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

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

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Monday, October 5, 2015

SBC Mega Church Compensation for Sr. Pastors - As Malachi Said in Mal 3:10, the Pastors are Robbing God, Not the Pew Sitters

In 2014 Lifeway published pastoral compensation data they collected from SBC churches, and Lifeway has provided a searchable database to access the data. Here is the link to the database search tool.

I decided to look at compensation for pastors of churches with an average attendance of 1000 or more. For a list of these churches, look Thom Rainer's blog. There are about 575 SBC churches that range between 1000 and 27,000 in weekly attendance. Perry Noble is #1 on the list.

In Lifeway's study, there were 139 churches of the 575 who reported their Senior Pastor's Salary/Housing and Benefits data. Not a bad sample size. According to Lifeway's data, average compensation for pastors whose churches are 1000 or higher is $142,575 in salary/housing, and $31,495 in benefits.

Those aren't typos. Yes, can you imagine, $31,495 in benefits? Let's assume average health insurance is about $10,000 annually, and the churches are paying all of it. That leaves nearly $20,000 MORE - life insurance, retirement, etc.

Now you know why your pastors are focused on "growth" of their churches. They know that growth in noses, means growth in their nickels.

I decided to slice this up a bit by making multiple quires on the Lifeway data. My results are below. The search engine won't give you data unless there are a minimum number of churches in the search criteria selected, so when I got above churches with average attendance, I had to do some conservative estimates based on a calculated "Salary/person attending", and those estimates are shaded, and I made the very, very conservative assumption that the largest of the churches are contributing only $60,000 to the senior pastors benefits, when we know it would be much higher based on the upward trend.

However, notice that most of the money is this set of data is in the churches between 1000 and 5000 in size. More churches of that size, and these guys are raking in a hefty compensation package.

That should make most SBC members angry. They listen to many of these pastors tell them they must fork over 10% of their gross income to avoid the cursings of God - yet these pastors are pulling down six-figures, and a huge benefit package on top of that, not to mention their extra perks they get from speaking gigs, book deals, holy land trips. Oh, and not to mention sweet jobs for family members, as nepotism is rampant in these larger SBC churches. Oh, and not to mention again, the free use of church media and advertising resources for their personal benefit - some so brazen as to actually use their church's TV air time to peddle their Holy Land trips and European cruises.

But look, the Watchdog has calmed down a bit after I've pointed out some of the dangers of fundamentalism over the past month or so. I do want to point to a silver lining inside of this data. Yes, I want to show the positive. This data presents an OPPORTUNITY.

This is where the IMB annual $21 million short-fall is. These pastors, and their sycophant church trustees have taken money that could go to missions. "That's wrought!!!" as the country-boy pew sitter with his southern drawl exclaims when he hears truth.

Just how much money would be available to go to the IMB to close the shortfall? Well, let's shoot for the $21 million needed to close the annual budget gap. That is a good target to shoot for, since most of the hot-shot mega church pastors or retired mega church pastors are the ones calling for pew sitters to give more money to close the gap!! These are the guys whose salaries and benefits are represented in these numbers, for crying out loud!

So here is the plan: if these pastors gave up 15% of their compensation and housing, and they agreed to cap their benefits package to a "measly" $18,000 per year, churches the size of 1000 or more alone could close the IMB gap.

Short version: hey pastors, we've already given the money for missions. YOU HAVE TAKEN IT FOR YOURSELVES.

If these pastors would agree to do this - I'm sorry, let me rephrase that: I mean if the trustees would decide to do this and let their pastor know God told them to do it - here is how much money would be saved: $21,000,000. Wouldn't affect the operations of the church, any building programs, other staffer' salaries.

It will ONLY affect the pastor.

I can already hear the arguments from the cuff-linked church trustees: "We might lose our pastor, he might go to another church if we cut tens of thousands of dollars from his package. He's our draw, he's our money-maker. People come to hear HIM. He is wanting more money, not less."

Really? I thought God "called" these men. Who calls them, God or money? Don't these guys want the rest of the world to hear about Jesus? Don't their wives  - helping them spend the cash - want people in Europe and Africa and South America to hear about Jesus?

So come on, messengers to the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting - pass a resolution calling on church trustees of large churches to scale back their pastors' compensation package.

The problem is not with the pew sitter. It is with the mega church pastors who are taking the money that the pew sitters are giving, and spending it on themselves.

