Wednesday, April 22, 2009

JSO Explains Subpoena

I finally have enough facts that give me peace about making a statement. The current news situation here in Jacksonville concerning another blogger, http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/, was of great concern to many of you, as well as myself. I have received some of your concerns and questions regarding our privacy being violated.


For those of you that are not aware of this situation, the watchdog blog is concerning First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, the blogger has been anonymous since he started the blog in August of 2007 and posts about concerns he has within the new administration of his church. I do not attend this church and have not been involved with the blog, however, I did grow up in this church and my parents and many friends are still active members. Another reason I have not commented on the blog. However, watchdog took an interest in the Gilyard situation and has been a poster here, as well as an encourager during my blog. He and his wife have now also become our friends.


First Baptist Church went to a Detective in the Fall of last year citing concerns about the blogger, filed a criminal report stating "an Internet incident with possible criminal overtones"; an investigation was opened on September 29th, 2008. My direct issue is that during this investigation my blog was also "looked into" and a subpoena was requested and subsequently granted. I did not learn of this until recently, early March, I was not notified prior to this. I was shocked, then outraged, then worried about the possible violation of many of you (especially victims and anonymous posters). I made an immediate post on the watchdog blog (March 18th comment) and I then checked my anger and decided to get all of the facts together before stating anything further.


Since this time, I have spoken with Deacon's from First Baptist, I have heard their "side" of the story, I have also spoken with others inside and outside of FBC, I have requested a meeting with Pastor Brunson and those involved (didn't happen), I have spoken with the JSO detectives and those involved, I have reviewed all information from all sources and questioned those things that did not make sense to me, of course I have prayed about it as well. I mapped it all out, verified questionable information, made a timeline....I have extensively researched and done my homework before presenting a response.

Below is what I have learned, verified, and now believe to be the truth as best as I can present it. I certainly could still be wrong and more facts will come I am sure.

I have been assured and also believe that Detective Hinson only looked at my blog from the perspective of ownership and to verify that I was not the watchdog or an alias, that we were not conspiring together in some way - thus he looked at the information on my profile and my IP address and then verified that information with Google/Comcast. Once that was confirmed, I was set aside and no further information was requested or gained. He also promptly closed the investigation into the watchdog after realizing there was nothing criminal or any direct threat to the church. This is what I have been assured of and I have asked some tough questions and also made some accusations regarding my fears and concerns. I have asked extensive questions over the course of this last week and all questions have been answered and some more than once, as I re-questioned some things to clarify. I have not felt they withheld anything and I am shocked that they were as open as they have been, they certainly could have told me they "couldn't comment" and I would have just had to deal with it.

Detective Hinson, in my mind, may have had no choice but to look into this case and I feel he did his job, whether or not the church provided him with credible "concerns/evidence" is another matter and will all come out in the end. I just do not want my readers to be concerned or fearful, and I do not want the finger to be pointed at Detective Hinson as I feel that blame would be inappropriate knowing all that I now know. Trust me, the truth will all come out, much like the Gilyard case, just wait and see.

This statement was released to me today by Sheriff Rutherford:

Thursday, April 22, 2009

I would like to clarify some information that has been reported about a recent Intelligence investigation conducted by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, regarding perceived threats against a local religious congregation.

