Just this morning, Pulpit & Pen published an open letter to members of the First Baptist Church of Naples, offering our assistance to those members who are concerned with what appears be an ungodly and hostile takeover of their local church.* Our inbox was soon filled with communications from disaffected church members, many of whom fear harsh repercussion if they speak out against the actions currently being taken by church leadership against those members whom they have deemed “racist” for not approving the pastoral candidacy of Marcus Hayes. The following is one of the many personal testimonies received by Pulpit & Pen and Reformation Charlotte. It has been edited to protect the identity of the individual who submitted it.
I am one of those whose membership was recently terminated at FBCN (Naples, FL).
- I was a member of the church for over (a long time) and I was a member of the “concerned group of FBCN members” who was seeking a special business meeting by petition (a perfectly legitimate process according to our bylaws) for Unity, Honor and Reconciliation at FBCN. This process, by its very nature involves demanding transparency, especially as it related to the recent mutiny that had been orchestrated against our previous Senior Pastor Dr. Hayes Wicker. The church “leadership” and Committee heads who are suspected to have been complicit in that mutiny, did not seem to want any transparency.
- It was our group that sent out communications to several hundred church members who had signed the petition for a special business meeting.
- I was privately critical to some key leaders (via direct communications, in view of Matthew 18: 15-17)
- I had sought to meet with leaders to express grievances and to get them to partner in solutions to create an environment where reconciliation can happen, but they would not meet.
- Although the church leaders have clearly suggested publicly both in speech and in writing that the members’ termination (including mine) are somehow as a result of racial prejudice, I am not a racist and have not done anything remotely racist, and I do not know of any evidence that could even be misinterpreted to suggest such a thing. I would never be part of any group that harbored racist motives.
- My and my (spouse’s) termination letter makes no mention to anything related to racism.
- I have been trying to contact the leadership and the deacons (involved in my termination last week) in order to understand the charges against me and appeal them, but they will not respond.
- I am concerned about retribution from the church leaders due to the fact that my (child or children) go to the church’s school (FBA) and the church leadership has threatened to not let me or my (spouse) be on campus for any of our children’s activities.
- I am concerned about possible bullying in the school since the leadership has insinuated that ones whose memberships were terminated were someone guilty of racial prejudice. Any child might deduce that my (child or children‘s) parents are somehow racists.
- If the church leadership knows that I am contacting you, given their behavior and apparent mindset (sadly) my expectation is that they will come at me hard and fast with legal action.
This testimony is consistent with many other personal accounts received by Pulpit & Pen from current and former members of FBC Naples. Interestingly enough, we are not aware of any documented evidence that has been made available by the pastoral staff of FBC Naples which can prove their assertions of targeted racist attacks against Marcus Hayes. All evidence that has been provided (to us) indicates that the accusations of racism leveled against church members by the FBC pastoral staff are false.
*Since publishing that open letter, P&P has decided to offer church members access to the Stand Against Marxism Conference. Members of FBC Naples can contact P&P to receive a free promo code which will allow them to watch the conference on demand at no charge.
**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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