I posted to the members of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors website to see if any of the Pensacola Christian College people there knew of Gregory T. Powell of Victory Baptist Church. None of the members knew him. Since I referenced the telephone call, I thought I would post Greg Powell's call to me.
For some context you might look elsewhere on the blog to find the Category "The Northside Baptist Story: How Bob Jones III..." Here is a bit of context regarding the hornet's nest I stirred up when I sought to look at Northside's financial records from a local front page article: Download Northside Post and Courier Negative Audit where Northside members rejected an audit critical of the handling of church finances. This article must have struck fear in the heart of every IFB preacher who was taking "Five-finger-discounts" from their churches. The reaction within the IFB preacher cadre was nuclear!
Powell called to ask me to remove a Review I had posted in March 31, 2011. As you can tell from the conversation, Powell's call caught me off guard. Note that Greg Powell repeatedly evaded my questions and hung up after I asked who ordained him. (Who ordains these IFB preachers, anyway? Why don't they oversee the guys they send out into the ministry? No wonder people view IFB preachers as ethically inferior to used car salesmen and telemarketers! Kind of like 'catch and release' in reverse: 'Create and release'! Funny that the IFB preachers depend on each other to ordain one another but they are "in-dependent" when it comes to acting as ordained ministers and disciplining their ranks. Neat little game. I've only heard of one IFB preacher being defrocked. One of the guys who ordained the preacher reportedly came into the preacher's offfice and took the ordination certificate off the wall!)
Here is a link to an unsigned Certified letter I received from Victory Baptist two days after I visited telling me I would be guilty of trespass if I returned. The IFB good ol' boy network at work! It was quite a surprise: Download Victory Baptist May82006
I wrote Victory, its deacon board, and pastor a letter asking to meet with them to discuss anything I had done to wrong them that would elicit such a letter. Here is a portion of what I wrote:
"The purpose of this letter is to seek to meet with you gentlemen about any fault, error, or offense you may have against me pursuant to Christ's commands in Matthew 5:23, 24. Since your letter gave no specifics, I do not know how to right any alleged wrong...I am willing to submit my self to any group of honest, ethical, just brethren motivated by a thirst for truth and impartial, godly judgment..."
Download Victory Baptist from Mark 9-25-2006 I never received the courtesy of a response to this letter...so much for a fact-based hearing, an attempt at reconciliation, or the restoration of fellowship. The people of Victory evidently have an inability to select a "group of honest, ethical, just brethren motivated by a thirst for truth and impartial, godly judgment" to represent Victory Baptist.
Here is the letter I wrote Victory in January, 2010. I never received the courtesy of a reply:
Here is the Review about Victory Baptist that I wrote:
Not for me
Provided by CitysearchPosted by 1911 Man on 03/31/2011
This place was not for me. Visited when Tim Butler was the preacher. Understand he may have left. I was concerned about the spirit in the church. Butler was a BJU grad with a huge control problem. The people who remained continued there at the pleasure of the preacher. One former member said the place became the fiefdom of the preacher. There is no love for the spirit of truth in this place.
Reading back over the Review, it is super tame!
Here is the call in which Victory's present preacher called me to ask me to remove the above Review. Note Powell's refusal to deal with Victory's past activities or to address any of the factors that caused me to conclude that "There is no love for the spirit of truth in this place." As I listened to Greg Powell I it struck me as how dishonest a seemingly religious guy can seem when one tries to suppress and ignore facts. It appears that the blind are being lead by deaf people who shut their eyes to facts.
Everyday, church deacon boards bind churches to property purchases, property sales, to mortgages, sign contracts and all sorts of obligations. Those actions, obligations, and responsibilities don't cease the moment a new IFB preacher is coronated or fellows rotate off the board. But Powell tried to convince me that Victory's deacons' behavior did not bind Victory morally or ethically. He made it clear in the call that he and the deacon board of Victory Baptist wouldn't move a muscle to stir for godly judgment, justice, or equity.