* Our agency is responsible for investigating any perceived threats and possible criminal activity that is reported to us by a citizen. Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant.
* Suspects would not be made aware of this information, if it is gathered in an effort to determine if a threshold of criminality exists and none is found. In this case, the case was closed 11/13/08 with no further action by JSO warranted when no criminal conduct or significant threat to the church was determined to exist.
* In this case, the information about suspicious behavior directed at Pastor Mac Brunson and his home and family was provided to a detective whose normal duty assignment with the JSO is to investigate possible threats against Jacksonville’s religious institutions. He is a member of our Intelligence Unit. He would have investigated this situation had the complaint come from those affiliated with a Mosque, a Synagogue, or any religious organization. This is Detective Hinson’s job as the intelligence point person for the religious community, and other designated critical infrastructure sites in Jacksonville.
* All our religious institutions are a major part of Jacksonville’s critical infrastructure and we remain vigilant in investigating all perceived threats and security issues associated with those institutions. In light of recent violent incidents that have occurred in churches around the country, I think our vigilance is necessary and most appropriate to ensure public safety.
Had another officer received a similar threat or tip or raised a similar concern, Detective Hinson would have ultimately been the officer assigned to investigate. I have no issue with his investigation and there is no conflict of interest because he is affiliated with that particular congregation.
* The fact that the medium used to communicate the messages being investigated was the internet is irrelevant. Investigations are conducted into the sources of anonymous letters, phone calls, and in this day and age websites and emails, any time it is deemed appropriate for public safety. We then look at the contents and sources of internet information regularly, as part of our investigations.
* Ms. Croft’s blog was initially reviewed as a preliminary investigative lead due to the fact that the Croft’s blog site was listed on the fbcwatchdog web site and was unknown to the investigator. Once the blog ownership information was verified by the internet provider and matched the information listed on Ms. Croft’s blog site, Detective Hinson determined that there was no investigative value in Ms. Croft’s blog site.


I hope this information helps clarify for citizens that this was not about “outing” a blogger, but instead was about proactively addressing public safety.

John H. Rutherford, Sheriff
Jacksonville, FL

Please rest assured that we can resume our business and I will diligently seek justice.

Back to the business at hand. Darrell Gilyard's day in court is coming fast, we will cover every bit of the story and keep everyone posted. We are not done yet.

36 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

Did the sheriff explain why they felt the need to subpoena information about the NBBCOF? This whole thing still smells funny to me. Anyone could tell from your writing alone that you and the Watchdog are two people. The fact remains that there were never any criminal overtones to any of our blogs. They were blowing smoke simply to obtain the identity of the Watchdog and perhaps me. I'm convinced they investigated you simply to intimidate you into taking down your blog. If that was their intent, it doesn't appear to have worked. :-)

Anonymous said...

"Trust me, the truth will all come out, much like the Gilyard case, just wait and see."

Those in the SBC who have protected and promoted Gilyard have not repented or even admitted they did anything wrong. That would include Vines and Patterson.

I think Hinson is pulling your leg. I am sure he is a very nice man in person but he should show you the police reports that show some documentation for possible criminal activity. Especially BBC's supposed criminal activity. What justification was there for subpeonaing his private information?

You allude that he had NO choice in the matter but to get the subpeona's. I will tell you that as a citizen, I could not get him to do the same for me without filing some sort of police report.

So, where are the police reports?

I can understand your reluctance to see this situation in any other light due to your family's relationship with the offending church.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Ms. Croft’s blog was initially reviewed as a preliminary investigative lead due to the fact that the Croft’s blog site was listed on the fbcwatchdog web site and was unknown to the investigator. Once the blog ownership information was verified by the internet provider and matched the information listed on Ms. Croft’s blog site, Detective Hinson determined that there was no investigative value in Ms. Croft’s blog site.".

Watchdog also has links to Wade Burleson's blog, Christa Brown's blog, and several SBC blogs. He's also commented on Wade and Christa's blogs and possibly on others. I didn't see any subpoenas requesting their personal information.

Also the claim your blog site was "unknown" to the investigator is laughable... at best. You've signed your name to your blog from the beginning, and as you said, your family are still members of FBC Jax. If Hinson didn't recognize your name, all he had to do was ask, "Hey, Mac (or John Blount), who's this Tiffany woman?" I mean, "Thigpen" isn't exactly a common name. Mac knows who you are even if Hinson didn't. Would it not make sense to simply pick up the phone and ask before requesting a subpoena? Sorry, I'm just not buying this.

Anonymous said...

