2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gerald Harris of Georgia Baptists' "Christian Index", Plagiarizes FBC Jax Watchdog

Poe's Law Disclaimer:  FBC Jax Watchdog occasionally posts satire articles. You will know it is satire when I refer to "Watchdog Press" in the dateline and article....otherwise, the posts might SEEM like satire - as many of my stories are unbelievable - but they will be truthful.
Don't get me wrong, I'm flattered that Gerald Harris, editor of the Georgia Baptists' news journal "Christian Index", considers the FBC Jax Watchdog blog worthy of quoting. But Harris should at least give credit when he uses my original expressions. On September 7th, Gerald Harris published "Homer Gentry Lindsay, Jr - Soul-Winning Pastor" as a part of a series of "great men of God" Harris has known.  Harris used my own article on Homer Lindsay from 2010 as a source of his information, but he was extremely careless in his use of my original expressions - not giving me credit for direct quotes, and using several sentences with just a slight re-wording and then presenting them as his own original thoughts.

Even when Harris did use quotations on a portion of my article, he didn't do it accurately - adding a sentence I did not say within quotations to change the overall meaning and intent of my paragraph. That is terrible. He really should correct this if he has any journalistic integrity.

Keep in mind, Harris is not just some obscure blogger, and not just some country bumpkin backwoods Georgia preacher. According to his Christian Index biography, he is the author of three books, holds a Master's degree from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, has published articles for Christian magazines and has served as the Georgia state convention president. Oh, and he has a doctor of ministry degree from Luther Rice seminary.

I must say I'm not surprised that Harris would do this - Harris blew much of his credibility when he was a staunch supporter of Ergun Caner for president of Georgia Baptist's college, Brewton Parker, back in 2014. As I wrote about here, Harris described Caner during a church service  - after all the allegations were out about Caner's decade of deceit - as "..one of the finest preachers in all of America..." and "...one of the foremost preachers in America...". Harris then went on to encourage the church members to bring all of their children to come and hear Caner. 

And Mr. Harris, you will see in my 2014 article when I quoted you, I did it accurately. I transcribed your exact words, and gave you full credit for them. 

Below are the comparisons:

Notice above he does refer to "one writer"...but doesn't say who. Probably Harris doesn't want his fellow Georgia Baptists to know he is using the hated FBC Jax Watchdog as a source. Here is the FBC Jax Watchdog article excerpt:

Later in the article, Harris refers to "One blogger" - yours truly - and says this:

Here is the paragraph from the FBC Jax Watchdog article Harris is using:

Now the somewhat humorous part of this: Harris included an interview with Jerry Vines about his co-pastor of 15 years, Homer Lindsay. It is somewhat ironic that Harris used my article about Homer, when the purpose of my article was not just to discuss the attributes of Homer Lindsay but to contrast them to Homer Lindsay's successors, like Jerry Vines, whom Harris used as another source of his article.

Maybe Peter Lumpkins can contact Gerald Harris and teach him how to properly cite others' work, and how to avoid plagiarism. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Poe's Law - Watchdog Post on Hurricane Irma and Tithing Provides Evidence

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, a few comments:

The previous blog post "Jacksonville Megachurch Pastors Hold Tithing Vigil to Steer Irma Away from City" has provided rock-solid proof of Poe's Law. If you've never heard of Poe's Law, here is Wikipedia's definition:
"Poe's law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views."
My satire piece on tithing - as nutty as it was - was apparently mistaken by hundreds on Facebook as being a real article. The blog blew up with hits from Facebook with people expressing disgust over pastors who would exploit people's hurricane fears to get them to tithe. I also received three emails inquiring whether the article was real or not!

But many Christians mistook this for a real article as they likely HAVE seen pastors use fear of God's punishment as a way to get peeps to fork over 10% of their income. I've chronicled this practice by many pastors. Some have said God will collect your unpaid tithes through car crashes, appliances failing, calamity involving your children, and the ever popular God "poking holes in your purses". Tim Maynard here in Jacksonville said that if you have a wayward child, God may be waiting for you to stroke a tithe check before he will intervene and bring your son back home. It is all sick stuff which will continue, as sane people spot the charlatans and bolt from these churches, leaving higher concentrations of nuts in the pews who are susceptible to such manipulations.

