Shepherd, Hireling or Wolf?
Updated: Aug 26
The bible says... John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
Homer Lindsay Jr was the shepherd of FBC JAX until he died in 2000. He gave his life for the sheep. When he died First Baptist Church of Jacksonville FL died as well.
I think a church dies when the shepherd dies. The one who follows next is usually just a hireling... maybe a wolf. The people of FBC JAX have a name that they livest and are dead. In biblical terms.... Revelation 3:1 ... I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Dr Vines left in 2006. Before he left he preached a sermon that sticks in my mind.
He was on stage and I was sitting to his left. He held up his hands out in front of his chest, turned to his right and moved in that direction talking about those who live life following the path of sin. He encouraged everybody to turn from their sins. Then he did an about face and walked to his left... turn from your sins, repent of your sins and believe on Jesus to be saved. That was his message.
That has always disturbed me. Why? This is not the gospel I grew up with. Romans 16:17.
People enjoy their sins. And, if they are honest then they will tell the person giving them the "repent of your sins gospel".... I enjoy sinning. I enjoy drinking, doing drugs, fooling around, fornicating, lying, cheating, stealing... you name it. The 'honest' wolf then has to DENY them salvation because they will not repent of their sins.
The irony is... either way... the person still would not be saved. They would not be saved if they accepted the "repent of your sins" gospel and they would not be saved if they rejected the "repent of your sins" gospel.
Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Sheep produce sheep.
Goats produce goats.
At the very least I can say Dr Vines was a hireling who listened to the 'sexy' words other preachers were preaching and incorporated 'repent of your sins' heresy into his theology. At worst... he was a wolf.
Vines was no shepherd because he did not give his life for the sheep. When the going got tough he retired and left. He continued preaching at conventions, colleges and churches, selling merchandise in person and online... getting paid for filthy lucre's sake.
I checked wikipedia. They categorize him as a sermonizer. That is a good label for him.
The church formed a pulpit committee when Vines left and recommended Mac Brunson. The church did as the pulpit committee recommended and voted for Mac Brunson.
One of the first things Brunson did was he held a unity service. That was weird. He invited people from other faiths to come to FBC JAX and speak from the pulpit.
Homer Lindsay Jr considered his pulpit to be SACRED. Homer did NOT turn his pulpit over to ANYBODY unless he was for sure certain they were saved. When we were in the Hobson auditorium he hated every time they moved his pulpit. When he built the Ruth Lindsay auditorium he had them set his pulpit in concrete. It NEVER moved again. When he built the main auditorium in the 1990's he set his pulpit in concrete again.
And then, Mac Brunson let heathen speak from Lindsay's sacred pulpit. Sacrilege.
Attendance started to dwindle under Brunson. We created the Jacksonville Passion Play with a long haired Jesus in a long flowing robe. We had Santa in our Christmas program. And still... attendance dwindled. I wonder why.
Brunson eventually announced his departure... no real reason why was given... all hush hush and then he left. We were assured there was no scandal involved.
Brunson 'brought' Heath Lambert in as co-pastor before he left. That was a strange move. Heath was not a pastor. Wasn't trained as a pastor. Had no desire to be a pastor. He was head of the counseling ministry. He was a liberal who went to a Calvinist college. He is a Calvinist. Heath will not preach AGAINST Calvinism because, in his own words, "Calvinism is NOT our fight". Heath is short for heathen, I think.
Heath's message every time he preaches is 'It's about your sins... It's about your sins... It's about your sins... so repent of your sins and trust in Jesus and you can be saved." The message from every member on staff is 'Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus" to be saved. They all preach another gospel that is not the gospel. They pervert the gospel... as Dr Vines did.
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Heath said his mother abused him and his twin brother when growing up. He reconciled with his mother and then damned her to hell saying... "Mama! You can be saved IF you will just REPENT OF YOUR SINS!".
What happened AT First Baptist?
"How did a single congregation grow to become one of the largest and most influential churches in America only to experience a cataclysmic decline that placed it's very existence in doubt?"
What happened TO First Baptist?
FBC JAX went from Shepherd to Hirelings to WOLVES.
The podcast What happened AT First Baptist will be released on August 7th. There will be no mention of hirelings and wolves.
Update: I just found out Jerry Vines wrote a book in 1992 (CORRECTION 1977!!!) called "Fire in the Pulpit". In his book (p 105-106) he says, "There has to be conviction of sin and then there must be repentance of sin... There are some people today who are talking about a salvation which does not include repentance from sin. But Jesus said repentance is an absolute essential. There can be no salvation, there can be no regeneration, there can be no new birth experience until the individual repents of his sin and asks God to be merciful to him. a sinner, and forgive him of his sin."
Let me be clear. I am talking about a salvation that does NOT include repentance from sin. Salvation does NOT include repentance from sin.
You must believe you are a sinner. Romans 3:23
You must believe there is a hell. Matthew 10:28
You must believe you need a Savior. Romans 6:23
You must believe on Jesus Christ as Savior. 1 Timothy 4:10
The Gospel is: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Christ died for our sins
Christ was buried
Christ rose again
No repenting of sins is necessary because:
Jesus has washed us from our sins with his blood. Revelation 1:5
Jesus has placed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:12
Our iniquities are forgiven. Our sins are covered. Romans 4:7
Dr Jerry Vines was more than a hireling. He was a wolf. This is why people at FBC JAX think I'm nuts. I believe in Sola Fide. I do not believe in 'Repent of your sins AND trust in Jesus' for salvation.
The subtitle of his book is: "Appeals that spark revival". That means... here are some things you can say to tickle the ears of your listeners... things you can say to generate a buzz among those who think the preaching of the gospel is foolishness.
"Repenting of your sins" is works. Those who are perishing LOVE the gospel of works. It "feels" good to them. It is a damnable heresy that is another gospel that is not the gospel. The gospel, the GOOD NEWS, is NOT ... repent of your sins!
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Sola fide' means faith alone. The word 'and' is not in 'sola fide'. Salvation is not paeniteat peccata vestra et fidem.
For by grace are you saved through faith and repenting of your sins is NOT faith.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...
The falling away HAS taken place. You can check that off in your bible. NEXT... the man of sin will be revealed.
Update. I listened to a podcast this week where Heath said he wanted to become the preacher at his church... and I think he said he was a preacher for a period of time. Then he moved on and got an education in the counseling ministry. Then he became senior pastor at FBC JAX.
That's like good new bad news. The good news is he wasn't preaching another gospel that is not the gospel to a small congregation. The bad news is he is preaching another gospel that is not the gospel to a much larger congregation.
Salvation is not "of yourself". Salvation is what Jesus does.
For by grace are ye saved through faith, and NOT THAT OF YOURSELF.
Repenting of your sins is not faith. You do not have to turn from your sins to be saved. You are not saved when you turn from your sins.
There is no "and" in "Faith Alone". Salvation is not repent of your sins AND trust in Jesus.