The good news is that the time for "spin" and weak explanations and covering for each other are over. The lawyers on this case for the Watchdog WILL get to the bottom of it. And that includes the JSO, the SAO and Mac and Debbie Brunson. Depositions under oath are very useful in these kinds of situations...and they ARE coming.

There never was ANY link of ANY criminal activity to the WD or any other blogger. :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:23, do you know for a fact Mr. Rich has lawyers involved?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:08 - I don't know about lawyers and Mr. Rich, but there is a rumor floating about that FBC Jax got the JSO involved in trying to find Mr. Rich's identity. Do you think that is possible?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 10:40,

Excuse me? Are you serious? A rumor???

WOWER said...

That is funny!
a Rumor?

Guess some just woke up.

poof

Anonymous said...

Tiffany;

What happens to those who get caught red handed? They spin.

Based on your post, I can see them working on you to soften you up.

You guys HAVE to file a suit against all parties for US and for all I mean ALL concerning the 1st Amendment.

You have a clear cut case and cause.

Please YOU, Tom, and BBC come together as one and FIGHT this - otherwise you can and will sitback and allow this to occur many many more times and wished you guys would have proceeded.

If $$$$$ is an issue, just ask for donations to your attorney and we (as Bloggers) will support you.

You guys get it going. File and take it all the way to the Supreme Court if you have to!

Do not let them sweet talk any of you. It is like the guy who was caught viewing PORN in a church, he wasn't remorseful, UNTIL it went public! Then he was sorry.

Convey this to TOM and BBC -

Please - I would!

Anonymous said...

"Depositions under oath are very useful in these kinds of situations...and they ARE coming."

If you think 'under oath' means anything to these people, you are dreaming. They have proven that over and over. All they have to do is get their stories straight.

they have been 'under oath' from day one as professing Christians. Why would a secular court room make telling the truth more important to a Christian?

And most of the incriminating documents have been destroyed. These are not men that Christians should imitate.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon,

Excellent points! That's what I've been saying from the beginning. Mac and A.C. Soud have shown no compunction about lying from the pulpit. (Mac re Klouda, Soud re the Watchdog.) What in the world makes anyone think they'll be any more likely to tell the truth under oath? Christians should tell the truth whether they're under oath or not! I'm sure there have already been clandestine meetings with their lawyers where they've all sat around and gotten their stories straight. Then they all go in and tell the same story. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

I say "under oath" because they face the penalties of perjury when they are caught. These kinds of guys are used to conning and sweet talking people and skirting the issues. When hard questions are pressed to each one for a couple of hours, and the stories don't add up, they cannot back pedal and change what they said. For example: Detective Hinson's only defense is that he was acting on solid leads or allegations of mail stealing and stalking. Where are the police reports? Where is the evidence? He MUST rely on the Brunsons, personally, to back up his only defense. Yet if the Brunson's themselves can't or won't back up what they told him, then he is caught defenseless. The question will ultimately be which one goes down? Hinson or Brunson? You figure it out. The problem is that now it is not just Hinson. It is John Rutherford, Angela Corey and the General Counsel's office who all claimed no wrongdoing by Hinson. They are assuming he acted on credible criminal leads. There were none! And even if their were, how in the world would they be related to some guy's blog IP address?

The more these public officials and church leaders make statements trying to cover for themselves, the more they paint themselves into a corner. The truth will come out in depositions and the truth is the church wanted to find out who the blogger was for a long time. They used the JSO and SAO to out him, and then they used that information to slander him and kick him out of the church. Shameful.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I agree if anyone is going to take the fall it'll be Hinson. However, the JSO is circling the wagons to protect him, so I guess it comes down to how effective they all are at memorizing the script. And trust me, there is a script! At this point they're in damage control mode.

Anonymous said...

