Thursday, April 09, 2009

Who's really the sociopath here?



An article by reporter Jeff Brumley appeared on the front page of the Florida Times-Union this morning, April 9, 2009. It can be read in it's entirety here. Several pages of reader comments follow. I have reprinted the article here in black with my comments interspersed in blue.

Unmasked blogger blames First Baptist, Sheriff's Office

A subpoena is used to obtain critic's identity from Google

By JEFF BRUMLEY

(904) 359-4310


A blogger critical of First Baptist Church Pastor Mac Brunson wants to know why his Web site was investigated by a police detective who is also a member of the minister's security detail.

* Can you say "conflict of interest"?

Thomas A. Rich also wants the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to explain what suspected crimes led Detective Robert Hinson to open the probe into his once-anonymous Web site.

* I would like to know that, too, since the URL for this blog was on one of those subpoenas!

Rich also wants to know why Hinson revealed his name to the church despite finding no wrongdoing. Hinson obtained a subpoena from the State Attorney's Office requiring Google Inc. to reveal the author of the blog.

* Actually, it resulted in Google providing an IP address and the e-mail address the blog was registered under. Then Comcast was subpoenaed to find out the identity of the Watchdog. I'm pretty sure the same information was obtained for this blog and Tiffany Croft's blog. Whether our respective ISPs were subpoenaed is unknown.

Rich's unmasking led to an eventual trespass warning banning the longtime member and his wife from First Baptist, despite the fact that Brunson and a top church administrator conceded the blog never threatened violence.

* So why the trespass orders??? Could it be to intimidate the Watchdog?


Rich said he mailed a complaint against Hinson to the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. It had not been received as of Wednesday afternoon.

* It will be interesting to see their response, if any.


The intelligence detective opened the criminal investigation Sept. 29 into the identity and "possible criminal overtones" of the blog, fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com.

* And approximately 18 days after subpoenaing Google for FBC Jax Watchdog's records, they subpoenaed Google for records for Tiffany Croft (who has always blogged using her real name), the NBBCOF, and an e-mail address for SLyons45. The latter two were on the same subpoena which indicates to me for some reason there might have been some connection between the two in their minds.

My only connection to Watchdog is that he contacted me when he started his blog in 2007, and we've corresponded since. I have stored some of his documents on my server. Bellevue Baptist is similar to FBC Jax in that both had new pastors come in and basically immediately begin to hijack the churches. It's not about music or the color of the carpet as many would have you think. It's about openness, transparency, truthfulness, and integrity, all characteristics that seem to be sorely lacking in both Mac Brunson and Steve Gaines.

The Sheriff's Office and church officials defended the complaint and investigation into Rich's blog, which Hinson concluded Nov. 13.

* How can you defend the indefensible? Can you say "corruption"?

Undersheriff Frank Mackesy said Hinson's role posed no conflict of interest because his duties include handling possible threats against the city's large religious institutions.

* Can you say "crock"?

Rich said he was never contacted by Hinson. He learned of the investigation well after the church notified him Nov. 28 he had been identified as the blog's author.

* I learned that Google was subpoenaed for my information (namely the "owner" of the NBBCOF blog) when Watchdog contacted me on March 25th.


Two additional bloggers investigated by Hinson said they were also not contacted. They learned of the probe in middle or late March. Their blogs do not focus on First Baptist.

* No, I was never contacted, nor did this blog ever focus on FBC Jax. There have been two articles (until now) out of the 165+ articles published in the last 2 1/2 years that had anything to do with FBC Jax, and those simply rehashed things from the FBC Jax Watchdog blog.

Mackesy said the three bloggers didn't need to be contacted because Hinson uncovered nothing criminal. "The detective hasn't done anything wrong," he said.

* I was never contacted by JSO. However, I would just like to know what "crime" I was accused of for them to have reason to subpoena my personal information in the first place. I have never set foot inside the state of Florida, much less inside FBC Jax, the address given on the complaint as the location of said "suspected criminal activity."

It was also proper for Hinson to provide First Baptist's leadership with Rich's identity despite finding no criminal evidence, Mackesy said, so it could take whatever internal action it felt necessary for its own safety.

"I'd be disappointed in the detective if [he] didn't do it," he said.

* Okay, so let me get this straight. The JSO finds NO evidence of any criminal activity, but yet they thought it was appropriate to reveal Watchdog's personal information to FBC Jax's "leadership" so they could take whatever action necessary for their "safety." What "internal action" did they think was deemed necessary at that point? Trespass orders against the man and his wife? Why not go all the way and issue three little trespass orders against their children? Why did the announcement and reading of the infamous "whereas" resolution which FBC Jax proudly displays on their website (or here should it mysteriously disappear) never mention Thomas Rich's name? Were they concerned they might have targeted the wrong person? Did they have enough brain cells still working to realize that Thomas Rich could sue the pants off them?

The Rev. John Blount, executive pastor of administration, said he contacted Hinson directly regarding increased "vitriol" on the blog about the same time mail was stolen from the Brunson home and someone was surreptitiously photographing Brunson's wife. Also, someone had contacted vendors lined up for the church's annual pastors' conference and made critical remarks about Brunson to them, Blount said.

* Last I heard, "vitriol" (an exaggeration at best) on a blog isn't "criminal." As for mail being stolen "from the Brunson home," a Google maps search of the Brunsons' address shows there are no curbside mailboxes. Rather, there is a cluster of mailboxes at the end of the street which I would guess probably includes the Brunsons' mailbox. It's impossible to tell from the low-resolution street view photo, but often in communities with these types of mailboxes, they will be numbered say, 1 through 40 rather than with the owners' names or addresses. It would be interesting to know if that's the case in the Brunsons' neighborhood. If it is, how would anyone but the USPS and perhaps some of their neighbors know which box is theirs?

"We became concerned enough to ask law enforcement, 'Is there the ability to find out where this is coming from?'" Blount said. Police reports were not filed about the mail and photos, Blount said. The Sept. 29 police report launching the investigation quotes Blount telling police only about "an ongoing Internet incident that has possible criminal overtones."

* As I have stated, I've never set foot in the state of Florida, much less Jacksonville. How (or much more importantly, why) would I ever be suspected of any of these activities? What "internet incident" involving me (or Watchdog or Tiffany Croft) has "possible criminal overtones"?

At no time was the blogger accused of being behind the other incidents, Blount said.

* Oh, really? According to Watchdog's multiple sources, at the February 23rd deacons' meeting John Blount told the deacons that Thomas Rich was the person suspected of stealing the Brunsons' mail and stalking Deb Brunson.