But notice in the Wikipedia definition of Poe's law the phrase "...without a clear indicator of the author's intent..."  On my blog I do post satire pieces. I always have, although have been trying my hand at it more frequently. Now I have begun giving a "clear indicator" of satire, using a dateline like "Jacksonville, FL (WD)" and referring to the "Watchdog Press". So if you're not sure, look for that.

Finally, I've noticed here in Jacksonville that many of the pastors are putting Facebook live videos up encouraging their members to pray Hurricane Irma away, to trust in God, be strong in the Lord, and so on. I was aghast at one particular video when at the end, the pastor encouraged the people to do what they are supposed to do as good Christians even in the face of impending disaster: send your tithe money electronically before the storm hits. Yes, the pastor wasn't encouraging them to send money to disaster relief, but instead to send it quickly to the church before the storm arrives.

Nothing like hitting the peeps up one last time for a chunk of cash before they lose everything - to explain why Christians can't spot satire of their men of God.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Jacksonville Megachurch Pastors Hold Tithing Vigil to Steer Irma Away from City

Jacksonville, FL (WD) - Watchdog Press has learned megachurch pastors in Jacksonville, Florida will hold Thursday what they are calling a "tithing vigil" to prompt the Lord Jesus Christ to steer Hurricane Irma away from Jacksonville.

"I have known for some time that the terrible rate of tithing among church members will eventually bring our city to destruction," said Stuart Weems of Collaboration Church. "The Lord's patience can only be tested so long - and now it looks like we will be paying the price unless His people belly up to the pew and pay their tithes."

But the megachurch pastors - many of them who have large financial investments in Jacksonville in their million dollar homes and other real estate investments - believe there is still time to sway God's mind if enough Christians quickly show their willingness to fork over the required 10% tithe.

"God can and will change his mind, if His people will hear His voice and tithe", said a spokesman for Collaboration Church. "Our church will open at 7:00 am Thursday to begin the collection of tithes from recalcitrant, God-robbing Christians from all over the First Coast. These funds will likely be used to help those cities who do end up being battered from Hurricane Irma after the Lord steers her away from our city - or to rebuild our pastors' homes if enough Christians don't respond in time to change God's mind and change Irma's path."

One local pastor said anonymously that "God collects on what he is owed. God collects on it....God says when you are to bring the tithe and you refuse to do it, he will poke holes in your purses and bring calamity on your city". The pastor was quoting out of Haggai chapter 1 in the Old Testament.

There is some precedent of setting a deadline for God's people to get caught up on their tithing to appease an angry God.  Former Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd in 2014 famously set a deadline for Christians to get "caught up" on their tithing:
"The key question we [pastors] need to ask [church members] repeatedly: As you review and understand clearly ALL of your sources of income in 2014, have you honored God by giving at least the first one-tenth to your local church? If you have not, then insure you do so before December 31 so that you can know you have walked in complete obedience to God in 2014 in relationship to biblical stewardship."
"Last year hurricane Matthew should have been a wake-up call to Christians all over the Jacksonville area", said pastor Tom Fester of Trinity Church. "But giving at our church and other mega churches in this area has actually declined since Hurricane Matthew grazed us last year. Apparently non-tithing Christians have not learned their lesson."

The tithing vigil will begin at 7:00 am on Thursday at Collaboration Church off of the I-295 East Beltway, and will remain open until 7:00 pm to collect tithes. Call the church for more details on how to give by phone or online.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why Would a Megachurch Experience Decline?

I was pondering an interesting question today after seeing a megachurch pastor preach about reasons a church experiences decline.

What would cause a once flourishing, growing, powerful mega church begin to experience a steady decline in attendance, baptisms, financial support, and influence in its city?

It is a question that members, lay leaders, and financial contributors to a mega church need to ask themselves if they see a downward trajectory.

And to be sure, you can't rely on a seminarian in the pulpit to give you answers and solutions, for several reasons.

Firstly, the pastor will never blame themselves or other members of the staff or their leadership, even if that is a contributing factor.

Secondly, most seminarians aren't interested in dealing with data and facts, but with what some string of unrelated scriptures might say about their church or the people in the church, or what Jesus said in one of the gospels. A seminarian's solution to their church downward spiral is to be found in their KJV or NIV.

But there is data available, research has been done, as to what is happening overall in modern evangelicalism, and what in particular might be the contributing factors for any single church decline.

Not only is research data available to help provide answers, but a common sense, clear-headed examination of the pastors and the competitive operating environment is needed.

Then, solutions might be found.

But a solution is not to blame the people for not loving Jesus enough, or not telling enough people in your city about the lovely Lord Jesus.

