Dee here. A number of years ago I met Todd when he left UCCD under John Folmar which is a 9 Marks church. It was his experience that caused me to coin the term “Retroactive Church Discipline.” So, it may be presumed that I am not a fan of John Folmar. Now that I have seen him slam a church that paid him and treated him with nothing but kindness during his sabbatical. I was mad at how he treated Todd many years ago. I am mad once again as I observe the lack of character exhibited by this pastor. The rest of this post is written by Todd
I remember those happy days and often wish I could speak into the ears of the dead the gratitude which was due to them in life and so ill-returned. –
John Folmar, my former pastor from the United Christian Church of Dubai, was given a six-month sabbatical beginning in January 2021. A sabbatical is generally a paid leave from a pastor’s church used for resting, recharging your battery, reading, studying a topic of interest, or even writing a book. Folmar used his sabbatical to work as interim pastor at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs, TX. He reportedly was expected to work 15-20 hours per week, but threw himself into his job, working 40 hours per week! Folmar received a salary, use of the parsonage, and a church member allowed the Folmars to use his car. Below is a clip from Folmar’s last sermon at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church – June 27, 2021.
His contract finished, Folmar rushed back to Dubai to preach at UCCD on Friday, July 2. On the first Friday of every month, UCCD also meets in the evening. They conduct church business at this meeting, voting on accepting new members and excommunicating others! Folmar advised the membership that he would be returning to the United States in August and hopes to return to Dubai after the Christmas holidays. Unknown to me is whether UCCD extended Folmar another 6 months of sabbatical leave. Sources have informed me that Folmar will be residing in Georgia for the next six months. I assume he will be looking to preach somewhere again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Folmar attempts to land a permanent senior pastor’s job somewhere and remain in the USA, but telling UCCD he plans on returning will keep his options open.
Notice in the screenshot below that Jonathan Leeman will be preaching for three weeks after Folmar departs. Folmar, Leeman, and Mark Dever are all good friends, and, need I add, good little 9Marxists. It is unusual for Leeman to preach three weeks in a row at UCCD; in fact, I can confidently say this has never before happened. This leads me to speculate that he may be at UCCD to grease the skids for another 9Marxist to replace Folmar. If true, I would be offended if I were a member of UCCD. The 9Marxists are into autonomous elder-ruled churches, so what business would it be of Leemans/9Marx to attempt to get their next man into the pulpit of UCCD?
Now I come to the video that drove me to write this blog post. After thanking Sunset Canyon Baptist Church for their kindness and generosity in the clip above, three weeks later Folmar demonstrates a total lack of class and gratitude. He slams the church in the USA (actually two churches) in front of his Dubai congregation for their lack of prayerfulness. Two things about that – first, it is not true. I watched many of the services online and there was never a lack of prayer. Folmar himself conducted several prayers during each service. Maybe the laity weren’t as polished or as comfortable praying publicly as Folmar, but that’s no reason to call them out. As you will see in a later video clip, Folmar was doing his best to influence the church to implement membership contracts, a statement of faith, and church discipline. Perhaps he should have backed off his efforts to implement his 9Marx doctrines and spent some time teaching the church about prayer.
After preaching at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church for three months Folmar figured it was time to start pushing 9Marx Doctrines on the members. You will notice that ten years prior, Folmar had written an article in the 9Marx journal stressing to avoid alienating a congregation by pushing these very things too quickly. Six months after Folmar’s article, Brian Croft said the same thing in another 9Marx article. Stunning behavior by the seasoned pastor, to say the least.
1. Teach on it first.
The surest way to alienate a congregation is to begin changing the culture of the church without laying out a biblical case for the change. Paul exhorted Timothy to minister with “great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). If your church existed for years without biblical membership, then it may take years to see true biblical change. – John Folmar, “Implementing Membership in an Existing Church,” 4/28/2011.
1. Wait for the right time to implement change.
The most common tactic of a zealous pastor beginning a church revitalization—which is the worst thing he could do—is to try to change everything that needs to be changed within the first year or two. Of course the church needs to change, else it would not be characterized as needing revitalization, yet change must come slowly. Trust must be built. Sheep first need to feel cared for by the shepherd before they will follow him down a new path. -Brian Croft, “Five Unexpected Lessons in Church Revitalization,” 10/28/2011.
I thought this video clip from a sermon in May was a bit hypocritical. Folmar is on a sabbatical, yet working full-time in a job where the church officials told him they only expected him to work 15-20 hours!
I will finish up with a clip that illustrates a couple of points. Folmar is always looking for churches in the USA to
donate money, excuse me, partner with his church in Dubai. He plays the ridiculous game of not naming where his church is. This plays on the emotions of the American people… oooh, it’s so dangerous over there in the Middle East that you can’t give the location away. I should mention that in the very first appearance of Folmar at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church one of the leaders introduced John, reciting a short bio on him, including the fact that he was a pastor in Dubai. Folmar had two elders from UCCD visit Sunset Canyon Baptist Church while there, and also the pastor of Grace Church of Sharjah, Anand Samuel. Each time Folmar used the occasion to encourage the church to partner with the churches in the Middle East.
I think if this blog gets viewed by members of Sunset Canyon Baptist Church they will think twice about partnering with John Folmar. In fact, they likely already have. All his sermon videos used to be on the Sunset Canyon Baptist Church website. I checked today and the videos are no longer available to the public, although some sermons are available in audio form only. Thankfully, I have been blogging long enough to know to make copies/videos of things I find interesting. Material has a way of disappearing on the internet.