Rich said he never stole mail, photographed Brunson's wife or contacted vendors. Rich said he wonders if those issues were raised simply to obtain a subpoena to uncover the identity of a blogger critical of Brunson.

* Ya think? I believe Mr. Rich when he says he did not contact any of the vendors. But I learned just this morning that at least one person did. Someone I know personally states that s/he sent e-mail messages to at least some of the sponsors and featured exhibitors listed on the Pastors' Conference website. This person merely suggested they go to the FBC Jax Watchdog site, read it for themselves, and make up their own minds. I can't think this person was the only one who did so. According to my source, four sponsors/exhibitors did drop out, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Whether this particular person's message had anything to do with their decisions is unknown, but if four silver, gold, or platinum sponsors dropped out, that represented a nice chunk of change.

That was not the case, Blount said. In an age of church shootings and other violence, he said, they simply wanted to determine if any of the events were related.

* I thought Mr. Blount just said "at no time was the blogger accused of being behind the other incidents."

Then why did they target him, his wife, Tiffany Croft, and me?


Brunson said police have interviewed him about the photos and stolen mail. He refused to elaborate.

* I bet. No doubt "police" = Robert Hinson. Why, if any man who's worth his salt even suspected someone was stalking his wife, would he not file a police report? If someone is stealing your mail, get a mailbox with a lock on it. And as someone in the comment stream observed, stealing mail is a federal offense, not something the local police would investigate. The USPS has its own investigators for that sort of thing.

Rich said he launched his blog in August 2007 — more than a year after Brunson became the pastor — because he was alarmed by what he described as Brunson's "abusive preaching," especially during fund-raising campaigns.

* Funny how "beauty shop gossip" could be deemed important enough to need to "shut 'em down." Could it be that the reason giving is down is because of the economy and people leaving the church because of Mac? Nahhh... it couldn't be!

The blog has included criticisms of Brunson's $300,000 salary, his plan to open a church school, his construction of a "lavish" office suite, accepting a $307,000 land gift from church members for his home and putting his wife on the payroll.

* He put his 22-year-old son on the payroll, too. I don't think he even has a title, nor is anyone really sure what his job entails.

Brunson declined to discuss his home and salary but maintained he is one of the lowest-paid mega-church pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. He said people are welcome to criticize his preaching style and ministry goals, including the school, but usually do so openly, not anonymously.

* I suppose that depends on how one defines "mega-church," but I doubt Mac has any idea how his salary compares to those of other "mega-church" pastors. After all, this information is a highly guarded secret in most of these organizations, known only to a handful of rich, powerful men. Do these guys sit around at their conferences and the convention or when they preach at each others' churches (for big $$$ while being paid by their own churches -- i.e. double dipping) and compare their salaries and perks?

In a December 7, 2008
interview Brunson claims "he doesn't make anywhere near the $300,000 annual salary the blogger claims." The key word there is "salary." Does anyone believe that with his salary plus his housing (tax exempt, BTW) and car and other "allowances" and perks that Mac Brunson makes nowhere near $300,000? Of course, as Watchdog observed, maybe his salary isn't "anywhere near $300,000." Remember "nowhere near" could cover amounts much greater than $300,000 as well. Kind of like Bill Clinton arguing what the meaning of the word "is" is. Factor in Honey's salary (what does she do again?), and then Trey's, plus book sales and speaking fees, and I would conservatively guess the Brunson Gang is making close to seven figures in salaries, allowances, and perks.

Rich's letter from the church cited his anonymity and sharp criticism as "a violation of Scripture" and church bylaws. He said the trespass warning came after he refused to appear before a discipline committee without a representative.

* Errr... so anonymity and criticism are "a violation of Scripture"? Can anyone point me to that particular passage of Scripture?

But Brunson said Rich's persistent criticism over nearly two years indicates the writer has an "obsessive compulsive problem" and is "not very stable at all," Brunson said.

"What you're dealing with is a sociopath," Brunson said.

* I think this statement speaks much more about Brunson's own mental state than that of the Watchdog.

"The imbalance is him refusing to address the concerns of his congregation," Rich said of Brunson's comments. Rich said his blog gets about 1,000 hits a day and that he regularly hears from people who agree with his criticisms but are afraid to come forward.

* I've heard the same from Bellevue members (mostly former members). It's all about money and power, and if they even perceive a threat to either, they will try to destroy you.

"He's been trying to convince his administration that I am some kind of a nut," he said. "I am not a nut... and the things I have raised on the blog are valid concerns."

* Seriously, they are valid concerns, and if Mac Brunson had been halfway open and honest in the beginning, there would have been no blog, and Mac wouldn't have made an idiot out of himself on the front page of the Florida Times-Union today.

Blount said he had no idea why Hinson looked into two other blogs, tiffanycroft.blogspot.com and newbbcopenforum.blogspot.com.

* Was Hinson acting on his own, or was someone pulling his strings? Ask yourself, who at FBC Jax would most like to see Tiffany Croft's blog and the NBBCOF shut down? It makes no sense unless someone was simply on a phishing expedition to reveal the identity of Watchdog and me. As for Tiffany Croft, what possible motive could there be except to intimidate her? She's always blogged using her real name! While she doesn't seem to have been particularly critical of Brunson, she has been critical of FBC Jax and Jerry Vines for allowing Darrell Gilyard to preach at FBC Jax and for Vines preaching at Gilyard's church after Gilyard's long, sordid past became public knowledge. She has also been critical of Paige Patterson for covering for Gilyard, and we know Brunson and Patterson are buddies. Mac Brunson reportedly approached Ms. Croft's father, who is a member of FBC Jax, and pressured him to get her to take down her blog. It's my understanding Brunson now contends he's "not familiar" with Ms. Croft's blog.

Mackesy would say only that Hinson was obligated to look at those blogs if he felt it could help the initial investigation.

* Which brings us back to the question of why Tiffany or I would be included in the investigation at all.

Jacksonville resident Tiffany Croft said the aim of her blog is to be an online source of information about the accusations against the Rev. Darrell Gilyard, the former Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church pastor accused of sexual misconduct. Gilyard regularly preached at First Baptist in the early 1990s.

* Which is likely why she was targeted. Criticism of Jerry Vines and FBC Jax. Brunson and Vines were witnessed high-fiving each other over the "evils" of anonymous e-mails. No doubt neither of them wanted any attention over their direct or indirect association with Darrell Gilyard.

