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.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Bearing Down - But Pastor Craig Groeschel Has Prayed for Us on Video

Watchdog has received numerous emails and texts from friends expressing their concern for myself and my family as we brace for the impacts of Hurricane Matthew. Thank you, friends, for your concerns and well-wishes. As our governor has said over and over, we are preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.

But as I was preparing my home yesterday (Wednesday) for hurricane-force winds, my phone dinged and I received an email from of all people, Pastor Craig Groeschel! He is one of the creepy mega church pastors who is bosom-buddies with Stephen Furtick (remember this video? One of my all-time favorite WD videos).  As you might recall, Stephen refers to Craig as "Uncle Craig".

So as we were evacuating and/or preparing our homes for Matthew, Uncle Craig sent all of us a video of himself praying for us. That is him at left, with his eyes closed, praying for all of us. I suddenly felt so, so, safe. But I wasn't sure if I should pray with Uncle Craig as I watched him praying on video, since he already prayed and it was just a recording. Or should I pray and thank God that Uncle Craig prayed to God for us, and pray that God listens to Uncle Craig, or should I pray and pray God listens to me?

And then in my confusion I turned the TV on and decided to pray to Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel. 

Here is Uncle Craig's video prayer so that his video prayer might comfort all of those in Matthew's path. Oh, and Uncle Craig also told us that the "good news" of the storm is that his church members can use the opportunity of the devastation to "show the love of Jesus". 

We're all going to be all right after all. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ted Cruz Proves Non-Tithing Christians are NOT Cursed!!

Ted Cruz's victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses proves once and for all that devout Christians who have the brains to know that storehouse tithing is a bunch of baloney - are NOT cursed!

Cruz received the largest number of caucus votes in the history of Iowa politics, and he did it by not giving one red cent to "the Lord". According to Will Weissert of the Associated Press,
"He [Cruz] and his wife donated less than 1 percent of their income to charity and nothing to churches, including to their own in Houston, according to tax returns from 2006 to 2010, the most recent Cruz has released."
Of the less than 1% that Cruz did donate to charitable causes, NONE of it went to churches, although Ted did give to some "faith based organizations". But that doesn't satisfy God's desire for 10% on the gross, as we all know that to give to "the Lord" is to give to your church. Apparently Ted knows, like the Watchdog, that this is a bunch of malarkey. Good for Ted.

So despite Robert Morris saying that non-tithers like Cruz are "thieves", and subjecting their marriages to divorce and their kids to the "devourer", Cruz won Iowa and his marriage is in tact and the Cruz kiddos have not been devoured.

And amazingly, Ted won Iowa with "stolen" money. According to Steve Gaines, Ted is living in a stolen house, driving stolen cars, sending his kids to school with stolen money.

In fact, despite Ted Cruz popping off all around Iowa that he is a Christian, Ronnie Floyd - the nicely groomed Southern Baptist Convention president - has declared that Cruz can't possibly be a Christian, since not to tithe is to show that you don't know the same God that Ronnie knows. But Ted knows Ronnie is a boob and charlatan.

I respect Ted on this. Not a single penny to his church. That speaks volumes of what he thinks about how churches spend money. Ted is a member of a megachurch, and apparently didn't want to give large sums of money where more than half would be spent on seminarian salaries and buildings that sit empty 6 days a week.

Preachers often say that they can tell a person's priorities by looking at their checkbook - well, using that criteria, Ted has his priorities right. According to Will Weisert's article, when Ted was asked why he didn't give any money to his church:
"Cruz responded that he'd 'worked and saved to build a solid financial foundation to provide for my children.'"
Cruz knows that he is better off investing his money for his family's future, rather than forking it over to the local 501(c)3 and "man of God".

Friday, January 29, 2016

Scam Alert: Thom Rainer Offers to "Mentor" Your Pastor - For $249.97 a Month

Did you know Thom Rainer, the CEO of Lifeway, will "mentor" your pastor for only $249.97 a month? It is true. At the website www.churchanswers.com, your pastor can use his church credit card to select one of three different mentoring options. See the three options below.

