or branch of Christianity, it is it's own religion. Surely Jeffress knows he will never convince the media that Mormonism is a theological cult, for to the unbelievers Jeffress' evangelicalism and Mormonism are both cults, they both are on par with Aesop's Fables to those who don't believe.

Jeffress' message was: With all other things being equal, we should prefer an evangelical Christian for president of the United States. Jeffress was trying to persuade evangelical Christians that they should pray for and vote for an evangelical Christian in the White House. He said that such a person would be "indwelt by the Holy Spirit" and help them make right decisions.

There is no correlation between what constitutes a solid leader of the executive branch of our government, and what makes a devout follower of Jesus Christ. In fact they might be contradictory at several key points. An evangelical MIGHT make a good president, but so might an atheist, or a Mormon, or a Jew make a better chief executive. In fact, I would argue that a very competent president would have to make decisions contrary to his or her faith as a Christian.

But let's suppose Jeffress got his way, and we elected a staunch Southern Baptist conservative, someone who is in lockstep with the teachings and doctrines that the Southern Baptists stand for. Suppose we elected a person who listens to and agrees with the theology and teachings of the typical Southern Baptist mega pastor like Robert Jeffress or Mac Brunson or Steve Gaines or Ed Young.

Here is what we would get, if they are true to their faith, and as biblical inerrantists they interpret the bible literally:

1. This president might not be able to make the executive decisions to properly retaliate against terrorist threats to our nation. Jesus Himself told his followers: "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matt 5:39). A president true to the teachings of Jesus might have a hard time resisting the evil-doers.

2. The president would hold a pre-tribulation viewpoint of the return of Jesus Christ, that Jesus will come again for his followers prior to the 7-years of tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist in Revelation. Do we want someone with this viewpoint having their hand on the nuclear button?

3. The president would not be apt to point the most qualified people into positions on his cabinet, as he would have a bias against women as they should mostly be silent, if they need to know anything they should ask their husbands, and should be in subjection to their husbands according to the Bible. The President would have to make sure no homosexuals were in any leadership positions. No self-respecting, obedient evangelical could appoint a homosexual to any position.

4. The president might not be able to reform welfare, and would have to increase entitlements, as Jesus told his followers that whosoever asks for your cloak, give him your tunic as well. (Matt 5:40)

5. The president would be compelled to "share Jesus" with all heads of state, and hand them tracts and try to get them to pray and accept Jesus, or to at least go with him to church so they can hear a sermon from the megachurch pastor on how to be saved and baptized. This could have serious consequences on the ability of the president to gather the support of our allies when he is pushing his religion on them.

6. The president would have to encourage people to give 10% of their income to their local church as a plank in his economic platform, so that God could once again bless our country and remove the curse on our economic system and also help keep the judgment of God from falling.

7. The president would not be the most powerful man in the world, but his mega church pastor would, as the president would have to submit to the authority of his mega church pastor, and submit to the discipline committee of his church if he goes astray.

8. We would have to be sure to swear in the president with either the KJV or NASB bible, and not the NIV - although the president might not be able to swear at all, as the bible says "....do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No', no, or you will be condemned." (James :12, NIV)

9. The president would likely take the cue from his pastor in regard to criticism, and regularly tell people to stop listening to his critics, would brand the critics as "gossips" and "nuts" and perhaps even "sociopaths". Instead of doing his job as president, he might be distracted by holding meetings to see how the critics can be silenced.

10. All visiting heads of state would have to bow their heads before the meal while a prayer is made in Jesus' name blessing the food, and certainly no alcoholic beverages would be served no matter how traditional that might be for a head of state.

Ridiculous? Taking scripture out of context? You say that an evangelical Christian president would NOT do these things necessarily? Of course. That is my point. An evangelical Christian candidate should not be judged on his faith or his religious leaders (Jeremiah Wright?) or how someone else characterizes their religion!! Rather, they should be judged on their record of leadership, on the fiscal and foreign policies that the candidate puts forth and what moral values he or she has lived for many years.

And that is what we will judge our candidates on, not their religion, and certainly not on how someone else like Jeffress characterizes their faith. Jeffress got his face time in front of the cameras, and he might even parlay it into a talk show someday on Fox News...but the people of our country will still vote based on the principles and policies of the men and women running for office.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why is FBC Dallas Publicizing and Endorsing Their Pastor's Endorsement of a Political Candidate? Jeffress Said He Would NOT Endorse a Candidate

"I have never endorsed Rick Perry or any candidate for any office....we have a very diverse congregation, we have many Democrats, we have Republicans, and I don't think any pastor should engage in partisan politics....I'm not going to publicly endorse a candidate....even when it comes to Rick Perry, in my television appearances I have purposely come just short of even personally endorsing Rick Perry....I don't anticipate endorsing anybody, certainly publicly or even privately for president." Robert Jeffress to his congregation in church, 8/28/11
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What has changed in just five weeks, that makes Robert Jeffress now want to publicly endorse Rick Perry, and at the same time encourage people not to vote for Mitt Romney?