Croft said she also plans to file a complaint against Hinson demanding to know why her blog — which has never been anonymous — was the target of a subpoena to Google.

The Times-Union doesn't know the identity of the third blogger, critical of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.

* I'm not convinced FBC Jax does either.

The subpoena requests that Hinson submitted to the State Attorney's Office may have listed the criminal activity the detective wanted to investigate, but those documents were destroyed after 90 days, according to the policy at the time, said Assistant State Attorney Stephen Siegel, who signed the subpoena. The actual subpoenas do not cite a reason for the request.

Rich said he will hire an attorney if necessary to get more information from the church and Sheriff's Office and to clear his name.

* Those fellas at FBC Jax may have opened a big can of worms with this one. "It's hardball," Rich said of the church's tactics in uncovering his identity. "It's hardball religion, is what it is."

* That's exactly what it is. Mac & Co. have stepped in it big time. As Rush Limbaugh says, "You put a bag of excrement in front of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, and they're gonna step in it." Seems like there are some guys in Jacksonville who need to be checking the bottoms of their shoes right now, too.

I've said all along that Bellevue is about a year ahead of FBC Jax in this whole process. Our "grievances" were similar in the beginning. I can't speak for Watchdog's motives, but the NBBCOF was started simply to give people a place to discuss the issues. I think we've both long since realized that nothing we say is going to change the outcome, but we may open a few eyes along the way. The best I think we can both hope for at this point is simply to keep shining the light on these charlatans and at least keep them a little more accountable. I believe interest in the Watchdog's blog would have faded, just as it has begun to fade in the NBBCOF if Mac and John Blount hadn't opened this can of worms by involving the JSO. That was really a stupid move IMO.

Watchdog asked me a long time ago if I had space to store a few audio files for him. Since I had plenty of space, I agreed to upload whatever he needed. Other than the similarity of our respective experiences, I really have no interest in FBC Jax or Mac Brunson, but I have watched with interest and in full support the efforts of the Watchdog.

The only reason I can think of that anyone at FBC Jax would go after my personal information is that the name of the site where I store files is newbbc.accura.net. Most of the files on that site are public. Therefore, from the names alone, one could reach the logical conclusion that the NBBCOF blog and the newbbc.accura.net site are somehow related. I'm thinking when they noticed some of Watchdog's files were stored on my server, perhaps they thought we were connected, perhaps even that the same person hosted both blogs.

If you look at the subpoenas, they first went after Watchdog's information. Then about 18 days later they went after SLyons45, the NBBCOF, and Tiffany Croft's information. The SLyons45 address was apparently the one Watchdog used to register his blog. What also makes me think they somehow connected us was that the SLyons45 address and the NBBCOF appear on the same subpoena. The request for Tiffany Croft's information was on a separate subpoena.

There's another less likely reason I thought of for them going after my information. I don't know how close Steve Gaines and Mac Brunson are. I do know that two years ago Steve was slated to speak at the 2007 Pastors' Conference. This was right after the Paul Williams story came out. (For our new readers, PW was the staff minister at Bellevue who confessed to Steve Gaines that he'd molested his own son 17 years earlier, and Steve kept it a secret for six months until the truth leaked out. Steve said it was "under the blood" and that he didn't see any reason to report it to the authorities or to remove PW from the staff. You can read about it in the December 2006 and January 2007 archives on this blog.) Just before the conference, Steve Gaines' name was removed from the program. I never knew if he voluntarily withdrew (not Steve's style really) or if he was "asked" to withdraw. I always figured the latter since there was some objection by the people in Jacksonville (and Memphis) to having someone who'd just harbored a confessed pedophile for six months speak at their conference, but I don't know.

Therefore, I don't know if Steve and Mac are on good terms or not, but they both often complain that they're "victims" of "lies, slander, and gossip." All people are asking for is some measure of accountability and integrity, and all they're met with is brick walls and silence. Or in the case of Steve and Mac, sheep-beating sermons (especially when funds are needed) and tactics (at least in Mac's case) to "shut 'em down" at all costs. If Steve and Mac are on the same page, perhaps Mac was getting the information for Steve. (Steve's "go to" guy who does a lot of his dirty work is Administrative Pastor, David Coombs.) I would think, however, if Steve had wanted to find out who I am he could have done so a long time ago. I don't for one second think this blog is that big a "threat" to him.

It will be very interesting to see where all this goes from here.

First Coast News Coverage with video.

FOX 30 Coverage with video.


Church's use of power is troubling

60 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

Here are two comments left on an old thread this morning. "Contented Man," please make your profile visible if you'd like to comment further. Thanks!

Contented Man said...

As a former preacher and former member of both FBCJ and BBC I am very interested in what has been transpiring over recent years.

Lindsay Sr., Lindsay Jr. and Adrian Rogers were my mentors. As a young preacher boy I had much respect for them. Unfortunately, the more I learned about the 'behind the scenes' activities of all three, the less admiration I had. That said, as 'human' as those men were, nothing I learned about them even comes close to what we are learning about this new crop of "preachers".

I wish I could say that I am surprised at what is happening, but I'm not. These are powerful entities (the mega-churches) with memberships made up of very powerful men and women such as Judge Soud (a man I've known for several decades).

It is truly sad to see these ministries sink into such states as they have and, no doubt, will continue to sink.

8:27 AM, April 09, 2009

New BBC Open Forum said...

Contented Man said...

The story in The Florida Times Union is receiving many comments. The members of FBCJ have just started weighing in and one of them posted Mr. Rich's (the blogger) home address and phone numbers. I have a feeling this is going to get very ugly down here in Jacksonville.

Like BBC, FBCJ is mega-powerful and has tentacles that reach far and deep and the powerful leaders (deacons, etc) have far too much at stake personally to allow this to hurt them. I would not want to be in Rich's shoes.

11:08 AM, April 09, 2009

New BBC Open Forum said...

The Times-Union quickly deleted that comment.

oc said...

Now exactly what was the crime being investigated?

If it was mail stealing, then that would be a federal offense, not a state offense. What made Brunson think their mail was being stolen?

And taking a picture of the pastor's wife jogging (if it ever really happened; where are the pictures?)doesn't sound like stalking. Just sounds like paparazzi, and since the Brunson's are living life of the rich and famous, that just comes with the territory. Deal with it like Britney Spears does. Except make sure you wear underwear.

I think it was all trumped up in an effort to shut down Watchdog's blog. So is there a legal remedy for these false accusations?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Excellent point. Stealing mail is a federal offense. The JSO would not investigate this type of crime. The USPS has their own investigators.

