Tuesday, April 14, 2009

to the blogger's of Jacksonville

My hat's off to you! You've got First Baptist Church using city detectives to discover your identity so they could kick you out of the church, even if you already left. LOL!

That happened to Thomas Rich of fbcjaxwatchdog.com.

Article: Unmasked blogger blames First Baptist/Sheriff's office.

A few years ago, I championed the idea of someone within an abusive church to start a blog but NOT be anonymous about it. A church, which is non profit, cannot keep you from attending their meetings because of your opinions. If they keep you out, then their meetings are not really open to the public. Their non profit status can now be put at risk.

No one did that. Not until now, that is.

We have Thomas Rich.

Thomas was already leaving FBC when they had a detective, who happens to be a member of their church, use his position with the city to get google to unmask the identity of Rich. Now, even though he's left, they're making it look like they're the ones who kicked him out.

Tom, you need to make a U-Turn and STAY at First Baptist Church and keep blogging. Don't pretend you just want to go away and worship the Lord in peace. You did this to make a point, now go back and make it.

You have a court case, Tom! Go for the jugular and put their non profit status at stake! And take it to the Federal level, not the state.

FBC has now created by-laws to deal with members who are bloggers.

Thomas, you want them to intimidate more bloggers?

Get back to FBC!

Let them know if they keep you out, their tax exempt status is at risk.

It's the only language they understand.

Watch the video of FBC adopting a resolution to deal with bloggers within their midst:

FBC's response to blogger's criticism.

Here is a transcript of the motion that passed. For the life of me, I can't exactly make out what they are resolving to do. Deal with things in a scriptural manner? Confront rebellious members? They need a resolution to do that?

It's all a bunch of 'whereas', but little 'action'. Mainly smoke and mirrors:

Whereas it has come to the attention of the deacons of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville that the ministry, staff, leadership, pastor, and people of the church have come under severe but false criticism and ridicule by means of a blog site on the internet which publishes to the world.

And whereas a current blog site owned and administered by an immediate past member of the church calling and advocating for the dissemination of such harmful opinions, false statements, and doctrine to all members of the church by using whatever contact means that are available including Sunday School rolls, with home and e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

And whereas said member within the last three weeks has requested his letter be transferred to a sister church in Jacksonville, Florida but only after being advised that the discipline committee of the deacons would recommend to the deacon body that disciplinary action be taken against him for such conduct which the deacons find is contrary to Scripture and the bylaws of the church.

And whereas such opinions and false statements have the potential of causing financial and spiritual risk and damage to the church and its personnel, ministries, reputation, and good will however and by whatever means communicated as well as having the intent to be divisive and cause strife and disgruntlement among church members against the ministries, staff, leadership, pastor, and people.

And whereas the deacons believe it is in the best interest of the church that a policy be adopted by the deacons, trustees, and the church body condemning such action and conduct both now and in the future by any person or persons who are then members of the church whether such action and conduct is done, advocated, or communicated to other members of the church by whatever means is available to them.

And whereas members who participate or actively pursue a course of conduct like that described above will be confronted with their sin and approached in accordance with the biblical pattern for the purpose of reconciliation, restoration, and/or scriptural discipline.

And whereas it is not the intent of this resolution to suppress thought or freedom of expression in casual or official encounters but those which have a manifest aim and intent to cause a mood of disgruntlement, strife, and/or division among members of the church toward any person, ministry, operation, leadership, and/or pastor of the church.

And whereas the trustees of the church are charged with managing the legal and financial affairs of the church and are an integral part of the deacon body for the purpose of organizational and scriptural unity for the work and ministry of the church, and said trustees have likewise unanimously adopted such a resolution as this on February 18, 2009.

And whereas it is the belief and expression of the deacons herein that division, strife, and discord caused to church members and unjust criticism and ridicule of the ministry, staff, leadership, pastor, and people expressed to the general public at large in any form and by any means by any member of the church should be viewed as an attack against the Lord's church contrary to scriptural truth and confronted aggressively in accordance with Scripture and the disciplinary provisions of the bylaws of the church.

And whereas in such circumstances it would be detrimental to the ministry of the Lord and His church not to take any action or to defer taking action or to simply maintain and update a responsive website or to attempt to resolve any such issue in a court of law.

Now therefore be it resolved by the deacons of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville that the foregoing policy of biblical confrontation and restoration as stated above is hereby adopted and approved for the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and requests this resolution be presented to the church body at its regular monthly business meeting to adopt, endorse, and encourage a policy strongly dealing with discipline and issues such as described above but in strict accordance with scriptural authority and the bylaws of the church by voting on this resolution.

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