July 20, 2007

Bentley, The Passion of the Pulpit Pimp!

by @ 12:39 am. Filed under Nuts on Parade


So I was up in Baltimore last week during the time the building used by the First Mount Olive Free Will Baptist Church was struck by lightening and burned down. I had many thoughts about the whole thing, but was going to keep them private, until the Bentley news broke, which I will detail later in this post. Basically as the building burned away, on the local Baltimore TV news I saw members of that church out doing some interesting things in front of the cameras. Public prayer and/or praise sessions that one could tell were placed into high gear when the cameras were on. It was like the building burning had become a moment for some to pose and look “churchy” for a camera. It made me think of how Jesus instructed us not to try and grandstand before men in Matthew 6. The same day of that fire and the public grandstanding I witnessed, I had just finished the Avoiding Hypocrisy sermons I mentioned in a post I made that same day. It was like just after hearing a message about avoiding it, I was seeing the spotlight grandstanding before men hypocrisy in full motion, with a burning building as the draw. I know people with former connections to that assembly, so I don’t speak about them without actual knowledge of them before their building burned to the ground.

Just after the blaze ended, the media made a big deal about the fact the fire department was able to salvage the stained glass windows. I don’t know how stained glass brings anyone to know Christ, but the media loved it and the folks associated with that church were elated. A flashy item of public display for men was saved.

Baltimore’s Mayor Sheila Dixon quickly went on record, to state that she would work to find the church assembly a new place to worship. Seeing public government working on housing for a church assembly vexed me. You know I’m very much against things such as faith based funding, so seeing government jump into the affairs of a church caught my attention. I don’t find government taking on the role of seeking housing for a religious organization to be a good thing. Setting a horrible precedent, what if a building used by people involved in the cult of Muhammad (Islam) burned, would the Mayor use taxpayer resources to try and find them another building too? It’s simply best if government stay out of the church relocation business. Let those within that church and other churches assist as needed.

Anyway, the fire revealed some interesting things. While the public grandstanding and my knowledge of them had my pimp-o-meter buzzing, it has now been confirmed that money was being terribly managed and the “bishop” was riding a car that probably cost more than some of the church members homes. Why put it towards the needs of the poor saints all around, when the pastor can roll a Bentley?

Free Will church splurged on a Bentley in ’05

The First Mount Olive Free Will Baptist Church bought a luxurious custom Bentley in 2005, the same year the inner-city church failed to pay a $12,000 water bill that has led to the filing of a foreclosure suit, motor vehicle records show.

The congregation that owns the 140-year-old West Baltimore church, destroyed last week by lightning, is fending off multiple foreclosure threats because of the delinquent water bill and an alleged mortgage default on the 9-acre property the church owns in Southwest Baltimore, according to court records.

Former First Mount Olive parishioner Mary Hynes, 84, remembers when the black Bentley was ceremoniously given to Bishop Oscar E. Brown two summers ago.

Brown backed the car out from the church yard onto Saratoga Street while parishioners “stood out there hollering, praising him because he had this,” Hynes said. “I didn’t think it was right.”

Well how were they going to help the poor while rolling in all their created debt? This is why churches need to carefully consider when they desire to own things. And this church learned the hard way, that you probably don’t want a building with a big steeple that might catch a bolt of lightening. The church should go modest on the buildings if owning any at all, so funds can be devoted to the needs of the poor. You know, those people Jesus told us to help in Matthew 25:31-46. The apostles always ensured poor saints were cared for first and foremost via the church donations, 2 Corinthians 9, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, James 2:14-17. Many a pastor loves to proclaim “God loves a cheerful giver”, only they don’t mention that Paul was writing in that passage of scripture about money being collected to be given to poor saints, not money collected for a building or the pastors Bentley. The apostles did not ride fancy chariots, they were often broke and homeless.

1 Corinthians 4:11 (New King James Version)

11) To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.

They forsook themselves for the care of the saints. They realized helping the poor is what Christ desired, not helping build their own wealth. Today, many ignore the example of the apostles and wish to live like King Solomon. With pastors that have followers who can’t properly discern old from new covenant, they keep collecting and building their religious industry empires, while their members literally cheer them on.

Let’s look back at the article:

The splurge on the turbo-charged English motorcar worth as much as $150,000 at the time of sale – more than many of the homes in the church’s immediate neighborhood – raises new questions about the congregation’s fiscal management.

You think Jesus wanted them to do that? Of course not. This is what happens when the heresy known as the prosperity doctrine is allowed to flourish. The thing that destroys prior good expressed in what were called “Black churches”.