And by the way, your seminarian won't tell you this: Malachi was not talking to people in the assembly - the "pew sitter" if you will -  about robbing God. No, actually he was talking to the priests. He was talking to the pastors. He was talking to YOUR pastor, perhaps. And your pastor KNOWS this, but figures you are too stupid to look it up yourself,

But don't take my word for it.

Don't argue with the blogger, brother.

"Take it up wit da book."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Our Kids Are Leaving Church Behind: The Architect of Disbelief

It is amazing to me how delusional, or how manipulative, or how hyprocritical many pastors can be. Delusional if they really truly believe what they are saying. Manipulative if they know it's not true. Hypocritical if their own kids have blatant sin and moral failures in their lives that are kept secret or are minimized.  These guys have more money then ever before to preach the gospel. They have more avenues by which to share the gospel then ever before. They have more celebrity status then ever before. They have more congregants then ever before. They take more Holy Land trips then ever before. They cruise more European rivers with members of their congregations then ever before. They stomp and yell and criticize their congregants more than ever before. They blame politicians and judges more then ever before.  They have more paid associates and ministers on staff then ever before. They have bigger buildings then ever before. And then they blame mom and dad when our kids decide it just doesn't mean that much anymore.  They blame the loving mom and dad who took them to church all their lives. Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Awana. Choir. Youth camp. Christian schools. These stomping pompous asses are too arrogant and narcissistic to look in the mirror and think, "what have I done? Why are we losing these precious young people?'  No, they don't even consider that it is THEM, that have lost not only these kids, but they have lost the faithful parents too. And what about their own kids?  Do they blame themselves for their own kids' beliefs and actions? 

How is it that supposedly God "called" these guys to lead these churches and yet they still are losing this generation as the church declines in number, conviction, baptisms, and influence in society. Doesn't God say something about once something loses its saltiness it is to be thrown out?  Maybe its time to throw out these pastors and the system they have exploited for decades. It's lost its saltiness. Maybe its time to proclaim to these arrogant jerks that "You are that man!" when it comes to placing blame on why our children leave the church as soon as they get a chance.  You see, some studies report that it takes less then a semester away from the cult-like environment of the fundamentalist church, for our children to realize that they don't believe it all.  They find themselves respecting other religions and beliefs. They realize they have love and respect for homosexual friends.  They realize that good decent people, like many of their friends, can partake in many of the "forbidden" fruits and find them not to be the destructive vice, or basis for going to hell, that they were raised to believe.  So like they did with Santa Claus, they begin to question what they were told. This is okay. This is healthy.  Whatever religion they were taught should be able to stand up to public scrutiny. It's ideas should win the day in the arena of public discourse. But when it doesn't, the best we can hope for is that they don't throw it all out. That they won't  suddenly believe none of it. That they might hold dear those teachings of Jesus about love and serving and helping others.

So what do these pastors do when faced with the crop that THEIR seeds of leadership have sown? Encourage mom and dad? Remind mom and dad of all they did and how they did the best they could? Remind them of scripture about God's promises that those kids will return to the Lord if they were raised up in the Lord?  ABSOLUTELY NOT! These pompous asses don't know when to quit.  They actually pile on mom and dad and tell them "The reason your beautiful young adult child drops out of church at eighteen years old or when they go off to college is because you criticized ME! You didn't raise them in the church, you raised them in an atmosphere of criticism of the pastor and church all their lives. NO WONDER they quit coming.!"  "If you, mom and dad, are not committed, then don't be surprised if they aren't committed."  Boy, this would be terrible if it were true.  But it is exponentially more harmful and terrible if it is not true. Hear me: It's not true. It's a lie. And maybe pastor, you were way too easy to criticize because you were a liar and manipulator and exploiter of the gullible, humble, helpless sheep that want to love Jesus and serve him and trusted you with the Word. Know this about me: With all the criticism I have directed at charlatan preachers, I would never, ever blame them or their wife if one or more of their children cheated on their wife, or knocked up someone else, or had any number of other moral and/or legal failures. Or worse to the fundamentalist, if one of their children became a Democrat. Or didn't believe it all. Or agreed that all citizens have a right to marry, even those with same sex partners.

