Pulpit Committee Q & A – Part 10

When their pastoral offices becomes vacant, many Baptist churches form what is know as a “pulpit is committee”. A pulpit committee typically consists of several church members whom the body has tasked with seeking, interviewing, and recommending pastoral candidates. Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions these churches ask pastoral candidates? How do you think potential pastors should answer these questions? In this on-going series, I will provide actual inquiries from a questionnaire sent to me by the pulpit committee of a Southern Baptist Church, along with my answers. Each part of this series will examine a different question and answer from the church’s questionnaire. Feel free to interact in the comment section with your own opinions of how the questions should have been asked and answered.

(Note: The identity and location of the church has been replaced with generic terms).

Question:

What are two things you’ve learned in the past year?

Answer:

I learned that formal cost deployment planning is more effective than brainstorming (I learned this studying financial methods at work).  I also learned a lot about child-rearing techniques, I am expecting my 5th child.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Dishonest Georgia Baptist Good Ole Boys: The Nomination of Thomas Hammond

The Georgia Baptist Mission Board (GBMB) is set to nominate a new Executive Director. The new director will replace Dr. J. Robert White, who plans to retire this December after 26 years at the helm of the organization. White may best be remembered for constructing the GMB’s opulent $45M headquarters on Sugarloaf Parkway in Gwinnet County.

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Outgoing Christian Index Editor Gerald Harris described White’s tenure as follows:

“To Georgia Baptists, White’s retirement announcement signals the end of an era – an era of heavenly blessings and substantial growth. Baptist life is sometimes characterized by many dangers, toils, and snares, but for many Georgia Baptists the last 25 years have been like a spiritual Camelot. He will be greatly missed, but his staff and Baptists across the state will savor the next nine months of his leadership.”

Georgia Baptists should not be surprised that the Index, which is itself a division of the GBMB, would remember its own leadership so fondly. Nor should they be surprised that the man tapped by its CEO search committee, Thomas Hammond, has already been written about as effusively by the state Baptist paper. Hammond is currently the Pastor of First Baptist Church Alpharetta (FBCA). In an article published today, announcing Hammond’s candidacy to replace White, Gerald Harris wrote:

“Thomas brings a passion to win the lost, a deep respect and love for pastors, and a vision for the future of Georgia Baptists. Thomas comes with a heart for serving ethnic churches, encouraging young pastors, and equipping all churches of all sizes to share the Gospel with the lost.”

Hammond would bring a wealth of experience to the role for which he will be recommended. He has provided outstanding leadership for First Baptist Church of Alpharetta. During his pastorate at the Fulton County church he has led the congregation to be among the top ten fastest-growing churches in the Georgia Baptist Convention in the large church category for three years, planted two churches with plans to launch a third this month, and invested heavily in starting new churches.”

This is high praise from Harris. However, can the Christian Index be trusted? The answer is “no”. Here’s what a former member of First Baptist Alpharetta with close ties to top Southern Baptist leadership stated to me this afternoon after I shared with him the news of Hammond’s nomination:

“This is a complete lie. It’s amazing how the good ole boy network spins things. FBC Alpharetta was down 30% year over year in attendance in February of this year. They did not plant three churches. They tried to plant a college church in Dahlonega and stopped sending support when after three years- the plant couldn’t support itself and closed its doors. I know that pastor well. They inherited the second church and did nothing with it for 2 years. It still remains closed. The third church was planted by about 5 churches in the Atlanta area. The only reason they are claiming credit is a lot of their members were fleeing FBCA. I know those members that left. And if good leadership is having over 25 staff members quit in a three year period then I don’t understand leadership…And if you can name me 1 ethnic church he has helped or supported- I’ll give all my tithe this year to him. FBCA was 99% white. They stuck the Hispanic and Persian ministries in the closet on Sunday nights…I’m happy for that church. They finally have a pilot who isn’t flying the church into the side of a mountain.”

Given the numbers at FBCA and Hammond’s unsuccessful record at the North American Mission Board, it’s clear that The Christian Index is not a trustworthy source for Georgia Baptist News. Rather it’s biased and self-serving. Nevertheless, The Index has provided the obvious reason Hammond was nominated for the post:

“At Alpharetta Hammond has increased the Cooperative Program giving of the church from one percent to six percent. The church budget has increased by 25 percent in the course of his pastorate and has been the top giving and top baptizing church in Roswell Baptist Association since his first year as pastor.”

To put the matter simply, Hammond purchased his job by spending other people’s money. The Cooperative Program is perhaps the most wasteful program in all of evangelicalism. It perpetuates a Good Ole Boy network where success is not measured in souls won and discipled but dollars delivered. Pastors, instead of serving and committing to their churches, bilk them for all the CP money they can get into order to move to high-paying convention jobs. Georgia is ground zero for this activity. I encourage all Georgia Baptists to contact their elders and church finance committee members and demand that support be pulled from the greedy, ungodly cabal that is the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Testimony: Rowland Springs Baptist Church and the Cult of Freemasonry (Part 3)

The following article is the third of a three part testimony about my experience with the cult of Freemasonry at my former church, Rowland Spring Baptist Church.  Rowland Springs Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia and is a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Bartow Baptist Association.  Part One can be found here.  Part Two can be found here.

Easter Intimidation

It was Easter Sunday 2017, I had just finished teaching my final Sunday School class at Rowland Springs Baptist Church (RSBC).  I was sitting in the sanctuary with a friend from seminary, who came to church with me to provide moral support on what was a very trying morning, before the worship service started.  I glanced to the back of the sanctuary to find Alton Kay, the Worshipful Master of Cartersville Lodge #63 staring right at me.  Another church member was pointing me out to him.  There were quite a few Masons in the back of the church that day.  Alton, although he had been ordained a deacon, didn’t come to RSBC much.  He was, however, a long-time member with an extensive family history at Rowland Springs.  According to an interview Alton gave to the local paper on the occasion of the church’s 150th anniversary, his grandfather started the church the 1800s.  Alton had been coming to RSBC for seventy-four years.