Well, this church’s “bishop” is awaiting a major payout, that I’m sure he’ll have major influence in administering.

Brown has reassured his 3,000-member congregation that First Mount Olive will receive a $4 million insurance payout.

Given the track record, what are the odds the money will be spent in the manner Christ desires a church spend funds? Not good.

In addition to facing multiple foreclosure suits over the still-unpaid 2005 water bill of $12,342 and other municipal bills, First Mount Olive was notified just days before the fire that the property it acquired in 2002 would be auctioned at the end of this month. The church is accused of defaulting on its $1.5 million mortgage, held by SunTrust Bank, records show.

The auctioneer, Atlantic Asset Management Group, says the foreclosure sale is scheduled to go on July 26.

Does all this material stuff sound like the operations of a church or a poorly run corporation? If less cars and property were being acquired and more going to the poor, there would be less bills. This is a mistake far too many churches make.

Matthew Smith, a car salesman at EuroMotorcars in Bethesda said a Bentley Arnage, which takes as long as three months to construct by hand, costs at least $225,000 new. He estimated that the car the church bought was worth between $130,000 and $150,000, assuming it was in good condition. Today, it is worth about $120,000, he said.

I wonder how many poor saints without transportation to their doctor can fit in one of those? Silly me, I thought a pastor would encourage saints to assist the poor instead of enjoying a Bentley.

Hynes daughter, Ingrid Heigs, said Brown typically kept the Bentley parked in a fenced-in portion of the church property.

“If you’re in that kind of debt, you would think instead of buying a Bentley you would pay your bills up and stay out of foreclosure,” Heigs said. “But if his congregation felt as though he was worth buying a Bentley for, who’s to say that he wasn’t?”

Now given this church is supposed to be representing Christ, the entire congregation should have been telling their “bishop” that in keeping with the example set by the apostles, they would hold back on extravagant gifts and devote giving to the poor. The “bishop” in trying to follow a rightly divided biblical example should have strived not to be a burden to the church. Not that saints should not help a pastor IF HE NEEDS IT, but the apostle Paul tried to help church leaders recognize a more humble example.

2 Corinthians 12:14 (New King James Version)

14) Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Paul told saints when his expenses were already cared for, to keep their money and instead of giving it to him, save it for their children. Paul often worked of his own hands to care for himself instead of taking money from saints.

Acts 20:33-35 (New King James Version)

33) I have coveted no one?s silver or gold or apparel.

34) Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.

35) I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ?It is more blessed to give than to receive.??

Notice Paul spoke of helping the weak and the only time he took money he was broke and beaten. Then he accepted a gift to sustain himself and continue his ministry. It was not the norm for him to always expect to be given money. He typically worked of his own hands to survive and also preached too. So he could devote giving to the poor and weak, not himself.

But back to this article.

Brown did not return a call yesterday placed to his Howard County home, a 3,800-square house built in 1997 and appraised for tax purposes at about $600,000.

A late model Lexus SC430 sports car was parked in front of his house yesterday.

Not exactly following in the footsteps of Christ and His apostles. Every homeowner knows, whatever the tax records appraise the house at is typically far lower than the potential resale value, when compared with actual recent sales in that area. Interesting that a church head pastor lives so far away from where his assembly meets. Howard County, Maryland is a nice ride away from Baltimore City, a 25-30 minute drive.

The article notes that Oscar E. Brown is not the only Religious Industry member in Baltimore with a Bentley.

The Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Northwest Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple drives a leased 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, according to state records.

And with that, I will note a very interesting game that these pimps play. You see, while Jamal-Harrison Bryant drives a Bentley and lives a lavish lifestyle, he personally claims a very low salary. My guess is that he has “the church” front for much so he lives like a king while claiming to have a low salary personally. This trick works out for him in matters like a paternity lawsuit. Jamal-Harrison Bryant has been dealing with a rather bitter paternity lawsuit, that many don’t talk about. Most of it is so convoluted that even I won’t say much. But I will say this, you can read this official court document right here that shows Jamal-Harrison Bryant claims to only make $3,840 a month! How does one drive a Bentley and live lavish while making less than $50K a year? Pimping has its privileges!

Church members need to hold their leaders to a more biblical standard and remove those who fail to uphold that standard. Consider the biblical (as in from God) qualifications for a bishop, the criteria noted there.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 (New King James Version)

1) This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.

2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

3) not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

4) one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence

5) (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

6) not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.

7) Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

(These rules in scripture are the same for all who are in a designated church leadership role of bishop, elder, pastor or minister. Different church assemblies us various titles, but the rules are the same. All claim Jesus, all are bound to keep the same rules defined in scripture.)