So what is the motive of these charlatans when it comes to beating up mom and dad when their kids are already hurting them by their decisions? Other then the obvious love of money and desire to feel important and respected with a college degree in bible, some of these pastors want the remaining pew sitters to feel guilty for questioning his operations that have led to the demise of the church and its role in society. He wants to make the connection between losing the next generation and mom and dad not being supportive enough. Mom and Dad not being good enough. He wants the faithful members that have stuck with him to feel that somehow had they given more money, given more time, given more respect to the preacher and everything he says, then little Sally and little Jonny would still be in church.  This is HOGWASH and breaks my heart.  But I and millions of others left this abusive environment a long time ago, so the brunt of this beating rests on the poor gullible faithful families that stayed. And they have to listen to this? Come on pastor, have some compassion for these nice folks. Don't blame them. They have suffered enough.  Does your manipulation have no bounds? What, you need more money? You need more commitment from the ones that stayed with you? Your cute little slogan of "All In" didn't work?

The camera pans the congregations of these TV charlatans and I see faithful moms and dads suffering over their kids' decisions, and then I see a pile of guilt layed on top.  "Honey, if we give more money, and volunteer more time, then our kids will see our level of commitment and so they will stay committed when they get older.  We must do it for our kids."

That, my friends, is guilting people and manipulating people.  And it makes me sick. And it makes me sad.

I wish it was just one or two mega pastors that teach this.  But with the internet and sites like, (see below)even the smaller congregations are plagiarizing whatever topics are put out there and you hear lazy preachers simply preaching on whatever topic they see online or hear some other preacher ranting about.

But it also makes me praise Jesus when my own kids question "the church", and when they laugh at the pompous ass stomping around on the stage, and when they get involved in charities and non-profits and begin to love and help hurting people, and when they stay faithful to their spouse, and when they love and provide for their own children, and give their time, talents and energies to organizations that actually help people. All people.  Even the Muslim and homosexual people. It is then that I am glad I provided leadership to my family and will rejoice pastor, when they don't give their loyalty, devotion, time and talent to some millionaire man of God and his 501(c)(3) business.

The young people get it pastor. You aren't fooling them. They left, or will as soon as they can. But please leave alone the few good folks that stayed with you. Quit blaming them. Give them a break. Have you no shame.  Stop it!

So Christian mom and dad, don't listen to that manipulative, arrogant, and narcissistic millionaire seminarian up on the platform.  If you really want to see your kids stay true to the values you taught them, then stand up and be a man or woman of faith and conviction and walk out of that church and take your kids with you.  Then explain to them how God has called you to discern wisdom and lead your family in spiritual matters. Take it up with the book. Read them the verses that say to kill homosexuals and tell them they shouldn't believe that and not to practice that. Teach them to invest their incomes in things that will make a difference, and not in another new building for a 501(c)(3), or another pastor's vacation bonus.  You won't lose them that way.  But if you leave them there listening to, and respecting, and believing that delusional or manipulative or hypocritical seminarian up on stage, you will lose them for sure. Let them know you don't agree with that jerk up there.  Get out a dictionary and read to them the definitions of pompous. And the definition of charlatan.  And read those verses about wolves in sheep's clothing. And let the Holy Spirit guide their conclusions about YOUR pastor. Yeah, him. If the shoe fits...

On your way out, let that "man of God" know that if he represents God and the church, then you are delighted your kids won't be sticking around once they are adults.  And you, mom and dad, don't let him guilt you into taking the blame for his failures.  While he was building new buildings, and hiring his family, and taking vacations, and traveling the country to speak, and stomping around, and criticizing our courts and our country, he was turning your kids away from what you tried to raise them to believe. You were doing all you could to teach them about Jesus and to model that love.

He, your pompous ass pastor, NOT you, is the Architect of Disbelief.

Please get yourselves and your kids out of there.  He's now blaming you! And if your kids trust him, they will blame you, too!  And while you struggle with this, he will just leave for another tour of the Holy Land and take another cruise. He is the Architect of Disbelief. Shame on him. Get out of there.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"God Said it, That Settles It!"