The local paper interviews Alton Kay on the occasion of RSBC’s 150th Anniversary.

Educating the church about the wicked nature of Freemasonry was going to be a challenge.  Not only was I freshly dismissed from my Sunday School teaching position, but the routes of the lodge ran deep at RSBC.  Educating ignorant people about a secretive cult is hard enough when their friends and fellow church members are not members.  At RSBC, many long-time members were Freemasons and Lodge officers.  In my opposition to Freemasonry at Rowland Springs, I had no support from the church’s pastor, staff, or Deacon Board.  It was up to me, still relatively new to the church, to stand for biblical truth over and against the reputations of prominent long-time church members who had been respected in the church for years.  I think the Freemasons and the hireling pastor knew this.  That Easter Sunday, the Masonic intimidation factor was on full display, but I didn’t intend to turn tail and run.  It was my biblical responsibility to bring the matter up to the entire church whether I thought they would listen or not.  When the Lord gives you a hill to die on, it doesn’t matter whether or not you think you will manage to make it all the way to the top, you just charge.

Summer and Winter, Springtime and Harvest

The next year at Rowland Springs was a long one.  The fellowship of my weekly Sunday School class, which was one of the primary factors that encouraged me to join RSBC, had been removed.   I think this was strategic on the part of the Pastor and Deacon Board.  Any influence that I had at Rowland Springs was a danger to the unity they had achieved through compromising with the Masonic Lodge.  The Pastor, the hireling Joe Ringwalt, seemed more concerned about potential disagreement between church members than he did with the holiness of the church he was tasked with shepherding.  I think a lot of people would leave a church after the embarrassment of being dismissed as a Sunday School teacher.  Yet I didn’t  and didn’t plan on doing so.  I had to wonder then, as I do now, how many people had left Rowland Springs and similar churches in the past after being condemned in the kind of quiet, basement meeting that the Pastor and Deacons had with me.  As an accountant, that math was very apparent to me.  My family represent one tithe, the Masonic household represented eight.

Walking in each Sunday, I knew that I wasn’t welcome by the leadership.  The congregation, I think, was generally ignorant about what had gone down in the wake of my calling the Freemasons to repentance.  At the same time, I believe the leadership was ever vigilant that I would again bring up the matter of Freemasonry, this time to a larger audience.  Periodically, I would receive a call from the hireling Pastor criticizing me for something I had posted on Facebook and asking me to consider leaving the church.  He and the Student Minister even went as far as to suggest other churches that I should join!  Each time, I responded that I had a right to share my opinion as long as I wasn’t in sin, belonged to Christ, and should thus be welcomed as a member of Christ’s church.  So, my family and I continued going to our church, despite the persistent discouragement from our pastor, not willing to be quietly shooed away when no one was looking.  I also began to save money.  I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to raise the issue of Freemasonry to a church of hundreds but I knew it would be costly.  I was wrapping up the last of my seminary work and was scheduled to graduate in December of 2017.  When that was over, I knew that I could refocus on the cult that permeated my local church.

One particular Sunday, after the worship service, I was walking with Grant McDurmon, the Chairman of Deacons, to the children’s area to retrieve our kids.  We were talking Falcons football; the Masonic Lodge was the farthest thing from mind.  Then, I saw Jim Moore (the Chaplain of Lodge #63) sitting at the end of the children’s hall working security.  Jim was wearing a ball-cap with a Masonic emblem, a pagan symbol, smack dab in the middle of God’s house.  I pointed the matter out to Grant but he was noncommittal in giving his opinion on the matter.  Jim started towards us.  As he walked by Grant said nothing.  I spoke.  “Jim,” I said sternly, “get that pagan symbol off your head in the Lord’s house.”  Grant remained silent.  Jim, full of anger, snapped back at me coldly, “Why don’t you just go back to First Baptist…don’t you ever talk to me again.”  Jim was as indignant about wearing his pagan symbol at church as he was about being the chaplain of the false Masonic Temple.  Grant looked at me, saying nothing to Jim, and told me that what I had done was inappropriate.  This was the environment the pastor had cultivated at Rowland Springs.  I was being rebuked by the Chairman of Deacons for telling someone not to wear a pagan idol to church!  Adam Burrell, the Student Minister, walked up to me as Jim walked away.  I explained to Adam what had happened and he agreed with me that Jim shouldn’t have worn the hat.  He told me that he was going to talk to him about it.  I was somewhat dumbfounded, Adam was the same man who had months earlier told me that Masonry was a matter conscience.  Somehow, though, it was not okay to wear a Masonic emblem to church.

The Chaplain of the Masonic Lodge served as church security wearing a pagan symbol

Word spread of my incident with Jim.  A few days after it happened, I was invited to lunch by a Deacon named Ben Thompson.  Ben and I had talked denominational politics a little bit in the past but had never really hung out.  I considered him to be a fair-minded man.  I thought it was peculiar that he was asking me to lunch after never having done so in the past two years.  I figured that it wasn’t just to chat.  Before lunch started, I resolved to say nothing of Freemasonry to him unless Ben brought it up.  It didn’t take long for him to do so.  He had heard what happened with Jim and wanted my side of the story.  Jim, according to another church member, was threatening to leave the church over the incident.  I explained exactly what had happened that day.  As with Adam, Ben agreed that Jim should not have worn the hat.  Furthermore, Ben agreed with me that Freemasonry was a cult and that something needed to be done about it at Rowland Springs.  This was music to my ears.  Perhaps the matter wouldn’t have to be brought before the church after all.  Perhaps this Deacon could go as a “2nd or 3rd witness” to address the sin situation at the church.  Ben advised me that we needed to “build a coalition” to deal with Freemasonry at RSBC.  He also chided me about the direct approach I had previously taken in dealing with the matter and recommended a softer tactic.   He told me that he would again raise the issue of Masonry with the Deacons and I left the soft tactics up to him.

