Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mac Brunson on Gilyard & Patterson

A Southern Baptist email acquaintance directed me to this recent audio-interview in which Pastor Mac Brunson offers his thoughts on Darrell Gilyard and Paige Patterson.

Mac Brunson is the pastor who took over Jerry Vines’ Florida megachurch, First Baptist of Jacksonville. It’s one of the biggest Southern Baptist churches in the country.

For those of you who haven’t followed this story, Darrell Gilyard is the Baptist pastor who was recently charged with lewd conduct for sending sexually explicit text messages to underage teens in Florida. But Gilyard had a past in Texas, and two former Southern Baptist presidents, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, both knew about it.

Patterson’s connection to the Gilyard saga is particularly tragic because he was so dismissive of so many women who tried to report abuse and assaults by Gilyard. At that time, Patterson was president of Criswell College, a school that was part of First Baptist Dallas, and some who tried to talk to Patterson were students there.

In Gilyard’s first church alone, there were 25 women who reported him, but Patterson and other officials at First Baptist Dallas “continued to recommend” and promote Gilyard.

Finally, after being forced to resign from 4 churches in 4 years, Gilyard was allowed to confess to “adulterous relationships,” and he moved on to a Florida church.

All of this was reported in the Dallas Morning News account of the Gilyard/Patterson history.

As for Jerry Vines…when Gilyard moved to Florida, Vines “agreed to forgive” him for his Texas troubles.

Now Mac Brunson comes on the scene. Bear in mind that Brunson used to be pastor of First Baptist of Dallas and was chancellor of Criswell College there. His tenure was a bit after the Texas part of the Gilyard saga, but he obviously has some institutional connections to it.

In the recent interview, Brunson was asked this question (at about the 10 minute mark): “What do you believe the next SBC president needs to focus on for the next two years?”

“Saving his hide!” said Brunson, and he then brought up the Gilyard case entirely on his own. Here is what he said, with the commentary of the guy who sent me this shown in brackets:

“I’m worried about the convention… What concerns me more than anything else is the way we [he’s talking about pastors] treat each other… Guys we need to be loving each other more… I just see pastors are just hurting… they hurt… and they’ve got problems at home, they’ve got problems in their church, and they’ve got problems in their own spiritual life. You know, here's a pastor right down the street here, all over the headlines, who is being arraigned today in this city... he’s being arraigned today… and of course there are people that have tried to blame Dr. Patterson for that. Dr. Patterson didn't make that man do that [as though someone is claiming Patterson MADE him do it???]. They tried to blame Dr. Vines. [no…but they did criticize Vines for preaching at the man's church, but Brunson conveniently avoids that]. You know that man, he sinned on his own [gee, what a brilliant analysis], and I can assure you that Dr. Patterson and Dr. Vines didn't cover up anything [Patterson did]. They'd enjoy exposing it too much to cover it up ["enjoy exposing it"...that's a bizzare statement...that there would be any "enjoyment" in the matter of an abuser]. But I see men like that … they’ve got their own spiritual struggles and things like that... my concern is how we treat each other."

My email acquaintance then offered this commentary:

"So Brunson views Gilyard as an example of how pastors need to treat each other and love on each other more... TALK ABOUT A BACKWARD VIEW ON THIS!!! Brunson should be saying 'We need to hold each other accountable, instead of covering things up....we need to expose those within our midst who are casting a terrible light on the true called men of God pastors...we need to make sure that when a man is exposed to be a predator of children and women, and abusing their power, that we get the word out to everyone...this man Gilyard is … not worthy to even be called "pastor" and its a shame he was allowed to continue as pastor… preying on young women and now perhaps preying on girls.' No, Brunson is not saying that, and it’s a crying shame. Instead he uses the Gilyard story, unprovoked, to defend Patterson and example of how there is no discussion whatsoever about the victims... because they don't care about the victims, they only care how the Gilyard story might affect their own personal reputations...and it's SICK.... But a comedian couldn't have scripted it any better… Right after this portion of the interview, Brunson says:"

"The other concern I've got is the massive egos that are out there that are wanting to say ‘everything is about me’...”

My own commentary:

Well... it sure looks as though this prominent pastor has a massive pastoral ego problem when his biggest concern for the SBC is about the hurts of the pastors. He talks about poor pastor Gilyard who has “spiritual struggles,” and then he talks about poor Dr. Patterson and poor Dr. Vines, who are reaping criticism. But Brunson says nary a word about the scores of wounded victims in this saga. I guess the hurts of the pastors are way more important.


Anonymous said...

Why is this response not a surprise?? He has had several years now to make a public statement about the whole Trinity fiasco and now the Gilliard fiasco. He has chosen to stand up for the pastors and to ignore the victims. I am soooo disgusted, but not surprised. BE A PART OF THE GOOD OLE BOYS NETWORK AND STICK UP FOR EACH OTHER AND IGNORE ALL OTHERS - INCLUDING THE PEOPLE IN THE PEWS. How utterly horrendous and it just backs up all of the victims experiences in being ignored and dumped upon. After all, it must have been their fault in some way because it sure could not be the pastors fault! Where is the backbone of our supposedly Godly men????

Jeri said...