On Sunday August 28th, Jeffress told his congregation he would not be endorsing a candidate, either from the pulpit or as a private citizen. He cited two reasons: one was that he wouldn't want to alienate members of his politically diverse congregation, and second he wouldn't want to risk his church's tax exempt status.

One could argue that his introduction/endorsement of Rick Perry at the Value Voter's Summit was done as a private citizen. Sure, he has a right to do that. But then why is his church posting on their website a video clip of him endorsing Rick Perry? They are also posting clips of all of his media appearances where he explains why Rick Perry is the superior candidate over Mitt Romney. Is this not getting dangerously close to the line of a church endorsing a political candidate, through their pastor's words and then posting his words on their website?

Notice on their church website, the headlines read "Pastor Sparks National Debate" and "Dr. Jeffress Introduces Rick Perry at Value Voters Summit." All of those clips together provide a clear message: FBC Dallas endorses and supports their pastor's endorsement of a political candidate.

Let Robert Jeffress say what he wants about whatever candidate he wants to support. But his church, and he as the pastor, should keep it out of his church and off the church website.

Robert Jeffress: Evangelicals Would Rather Have a "Born Again Christian" than a "Good, Moral Person" in the White House

It is all over the news now....Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas mega church has announced at the Values Voter Summit that Mitt Romney would not make a good president because he is a Mormon. He makes the ridiculous statement:

"Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person? Or do we want a candidate who is a born again follower of Jesus Christ?"

Good grief. The answer is: yes, evangelicals want a good, moral person, and many people aren't so concerned of whether a person fits the definition of a "born again" follower of Jesus Christ. We want someone who is a leader, who is moral, and who has conservative values. This could be Romney, could be Perry, could be Herman Cain. But it is not surprising that a mega church pastor is going to push one of his own, and disparage a conservative solely because of his brand of faith.

What Jeffress probably doesn't realize is that when the average American sees him endorse Perry primarily because he is "born again" and is "indwelt with the Holy Spirit", and at the same time disparages Romney for his Mormonism, that this will probably scare Americans AWAY from Perry in the general election. Proof of this is that Perry disagreed with Jeffress' statements just a few minutes after Jeffress uttered them!

Too bad that Jeffress is out there trying to speak on behalf of evangelicals. He is certainly not a spokesperson for evangelicals, and his views are NOT those of most clear-thinking evangelicals. His arguments against Romney and in support of Governor Rick Perry don't hold water. For instance:

- Jeffress said Friday that there are many people who won't admit that they will not vote for Romney, that they will vote differently than they will answer in the polls. Jeffress insults Americans with that statement. He is essentially saying that a significant portion of evangelicals are religious bigots and would not vote for Romney solely because he is a Mormon.

- Jeffress even resorts to the scare tactic that he has heard recently at "a conference", characterizing it as a "large constituency" of voters that would rather sit at home and not vote, than to vote for a Mormon over Barrack Obama. Again, that is an absolute insult to American evangelicals. Not the first time Jeffress riles up the faithful by making religious exaggerations; he did the same thing when exaggerating concerns about Islam, saying that "all over the world" Muslim men are "having sex with 4 year old girls", and that Islam "promotes pedophilia".

- Jeffress said Friday that the Southern Baptist Convention has labeled Mormonism as a cult, and that he does not consider Romney a true follower of Jesus Christ. Yes, many say Mormonism is not true Christianity, but most SBC pastors don't view the Catholic Church as true Christianity, some have even labeled it a "cult". Southern Baptists have been narrowing the parameters for several decades now of what a true Christian is.

- Jeffress says that Romney is not a true "Christian". I would point out that David Barton, one of the favorite "historians" amongst the Southern Baptists who preached at First Baptist Jacksonville a few weeks ago on 9/11, has said he considers Mormon Glenn Beck to be a true Christian, and he says that we should not tie a Mormon to the label of "Mormon" and dismiss them as a false believer. Barton says Beck is a true Christian believer. Barton says we should evaluate a Christian on his personal beliefs and fruits, and not on what label he chooses to wear. I didn't say it, Barton said it, and Barton is a darling amongst the Southern Baptist pastors. Read Barton's own words concerning Beck here.

Fact is that the same garbage being spread about Romney and his Mormonism is the same junk said about JFK in the 1960 election. His religion will make him unelectable, he'll be taking orders from the pope, his decision making will be skewed because of his strange Catholic beliefs. Fifty years later, we have to go through it again with a Mormon, and Jeffress is leading the way.