After a few weeks I followed up with Ben.  He said that he had brought up the Masonry issue at a Deacon’s meeting but that it had been “tabled”.  I could see that, even with Ben’s support, the hireling Pastor and the Deacons were still not going to act to excise Freemasonry from the church body.  It was clear to me that all the church members would have to be educated about Masonry before anything else was done about Masonry.  I devised a plan to do just that.  I took the money that I had been saving over the year and ordered a copy of The Facts on the Masonic Lodge by John Ankerberg for every household in the church.  I used Amazon to have a book delivered to every family in the RSBC church directory.  In this book Ankerberg and his co-authors, clearly explain, using facts, evidence, and scripture, just how unchristian the Masonic Lodge is.  There would be no more ignoring Freemasonry in back room meetings.  Every single church member was going to be made aware.  The facts were coming to everyone’s house.  Having finally graduated from seminary (my school requires a church endorsement) , I was prepared to face the very high possibility of being excommunicated from Rowland Springs.

Every household on the Rowland Springs mailing list received a copy of this book.

One Easter Later

My final Easter as a member of Rowland Springs was filled with greater Masonic aggression than the last.  I was sitting in a chair the lobby waiting for my wife to get out of the bathroom.  The service has just ended.  The first two people out of the door were Jim Moore and his wife Betty.  Jim looked me dead in the eye, didn’t say a word, then turned his head to the site and made a spitting motion…right there in the church lobby.  This was the utter contempt that this man, this Mason, had for a fellow church member in the house of God.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8774655?autoplay=false

It didn’t take long for the hireling, Pastor Joe Ringwalt, to call me to ask about the incident.  He asked me the name of the Mason who had spit at me.  I told him it was “the chaplain of Lodge #63.”  That gave Joe no help.  He didn’t even know that his own church member was the chaplain of a pagan temple.  I told him it was Jim Moore.  “Jim isn’t the man we all think he is,” Joe said, as he apologized for what happened.  It was the same way he talked behind Jim’s back when we had first discussed his involvement in Freemasonry over a year prior.  At that time, he called Jim “an insecure man.”  It struck me how willing Joe was to talk about Jim behind his back but how unwilling he was to confront him over the sin of being a member of the Masonic lodge.  Joe Ringwalt is a gutless coward who is unqualified to sit in the pastoral office of the local church.  I practically begged Joe to stand against Freemasonry at Rowland Springs but he would do nothing.   He said he didn’t support Masonry but he supported our Masons.  He said Masonry in the church “wasn’t a hill to die on.”  To me, it was clear, the most important thing to that hireling was keeping his job.

After I was excommunicated from Rowland Springs, I received this message from a former member.

It was during this phone conversation with Joe that he asked me if I knew anything about a book on Masonry that a church member named Harold Barret had received.   I told him that I did indeed know.  I further told him that I had sent one to every household in church.  The hireling was, to say the least surprised.  He asked me where I had gotten the addresses, as if I had done something wrong.  I informed him that he himself had sent the address list to every church member and that I had taken the liberty to use it to educate our congregation about the Lodge.  “That’s your right,” Joe said.  I could tell Joe was upset.  The problem he had been trying to avoid for over year was coming to the mailbox of every church member.  It took Joe less than a month, before all the books could even be delivered, to have me summoned to yet another Deacon’s meeting.

Nanci Davis, a Deacon’s wife, suggested that our church burn the Ankerberg books.

The issue to be discussed at this meeting was, ostensibly, my divisiveness.  During the meeting, Joe insisted that Masonry was not the the reason I was called before the Deacons.  He then proceeded to being up my stance on Masonry.  At that meeting (which was recorded and is available on my podcast), I was railroaded, in complete unity, by the Deacons.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8771739?autoplay=false

No matter how sinful and wicked Freemasonry was, the problem was Seth Dunn.  No argument was good enough, the Deacons had long ago decided the matter.  Ben Thompson, who had earlier suggested to me creating an anti-Mason coalition,  sat beside me and said nothing in my defense and nothing in regard to the wickedness of Freemasonry.  Grant McDurmon asked me, on behalf of all the Deacons, never to come back to Rowland Springs.  I told him I would be there until they voted me out.  A regularly-scheduled church conference took place that night.   It was announced at that conference that Alton Kay and his wife, for what reason I do not know, desired to transfer their membership to an Independent Baptist church down the street.  The church then voted to approve their transfer of letter to Gateway Church.  “One less freemason!” I exclaimed upon the conclusion of the vote.

These three influential Masons sat together at the church conference.

After my meeting with the Deacons, a special-called church conference was scheduled for the following Sunday night for the express purpose of bringing me under church discipline.

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I was accused of the nebulous sin of “sowing discord.”  At that meeting, I was voted out of the membership of Rowland Springs Baptist Church, with the unanimous recommendation of the Deacons, by an overwhelming margin.

Typically, the hope for church discipline is restoration of fellowship. Rowland Springs used the police to tell me never to come back on its property.

When I got the parking lot, two police officers were waiting for me. I was given a criminal trespass warning and told never to come back.  Ben Thompson signed it as a church representative.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8775600?autoplay=false

My stand against Freemasonry at Rowland Springs had run its course.  The snake that I stepped on had bitten.  The hireling, Joe Ringwalt, is still preaching at Rowland Springs to a church full of Freemasons.  Adam Burrell, ironically, went to work for Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia where its pastor, popular blogger and conference speaker Josh Buice, has moved to prohibit Free Masons from church membership.  I am attending another Baptist church in Cartersville.

The Blackball Rolls Downhill

I attended Sunday services at Tabernacle Baptist Church on April 29th, seven days after I was disfellowshipped from Rowland Springs Baptist Church.  Having been run out of Rowland Springs, I needed another place to go.  My wife suggested Tabernacle.  I was baptized at that church.  I was married there.  Tabernacle endorsed my application to seminary. My children have attended PreK there for two years.  My parents are members.

My wedding day at TBC.