Christa, you wrote, "But Brunson says nary a word about the scores of wounded victims in this saga. I guess the hurts of the pastors are way more important."

I have been documenting church abuse cases for seven years now, and I am repeatedly pelted with charges of being unfair to pastors, unkind to Baptists, a person who hates Fundamentalism, etc. I almost never hear a word on behalf of the victims (though recently that has changed a smidgen's worth). When I would remind my interrogators about the plight of the innocent, I'd get an offhand, "Of course my heart bleeds for the victims," but I never actually saw anybody's heart bleeding. None of these people actually asked me how trhe victims were doing.

And my efforts to bring victims together for small conferences have met with an amazing amount of opposition from Baptist clergy, including Evangelist Tim Lee, who tried to intervene with a church (Northside, in Charlotte, NC) to convince them not to house the Conference.

These men are megalomaniacs and monsters. But I do not doubt, in the will and timing of God, that God will charge them for the lives they have neglected and trampled. Until then, I am so glad for His work in you and for the increasing awareness we are seeing among the "grass roots" of Christianity about this sad and sinful problem of making and then discarding victims so that the "Big Boys" can move up the ladder of prominence.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of FBC Jax. I am glad to see someone else sees Mac Brunson for what he is. Mark Chapter 12, verses 38 - 40 under the subtitle: "Beware the Scribes" says this in the NKJV: Then He (Jesus) said to them: "Beware of the scribes who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."

It seems these megapastors/CEO's are more like the scribes Jesus was talking about. Remember, the office of pastor was illustrated by shepherds, not the learned scribes. Mac Brunson is like the educated, well versed scribes. Not like the humble pastors/shepherds Jesus had intended for us, the sheep. They continue to take and take and take and as long as the congregants want a scribe instead of a pastor/shepherd, they will continue to get rich and receive the praises and wealth of men. But Jesus said they will receive greater condemnation.

Unknown said...

I have seen so much cluelessness on the part of pastors! Why are they so blind to the victims?! One thing I have received a lot is "forgive him" and nary a concern about how hurt I was, how much damage was done, and how unbiblical his (my abuser's) teachings were. Did they think that all I had to do was forgive him and - bam - all damage would be undone?

Anonymous said...

Brunson actually said one of the biggest problems with the SBC is "massive egos"? Now that is FUNNY! His massive ego is so big that it hardly fits inside the massive auditorium of first jax.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. It just seems to get worse and worse. There are so many church pastors with the same thinking.

Anonymous said...

They are entrenched in their thinking and doing what is right in their own eyes.

Anonymous said...

You have to understand how the mind of an egomaniac works. They continually view all circumstances, even questions in an interview, against their own personal experience and how the circumstances confirm their own feelings.

When Mac hears a question of "What is the most important issue in the SBC the next two years?" his mind processes the question "What is the most important issue in the SBC as it relates to Mac's experience in the SBC?"

And Mac Brunson has been under relentless pressure at FBC Jax by emailers and bloggers, complaining about the nepotism, the departure of long time staff members, his desire to start a school, his changing of bylaws without explaining them to the church, his acceptance of a $250,000 land gift given to him by one of the church's he views himself as being a victim, being attacked, and in need of being loved more and appreciated more by other other pastors.

So of course his response is:

What concerns me more than anything else is the way we treat each other [which means he's worried about how he is treated]...Guys we need to be loving each other more [to be interpreted: you all need to be loving me more] I just see pastors are just hurting [I'm hurting because of the attacks of my church]....

That is what makes his comment about the "massive egos" being a problem so incredibly hilarious! Its all about Mac and Team Brunson!

Anonymous said...

These post are months old, but I see a need to address the tone and direction of these comments. Whether you agree with a Pastor or disagree there is a Biblical way to address your concerns, and posting critical comments is not the correct way. I believe this is the way Korah would have addressed his "concerns" if he were living in our time. (Numbers 16).
I urge all to spend more time praying and doing some self-examination and less time using anonymous critical blogs as your outlet.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you guys do not know the real Mac Brunson. I know him personally and he is a great man of God. He is very humble and loving and still the best preacher there is. Mac preaches the truth found in the Word. He doesn't sugar coat it and just gives truth. The reason people diagree w/ Brunson is because he preaches he steps on their toes. A true pastor like Mac preaches the Word so that we can grow in our relationship with Chrsit not to tell us what we want to hear. If yuo want to hear something to make you feel good listen to J. Osteen. If you want the Word of God as the Lord designed it listen to Mac Brunson!

Anonymous said...

Anon. Aug 21, 2008, 2:35 PM

You are completely blind to the real Mac Brunson. You need to recognize what a manipulated, money hungry, marketing agenda he has implemented at our church at FBC Jax. since he arrived. He has prostituted this church to where there is no semblance of Jesus Saves sermons, only self-serving, arrogant, congregation bashing messages. He is such a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Thirty years ago I experienced some of this. My wife and her sisters had been raped repeatedly for years by their father, a Southern Baptist pastor. Members of is churches ignored their cries for help. My marriage was ruined by this and my ministry damaged in part because I dared to speak out against him and then because I was divorced. Interesting that a pastor can rape his daughter and continue to preach, but get a divorce and you are worthless.I still preach and have all these years but I have been treated differently because of my divorce.