Evangelicals will choose their candidate based on values, economic policy, leadership skills, and other factors that determine whether a candidate would make a good president. Some bigots might stay home and never, ever vote for someone because they are a Mormon or a Catholic or an agnostic - but they are a small, small minority.

And yes, Robert, I'll take a good, moral person, over a professing Southern Baptist in the White House.

After all, the last "born again" Southern Baptist we had in the White House ended up getting sexual favors from a 22-year old in the Oval Office.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Johnny Hunt Preaches on Grace Giving - If He Can, You Can Too, Pastor

"You're going to be shocked I even said this: The tithe isn't something that we can even fit into the picture....Jesus Christ has so affected my heart and life, that I just don't feel like I can do enough of worshiping Him, expressing grace to Him, being of service to Him, ministries to Him, sacrificially giving to Him. You go the other way if you want to, this is far above the law. It is called 'grace giving'. It is incredible." Johnny Hunt, 10/2/11.
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In these tough economic times we have heard some absolutely horrendous sermons by mega church pastors misusing scripture to twist people's arms into giving more. And it ain't working, giving continues to decline.

Last fall was a tithing disaster - we had the Ed Young, Jr. sheep-beating incident where he berated and humiliated people who don't give 10% - told them marriages and careers of non-tithers would suffer, told non-tithers to stay at home and don't come back right before attempting to collect their bank account numbers.

We had Mac Brunson on the very same day misuse scripture out of Hagaii to tell people that our nation's economic woes are due to the judgment of God on our nation for so many non-tithers, and then later tell them that God collects on the tithe through bringing calamity on non-tithers. Brunson also reached back into ancient history, making the idiotic case that tithing 10% to your church is a fundamental law placed by God into the human heart because the ancient Mesopotamians tithed to Marduke the Moon God. And we don't have enough space to write about Steve Gaines and Perry Noble and Robert Morris.

So it was refreshing to hear Johnny Hunt preach an October sermon last Sunday (10/2/11) out of the New Testament on grace giving. Hunt didn't reach back into Malachi or Haggai to threaten or coerce his people. He was tough for sure - he challenged his church members to give more than they have, but he was at least intellectually honest. He admitted that Malachi 3 speaks of a "temple tax", and is not related to grace giving as described in the New Testament. Hunt challenged his sheep to give generously to minister to people. He didn't threaten them with calamity, didn't tell them to stay home, didn't tell them that God will collect it anyways so you might as well give it.

So pastors - I know you are reading this blog - this year try a different tact out of pragmatism if for no other reason. As I said, your sheep beatings don't work, they don't motivate people, and the sheep are not so gullible as they used to be. Your revenue continues to decline. They are on to you. So stop with the tithing sermons out of Malachi. Stop lying to Christians telling them they have a 10% debt to God that they have to pay off each Sunday to be blessed. Challenge them to be grace givers, to give generously out of love for Christ and for people. Don't let your huge ego lead you to play the role of the Holy Spirit.

Try it. See if it works. Release your people from the notion of obligation to tithe, and see what happens.

If you want an idea of what it looks like to not preach the tithe but preach grace giving, watch this:



Pastors, as you go into your stewardship series this fall: preach the truth, be loving to your people, don't threaten them with calamity or curses. Don't use Malachi to falsely accuse people of robbing God. Realize you're not the Holy Spirit.

If you preach the truth, we'll highlight it on the blog.

If you beat the sheep and misuse scripture again this year, we'll also highlight it on the blog.

Watchdog is watching.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jacksonville Baptist Pastor Denies Voyeurism - "I Did Not Videotape That Woman"....And Has the Gall to "Forgive" His Accusers

"I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinksy." Bill Clinton

"I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver." Ted Haggard

"I categorically state that I am innocent of the allegations of video voyeurism." Greg Neal
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Pastor Greg Neal of Berean Baptist Church showed the world today why so many people can't stand fundamentalist baptist preachers and their followers. They behave like politicians when caught in sin, and will look right in the camera and proclaim their innocence in the face of insurmountable evidence of their guilt.

Standing in front of the news cameras, with his sheep behind him nodding like bobble heads chanting "Amen!", he proclaimed his innocence of video voyeurism, blamed his accusers for the financial ills of the church, blamed the sheriff's office for shoddy police work, and then had the gall to say HE forgives his accusers.

Yep, the pastor needs to forgive those dastardly Christians for daring to go to the authorities with rock hard evidence that a crime was committed in the office of the pastor, when the pastors of the church would not go to the authorities.

The only thing Neal didn't say was he was still looking for the true voyeur that snuck into his office that day, set up the camera on his desk, filmed the girls while they undressed, and by chance happened to film the innocent pastor as he came in and moved a stack of papers from in front of the camera. What terrible luck, to have somebody videotaping naked girls in your office, and you accidentally get caught on the same video!