The Jax TV stations are on this...

First Coast News

FOX 30

oc said...

I want to know where, from the Bible, Brunson got his justification to invoke secular justice to answer a church matter.

oc.

New BBC Open Forum said...

oc,

I think they will argue it became a matter for law enforcement when they "suspected" the Watchdog was stealing mail and "surreptitiously" videotaping the pastor's wife. Oh, wait, Blount said "at no time" was the blogger (Watchdog) accused of these incidents. But according to deacons who attended the February 23rd deacons' meeting, Blount specifically stated that Thomas Rich was indeed suspected of these activities. So which is it, Mr. Blount?

I think it's almost laughable that this is the best they could come up with. Again, if someone is stalking your wife, you file a police report! You get her a jogging buddy. Or a treadmill. Unless of course you're making the whole thing up.

This whole mess stopped being a "church matter" and became a "secular" issue once Mr. Rich's legal rights were trampled like an Easter egg on the South Lawn.

Lin said...

The big question for me is why Brunson did not seek watchdog out to talk last Thanksgiving when he found out his name?

That says it all for me.

TN Lizzie said...

Between the CAN OF WORMS and the DEMONS OF STUPIDITY, you wrote:
"The best I think we can both hope for at this point is simply to keep shining the light on these charlatans and at least keep them a little more accountable."

This reminds me of a qreat quote starting at 6:52 on this machosauce productions video, Declaration of Dependence:
"See, the reason why you angry folk keep comin' over here is because I've got some truth shining over here and y'all are like a bunch of moths that see the light and don't know what to do with it, so you start slamming your face into it..."

King NASS, you stay safe in the basement, ok?

oc said...

No, if someone is stalking my wife, I would get my donut eating rotund Pillsbury doughboy self right out there jogging with the "little woman" in order to protect her precious self as she trots through the dangerous gated community. :)

Contented Man said...

New BBC Open Forum,

sorry... I wasn't aware that I hadn't made my profile visible. Got it corrected - I think. LOL

BTW, I have know John Blount and Judge Soud for many years. While I know them to be honorable men I also know them to be astute and rational businessmen. I am somewhat surprised at the seemingly 'blind allegiance' in this matter which makes me wonder about "the rest of the story."

My best to you and all those fighting the good fight against hypocrisy and abuse of power/authority within many local churches today.

oc said...

Where is that photo of Deb joggin, anyway? I haven't seen that one yet.

Kerygma said...

I suppose I could understand Mac's influence over so many people who should know better were he a smooth, polished orator or a powerful personality.....but he's a hack. I don't get it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

oc,

Sure you have. You must have forgotten.

Here

BkWormGirl said...

I do not want to pretend like there was no evil in the world before. Or that ALL law enforcement and judges were people of absolute integrity in the past. However, I do feel that there used to be more integrity in these fields then there is now. It seems that people acting without integrity is the standard.

I am drawn back to the poem called "First they came" by Niemoller about first they came for the communists, but I wasn't one so I was silent and so forth... I can't recall the poem in its entirety right now, but the idea is that the person stood silent while others were persecuted and then when the government came for them, there was no one left to stand for them.

Not trying to get all up in arms, but Revelations talks about Christ followers being persecuted and harassed. I think it will be easy for this to happen because of incidents like this down in Florida and there are only a few who are standing up for this blogger. Right now people are convincing themselves rather than do the right thing, this doesn't concern them. And when they become the subject of investigation - there will be no one to stand for them.

BkWormGirl said...

Nass - How did you know they had subpoenaed your info? Did they ask you questions? Or did Google tell you? I am not really even asking about specifics as much as I am wondering how a person knows that their information has been subpoenaed?

Scary - it is a scary world we live in.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The Watchdog contacted me on March 25th and sent me copies of the subpoenas to Google which he obtained through a public records request. That was the first and last I heard of it. Links to the subpoenas are in the article on the front page of this blog as well as on the Watchdog's blog.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I might add, the only way the Watchdog was able to obtain copies of the subpoenas was that the case had been closed.

BkWormGirl said...

Which is even more scary. They investigate and when they have no proof of the charge (that you never knew was being brought against you) then you are notified of the investigation. I am by no means a constitutional lawyer, but it seems to me that this is a violation of the 4th ammendment at a minimum. I wonder if someone like Bill O'Reilly, Glen Beck, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, shoot even Geraldo might pick up a story like this and run with it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"I wonder if someone like Bill O'Reilly, Glen Beck, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, shoot even Geraldo might pick up a story like this and run with it."

Well, they weren't interested when a minister admitted to being in "uncharted waters" when it came to letting a confessed pedophile keep his job and roam the halls of the church for six months (I know, quite a few people wrote them... multiple times) or when a female Hebrew professor at a large Southern Baptist seminary lost her job simply because she was born female. Excuse my cynicism, but what makes you think they'll be any more interested in this story? I'm surprised the Times-Union covered this story at all, especially considering they've apparently been in FBC Jax's hip pocket all these years. I have a sneaking suspicion it may have been primarily to make the Watchdog's name public. It may have started out being a favor to Mac that ended up backfiring on him.

When Watchdog redacted the names from the documents he posted, he failed to remove the JSO case number. Jeff Brumley used that information to obtain copies of the documents which showed the Watchdog's name. He then contacted the Watchdog and asked if he was the FBC Jax blogger. He was going to publish this story using Watchdog's real name, with or without Watchdog's blessing. It was, as he said, "already a matter of public record."

While the article came across as pretty well balanced, I was surprised that he used the "sociopath" quote from Mac. I'm not surprised Mac said it, but I am surprised the paper allowed it to be published.

I hope this thing does develop legs, but my gut feeling is Mac will do a little damage control and this story will quickly fade from the radar screen.

Lin said...

I hope this thing does develop legs, but my gut feeling is Mac will do a little damage control and this story will quickly fade from the radar screen.

12:07 AM, April 11, 2009

I completely agree.

oc said...

Damage control.
Well, isn't that part of Maurillio's job? At least he will finally be earning his money!

BkWormGirl said...

Nass you are most likely correct. My thought was that this is not a "religious" matter as much as this is a censorship issue. I know O'Reilly covered the Memphis PD issue - and that is where I was coming from. I know when I had sent an email to one of them back when the BBC mess first erupted I got a response back saying this was a solo institutional problem. And they did not want to get involved in church politics. (I disagreed with their position, but that is another story.) This however is government corruption and I hope they may be interested.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Maurillo's got bigger fish to fry this weekend. Recent "tweets"...