Now, if your pastor can do without an "annual on-site meeting with Thom and his team", or if he can survive NOT having 24/7 access to Thom, he can cut the price down to $99.47 - or if he can live with no email access AT ALL to Thom, the price drops to $49.97. 

I can't verify this yet, but rumor is all three levels include a secret decoder ring so pastors can receive secret messages from Thom during his podcast?  "D-R-I-N-K  T-H-E  K-O-O-L A-I-D" will likely be the first secret message.

Readers, this is not one of my wonderful April Fool's posts. This is real. This is actually being offered by Thom Rainer, who already has a full time job as CEO of Lifeway. He now is selling "24/7 email access" to himself, to pastors. Your pastor. He is selling a site visit to your church by "Thom and his team", as long as your pastor pays $249.97 a month. Thom and his team? Does your church and your pastor need "Thom and his team". 

This of course is not "mentoring", it is "consulting". Thom has devised a stupid idea to try to tap into YOUR wallet, SBC church-goer. The pastor himself would not be buying these services. No one in their right mind, in any serious or real profession, would consider purchasing "24/7 email access" to a guy with a full time job for $249.97 on their credit card. This could only exist in the fantasy world of seminarians whose lives are devoted to story-telling and studying ancient texts.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to point out the foolishness of "church consultants" and the squandering of my church's money on out-of-town consultants. This is not mentoring Thom is offering, but a nutty type of church consulting paid on a church credit card. It sickens me.

How will you know if your church is spending your money you've donated to the church on Thom's nutty plan? If you wait until you see "Thom and his Theam" at your church - with Thom maybe preaching a Sunday sermon - it is too late.  I would be proactive and alert your church lay people who are involved in budgeting and finances about this scam so it never happens and not a penny goes to www.churchanswers.com. 





Tuesday, January 26, 2016

20 Ways Pastors Bully Their Congregations, or "Why This Blog Started"

Below are 20 ways pastors become domineering bullies in their churches.

This comes from Chris Rosebrough, here. Kudos to Chris, he has really nailed it. Those who have left the modern-day evangelical megachurch with their rock-star pastors who earn big bucks with families on staff, who have a cult-following, can certainly relate to almost every single one of these characteristics of a bully pastor.

I would subtitle this list "why this blog ever got started in the first place, and why it kept going and going and going", with my own emphases added below.

1.  A man can “domineer” or “lord it over” his flock by intimidating them into doing what he wants done by holding over their heads the prospect of loss of stature and position in the church.

2.  A pastor domineers whenever he threatens them with stern warnings of the discipline and judgment of God, even though there is no biblical basis for doing so.

3.  A pastor domineers whenever he threatens them with public exposure of their sin should they not conform to his will and knuckle under to his plans.

4.  A pastor domineers whenever he uses the sheer force of his personality to overwhelm others and coerce their submission. A pastor domineers whenever he uses slick verbiage or eloquence to humiliate people into feeling ignorant or less competent than they really are.

5.  A pastor domineers whenever he presents himself as super-spiritual (his views came about only as the result of extensive prayer and fasting and seeking God. How could anyone then possibly disagree with him?).

6.  A pastor domineers whenever he exploits the natural tendency people have to elevate their spiritual leaders above the average Christian. That is to say, many Christians mistakenly think that a pastor is closer to God and more in tune with the divine will. The pastor often takes advantage of this false belief to expand his power and influence.

7.  A pastor domineers whenever he gains a following and support against all dissenters by guaranteeing those who stand with him that they will gain from it, either by being brought into his inner circle or by some form of promotion.

8.  A pastor domineers by widening the alleged gap between “clergy” and “laity.” In other words, he reinforces in them the false belief that he has a degree of access to God which they don’t.

9.  Related to the former is the way some pastors will make it appear that they hold sway or power over the extent to which average lay people can experience God’s grace. He presents himself in subtle (not overt) ways as the mediator between the grace of God and the average believer. In this way he can secure their loyalty for his agenda.