My position is that they have an ethical obligation to name the fault that led to their threatening letter. If they have not basis to write such a letter, they should rescind the letter. One would expect any legitimate religious leader to tell me what my sin is and give me an opportunity to beg forgiveness. But Greg Powell acted with total indifference to anything beyond his desire that I delete my Review of Victory:
If Greg Powell took exception to my March, 2011 Review, he probably didn't like my follow up Review posted after his call to me any better at YP.com. Note, my wife and I were members of Victory Baptist, right before we joined Northside Bapstist!!!!:
Beware of Victory Baptist.
Provided by YP.comPosted by Witness2truth on 02/17/2012
Beware of Victory Baptist. I was a member years ago when Herb O'Neil pastored VB. Great experience! Visited a few years ago when Tim Butler was pastor. James Flowers was asst. pastor, I believe. People acted friendly at first; a deacon invited our family to an outing. Thought Butler good at preaching but he turned out to be a typical BJU-trained preacher: dictatorial, self-righteous, unapproachable, tyrannical, and aggressive toward anyone who was not mindlessly, dutifully loyal to him. With guys like Butler in leadership, makes one wonder who "ordains" these Independent Fundamental Baptist preachers and why don't they monitor them after they release them on the faithful? And, it made me question the wisdom of the people of VB and their ability to identify godly, servant-leaders who loved God and would treat others the way they would like to be treated.
When Butler and the people of VB turned on me and treated me in an unchristian manner, I spoke to members of VB that I knew from my previous membership there. I asked them what was going on at VB. They indicated that Butler viewed the church as his fiefdom and viewed anyone who asked questions as a threat. I asked to meet with Butler and the VB deacons to reconcile whatever it was they had against me (they never said) and I never received the courtesy of a reply.
In March, 2012, I also wrote a review of VB in CitySearch reflecting my experience:
This week I received a call from Greg Powell, VB's new preacher (James Flowers is still VB's asst. pastor). He asked me to delete my review. I asked Powell some questions to determine his commitment to truth, equity, justice, etc. I reviewed what VB had done in the past and wanted to see if there was any desire to deal with the unchristian actions of VB. Powell claimed he had no knowledge what had transpired. This seemed implausible. It would seem that he had done enough digging to determine who had posted the CitySearch review, found my phone number, searched the internet for my blog, and called me. Powell tried to feign ignorance as to the details of what led me to post my review. When I detailed how VB had treated me and why I wrote the review, he said that since what VB and its deacons had done was done under the previous preacher and deacons that VB wasn't going to seek to make it right. Powell clearly didn't care how VB, and the people VB had elected as leaders including its deacon board, asst. pastor Flowers, etc., had treated people in the past; he just wanted me to delete the review.
After speaking with Greg Powell, I concluded that VB is not a healthy organization led by a servant-leader guided by an honest desire to treat others the way one would want to be treated. Powell clearly sought to justify VB's past actions by convincing me that he was unaware of VB's past unchristian treatment of others. When I detailed to him VB's wrongdoing, he shifted tactics and attempted to justify VB's unrepentance by saying that since VB and its leaders acted under a different pastor that VB was under no obligation to make it right. In Matthew 5:23, 24, Christ commands those who discover they have wronged a brother to stop their religious activity, attempt to make things right, and then resume worship. Despite all of Powell's dismissive self-serving words, Victory Baptist doesn't seem to have a very high regard for Christ's commands. BTW, I edited my CitySearch review to reflect the phone call from Greg Powell.
Jesus taught that Christians are to treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated. I doubt Pastors Powell, Flowers, the deacons, and the people at Victory Baptist would like to be treated as they have treated me. The Apostle Paul declared to the Corinthians, "Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man." Victory Baptist cannot in truth make such a statement.
Within the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult there are two "Unpardonable Sins". The first is to rebuke one of the self-enshrined leaders within the IFB cult. The second Unpardonable Sin is to ask an IFB preacher or church to give a financial accounting.
Religious tyranny, self-serving ecclesiastic injustice, are ugly things that Independent Fundamental Bapstist preachers commit regularly.
The Bible-example is to expose evil workers so that the entire world, not just believers, will see these people for what they are.