That may be fine for you and satisfy you, but it doesn't satify me in the least. Once JSO determined that no crime had been committed, Hinson should "not" have released watchdog's name to FBC. This smacks of 1st Amendment violations, don't you think? This is the heavy hand of government being employed by FBC to get what they wanted. I think this is shameful. I hope watchdog sues FBC and JSO.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time on this blog and I find Tiffany to be the only sane one in this bunch. Tom Rich and the woman in Memphis are truly fringe sociopaths and have gotten exactly what they deserve.

It is sad but somewhat amusing to listen to you anonymous bloggers posting about "your" rights and how you will help financially if they want to hire attorneys. What a sick joke. You and I both know you won't contribute a dime.

Tiffany, thank you for being a sane voice in the midst of a bunch of inmates running the asylum. They would be well advised to listen to your voice of reason.

Anonymous said...

Tiffany, I no longer believe anything you post.

Because of your weakness, Gilyard will walk.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Tiffany is one of the few people who has had the courage to sound the alarm about Gilyard! If he walks it won't be because of her "weakness." It'll be because he's found "not guilty" in a court of law.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anonymous 6:37 troll,

You're right about one thing. Nobody's offered me a dime to help with legal expenses, and I doubt anyone would. But I suppose you don't think any of us has a leg to stand on anyway.

No One Special said...

As far as under oath, it might be a little hard to enforce if just 1 or 2 of the deacons find a spine.

And Anon. 4/23 6:51, wow, really??? How?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"Fringe sociopaths".

Versus "mainstream sociopaths"?

Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

New BBC,

Seems like you get on everyone's blog trying to get some attention for yourself. You and your blog have basically become a non-entity so why don't you move along.

Tom Rich,

You would probably fit the bill for a mainstream sociopath. Sorry for miscategorizing you.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Anon @ April 23 @ 6:51:
I am sorry you feel this way, everyone is certainly entitled to his/her opinion.
One thing is called of me as a christian, that is to do what is right - whether I am right or wrong, I have to do and say what I feel is right and then the Holy Spirit can convict me otherwise.
I certainly stand the chance of not being popular or loosing credibility, or being hated, or loved, or misunderstood...but the only thing that really matters to me in the end is if I feel I did my best, did what I felt was right, and I if feel that I have not dishonored God. I cannot live to please man, impossible anyway as everyones opinion's vary - I can only strive to please God.

On another note, all of the name calling against the Watchdog, BBC open forum and others - is really so unecessary and definitely not God honoring, no matter what side you are on. Atleast we can express our opinions without slandering each other, don't you think enough of that has been done already and gotten us all nowhere?

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

I should have re-checked my post - sorry for all of the spelling errors, I am obviously tired and hanging it up for the night : )

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wow. I never realized I or "my" blog was ever "an entity." LOL!

"Fringe sociopaths".

Now, now, Tom. Don't you know that's legal talk? Calling someone a "fringe sociopath" protects you from liability since it doesn't rise to the level of slander like calling him a "mainstream sociopath" would. (I'm sure Mac meant you're only a fringe sociopath, too.)

Anonymous said...

Tiffany,

Thank you for being the only true voice of reason in this whole affair. Also, when criticizing those who say things about Tom Rich and the still anonymous sister in Memphis, please be sure your comments are directed to them also. They are masters of slander, criticism, and inuendo.

At least your blog has maintained a standard of truth and integrity--therefore you will have more supporters of truth.

John said...

I just started following this issue a couple of weeks ago. I was in the youth group at FBC around the same time Tiffany was and still have several friends who attend that church. The following posting that I left on the Times-Union website sums up what I feel about the situation. Oh, and for the record, my name is John F.