Let's examine some of the reasons a mega church may experience decline.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Modern Day "Circuit Riders": Traveling Mega Church Pastors Finding Another Way to Fleece the Flocks and Recycle Their Sermons

In the next installment of the best of the FBC Jax Watchdog, I am posting an updated and revised article from 2011 on Modern Day Circuit Riders. Nothing has changed since this article first posted - preachers double-dipping by recycling their sermons on the preaching circuit. Another method to fleece the sheep.


FBC Jax Watchdog
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Methodists used "circuit rider" preachers to minister to rural flocks. In our modern evangelical mega church world, we have our own sort of "circuit rider" - the traveling mega church preacher fleecing congregations by accepting large sums of money for recycled sermons at churches they visit.

Just look at who was preaching where this summer [2001], and you see a virtual guest-speaker fest. It is hard to keep track of 'em all. Johnny Hunt goes on sabbatical, and Woodstock has to not only continue to pay Hunt's salary and bennies, they have to pay to bring in some big name preachers to preach the word.

Steve Gaines was preaching at Johnny Hunt's church last Sunday on his vacation, then on Wednesday he preached at Charles Stanley's church. Not bad, get your vacation fully paid by popping into a few churches to recycle an old sermon and tell the peeps they're thieves unless they give the magical 10%. Gaines' church in turn has to hire speakers for the Sunday night sermons in August. [correction: Gaines' church brings in the big guns on Wednesday nights in August, has for several years].

The emergents are masters at this. They travel to each others' churches and conferences and push their books, and expand their market for selling their Holy Land trips and building their brand image.

My word, Steve Gaines is even taking speaking gigs at the Assemblies of God functions!

Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church flew out to Charlotte to be at emergent Steven Furtick's church this weekend, while Kevin Ezell comes to Prestonwood to fill in for Pastor Jack. It is a musical chairs of preachers during the summer as they earn extra scratch for their new boat or condo.

Why do they do this? Of course they will tell you they have the most noble of intentions. They are just spreading the gospel, right?

No, not really. It is another example of how the great masses in mega churches are fleeced by greedy mega men of God. Their sermons are already on the Internet, and we don't need to fly them in. It is all completely unnecessary. You want to hear Perry Noble tell you you're scum? Go to his website. Want to hear the latest tithing nonsense? Dial up Gaines or Young on your browser. You don't need to fly him in to the church. Besides, can't other staff members at the church fill in for the mega church pastor who is on vacation or sabbatical? The sad answer is no, they can't, because they aren't celebrities. Many worshipers view Johnny Hunt preaching behind their pulpit in the same way a giggling high school girl would see Justin Beiber crooning at their high school. It is all about celebrity.

Insiders tell me that visiting preachers at mega churches will earn up to $3000 for a Sunday morning sermon, or $5000 if they do the hard work of staying over and preaching the Sunday evening sermon also. But I'm sure they have not one iota of guilt, since they tithe on the money, which makes them super spiritual.

Not bad scratch. If they earn $3000 in addition to their travel, meals and lodging, that is about $100 per minute for an average 30-minute sermon. Not an hour. A MINUTE. That is professional baseball player per minute money. While churches everywhere are seeing their revenue continue to decline, the mega church pastors are hot and heavy to get out on the circuit to get their share of the visiting preacher dollars.

And usually what they are preaching is a sermon that is recycled from one they just were paid to prepare and preach at their mega church. Nothing new or fresh. Johnny Hunt does it. Steve Gaines does it. The master was Ergun Caner - as for years and years he was preaching virtually the same story, same jokes and lines at churches all over the country.

Sometimes preachers are brought in to do the dirty work of the pastor. One of the more brazen moves was Perry Noble of NewSpring church hiring Robert Morris to come in for two straight weeks to beat up the sheep over tithing, telling them of the curse on them and their money unless they gave Perry's church 10% of their income. Shameless.

And don't get me started on the Holy Land trips and luxury cruises hosted by the pastor and his family. I'm just amazed that in these days where governments at all levels are searching for creative ways to gain new revenue that they haven't figured out there is an entire market that continues to operate tax-free.

So next time the visiting mega church preacher shows up at your church, put a little extra in the offering plate for the poor traveling preacher.

And the next time YOUR mega church pastor takes a sabbatical, you might be shocked to see him preaching the very same sermon multiple times out on the circuit. And the crowds will be eating it up.