Leviticus 20:1, 13: The Lord said to Moses... If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Some Christians love to quote the old phrase "God said it, I believe it, That settles it!"  Usually followed by the proud question "Amen?"  You may have even seen this on a bumper sticker.  Now, they cleverly update this proud saying by omitting the middle portion.  They say it doesn't matter whether you or I believe it or not, because if God said it, then that settles it whether we believe it or not. They prefer: "God said it, That settles it!" It's a nice little phrase, but unfortunately, none of the phrase is true.  For one, God didn't "say it."  What they mean is, "it is written in some ancient texts, by someone we don't know who actually wrote it, and I trust what has been passed down, and personally have faith that God inspired someone to write it and that it was accurately re-written and transcribed and recorded and then later translated correctly over thousands of years into many languages. And most importantly, I personally like that verse and want to follow it so I don't argue about it's context or applicability to the Jews, or to an ancient culture, like I do the verses I don't like and never would follow."  Either way, God never said it to me. Or to anyone I have ever known.

In our justice system, this type of utterance would be deemed "hearsay."  It would be excluded from evidence of every court in the land due to it being inherently unreliable.

Imagine if every court allowed people to testify what someone else said to someone else about a crime they allege we committed.  "Bob told me that Jim stole the money."  And I believe Bob would never lie, so it has to be true.  Well, folks, our courts would require Bob to come in to court and tell us what Jim did and what he saw. And even then, we could cross examine Bob as to his memory and most importantly, as to his credibility.  Jim would be available to give his side of the story.  So, we can't even know the premise is true that God said it.  And even if God did say it to a bronze age Jewish man, he didn't say it to YOU, therefore, it's only a revelation from God to him. It's not a revelation of God to you. We call that hearsay.  It's unreliable. Therefore, it's not allowed into evidence and it's not sufficient for rendering a verdict.

The "I Believe it" part is equally ridiculous.  We say we believe much of the nonsense I have previously posted about in my recent posts simply because "God said it and he is inerrant and infallible."  We don't believe in talking serpents or talking donkeys. We don't believe in the sun revolving around our earth.  We don't believe in stoning our disobedient children.  We don't believe women should remain silent.  We don't believe in raping a woman and if she is not a virgin, stoning her. We don't get outraged at the adulterer, but instead we choose to get all tore up about gays. Which hurts the institution of marriage more: Adultery or same sex marriage?  I could go on and on.  But I do agree that this middle part of the phrase is not needed, because whether you or I believe it or not, does not make it true. Amen?

Finally, "That settles it!"  Really? Do a little research on that "settled" viewpoint. Or just listen to any preacher anywhere, any time, on any subject of faith and then listen to another view. You will find literally hundreds of other preachers that disagree with him. That's why we have so many denominations and so many fights within denominations.  And even if God did miraculously appear to you (by way of talking animal or burning bush or ancient text) and actually did tell you to kill your child, would you do it? If he told you to kill an abortion doctor would you do it?  If he told you to kill Muslims would you do it? If he told you to fly planes into buildings would you do it?  

So allow me to rephrase the slogan:

God Didn't Say It to Me, I don't believe it just because you tell me to, and even if God did happen to say it,  nothing is settled.  Amen?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Once Saved Always Saved and Predestination

More from the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
This time we will discuss the many clear scriptures that teach us about the doctrine of "once saved always saved", which means once you are saved, no matter what you do, you still go to heaven. (That really stinks as a doctrine doesn't it? Saved people can do whatever they want.) We will then compare that doctrine to the other view which is you can lose your salvation. (This also stinks doesn't it, since you can't ever be sure that you haven't done anything to cause you to lose the "eternal" salvation you thought you had received by grace.) I can tell you that the Catholic church, for example, teaches the latter, which if you think about it, keeps a lot of it's people feeling guilty and doing all they can to make sure they are in good standing with the requirements.  It would seem to me to be much easier to manipulate people who are constantly worrying about losing their eternal life.  But on the other hand, can a person "do whatever they want" and still go to heaven if they were saved earlier in their life?  So let's see what the Scripture says and determine once and for all what God's word teaches.

After that, we will delve into discussing the clear verses on the doctrine of predestination, (the "elect") which is a hot topic in Southern Baptist circles. (See Calvinism vs Arminianism)

Just kidding.  Even I don't have to tell Charlatans and Fundies that they could be wrong on their dogmatic views of these two scriptural "truths" that are contained within the pages of the god-breathed and profitable for teaching, Holy Bible.  They have each other to do that.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Continuing our study of the Word of God - Say What?

Deuteronomy 4:29: But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek him with all your heart and all your soul.

Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth. There is none that seeketh after God.

Proverbs 15:29 - The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
James 5:16 - The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1 Peter 3:2 - For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers

Romans 3:10 - As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.

Ephesions 2:8 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God.

James 2:24 - Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone.

Any questions?