Saints should move towards a more godly standard in church leadership.

Hat tip to Matt Green for the article.

update 7/20/2007 10:36AM:
By the way, Oscar E. Brown knew of other debt ($22,000 Xerox bill a court ordered to be paid, plus over $77,000 in city taxes or other bills for the property acquired in 2002), while he drove around the Bentley. He’s basically “claimed” the $4 million, but the insurance company has not made a final valuation yet.

6 Responses to “Bentley, The Passion of the Pulpit Pimp!”

  1. art123 Says:

    Pimping ain’t easy or is it?

  2. Four Pointer Says:

    Pulpit pimpery in Baltimore

    Question: If your church is looking at foreclosure on their building because of a $12,000 water bill, what would be the best course of action? In my opinion, the church should get the money together to pay their bills and keep their building. Not so …

  3. Praiser4Life Says:

    Jamal really knows how to hide his money! $3800 A MONTH!! PLEASE!!

  4. Booker G Says:

    As a member and former leader at the 1st Mt. Olive Free Will Baptist this has been a very enlightening experience. I have read just about all of the articles that have come out and most hit the nail on the head in terms of accuracy, but as a “insider” there are some things that have been implied that need clarification. The Bentley was not a gift from the church to the Pastor. The church provides a leased vehicle for the Pastor as part of his compensation package. The Bentley was never approved by the leadership of the church. Although church leaders were not pleased with the fact that the Pastor was driving a Bentley, most probably did not know that the vehicle was being paid for by the church (can you believe that?)

    The church Fiscal Officer resigned under a cloud of suspicion in August 2006 that he was misappropraiting funds (which is a fancy way of saying he stole money). This had been occuring for a two – three year period, which correlates with the unpaid taxes, water bill and mortgage issues. Although the CFO was entrusted with executing his duties, ultimately it is the responsibiity of the Pastor to oversee what is going on, which is obvious that he failed to do. He probably failed to do this because he was cris-crossing the country serving as an assistant for a prominent Bishop who recently reaped the benefits of being buddies with Tyler “Madea” Perry to the tune of a multi-million dollar donation to his church.

    For a church so rich in history that is heading to over 70 plus years of service, the last several years has wipped out a church with a strong legacy. The church fell into the trap of extravagant living and although it held the public face of a model ministry, on the inside it was rotting at its core.

  5. IndependentConservative Says:

    Thank you Booker G. I strive as best I can to keep things accurate and I am glad someone was able to provide more detailed insight into how things got like this.

    I only know of 1 big name “bishop” who got much money from Tyler (man who wears a dress) Perry. And Mr. (man who wears a dress) Perry is a member of that “bishop’s” assembly. That “bishop” is oh so proud of him. I’ve got to tell you, knowing that Oscar E. Brown might be mixed up with him really saddens me in a major way. (At this point I stopped writing this comment for a moment and went to search and found it’s true.) But I guess it’s true, given Paul Morton appointed Oscar Brown to be a “bishop”.

    Pastor Brown was led to join the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference under the leadership of Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. in April 1995. A delegation of twenty-three (23) persons accompanied him to the Second Annual Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana in July 1995. It was at this session that Rev. Brown was appointed Conference Overseer for the State of Maryland.

    Overseer Oscar E. Brown was appointed by Bishop Morton to the office of Bishop-Elect in July 1996. On November 21, 1996, Bishop-Elect Brown was consecrated to the office of Bishop at the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship’s “CHANGING A GENERATION ENRICHMENT CONFERENCE” at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. To God Be The Glory!!!

    On Monday, August 23, 1999, Bishop Oscar E. Brown was appointed to the Bishop’s Council of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship by Presiding Bishop, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. In July 2000, Bishop Brown was appointed Assistant to Bishop Carlos Malone who serves as Executive Assistant. he was also appointed Assistant to Bishop Larry D. Trotter, who serves as Third Presiding Bishop. Yet, with all of his appointments, Bishop Brown remains a humble and submissive servant of God.

    I knew it was obviously bad at First Mt. Olive, but I didn’t realize it was THAT BAD. I’ll just stop there. Discovering this is just troubling.

  6. Independent Conservative Says:

    Paul Morton is a Kingpin in the Pulpit Pimp Racket!

    One person I’ve never noted directly with a post here is so called Bishop Paul S. Morton, but he is one who true saints should be aware of, even more so than some of the other pimps mentioned. Because many of the pimps mentioned got off the gro…

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