After my botched attempts, I'm getting my first professional pedicure in 12 yrs. I feel sorry for Samantha. I'm loving the massage chair!

Hunting for a 12 lb prime rib for tomorrow's Easter lunch. I have a great Texas rub recipe for it.

oc said...

I'm 51. Never had a pedicure. Because I'm not a woman and I'm not gay.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I knew "oc" would appreciate that. :-)

oc said...

Well, if you are a dude and want to be treated like a princess, you might have some kind of "gender confusion".

Just sayin'.
oc.

oc said...

You know this "metrosexual" blurring of men and women traits is but prelude for what has already been coming for a long time... the blurring of God and man. He told us it was coming.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I don't know, oc. I don't read it that way. (Although his statement a couple months ago that he had a "man crush" on some guy was pretty creepy.) Kind of sounds like you're talking about those "biblical" male and female "roles" the CBMW folks keep telling us about.

I don't think it's necessarily odd that a man would have a pedicure, but rather that he'd... eeek!... "Twitter" about it, not to mention every other mundane, or in this case, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, detail of his daily life. I shudder to think what he'd Twitter about if he had to have, say... a colonoscopy.

Apparently he's a long-distance runner, so I don't fault him for taking care of his feet. After all, he didn't mention anything about having his toenails polished a lovely shade of Mandarin Red. I just don't want to have to see him (or anyone else for that matter) sitting in those big massage chairs at Wal-Mart while he's having it done. Of course, I'm certain Maurillo wouldn't be caught dead in Wal-Mart. The mere thought that someone he knew actually ate at... {gasp!}... McDonald's... nearly made him cataplectic.

oc said...

Oh BS. My brother runs 7 miles every single day, runs marathons whenever he can, and he doesn't act like a dang sissy. Next.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Let me clarify I know "oc" well enough to realize he doesn't personally subscribe to the CBMW ideas about "biblical roles," but the use of the phrase "men and women traits" just reminded me of the CBMW's use of the term "male and female roles."

oc said...

You are right, NASS. It may have looked like that. But I have the utmost respect for the many of the women in my life who have pointed me back to Christ. Can't say that for most of the proud men, who aren't even that, especially those who polish
his nails and ponder their next meal...
I will be proud to walk with the women. I am. Women have upheld the church all along.

Just sayin'.
oc.

oc said...

But dudes is dudes, and girls is girls, and I like it that way.

just sayin'.
oc.

New BBC Open Forum said...

My, haven't we drifted off topic!

oc said...

My, haven't we drifted off topic!

3:29 PM, April 11, 2009

Yeah we did. My bad. Carry on.
oc.

oc said...

Women have upheld Christ from day one. The echo happened from the hollow grave. If you don't get that, then you don't get Him!

Let us all macho men deal with that! How bout it sissies?

oc said...

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior.
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord.

Up from the grave He arose!
With a mighty triumph oer His foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! Hw arose! Hallelujah Christ arose.


Vainly they watch His bed.
Jesus my Savior.
Vainly they seal the dead.
Jesus my Lord.

Refrain.

Death cannot keep it's prey.
Jesus my Savior.
He tore the bars away.
Jesus my Lord.

Refrain.

oc said...

THE TOMB IS EMPTY.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sickofthelies said...

testing

New BBC Open Forum said...

Howdy, SOTL! Long time, no see!

ezekiel said...

This soon after Easter we might want to consider a few things.

It was the religious establishment that was pushing for the death of Jesus. (John 11:48-49) The Romans went along to keep them happy. John 18:39ff

Looking back over history, a good bit if not most of the persecution of the Christian sect came from the religious establishment. I expect this will continue. We have to remember that the anti-christ is not going to be anti-religious. Just anti-Christ.

Joh 16:1 I HAVE told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter, or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.]
Joh 16:2 They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God.
Joh 16:3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.
Joh 16:4 But I have told you these things now, so that when they occur you will remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

They treated Jesus the way they did and we are told they won't treat His servants any better.

The "they" here is the religious establishment. The scribes and pharisees.

As I understand it, more or less the same thing happened with the Catholics. Martin Luther was fighting against the religious establishment that had a lot to lose when they were exposed.

Don't think it can't happen again. Government doesn't have a good record of staying out of the fray either.

Been Redeemed said...

This sorrid affair will be squelched just like the Commercial Appeal and the local news agencies did with the PW affair at BBC. Money is the only thing talking these days!

Been Redeemed said...

I heard COGIC is leaving town. They should wait a while and after Gaines & Co. finish running Bellevue into the ground, they can buy it real cheap!

Joe Blackmon said...

* Errr... so anonymity and criticism are "a violation of Scripture"? Can anyone point me to that particular passage of Scripture?Matthew 18:15. Kinda hard to be an Anony if you're going to a fellow Christian to show them their fault in private.

New BBC Open Forum said...

You're absolutely right, but that wasn't the question.

You surely realize by now this isn't about a personal issue between two Christians. I don't believe the Watchdog ever claimed that Brunson had personally wronged him. Brunson is a public figure, and the things Watchdog has accused him of have been done in public and well-documented.

This is an issue of warning people about wolves in their midst, something we're told to do in Scripture. The wolves don't like it when they're called out. And since Brunson and his goons have (ab)used their influence to drag the "law" into it, it's now become a legal matter involving the JSO and the Florida state attorney's office. By crossing state lines to obtain MY personal information, it may be a federal matter as well. We'll just have to see.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Excellent new blog on the block!

The Wartburg Watch.

Link on the front page of this blog. Check it out. They post new articles often.

J Look said...

Is it just me or is the pastor a dead ringer for Milton in Office Space?

New BBC Open Forum said...

JL,

Not a show I watch, but I Googled for an image of that character and you have a point.

MOM4 said...

NASS,
I went to the WARTBURG WATCH site and after seeing their recommended websites, I have concluded that these dear ladies are missing some information in their quest. One of their recommended sites is "equip.org". That is the organization started by Warren Weirsbe. Upon his death, the current "leader" became Hank Hannagraff who is known better as "The Bible Answer Man". Mr Hannagraff obtained control of this organization much the same way as Steve Gaines gained control of Bellevue. He used misleading and untruthful information and literally forced the widow out the door. Much water has flowed under the bridge since that day, and I am not aware of Mrs. Weirsbe's current status. However, I do know that Mr. Hannagraff has some very questionable manners in relating to his radio audience. He belittles and demeans all those with differing opinions, by that I mean his greatest tendency is not to portray the truth of Scripture, but to make his point by talking down to people. He uses "big" words and theological opinions which would require that most of his average callers would have to seek definitions in order to respond to his comments. Personally, I think the man is a blow-hard that lacks the true discernment of a follower of Christ. He is another Brunson or Gaines and bears no similarity to a true scholar of Scripture. Of course neither am I, but I am not the one on the radio every day espousing misguided ideas and opinions to a lost and dying world and getting paid for it.
JMHO of course, but I am not alone in it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I didn't check any of their links, but I did see a reference to Hanegraaff in one of their later articles and was bothered by that as well. Still, I have to say they seem to "get it" about a lot of things going on.