"Some things to consider.... 1) Abuse of power is wrong regardless of what creed, be it scriptural or legal, that is used to justify it. It's sickening when anyone justifies immoral actions based on what they consider to be holy "words of God". This is just as true for something that seems as insignificant as using the local law enforcement to discover the identity of someone who is speaking against you as it is for justifying mass murder through jihad. 2) I'm afraid that the JSO mentality of "get the bad guy before he might do something wrong" is a by-product of a fundamental shift in American thinking over the past 8 years. It's only logical to expect that the same ideals that would allow the Freedom Act to exist would trickle down to local law enforcement and even in personal relationships with one another. Since when is it OK to hold people accountable for what they MIGHT do? This is a scary trend. 3) As for the detective who revealed the information to the church after no wrongdoing or illegality was discovered, his actions reveal one of the fundamental flaws with the megachurch system. I attended FBC when I lived in Jacksonville and have been part of many different churches (big and small) in the years since. One thing that I have found is that regardless of the church size, members long to make personal connections both with each other and with the leaders of the church. Why is this? Quite simply, no one wants to feel insignificant or unknown. In a small church, this might not be as big an issue as it is much easier to create a sense of close-knit community. In a large church, you have to do something extraordinary to be noticed, especially by a pastor who for obvious reasons is unable to get to know every parishioner on a personal level. People want to feel a "pat on the back" by those they look up to for leadership and guidance and I imagine this is what caused the detective to have a lapse in judgment: the desire to please the man he works for and protects. 4) Several posters have attacked Rich for his anonymous dissent. While an argument can be made that things might have progressed differently had there been more deliberate and open communication between both parties, it is easy to understand why he chose to remain anonymous. It's not always easy or prudent to go up against a powerful entity (church, government, etc.) as a lone voice crying in the wilderness when you feel there is an injustice being carried out. It's especially true in this particular case where you have dogmatic, unbending church leaders and their passionately loyal church members who are either too afraid or ignorant to question the status quo. FBC has always had a massive web of influence in every aspect of Jacksonville and it's very likely that right or wrong, Rich feared the backlash that would come from openly speaking out. After all, isn't it true that the Gestapo tactics used by FBC and the JSO have justified those fears? 5) The saddest part of this entire saga is the blatant lack of humility, forgiveness, and unmistakable desire for restoration that could have prevented this travesty. For the leadership and members of FBC, why is dissent something that you should fear? After all, if your policies and beliefs are beyond reproach and infallible, how could dissent be a threat to you? Why can't you be humble enough to even entertain any of the criticisms in terms of possible validity? Are you so arrogant to think that you have it all figured out and therefore are beyond reproach? What might have been if instead of using intimidating tactics such as discipline councils and trespass warnings, you had listened thoughtfully to the dissent? I encourage you to not fear dissent but to allow it to sharpen you and your beliefs. Not from a dogmatic insistence on maintaining your convictions but to truthfully test the validity of the dissent. After all, if what you believe really is truth, questioning those beliefs won't cause you to conclude otherwise. For Mr. Rich, I applaud your courage to stand up against perceived injustice. Our human history is marked with stories of those who did the same: our Revolutionary ancestors, Oskar Schindler (who incidentally was also very secretive in his opposition to Nazi Germany....do you think any of the hundreds of Jews he saved think he is less of a hero because of that?), and even Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, our history is also marked by those who remained silent and allowed travesties to go unchecked. My advice to you would be to walk away from this saga with dignity, humility, and grace. What better way to show dissent than by modeling the kind of behavior that you have longed for in those who have stood against you?"

Anonymous said...

To see all the people in the Baptist church playing each other, the cops playing Tiffany Croft, the Brunson supporters thinking that because their pastor chose to be UnChristian in the newspaper and call somebody a sociopath that now THEY won't answer to God EITHER by their name calling, to see the deacons play Tiffany Croft and her having to live with what is probably huge pressure from her family to back off (thats an assumption based on living with people myself who can't see the truth in this issue and want it all to go away), to see the people who want this all to go away playing each other pretending that its the Christian thing to do to "back down", to see the New BBC having something wrong done against them and now being put in the position of having to be the "bad guy" if you follow it up, to realize that Mac Brunson probably just wanted all the blogs down because they made him lose ultimate power over what was being said about, well, EVERYTHING....(thats why he won't meet with you Tiffany Croft, sorry, he couldn't spin if he was talking directly to you and he might have to feel bad, this way he doesn't have to feel anything....I saw a show the other night and did you know that THAT was the defination of a sociopath...somebody who doesn't FEEL anything...remorse, pity, etc.....)to see the Watchdog being constantly labeled a sociopath thanks to the one and only Mac Brunson ya'll-A SOCIOPATH OMG......play play play. Thats all Baptists know how to do. Thats why I'm not a Baptist anymore and I say good riddance. I KNOW you are trying to be "Christian" about all this Mrs. Croft....but don't you understand that to people like the ones you are dealing with, sadly, you just open the door even more for them to use you when you let them get away with that absolutely LAME explanation of what they were doing serving a CRIMINAL SUBPEONA on this blog. Oh my gosh. Give me a headache. Give me a BREAK. Call me jaded....but thats the lamest excuse I EVER HEARD.

