The controversy started on a blog called fbcjaxwatchdog and now the man behind the blog has filed a defamation lawsuit against his former church.
Thomas Rich was unhappy with things going on in the church when Mac Brunson took over as the new pastor. Rich is suing his former church and Brunson for reasons that include defamation and fraud.
?Mr. Rich feels that it's his civic duty and religious duty,? said attorney Michael Roberts. ?He's had to leave the church because of what they've done.?
Roberts said his client was airing out grievances on his blog when they claim First Baptist asked a church-goer, who happens to be a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, to find out who was responsible for the then anonymous blog. Rich was essentially "outed" as the blogger.
In a statement from Rich he writes, "then they found out my identity, they never once contacted me according to scripture and their church teachings, but had trespass warnings delivered to me and my wife.?
?It's created other problems at his new church,? Roberts said. ?We believe First Baptist has contacted his new church asking that church to somehow sanction Mr. Rich.?
The suit cites an article from the Florida Times Union where it said Pastor Brunson described Rich as "(1) obsessive compulsive (2) unstable and (3) a sociopath."
?Tom Rich is not a sociopath,? Roberts said. ?I invite anyone to go to this blog.?
The church released the following statement:
?Despite numerous efforts by the church to facilitate resolution privately and in accordance with Holy Scripture, Mr. Rich has been unwilling to participate. Having made every effort to settle this matter biblically, the Church stands ready to have the matter addressed according to law, though this is not, and never has been our desire.?
?Their side of the story will be able to be told, but we believe the facts will show that they made mistakes, serious mistakes,? said Roberts. ?And they weren't honest mistakes, they were intended to hurt Mr. Rich.?