Junkster said...

The organization that Hank Hanegraaff leads (The Christian Research Institute) was founded by Walter Martin, not Warren Wiersbe. I dont think Wiersbe ever had a connection with that organization. Walter Martin's widow did raise concerns over Hanegraaff's leadership some years after her husband's death.

His communication style aside (which I consider a matter of personal taste, not necessarily a reflection of his character), Hanegraaff is mostly pretty biblically and theologically solid. His writings on the Word-Faith movement and on some charismatic extremes are very helpful, and his take on end-times prophecy is a welcome departure from the more bizarre aspects of Tim LeHaye's (admittedly popular) perspective.

Although there are things I don't agree with him about, I like that Hanegraaff allows for a variety of opinions within "the pale of orthodoxy", rather than labeling people as "liberal" or "heretics" because of where they fall on issues such as Calvinism / Arminianism, women in ministry, end-times, etc. I wish that more folks took such an even-handed approach.

MOM4 said...

Junkster,
You are correct, it was Walter Martin. I should have verified that before I posted and I apologize. Hanagraff's views could seem somewhat helpful to many; however, while I do not like the drama that LaHaye espouses, it is more biblically correct than Hanagraff's versions. Also, Hanagraff's books have been banned by several Christian Bookstores, especially those in fundamentalist churches, but what is most interesting to me is that they are no longer available in BBC's bookstore. That surprises me, especially since BBC plays so loosely with Scripture. I guess I am a die hard literalist. I believe the Bible says what God intended It to say and if that is the case, Hanagraff's theology is not what I would choose. I think there are no gray areas in Scripture. It is very "black and white" and that even that fleeting thought that crosses our mind that is not of God is sin in His eyes. What we do with that thought results in our lifestyle, our strongholds and our future. Hanagraff's theology is too speculative for me. Since we are all allowed our own free will, his views are held by many, just not me.

allofgrace said...

I can't really speak to the situation at Christian Research Instiute after Walter Martin's death. I don't know if Martin's wife was involved in any meaningful way (meaning as far as the work of the institution goes) with the organization itself, so I can't say if she was "forced" out or not.

As far as Hanagraff's books being banned, especially from fundamentalist bookstores goes, that's not surprising, seeing that he is a preterist in his eschatology (end times theology), and most average SBC churches are dispensational (pre-trib, pre-mill), and pretty much all fundamentalist Baptist churches are as well. Frankly, I don't know what the big deal is about offering his books, seeing the other drivel that is offered at Lifeway and other Christian oriented bookstores. ie: Your Best Life Now, the plethora of self-help books, etc. What I do find surprising is that as far as Lifeway (SBC publishing arm) goes, it's pretty much impossible to find ANY books on the shelves which present an eschatological view other than the pre-trib, pre-mill view. That's surprising to me because a large number of Southern Baptists in the early days of the convention held to an Amillenial view. But the SBC has changed much since it's beginnings in it's doctrine and practice.

I would agree that everything in the Scriptures is precisely what God intended to say in the orignal manuscripts. However a strict literalism presents some problems. For instance when the bible tells us that Jesus is the door, are we to take that to mean that Jesus is literally a slab of wood? Or when it speaks of God's eyes, arms, etc, are we to take it that God, who is spirit has literal eyes, arms, etc? The bible contains many literary types and styles within it's pages. Historical, narrative, poetic, prophetic, letters, apocolyptic. Each different type/style must be understood within it's literary type/style and historical context. The "eyes", "ears" of God etc, are anthropomorphisms given to help us in our understanding of God. Apocolyptic language has to be understood in it's symbolism. In my opinion Jenkins/LaHaye are far more conjectural in their interpretation of the end times than Hanagraff...I mean intrepreting locusts as helicopters? Yet the Left Behind series is still one of the most popular, best-selling books on Baptist bookshelves. I'm not a huge fan of Hanagraff, but his preterism isn't, as he would say, beyond the pale of orthodoxy. I think much of what is considered "orthodox" in our times is due to the fact that very few Christians, and especially Southern Baptists, look back no further than the last 40-50 yrs to determine what the denomination or the church at large actually considered orthodox Christian belief. JMHO.

Junkster said...

Thanks, AllofGrace. No need for me to respond further since you have already stated my thoughts to well. :)

Thy Peace said...

This is a great interview. Please listen to it.

Mainstream Baptist > Podcast: Wade Burleson Interview.
.
Podcast (7MB Mp3) of Dr. Bruce Prescott's 4-19-09 "Religious Talk" radio interview with Rev. Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma and author of "Hardball Religion: Feeling the Fury of Fundamentalism."

We talk about Burleson's transition from being a trusted foot soldier in the post-1979 Southern Baptist Convention to being a dissident blogger against SBC fundamentalism. His blogging proved so controversial that he became the only Southern Baptist trustee to ever be "recommended for removal or officially censured." Despite that, Burleson and other dissident SBC bloggers were instrumental in electing Frank Page as President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006 and 2007.

MOM4 said...

"However a strict literalism presents some problems. For instance when the bible tells us that Jesus is the door, are we to take that to mean that Jesus is literally a slab of wood?"

AOG,
I understand that hyperbole is used to create emphasis in Scripture; however, the literal meaning is that Jesus IS the door that we all must use to gain access to salvation. I must be more strict in my adherence to the actual written Word than others, because I truly believe that the wording that is used is exactly what is supposed to be there in order to relate to us sheelple in a way even the simplest of sheep can understand. I find your wording offensive to those of us that are not quite as educated as you and Mr. Hanagraff seem to be. I also have found that those with the real knowledge do not have to elaborate in such depth to get their point across. For example, I listen to Mike Spradlin on the radio daily and I find him to be a powerful and knowledgable teacher that presents his depth of understanding and wisdom in a simple and open manner. While his teachings are by no means simplistic,(rather far from it actually) he is wise enough to know that the best of teachers are those that relate to the greatest and the lowly at the same time. However, I in no way meant to get into a disagreement over the literal translation of Scripture vs symbolism.
I say all of this to emphasize my original point that Hannagraff, Brunson and Gaines are neither wise, knowledgable or understanding of Scripture, it is evident neither in their words or their deeds. To me they are on the same playing field as Benny Hinn.

allofgrace said...