Unless any of you people are going to sue, or take this to court in some fashion, really....why don't ya'll just run run run for the nearest exit, and get away from these power mad types of people. This is leading to bad bad things. This is a bad bad thing they have done. The blogs, some of which I agreed with, some of which I didn't...NEVER came up to the level of behavior of the FBC Church and JSO, etc. NEVER. (just one persons opinion.)

Anonymous said...

Tiffany,
I just want to thank you for your last post regarding JSO/Det. Hinson. I appreciate you doing your homework and explaining that your questions were answered even more than once. All too many times JSO gets a bad wrap from people, just for doing their jobs.

Hopefully, most of you readers realize that the News, be it the paper or on T.V., make their stories as controversial as possible to attract reader and watchers. I am not saying that he did or didn't say it, but how do we not know that Dr. Brunson's, "sociopath" comment was not taken out of context?? We are all too quick to judge and point the fingers and call for a pastor to resign. Thats not our job, and I would like to meet you, if you are without sin. I know my Bible tells me that there is only 1 judge and one sinless, so we need to STOP throwing stones. All this does, is feed the Christian Haters even more reason to talk bad about us.
In HIM,
Shelly

Anonymous said...

Hi Tiffany:

I can see how some of the deacons might mislead you into thinking that they had a right and responsibility to investigate the WD blog. They believe what they were told. I knowthat they were not told the whole truth.

As to Det. Hinson, he was just following orders. But I know that the trumped up charges used to get the investigation moving were, at best, less than fully true. And we all know what you get when partial truths are given as the truth.

You're absolutely right that the truth will come out in the end. In the meantime there is much damage done by the leadership @FBCJ. The preacher could have solved this a long time ago and it would never have gone to the newspaper!

Concerning Darrell Gilyard: God is not mocked. If Darrell gets away with it here on earth he will certainly NOT get away with it in eternity. I am praying that he will finally be put in jail for his crimes!

Anonymous said...

Shelly - Are you kidding? How could calling someone a sociopath be taken out of context?

Maybe the preacher really said: "He's a really wonderful person but he happens to also be a sociopath" and the reporter quoted only "he's a sociopath." ???

Anonymous said...

Shelly - I agree. Can't we all stop throwing stones? yes. And let's go further, can't we all stop taking $307K land gifts three weeks after arriving, stop taking over $300K every year total compensation, stop guarding the by-law changes, stop the nepotism, stop the verbal beatings from the pulpit, stop slandering former members by calling them sociopaths? Or is it just the blogging that you wish to stop Shelly? Interesting...

Lydia said...

"Hopefully, most of you readers realize that the News, be it the paper or on T.V., make their stories as controversial as possible to attract reader and watchers. I am not saying that he did or didn't say it, but how do we not know that Dr. Brunson's, "sociopath" comment was not taken out of context??"

Then why doesn't Mac issue a statement and put it on the church website next to the resolution. Oh wait. They took that down after this all came out. Wonder why?


" We are all too quick to judge and point the fingers and call for a pastor to resign. Thats not our job, "

Whose job is it?