10.  He domineers by building into people a greater loyalty to himself than to God. Or he makes it appear that not to support him is to work at cross purposes with God. He domineers by teaching that he has a gift that enables him to understand Scripture in a way they cannot. They are led to believe they cannot trust their own interpretive conclusions and must yield at all times to his.

11.  He domineers by short circuiting due process, by shutting down dialogue and discussion prematurely, by not giving all concerned an opportunity to voice their opinion.

12.  He domineers by establishing an inviolable barrier between himself and the sheep.

13.  He either surrounds himself with staff who insulate him from contact with the people or withdraws from the daily affairs of the church in such a way that he is unavailable and unreachable.

14.  Related to the above is the practice of some in creating a governmental structure in which the senior pastor is accountable to no one, or if he is accountable it is only to a small group of very close friends and fellow elders who stand to profit personally from his tenure as pastor.

15.  He domineers by viewing the people as simply a means to the achieving of his own personal ends. Ministry is reduced to exploitation. The people exist to “serve his vision” rather than he and all the people together existing to serve the vision of the entire church.

16.  He domineers by making people feel unsafe and insecure should they desire to voice an objection to his proposals and policies. He domineers by convincing them, ever so subtly, that their spiritual welfare is dependent on his will. To cross him is to cross God!

17.  He domineers by misinterpreting and misapplying to himself the OT command: “Don’t touch God’s anointed.”

18.  He domineers by building a culture of legalism rather than one of grace. People are thus motivated to embrace his authority and bow to his will based on extra biblical rules that supposedly are the criteria for true spirituality.

19.  He domineers by arguing or acting as if his movements and decisions are ultimately determinative of the spiritual welfare of others (cf. 2 Cor. 1:23-25).

20.  He domineers when he leads people to believe that their faith hinges (i.e., rises or falls) upon his life and decisions. He domineers when he uses people as a means to his own satisfaction rather than enabling them to experience satisfaction in Christ alone.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Uh Oh....Mike Huckabee Says Ted Cruz is Not a True Christian Since He Doesn't Tithe

Poor Ted Cruz. He has done his best to pander to the devoutly religious conservative Christians this political season, but he forgot about one of the litmus tests used by the religious to determine if you really do love God: are you giving 10% of your gross income to the lovely Lord Jesus (at your local 501(c)3 religious organization)?

I laughed out loud when I heard Mike Huckabee criticize Ted Cruz:
“I just think it’s hard to say God is first in your life if he’s last in your budget. If I can’t trust God with a dime out of each dollar that I earn, then I’m not sure how I can tell him that I trust him with my whole life. To me, it’s a validation of a person’s stewardship and whether they put God first in their life, not just in their political endeavors.”
Join the club, Ted. When the Godly folk like Pastor Mike find you don't tithe on the gross, your commitment to God, to Jesus, and to church and all things holy will be called into question.

And don't forget: Huckabee is not some outlier in his view of tithing and criticizing the non-tither. The current SBC president, Ronnie Floyd, told his congregation that non-tithers aren't true Christians, and they don't know the same God that he knows:
"You gonna go 'clucking' around here talkin' about how you got saved and changed and goin' to heaven when you die and you won't even trust God financially? Lord help ya. That's not the same God I know." 
Huckabee added this criticism of Cruz:
“It’s a matter of authenticity. If I say I’m a vegan but you look at me eating hamburgers and ribeye every night you’re going to say, I don’t think this guy’s really a vegan."
So Huckabee believes Cruz is "not really" a Christian. Of course Pastor Mike and Ronnie Floyd know that over 80% of their peeps don't give anywhere near 10% of their income. Clear-thinking Christians are beginning to realize these guys are charlatans who misuse their holy book to squeeze as many nickels as they can from the pews.

All of us that have been in the SBC for any length of time have heard the following from pastors: "If you can't trust God with your finances, how can you trust him with your salvation?"

Maybe Cruz knows what I know, and wrote about last fall - using that same logic - since we don't trust 501(c)3's with our salvation, we sure as hell don't need to trust them with our finances to be considered true Christians.

Amen?