MOM4,
In your original post it appeared that your problem with Mr. Hannagraf had to do primarily with his views of the end times. I say that because of the comparison you drew between he and Tim LaHaye. I assumed it was in this area due to the fact that LaHaye is best known for his views on the end times. Perhaps there are other areas of disagreement with Mr. Hannagraf, but you did not state them, at least not clearly. Also you stated your disagreement on the grounds that you are a die hard literalist and Mr. Hannagraf plays too fast and loose with the scriptures. My purpose in making my statement was to point out first of all that a failure to interpret any scripture without taking into consideration its literary type, historical/redemptive context, and how it relates to the bible as a unified whole, leads to unsound, extra-biblical and sometimes bizarre conclusions. I think even many die hard dispensationalists would have to admit that LaHaye's interpretations in the Left Behind series of books and films are a bit of a stretch even within the framework of that particular theological viewpoint. As I pointed out in my post, I'm not particularly a fan of Mr. Hannagraf either, but I would not consider his views on the end times to be so far afield as to label him unbiblical or unsound. I don't even pin that label on Mr. LaHaye, though I think his interpretive methods and his conclusions are wrong. Having looked at the various millenial views, I can find valid points in all and all who hold to those views go to the scriptures to make their case. My particular view agrees with neither yours, nor Mr. Hannagraf's, at least not in the fullest sense. But I label neither of you unbiblical or accuse you of playing fast and loose with scripture. What I take issue with is going into the public arena and calling anyone unsound or unbiblical without 1.giving due diligence to understanding how they have arrived at their viewpoint. 2. Making clear exactly where you think they are unsound. 3. Being prepared to make a biblical case as to why exactly they are unbiblical, or in error.

I honestly don't know why you were insulted or took offense to what I said. I certainly didn't attack you personally. Unless you consider using a few theological terms as insulting or an attack of some kind. Nor was I necessarily defending Mr. Hannagraf's views, except to point out that his views on the end times are within the pale of being orthodox. Maybe you're offended by his views because they disagree with yours, I don't know. Perhaps your offended by me because I disagreed with you, or you just don't like the way I word things. But I fail to see how anything I said is offensive or insulting. As far as my education goes, I'm quite sure I have no more education than you do, unless you have less than a high school education. And even if that's true, my high school diploma doesn't mean much. And the few credit hours I have from junior college certainly don't amount to much, especially concerning biblical matters. I do however strive to be like the Bereans, and study to show myself approved. And I expect, encourage, and exhort my brethren to do the same. I suppose I could take offense at your veiled, or not-so-veiled thrashing of my "supposed" knowledge over against the "real" knowledge of Dr. Spradlin, but I won't because everyone has their favorite teachers and you're entitled to your opinion. I don't try to compare myself with Dr. Spradlin or any other teacher. But I would encourage you not to assume that I have no knowledge, or take offense at what I said simply because you didn't or couldn't understand it, or disliked the way it was worded. When I run across a situation like that I do some research first to see if I can come to a better understanding, and if that doesn't clear it up, I go to the one who said it and ask for clarification. But I don't get offended or insulted by it. Just a thought.

gmommy said...

"To me they are on the same playing field as Benny"....
I don't know about Hannagraph but I sure agree about Brunson and Gains. The few times I've had the misfortune to hear them preach it has been painful! If they are the cream of the crop....sheesh!!!!

Seeker said...

Sadly there is quite a bit of documentation on the internet about Hank Hanegraaff which calls into question his moral character and integrity. Much of what is contained in the links listed below is eerily similar to things that have transpired both at Bellevue and Jacksonville in recent years. (The details that bear a likeness to the BBC situation have been placed in bold type.) Here are just some selected links that tell some of the disturbing story of not a “one-time mistake”, but an ongoing pattern of behavior by Hank Hanegraaff. (Disclaimer: While this poster may not personally agree/endorse all of what these organizations/websites represent, they appear to have substantial
evidence to backup their claims regarding Hanegraaff’s actions). To get the whole story it is suggested that the articles be read in their entirety, but here are just a few excerpts to highlight the similarities.

One magazine article tells the story of an employee at CRI (Christian Research Institute) who attempted to bring Hank’s financial improprieties to light and was fired as a result.

She became alarmed when she saw ministry spending practices and heard employee concerns about the outlays. Meanwhile, she was sending monthly financial appeals to donors, urging them to give generously lest CRI suffer ministry cutbacks……."It's kind of hard to make those pleas when you
see the extravagance from the inside” One item she was particularly concerned about was CRI's paying $66,000 in July 2002 for a blue Lexus sc, purchased for Hanegraaff's use. That same year former employees said a lull in giving resulted in layoffs.
Due to this employee’s whistle blowing, the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial
Accountability) conducted a review and found CRI had "breached compliance" with three of the watchdog agency's seven standards of member conduct:” Here are some of the receipts that illustrate the problems:

CRI paid Kathy Hanegraaff, Hank's wife, $3,141 for miscellaneous personal expenses.

The ministry paid nearly $8,000 in flooring for Hanegraaff's home office.

CRI paid two months of dues, totaling $3,100, at the country club in the gated community of Coto de Caza, where the Hanegraaffs and their nine children live.

CRI paid for Hank Hanegraaff's vitamins and for flowers he sent to his mother.

The ministry paid maintenance bills for Hanegraaff's children's computers in the amounts of $400, $300 (twice), and $200.

The constituency of CRI was largely unaware of CRI's violation of the ECFA's Standards, simply because there had been no press release by either CRI or the ECFA telling the donors of the violation. The other former employees of CRI and I waited patiently for this public confession of wrongdoing. It never came (and still has not.)
There is also some suspicion regarding the way that Hank came to gain control of CRI after Walter Martin’s death, the founder of CRI. Mrs. Martin describes how he “used trickery to get her to introduce him as the new leader”.

''He's not the man we believed him to be,'' said Jill Martin Rische, Martin's eldest daughter.

“But was Hank the man of integrity that my father believed him to be, or did he come to CRI under false pretenses? If Walter Martin had been presented with all the evidence, would he have hired Hank?" "...Hank Hanegraaff and Walter Martin were never close friends. At best, they were close acquaintances.
(very similar to suggestions that have been made regarding the relationship between Bellevue’s long-time former pastor and his successor).