On April 30th, I was informed that I am no longer allowed on the TBC campus for Sunday worship services. Richard Brown, the very pastor who performed my marriage and signed my seminary endorsement called me Monday morning to tell me that TBC’s security personnel had been informed to be on the lookout for me.  The pastoral staff has, in Richard’s words chosen to “protect the flock” from me because I “sow discord.”  Part of this protection is to ensure that I don’t so much as set foot on the property of Tabernacle Baptist Church, to sit in its pews during Sunday Service.  This treatment was warranted by my stance against Freemasonry at Rowland Springs.

Such is the blackball.  This is the kind of thing I knew could happen if I stood up against Masonry.  It’s a powerful network. I stood up anyway.  No network is more powerful than the God I serve.  When it comes down to it, I will not assent to the idea that I committed the nebulous sin of “sowing discord” because I wouldn’t put up with a demonic cult being part of God’s Holy assembly.

And I never will.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed o

Bartow Baptists Dishonor God and Country with David Barton

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My grandfather was a World War II veteran. He was a part of the 10th Mountain Division, which fought the Axis Powers in Italy. He was a gregarious storyteller and relayed to our family more than a few humorous tales of his wartime service. If my grandfather had traumatic experiences during the war he did not, like many of his contemporaries, let on about them. I do know that my grandfather sometimes had trouble sleeping, suffering from night terrors, but, again, that was not the type of problem about which the members of the greatest generation let on. Yet, the reality is that many soldiers came home from World War II with what is not known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A half-century after the end of the war, veterans still return from the battlefield suffering from PTSD. As the United States faces terrorist and insurgent threats, a new type of warfare, the American solider is perhaps even more susceptible to suffering from PTSD. Fighting irregular troops in urban environments, some of whom aren’t much more than children, can have a devastating long-term effect on the psyche of a combatant who returns home to a neighborhood which doesn’t look that much different from the foreign “battlefield” in which he fought. According to a recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), the suicide rate of veterans is 22% higher than that of nonveterans. In response this situation, the DVA has made treatment available to veterans. The government, as it should, recognizes the serious health risks related to PTSD, as do I. That’s why I was incensed to learn that multi-millionaire word-faith prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland and popular evangelical speaker David Barton had taught their audiences that veterans could be cured of their PTSD by claiming the promises Moses gave to Hebrew soldiers in Numbers 32:20-22. A video of this outrageous claim is shown below:

Even more outrageous, for Baptists here in Bartow county, is the fact that the Bartow Baptist Association is bringing WallBuilders to Cartersville in August for a “Role of Faith in America Conference” to be hosted at Rowland Springs Baptist Church on August 17th and 18th. On its website, WallBuilders describes itself as “an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built”. The founder and president of WallBuilders is none other than David Barton who, along with his son, will be a featured speaker at the August conference. Barton, who makes a living advocating for Christian nationalism on the evangelical speaking circuit, is a charlatan, a hack historian who possesses no legitimate academic credentials in the field in which he purports to be an expert. Barton makes a living twisting both the facts of history and the Holy Scriptures. Tragically, Barton has been invited by Bartow County’s Baptist leaders to ply his sordid trade in Cartersville this summer.

Just a few months ago, Barton hosted those same leaders in Washington, DC. As I reported in October “50 pastors and leaders of Bartow County” to participate in a tour of the nation’s capital hosted by WallBuilders. At that time, I tried to warn my (now former) pastor (the hireling) Joe Ringwalt about the nature of David Barton. Ringwalt, who took part in the Washington trip, refused to listen and rebuffed my warning with the following statement:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Washington. Several Christian congressmen, and one congresswoman, shared with us their testimony about their commitment to work hard on protecting Christian values and voices. It was encouraging. We also visited Family Research Council where we learned a great deal about how we can help make a difference in politics in America.
I proudly admit that I enjoyed all of it, especially David Barton’s presentation. I have seen and studied his materials for years. I know he’s not perfect, and I personally talked with him about his relationship with Glenn Beck, which I admit, I didn’t like his answer. But nevertheless, I would recommend him to any pastor or family. A matter of fact, we will be inviting him to come to our area in the near future.
Seth, I know what you posted on Facebook about this trip, and it’s sad to hear how negative you are when you have no idea what God did. We’ve talked about this at length, how unmercifully and pessimistically you write about Christians. Listen, I don’t won’t you to send me anything negative about Barton or the FRC or anything else for that matter. I know you disagree and that’s your right, but the truth is, I’m tired of how you treat brothers and sisters in Christ.
Please receive this in Christian love. There is no need to respond.”

Ringwalt is the pastor of Rowland Springs Baptist Church, where the “Role of Faith in America Conference” is to be hosted. Ringwalt will join the infamous club of pastors, inlcuding Kenneth Copeland, who have played host to David Barton.

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Joe Ringwalt, Pastor of Rowland Springs Baptist Church

Aside from his discredited historical claims, that David Barton regularly partners with Copeland, a prosperity pimp wolf who has gotten rich teaching seed faith theology and claiming that humans are “little gods” who can speak reality into existence, should have raised a red flag to Bartow Baptist leaders. Yet, Bartow Baptists are partnering with Barton for the second time in less than a year. In doing so, they dishonor both God and country. Barton himself has prosperity gospel background, having graduated from Oral Roberts University. Barton’s grasp on biblical theology is feeble and twisted. His teaching is full of wild claims; Barton argues that Jesus taught about capital gains taxes and minimum wage and that retirement is an unbiblical pagan comment. Barton even claimed that professed Mormon Glenn Beck is a Christian! A detail examination of some of Barton’s errant teachings can be found in the links from the Fighting for the Faith program below:

David Barton of Wall Builders Claims Glenn Beck is a Christian Brother

David Barton Lies about Jesus and Taxes

Ken Copeland & David Barton’s False Teaching RE: PTSD

This is what Chris Roseborugh, the minister who hosts fighting for the faith and researches false teachers for a living, had to say about David Barton:

“There are people who twist God’s word and then there are people who just make fleeting references to it…Dave Barton…is flat out deceitful…he needs to clean up his act…he is discrediting himself and he is discrediting Christianity by engaging this kind of deception.”