Same old story here. When the pastor gets caught with his pants down (figuratively, although sometimes literally), the pastor proclaims his innocence, does his best not to talk to the authorities, and the peeps rally around their "man of God" and make him to be the victim, then they turn the tables on the victims and those that reported the crime as though they are the perpetrators. The pastor then turns around and blames the people who did right by going to the authorities as though they are doing the work of the devil, trying to destroy the church and all the good they have done for Jesus.

The best news from Neal's press conference is when he said that 100's have left the church and school since the story broke - although that too, was blamed on the dastardly recalcitrants who went to the cops with the evidence. Said Neal's father co-Man-of-God at the press conference:

"Your accusations have hurt your former church family, and your slander that you continue to participate in not only hurts the church, but the community it serves. You...should...be...ashamed."

No, Pastor Neal, YOU should be ashamed. You denied the existence of the tape for years, and when finally someone at your church did the right thing and took the evidence of the crime committed in the pastor's office to the police, you have turned on your own members who obeyed the law and acted to prevent perhaps more crimes, and you even turned on the police themselves.

But, it is good news that 100's have left, praise Jesus for that. If the Neal's stay at the helm of Berean, I'll pray for 100's more to come to their senses and leave as well.

At least until the real voyeur is caught.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why Did Rick Warren Bring in Robert Morris? Because Warren Considers Him One of the Top Financial Authorities in America

"I've brought in two of the top leaders in biblical financial planning....I want you to hear these two experts the next two weeks....Robert Morris is one of the top authorities in this area in America...I know you're going to be blessed from this message because he wrote an entire book on it." Rick Warren endorsing Robert Morris
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This is a prologue to my post Thursday on Robert Morris preaching his false prosperity tithing message at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church on 9/25/11.

Do you want to know why Rick Warren brought Robert Morris in to preach on financial blessings in difficult days? Watch the video below and you'll see. The video was shot the week prior to Morris preaching at Saddleback, as an introduction to the financial series this fall. It was posted on Warren's 9/17/11 "News and Views" video blog.

Sadly, as seen in the video below, Warren declares to his peeps that Robert Morris is one of the top financial authorities in the country. Rick Warren, with a straight face, calls Robert Morris a financial "expert". Actually, Robert Morris is not a top authority on anything - not even the bible, much less financial planning. Yet Warren told his sheep that Morris would be able to help them in their finances because he is such a top authority in that area.

The question for Southern Baptists and other evangelicals is this: does Warren believe Robert Morris' phony-baloney story about tithes "redeeming" our finances from the curse of God - or did he simply fail to perform his due diligence before inviting Morris in? If it is the latter, will Warren warn his people and correct Morris?

I really don't care which it is. The bottom line is that Warren failed his church members by endorsing Morris' teaching in advance, declaring him to be a "top authority" on finances. This just demonstrates a deeper problem in modern Christianity - pastors who really don't know a hill of beans about much of anything, who think they and their preacher pals are "experts" on this or that and end up leading their sheep astray.

Let's face it. Most megachurch pastors have degrees that are absolutely worthless in the real world. Most are not trained in the sciences, they are not trained in liberal arts, and they certainly aren't trained in economics or financial management. The one thing they are trained in - the bible or preaching - they apparently are no longer satisfied to do full time. They think they are authors or motivational speakers, or expert historians, or financial planners, or story-tellers or comedians. I know a few who even pose as first-hand experts on Islamic Jihad.

We are witnessing these preachers using their congregations to make markets for their friends. Jerry Vines did it with Ergun Caner, allowing him to speak after 9/11 as he transformed himself from "Butch Caner" into "Ergun Mehmet Caner". On Phil Waldrep's website Ergun Caner was described as a "hardened terrorist" to help sell his conversion testimony on a CD for a whopping $35. Ken Ham is an expert on paleontology preaching in our churches and telling us how old we must believe the earth is if we are good Christians, and David Barton is an expert on U.S. history who tells us our constitution is a compilation of 18th century sermons and likens the signers of our Declaration of Independence to a bunch of baptist preachers. And now Robert Morris is our "expert" on financial planning. What do these guys all have in common? They love to sell books and go on speaking tours - and their market is US.

No wonder our culture is laughing at our Savior, because we who name His name are so gullible as to be led astray by men who use Him for their own personal agendas.

Pastors, just preach the bible, and care for your flock. That is what you are qualified to do. It is what you are trained to do and paid to do. You're not an expert on science or finances or history. And your megachurch buddy who wrote a book on this or that is not an expert either.

Shepherds, just stick to feeding your sheep the word.

And church members, keep an eye on your preacher and your pulpit. Your preacher may not do his due diligence before he brings someone in, or worse he may be fooled himself.