“One of our family’s main objections to Hanegraaff’s continued leadership is his mistreatment of fellow Christians. He has left a trail of wounded people behind him since the takeover of CRI in 1989.”

…approximately thirty employees of CRI formed The Group for CRI Accountability in an attempt to hold Hank Hanegraaff accountable for his actions. He refused to meet with them individually or as a group. Instead, Hank Hanegraaff dispatched lawyers into action, threatening legal action and punitive damages against former CRI employees.


The Martin family, trying to follow the Biblical mandate of Matthew 18, contacted Hanegraaff regarding their many concerns (they had launched a 2-yr investigation of their own to see if the many accusations were true). To read the letter they sent him, see this site which is maintained by family members of the late Walter Martin.

Not surprisingly, Hanegraaff refused to answer their questions. According to the Martin family,

“Several months passed after this (we did not rush to make anything public) until the morning of April 6, 2000. A reporter from the LA Times called our home and asked me a direct question: "Is it true the Martin family is not happy with the leadership of Hank Hanegraaff?" I could not lie--either directly or by omission. We did not go to the LA Times, they came to us.” The LA Times ran an article soon thereafter titled “Walter Martin's Widow Calls For Hanegraaff Resignation” (Very similar to the events surrounding the President of MABTS “calling” for BBC’s pastor to resign in the Commercial Appeal)

This same site also contains 5 detailed testimonials from former CRI employees regarding their personal stories of what they endured while working at CRI. Below are some selected comments that echo many similarities from the BBC situation.

Getting an audience with Hank is quite difficult, as it was while working for CRI

Hank told Tony Horpel, Dennis Green and me that he would accomplish this reshaping by 'systematically forcing the resignations of all of the research staff over a relatively short period of time."

On several occasions Hank had confided that he thought Craig Hawkins was not a team player. That he had an agenda of his own and was a threat. I recommended that he confront Craig with his differences. He never did.
(Similar to how Matthew 18 guidelines were ignored by the leadership at BBC)

Hank put his arm around my shoulders, leaned over to quietly explain . . . 'Craig Hawkins is a wolf in sheep's clothing, he's power hungry . . . I'll be getting rid of him as soon as I possibly can. You know, my wife Kathy has the gift of discernment and she says Craig is out to destroy me and my ministry here. He wants nothing more than to take over and force me out. He's got news coming . . . He's outta here!!" I couldn't believe my ears . . . I was in shock!

Several former employees also stated that, "Working at CRI under Hank Hanegraaff was like being involved in a cult. We never expected to encounter so much fear in a 'Christian' organization." This sense of fear, oppression, and paranoia…. Several of these people believed they were called by God to serve at CRI. They've told me that they were willing to make, and did make, many sacrifices in order to work there. And yet, Hank told me these very same people were the "enemy" to his ministry. They were conceited, puffed up, and thought more highly of themselves than they should. These individuals were out to "destroy me" and refused his "God given authority” ..the testimony of more than 20 people from different backgrounds tell their personal stories of abuse, authoritarian rule, lying and distortions of truth as well as what appears to be pathological behavior and manipulation by Mr. Hanegraaff.

Hank consistently demonstrates conduct unbecoming of Christian leadership. When confronted by concerns, questions, or comments regarding his credentials or decision making, Hank exhibits anger, verbal outbursts, endless self-defense, manipulation of other's words and self-aggrandizement. These are not marks or characteristics of a sensitive, humble, Christian leader.

The following serious questions about Hank include:

• Alleged plagiarism in both Hank's Memory Dynamics and Personal Witness Training programs

• Alleged personal cruelty towards employees, i.e., yelling and swearing at them while they worked at CRI

• Alleged use of foul language and crude remarks

• Alleged abuse of power: threats and intimidation if questioned • Alleged wrongful termination of CRI employees who did ask questions • Alleged use of CRI resources to further the sales of his "for profit" businesses Memory Dynamics and Personal Witness Training

• Alleged misuse of funds Hank and Kathy Hanegraaff's salary (including expense accounts, etc.) had zoomed to more than $410,000 per year without justification, and that there were media reports that indicated that Kathy Hanegraaff rarely came in to work; that CRI employees were unsure of what her role was and that her office was instead used as a storage area….
(similar to JAX situation) Wallwatchers, an independent organization that examines ministries' finances and ethical controls, slammed CRI and issued a "donor alert." Unfortunately that’s not the end of the story. In 2007, Hank came under federal mail fraud investigation as a result of an unusual fundraising appeal. CRI/Hanegraaff filed a lawsuit against the publisher of the Christian Sentinel who first reported on this investigation.

A California appeals court ruled that CRI/Hanegraaff violated California anti-SLAPP legislation by filing frivolous law suit against Alnor (the publisher) A three judge panel ordered CRI/Hanegraaff to pay Alnor's legal expenses that could be in the quarter million dollar range, although legal wrangling continues over how much CRI will have to pay. Finally, it was surprising to learn than Hank apparently has no formal training despite his being widely known as the “Bible Answer Man”. He has also been accused of plagiarizing much of D. James Kennedy’s material from the Evangelism Explosion (EE) curriculum. According to a very revealing response written by Dr. Kennedy himself regarding these accusations, Hank was actually saved under the ministry of D. James Kennedy and was employed for a time in the Development Department of Evangelism Explosion International. For the complete article of Dr. Kennedy’s views on Hanegraaff’s plagiarism and qualifications see here. In light of all of this evidence, please be on alert and use discernment in supporting this or any ministry. No longer can the BBC and JAX circumstances be considered isolated cases. This type of rampant abuse among our “leaders” is widespread and needs to be exposed.

It seems leaders like these are often given a pass because it is argued that they preach/teach solid Biblical doctrine (for the most part, at least). However, that is not enough, they must also be held to account for what they do and say away from their pulpit (or studio microphone as is the case here.) As Christians, we are called to live in a Christ-like manner both when we are on display to the world and behind closed doors. Are our Christian leaders called to any less?

For the complete articles please see the following links:

Christianity Today Article http://www.cultlink.com/ar/darlenemartin.htm

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c174aa.html

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c174ab.html

http://www.cultlink.com/news/CRIfraud.htm

http://www.cultlink.com/ar/cristat.htm

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/4040

Ministry Watch report http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c174ac01.html - (this link provides a timeline of all that has occurred at CRI)