Bartow Baptist discredit themselves by partnering with David Barton. It is unconscionable that the Bartow Baptist Association is bringing this man to Bartow County, putting him in a church pulpit, and inviting our Christians (and our children) to hear him. Someone must be held accountable. His name is David Franklin. Franklin heads up the Bartow Baptist Association with assistance from another man named Bradley Baker. These men can be contacted using the Bartow Baptist Association website.

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David Franklin, Bartow Baptist Association

Anyone with 30 minutes to spare and Google can discover just how discredited David Barton is. Until the Bartow Baptist Association can show that it is able to exercise basic discernment, funding should be withheld from it. Other Baptist should keep their eyes out to make sure that compromised, ignorant, and incompetent leaders in their own counties are not partnering with David Barton and his ilk.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

My Interview with Decorated Freemason Glenn Beck, Former Knights Templar Eminent Grand Commander

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Some months ago, a Tennessean named Glenn Beck reached out to me regarding my research into and publications about the unbiblical nature of the cult of Freemasonry.  Glenn is a Southern Baptist Deacon and Sunday School teacher.  He is also, perhaps, the most decorated Freemason ever to leave the craft and speak out against it.  A few weeks ago, I traveled to East Tennessee and sat down with Glenn for an in-depth interview about his experience as a Freemason.  That interview is included below:

How you long have you been a Christian?

I have been a Christian since I was 16 years old.  I am now in my 70s.

What led you to get saved?

The conviction of the Holy Spirit, I attended a revival that lasted two weeks.  There was an altar call every night.  Every night I would go out the back door, until one night responded to the call of the Holy Spirit and walked down the aisle to the mourners bench where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was later baptized in a local river.

Of what church are you a member?

I am a member of Russellville Baptist Church in Russellville, TN.

How do you and have you served there?

I am the Senior Men’s Sunday School teacher and a deacon.  I’ve been a deacon there for 3 years.  I also served as a deacon at a former church.

How long were you a Freemason?

I was a Mason for 38 years.

What led you to become a Freemason?

I think all the things that drive men: ego, politics, greed, and selfishness.  I began to look at men I knew around the community who were Masons and over time learned that if you wanted jobs you had to go see certain people because they knew certain people.  That was the system.  So, I asked a family friend who was known to be a Mason how to become a Mason and he gave me a petition to join the lodge.

How are potential members recruited to the lodge?

As I stated in my previous answer, I asked.  If you are interested in becoming a Mason you have to ask a Mason.  You will be given a petition for membership in the lodge.  You complete the petition and submit it to the lodge.  If your petition is accepted then the worshipful master appoints an investigative committee to check into you as a candidate.

Tell us about your various Masonic degrees and honors.

I took the three degrees of Blue Lodge and was raised a Master Mason in 1976.   After becoming a Master Mason, I petitioned for the Scottish Rite and became a Shriner, all in 1976.  After going through the Scottish Rite, I was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason. (all Shriners are Masons but not all Masons are Shriners).  I also went into the Eastern Star, my wife and I, and served as Worthy Patron six times.  I served as Worshipful Master of my local Lodge in 1980.  Around 1995, I became interested in the York Rite and petitioned for those degrees.  This is the “Christian” branch of Masonry.  The Scottish Rite was set up for the Masonic Jews and the name of Jesus is not in it.  York Rite Masons must swear to defend the Christian faith (the York Rite is older in origin than the Scottish Rite ).

I petitioned the Chapter, Council, and Commandery in the York Rite.   I progressed through the nine degrees of the York rite.  I served as High Priest and Illustrious Master.  I served as Commander of the Commandery.  I was awarded the (KYCH) Knights of York Cross of Honor, the Knight York Grand Cross of Honor, and the Order of the Purple Cross.  I was a Rosicrucian,  a member of St. Thomas of Acon, Knights Masons, AMD Mason, Red Cross of Constantine, and the Holy Royal Order of Knights Templar Priests.  I was elected to serve as Grand Commander of Knights Templar in Tennessee in 2010.  I served the Grand Lodge and District Chairman.  I was serving as Governor of the York Rite College when I left Masonry.

Do any of the oaths, lectures, and rituals related to them conflict with biblical teaching?

Yes, in various ways.  The Third Commandment (Exodus 20: 7) says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in Vain.”  The Masonic obligations are taken in vain using God’s name in a false and unjustified way that represents no genuine faith.  “Vain” means, simply to take for an empty, not good purpose.  It is hypocrisy, claiming the name of God but acting in a way that disgraces him.  It is using the name of God in a superficial and stupid way.  It is perjury related to God’s name.  Consider Zechariah 8: 17, “ love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.”  Once you understand His essence and the majesty of God’s name, you will never want to even come close to abusing His name.  In Matthew 5:34-37, Jesus said not to swear at all.  Jesus was laying down the principle that Christians must not have two standards of truth.  So, if Masonry is not a religion then does it have its own form of truth apart from the Bible?  Then why use the bible to justify you own truth?

I remember all the oaths, I had a proficiency card.  I taught the lectures.  You repeat the words of the obligation the Worhipful master gives you, while kneeling with your hands upon the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, which are placed on top of the Bible.  You swear all this and seal it by kissing the Bible.  The Bible, Square, and the Compass are said to be furniture of the Lodge and are placed upon an altar.  The subversive teaching here is that you need another medium in addition to the Bible for moral truths and spiritual knowledge.  Apparently, the Bible alone is not enough.  Some argue that the obligations are not binding, but, if they aren’t, why use the Bible?  Does this then make the scripture irrelevant?

What led you to quit the Lodge?

