I suspect this is a first. On February 25, the President of the Board of Trustees of one of the nation’s largest megachurches – First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Florida – presented a resolution against a blogger.
WHEREAS, it has come to the attention of the Deacons of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville that the ministry, staff, leadership, Pastor and people of the church have come under severe, but false, criticism and ridicule by means of a blog site on the internet which publishes to the world; and
WHEREAS, a current blog site, owned and administered by an immediate past member of the church, calling and advocating for the dissemination of such harmful opinions, false statements and doctrine to all members of the church by using whatever contact means that are available, including Sunday school rolls with home and email addresses and phone numbers; and
WHEREAS, said member, within the last three weeks, has requested his letter be transferred to a sister church in Jacksonville, Florida, but only after being advised that the Discipline Committee of the Deacons would recommend to the Deacon body that disciplinary action be taken against him for such conduct which the Deacons find is contrary to scripture and the by-laws of the Church; and
WHEREAS, such opinions and false statements have the potential of causing financial and spiritual risk and damage to the church and its personnel, ministries, reputation and goodwill, however and by whatever means communicated, as well as having the intent to be divisive and cause strife and disgruntlement among church members against the ministries, staff, leadership, Pastor and people; and
WHEREAS, the Deacons believe it is in the best interest of the Church that a policy be adopted by the Deacons, Trustees and the Church body condemning such action and conduct, both now and in the future, by any person or persons who are then members of the Church, whether such action and conduct is done, advocated or communicated to other members of the Church by whatever means is available to them; and
WHEREAS, members who participate or actively pursue a course of conduct like that described above will be confronted with their sin and approached in accordance with the biblical pattern for the purpose of reconciliation, restoration and/or scriptural discipline; and
WHEREAS, it is not the intent of this Resolution to suppress thought or freedom of expression in casual or official encounters, but those which have a manifest aim and intent to cause a mood of disgruntlement, strife and/or division among members of the church toward any person, ministry, operation, leadership and/or Pastor of the Church; and
WHEREAS, the Trustees of the Church are charged with managing the legal and financial affairs of the church, and are an integral part of the Deacon body for the purpose of organizational and scriptural unity for the work and ministry of the church, and said Trustees have likewise unanimously adopted such a Resolution as this on February 18, 2009,
WHEREAS, it is the belief and expression of the Deacons herein that division, strife, and discord caused to church members, and unjust criticism and ridicule of the ministry, staff, leadership, Pastor and people expressed to the general public at large in any form and by any means by any member of the church should be viewed as an attack against the Lord’s church contrary to Scriptural truth and confronted aggressively in accordance with scripture and the disciplinary provisions of the By-laws of the church; and
WHEREAS, in such circumstances it would be detrimental to the ministry of the Lord and His church to not take any action, or to defer taking action, or to simply maintain and update a responsive website, or to attempt to resolve any such issue in a court of law;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE DEACONS OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF JACKSONVILLE that the foregoing policy of biblical confrontation and restoration as stated above is hereby adopted and approved for the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and request that this Resolution be presented to the Church body at its regular monthly business meeting to adopt, endorse and encourage a policy strongly dealing with discipline in issues such as described above, but in strict accordance with scriptural authority and the By-laws of the church, by voting on this Resolution.
DATED AND APPROVED, by the Deacons, this 23rd day of February, 2009, at a regular meeting.
The foregoing Resolution was approved by vote of the Church sitting in regular business meeting on February 25, 2009.