"d I would like to meet you, if you are without sin. I know my Bible tells me that there is only 1 judge and one sinless, so we need to STOP throwing stones. All this does, is feed the Christian Haters even more reason to talk bad "

You will have to explain 1 Corin 5 and Matthew 6-7, 1 Peter 4, etc. to me then, because you are changing the meaning.

According to your own words, it means that no pastor can preach on any sin because he is a sinner. Your words also mean that Brunson judged WD. It would also mean that you could never judge a practicing homosexual who started worshiping at your church. Or an adulterer. It would also mean that Jim JOnes' followers could never judge him.

I would do an indepth study on judging if I were you. You have the typical mega church (seeker) understanding of it. It is very indepth and you cannot take a few proof texts and understand what it means in the Body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I think the deacons of FBC, Jax had every right and responsibility to investigate Tom Rich. Anytime a man says the things he said about the Brunsons and the leadership of the church he needs to be dealt with. I probably would not have chosen the same means but the reality exists that he needed to be dealt with since he was destroying the spirit of the church.

For all of you people who seem to continually bring up Mac Brunson's salary (of which none of you know the true figure) you need to schedule a meeting with the Finance/Budget/Personnel Committees since they are the one who know the truth and set his salary. I'm sure they are all also well aware of the land gift that he was given. Of course there is only one problem with your scheduling this meeting--you have to be a member of the church and I figure most of you are not.

All of this pathetic scandal could have been avoided if Tom Rich had never opened his blog and had had the integrity to go in and meet with Mac and the proper committees in the beginning.

Also please note that noone on any blog I have read has met personally with anyone in authority at FBC, Jax so in essence, none of them actually know what they are talking about. Too bad Tom Rich didn't have the integrity to actually meet with the deacons/grievance committee and then he might actually have some real facts to share with us. Then maybe some people would actually believe his rants.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

I have to clarify this point. While you are correct that "no one posting has met personally with anyone of authority at FBC" the fact is that this is not because meetings weren't requested, it is because they were denied.

That is one of the problems in this and many other situations - people make judgements and opinions (both sides) when they don't know all of the facts. IF a meeting had been granted to Mr. Rich in the first place (earlier on and even once the public knew) all of this would be settled quietly by now and would not be so embarrassingly public. I have seen the correspondence between Mr. Rich and the church, he did wish to meet with them, not just Pastor Brunson but in fact was willing to meet with the whole committee - but they played hardball and wanted it on their terms and would not conceed to Mr. Rich's reasonable request (very valid ones at that).

Additionally, once I was drug into this, I requested a meeting with Pastor Brunson (my husband would have been present) not only about my involvement, but also about helping to possibly handle this all properly and I spoke of the fact that it would all be very ugly if it went public and that FBC needed to take a step (as leaders) in the right direction. A Godly direction. They chose not to meet with me, or even talk with me for that matter. They denied my offer to set up a meeting between Mr. Rich and them (as all parties were not speaking at that point before the story hit the media). Mr. Rich would have met with them, but they did not step up.

Thy Peace said...

Jacksonville Times-Union > Woman accepts her blog's role in church investigation
She now understands police interest amid First Baptist Church probe
.

God bless you Tiffany. Your writings are full of Grace, Truth and Love.

Anonymous said...

"I think the deacons of FBC, Jax had every right and responsibility to investigate Tom Rich. Anytime a man says the things he said about the Brunsons and the leadership of the church he needs to be dealt with."

Think long and hard about what this commenter says. Is this really the way churches are going to operate? When real persecution comes, some of it will come from the inside. Scripture says that they will kill you thinking they are doing it for God. Scripture also tells us that many will do great things in the Name of Jesus but He will say: I never knew you. These folks will most likely be leaders in the churches.

Is this person saying that anyone who critisizes leaders must be "dealt with"? These are very scary words and have nothing to do with what scripture teaches us.

One thing this situation has taught me is how scary some mega church people are in their thinking. They have the gospel backwards. They have not been taught well at all.