I’ve renounced Masonry.  It gets me nothing.  I have all kinds of certificates and awards.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Deciding to leave took a period of 5 or 6 years.  I experienced a number of frustrations over a period of years, some of them related to Masonic politics .  At one point my pastor asked me to serve on a church committee to draft policies related to LGBTQ activity.  These policies were created to provide legal protection and to ensure that homosexuals would not be allowed to use our church for same-sex “marriage” or other functions.  At the same time, men (Masons) who  “married”  other Masons continued their membership in the Lodge and continued being accepted as Masons in the State of Tennessee, even though it was against the Masonic code.  This is completely hypocritical and against my Christian beliefs and values for me to be a part of the Lodge which has laws in place prohibiting men with this type of life style from membership in the Masonic Lodge.  How can a man belong to an organization that accepts this lifestyle, while saying it doesn’t?  How does a man who believes and supports what the Bible teaches about this lifestyle justify this contradiction within himself, with God, and with his church?  I demitted from the Blue Lodge, which removed me from all Masonic bodies.  If Masonry is designed to give more light, then I received enough light to know that I wasn’t getting the real light.  Masonry is darkness.

Is Christianity compatible with Freemasonry?

My definition of Christianity is a belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Virgin birth of Jesus and his Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.  John 3:16 indicates that centrality of Christ.  John 14:6 states the vitality of Christ to Christianity clearly, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

What did you specifically feel led to repent of when you quit the lodge and why?

I was led to repent of all the obligations that I had taken.  It is unbibical.  It is hypocritical.

I couldn’t and didn’t keep the oaths.  I am not acquainted with any Mason that has kept his obligations as a Mason, whatever it may have been.  So, what did it mean?  I came to the realization that the oath and obligation was not biblical, a Violation of the 3rd Commandment.  I saw the real light and what Masonry really is.  Masonry is darkness.

During your years as a Freemason and Church member, did anyone ever approach you about the incompatibility between Christianity and Freemasonry?

No.  No one ever came to me and said it was wrong.  I did have one conversation about Masonry with my sister.   She passed away this year.  I told her before she died that I had gotten out of Masonry.  She said, “I am so glad.”

Does Masonic service conflict or take away from one’s service and commitment to his church?

Yes.  We can’t have two masters.  If you are heavily involved in Masonry, how much time do you spend doing and focusing on Masonic work and ritual versus reading and studying the bible, doing church work?  Masonry creates a conflict and you choose which is important to you.  Masonry became my idol because of the amount of time and focus I gave it.  When you are doing Masonic work, do you use that time to witness for Jesus or do you use that time to talk and witness about Masonry?  In reality it is confusing to people, who are you representing, Masonry or Jesus?  Does the conversation always lead back to Masonry?

Can you compare being a Mason to matters of Christian liberty, such as drinking wine, eating certain foods, or going to church on Saturday versus a Sunday?  In other words, can Masonry be a matter of conscience or is it plainly unbiblical for everybody?

Speaking as a Christian, and using my definition of a “Christian,” it is not compatible to anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  It is unbiblical.

Does Masonry teach any theological doctrines or lessons which conflict with biblical teaching?

When you go through the degree work, it’s in a religious setting and there is prayer being given.  All human beings, I think, would get the impression that it is a religious ceremony.

In the first degree, you are presented as “a poor blind candidate in total darkness who desires to be brought to light by receiving and having a part of the rights,” light and benefits of this worshipful Entered Apprentice Lodge dedicated to the memory of the Holy Saints Johns as all others have done who have gone this way “before” you.  Gnosticism comes into play here.  You are taught to search for “more light,” which is masonic (enlightenment) knowledge.  Having to say that you are in darkness seeking light, and being blindfolded (hoodwinked) having the blindfold removed after the obligation where you receive “masonic light,” it’s gnostic.  If you are a Christian, it is contrary to biblical teaching.  It is seeking God through an avenue other than the Bible.  When you take your obligations in a Lodge, you put your hands on the Bible.  You have to go to the Lodge to get to that point in seeking knowledge.  It places the Lodge on the same level, at least in your mind, with the church or in competition with it.  It is religious.  It becomes a form of worship.  There is prayer.  You can say there is no religious connection but even an atheist would think it was religion.  The Lodge is intended to represent Solomon’s Temple.   You’re asked four questions as you progress through your Entered Apprentice Degree.  If you answer them correctly, your answers come out to make the statement “It is in God I Am Light,” but you received this knowledge or light in a setting of a Masonic ceremony inspired by man.  So, if Masonry takes good men and makes them better, is the inference here that Masons are better than non-Masons (the profane)?

In the 3rd degree, the Master Mason degree, there is the Hiram Abiff ceremony.  It is a resurrection.  You can call it whatever you want to call it but it is pure and simple a resurrection from the dead.  It’s hard not to perceive it as some form of religion.  Hiram Abiff was murdered by three workers of the temple, according to the legend, because he wouldn’t give them the secret word of a Master Mason.  He was buried in his grave and his grave was marked with a sprig of acacia.  His murderers tried to flee the country but were caught and executed by King Solomon.  Hiram’s name is mentioned in the Bible but it is spelled differently.  The characters are there but the story is not.  A party of twelve was sent out to search for the body.  Three of them found him and went back and reported it.  They found peculiar looking jewels around his neck.  They attempted to raise the body as an Entered Apprentice Mason and Fellowcraft Mason and failed.   Scripture is read at this point in the ceremony, Ezekiel 37 about dry bones living again.  On the third try, they successfully raised the body by the signs and grips of a Master Mason and you receive the new word of a Master Mason which is Ma-Ha-Bone.  This legend or story is not in the Bible.  I believed it was true when I was a Mason.  From the 3rd degree you move onto the higher degrees of the Scottish Rite, the 4th through 32nd degrees.  The Scottish Rite is all paganism and Gnosticism; it’s very theatrical.  I think men see something there and think, “This is better than going to church,” and “I don’t have to go to ‘church,’ I am a 32nd degree Mason, wow I am almost to the top.”  A pastor once told me he asked two mason where they went to church, they said they were Masons they didn’t need to go to church.  I remember thinking, when that pastor told me that, “How disappointing this has been, the only secret I have learned is how to shake a brother Mason’s hand and give him a password.”

Paul says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”  In Masonry, are Brother Masons yoked together with unbelievers?

Yes.  Masonry teaches universality.  It’s taught that Masonry is not a religion but it’s based on religious tenets.  Non-Christians are entitled to sit in the Lodge with religious believers simply because they are brother Masons.  The Masonic oaths and obligations are the ties that bind.  I think it is a form of religious Christian Gnosticism.

Is there a Masonic hermeneutic (a Masonic way of reading the Bible)?

Yes.  In the state of Tennessee, nothing can be on the altar (according to the Masonic Code) but the Holy Bible.  The Masonic degrees, which come from the Bible, are allegorical.  The Bible is intended to mean one thing, what it says, not my interpretation of it.  It says what it says.  The Lodge uses the Bible for allegory.  As you advance, you are searching for more light.  The basis of Masonic knowledge is biblically-based.  There is the idea of “this is what really happened,” with Solomon’s Temple and Hiram King of Tyre.  It has to be so, a Mason whom you trusted and believed told you so.  The story of Hiram Abiff, for example, is presented as veiled in allegory and illustrated with symbols.  It portrays the resurrection of the dead outside the name of Jesus.  Again, the Ezekiel 37 scripture is read in the Hiram ceremony.  When that is done, the Junior Warden, Senior Warden, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, and Worshipful Master form a line and that becomes the Tabernacle. The Worshipful Master raises you out of the grave.

What is the symbolism of the various apron jewels and Heavenly Bodies?

The Lodge officers will wear the jewels around their neck and/or on their apron.  The Worshipful Master wears the square, the Wardens wear the Sun, and the Deacons wear the Moon.  When you are raised a Master Mason you are told to behold the three great lights of Masonry which are the Holy Bible, the Square, and the Compass.  The lesser lights of Masonry as the Sun, Moon, and Worshipful Master.  As the Sun governs the day and the Moon governs the night so does the Worshipful Master govern the lodge with equal regularity and pleasure to himself.  When you look in the context of the Bible being the “furniture of the Lodge” where does that place the Bible?  Is it on the same level as the Square and Compass that sit on the Bible?

Do the Jewel symbols, which represent Heavenly bodies and/or God violate the Ten Commandments’ prohibition of graven images?

Yes.  God never created or gave a likeness of Himself.  It’s a violation of 2nd Commandment.  The officers wear the Jewels of the Sun and Moon around their necks.  They open and close the Lodge like the Sun and Moon opens and closes the day.  What is a rational human being supposed to think?  These things attract the eye to seduce the soul.  All these images and symbols in Masonry  are turned into idols of worship.  God prohibits idolatry because He is already in the Image making business (Romans 8:29).

Is there any similarity between Freemasonry and the pagan mystery religions.

For example, the Rosicrucian is about philosophy and alchemy.  Masonry is a form of Christian Gnosticism/ Kabbalah, a form or mixture of both was practiced by some of the Jews and others.

Is there an association between Shriner’s and the Koran and Allah?

Yes, unless they’ve changed it.  The Shrine is billed as the “fun” part of Masonry.  The obligation is taken on the Koran.  The fez (hat) comes from Morocco.  The scimitar is on the fez.  It doesn’t take you but a second, Google it, that’s an Islamic emblem.

Does the Masonic funeral ritual contradict biblical teaching and practice in any way?

The Masonic funeral preaches you right into Heaven, whether you have any church affiliation or not.  You have to be a Master Mason, with your dues paid or a 50-year Mason and you are entitled to the funeral.  You don’t have to be a Christian.  Every Mason gets the same Masonic rites.  The Masons will tell you they are not a religion and that they don’t teach a way of salvation, just morals.  The funeral rite mentions God (the Great Architect of the Universe) and Heaven (the Celestial Lodge).  Being a Mason will get you into the Celestial Lodge above.

How much authority do the writings of Pike, Mackey, or Coil have in Masonry or with individual Masons?

The Scottish Rite is going to rely on Albert Pike’s writings.  When you complete the 32nd Degree, you are given a copy of Morals and Dogma by Pike.  It’s their Bible.  A Blue Lodge member that does not join the Scottish Rite probably knows very little about Albert Pike.  And his book is probably not read by most Scottish Rite masons.  Here are 3 quotations from Albert Mackey:

“Freemasonry is a science of symbols, in which, by their proper study, a search is instituted after truth, that truth consisting in the knowledge of the divine and human nature of God and the human soul.”

“The religion of Freemasonry is not Christian.”

“The Cabala may be defined to be a system of philosophy which embraces certain mystical interpretations of scripture, and metaphysical and spiritual beings…Much use is  made of it in the advanced degrees, and entire Rites have been constructed on its principles.”

I would venture to say that less than 10% of masons have ever read any of Mackey’s works.

When you first contacted me, you described Freemasonry as a “cult.”  Why?

Just the pure definition of a cult, the Lodge meets that.  Masons have their own form of rituals and if you become one, you are expected to conform to all the rules and accept everything as truth.  You accept their philosophy, sometimes to the exclusion of other things.  They don’t take everyone, you have to qualify.

Does Freemasonry add to the word of God?

Yes.  Consider 2 Timothy 2:15-16.  The bible is truth and it is intended to keep us away from the allegorical teachings that are taught in Masonry.

Does Freemasonry subtract from the person of Christ?

Yes.  It excludes Christ in the Blue Lodge degrees and subverts him in some of the other degrees.

Does Freemasonry involve a multiplication of salvation requirements?

The petition you submitted to the lodge lists a question, “Are you a member of a Church?”  If so give name.  Being a member of a church or being religious or Christian is not a requirement to become a Mason. Masons are asked, “As a rational accountable being, in whom do you put your trust?”  This question may or may not be asked depending on the jurisdiction.  As a Christian, that is supposed to be God.  For a Muslim, it’s Allah.  Masonry promises no way of salvation.  It teaches being a good moral person doing good works.

Does Freemasonry divide the loyalty of its followers?

I don’t think so.  Biblical based religious principles are used to teach that Masonry will give you all that you need.  It is about your relationship with, and obligation to other Masons that binds and creates loyalty and support, so far as it may be justified by each individual.  No matter what political or religious persuasion you may subscribe to all are bound by the obligations.

How have you been treated by Masons since you demitted from the lodge?

Not well, I have been shunned and banished.  I had one person call me that turned out to be one of my best friends and he said, “You know why you don’t get any calls anymore don’t you?”  He was speaking of Lodge members.  “They don’t want to hear what you have to say, they don’t want to deal with it.”  “They are afraid of what you have to say.”

Has the shunning or rudeness extended to Masons who are church members, brothers in Christ?

One of my supposedly best friends asked my wife, “When is Glenn coming back to the Lodge?” (Notice he didn’t ask if I was still going to church).  She said, “Never, it’s not going to happen.  He wonders why you have stopped calling.  He found out who his true friends were.”  This is a guy who will witness to people about Jesus.  So when I stopped being his brother Mason, evidently I stopped being his brother in Christ.  These people have all the “masonic light” they can get. I think that some who profess to be a follower of Jesus are afraid to talk to me about why I left the lodge and renounced Masonry.  By the way, according to some Masonic writings I can’t renounce Masonry.  I have nothing in common with these men since I am not a Mason.  Evidently, the Masonic brotherhood is greater than the Christian brotherhood!  You can’t do both.

Do you think Freemasons, even those who identify as Christians are in danger of going to Hell?  Why?

My concern is that I don’t see how someone can serve Freemasonry and Jesus.  Blue Lodge Masonry is not about Jesus, it’s not about salvation.  Blue Lodge Masonry is not Christian.  It teaches Universalism which in itself is contrary to the word of God.  You can’t have it both ways.  Ultimately, though, I cannot judge who is going to hell.

What would you say to pastors who are considering whether or not Freemasonry is inherently sinful?

It’s a violation of the 3rd Commandment.  Refer to the Scripture in this article.  Understand what Masonry is and is not.  Be prepared to answer what your personal opinion is on Freemasonry.  Be able to explain where the (your) church stands on its members belonging to Freemasonry.  Talk to a former Mason.

To what scriptures would you direct Freemasons, their Christian friends and family members, and pastors to address Freemasonry?

First and foremost it is a violation of the Third Commandment.  Also, I would direct them to Matthew 5:34 where Jesus forbids swearing oaths on things.  Further, they should consider 1 Timothy 6:20-21, which says, “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”  Masonry is about acquiring knowledge and light, but it’s Masonic knowledge, Gnosticism.  Using the bible to teach Masonic allegories (Truth) knowledge is unbibical.

How would you advise someone to approach his or her Masonic loved one?

Do it lovingly.  Ask why they are looking for organizations to pay to learn how to live and do good works.  Ask why they want to join?  Ask them to talk to someone that has left Masonry.  Ask them to explain what Masonry is.  Ask if they know and understand it is a cult.  Talk to their pastor if they have one.

Would you be willing to talk to any Masons who read this interview if they reach out to you?

Yes.  I didn’t think I’d ever do this interview.  I’m not doing it to “get even.”  This is something I had to do out of conviction from the Holy Spirit.  I had all the reasons not to leave Masonry.  I had all the titles.  That was what I was told when I left.  I didn’t care.  The titles didn’t mean anything.  What does Masonry do for you?  It feeds your ego and pride.  It was hard to give up after 38 years.  So what?  It’s not what I gave up, it’s what I gained.  Masonry took away from my personal life and spiritual life.  We’re all going to meet God one way or another.  We are all witnesses every day, whether we want to be or not.  We have to decide what kind of witness in this case we want to be, a Masonic witness or a Jesus witness. You can’t witness for one without being a hypocrite to the other.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/podcast/5286454?autoplay=false

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

**If you are reading this and God has convicted you of the sin of Freemasonry, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your own story.

Pulpit Committee Q & A – Part 9

When their pastoral offices becomes vacant, many Baptist churches form what is know as a “pulpit is committee”. A pulpit committee typically consists of several church members whom the body has tasked with seeking, interviewing, and recommending pastoral candidates. Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions these churches ask pastoral candidates? How do you think potential pastors should answer these questions? In this on-going series, I will provide actual inquiries from a questionnaire sent to me by the pulpit committee of a Southern Baptist Church, along with my answers. Each part of this series will examine a different question and answer from the church’s questionnaire. Feel free to interact in the comment section with your own opinions of how the questions should have been asked and answered.

(Note: The identity and location of the church has been replaced with generic terms).

Question:

What five activities command the most of your time and effort?

Answer:

Raising my family, working at my job, and Christian writing and podcasting consume most of my time.  I don’t do much else.  To be forthright, I need to exercise more.  That is a deficiency in my life.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Pulpit Committee Q & A – Part 8

When their pastoral offices becomes vacant, many Baptist churches form what is know as a “pulpit is committee”. A pulpit committee typically consists of several church members whom the body has tasked with seeking, interviewing, and recommending pastoral candidates. Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions these churches ask pastoral candidates? How do you think potential pastors should answer these questions? In this on-going series, I will provide actual inquiries from a questionnaire sent to me by the pulpit committee of a Southern Baptist Church, along with my answers. Each part of this series will examine a different question and answer from the church’s questionnaire. Feel free to interact in the comment section with your own opinions of how the questions should have been asked and answered.

(Note: The identity and location of the church has been replaced with generic terms).

Question:

How would you describe your personal devotional life?

Answer:

I read the word and pray daily.  I also read the Bible to my children.  I have a daily podcast where I take Bible questions from listeners and answer them.  Doing so helps me think through the Biblical issues, too.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.