The Baptist Mafia, Ergun Caner, and Wonderland

Today I am dealing with three separate topics.





TWW was asked to define what is meant by the Baptist Mafia. This term, as far as we can tell was coined by Doug Pittman after his experience with church leadership in the SBC. The movie trilogy, The Godfather, does a pretty good job exposing the Mafia. 



1. The majority of Mafia types in the movie attended the Catholic church regularly and even participated in confession. This is a most amazing example of cognitive dissonance. They are devout yet lead atrocious personal lives.  The Baptist Mafia are also devoted to church and believe that they are theologically and morally straight.



2. If a member of a particular Mafia family decides to "squeal" about the illegal activities to the authorities, they are hunted down with ferocity, warned or even killed. However, the old fashioned Mafia rarely, if ever, threatened the immediate family of the Mafia member.



The Baptist Mafia has exhibited the "hunt and squelch"  technique regularly. However, they do believe in indirectly threatening family members.Recently, Wade Burleson, who wrote on the Caner problem, received a threatening comment which he posted on his site. It threatened to expose "stuff" about his children if he did not cease and desist. Certain well-placed individuals called his father and told him to call his son and tell him to stop writing on this matter, ostensibly because Caner's family was receiving threats. 



Here is the comment and link.

"This decision requires immediate attention. Your continued attacks on people in the SBC have reached a point where a certain group have decided to say to you enough is enough.We leaders in the SBC will not allow you to continue. We desire your recovery from your issues. But cease you must from continued attacks. 

Here is the decision you have, if you can call it one:

1. Close your blog and stop all attacks including your father and church member. You are done! or 

2. This group will release to the press and your church information we have obtained involving your careless sin and attempts to cover up such activity while attacking others.

Need proof? 

Casinos! Other addictions! Why your daughter is not at Baylor! Your sons Marine issue! Enough? It is your call. At least we have the Grace and Truth to give you a "chance" for restoration".



We highly recommend Wade Burleson's book called Hardball Religion. This book discusses his ill-fated tenure on the International Missions Board. There is a particularly juicy incident when a member of the IMB took out a knife during the conflict. Of course he will say that he was just cleaning his fingernails. But so would the Mafia.Also, please read out story on Doug Pittman which you can access via the category section of this blog.



3. The Mafia made money which they never reported to the authorities. They made lots and lots of money. Today's Baptist Mafia are doing very well. There are certain pastors and SBC leaders who are making large salaries. For example, we have received information that  one state convention pays one of its administrators around $500,000/year.That's Grannies tithe, for your information. I would bet that few folks in the pew have any idea what sort of money is going to pay for salaries in the SBC. Burleson's book touches on this subject as well.



4. The Mafia always had shell corporations to hide their money. Well, so do Baptists. Ed Young Jr, of Fellowship Church in Grapevine owns a couple of really expensive homes which are held under trusts. He also has access to a church leased jet which take him to all sorts of places for his ministry, including lovely , tropical venues.

On another note, just like the Mafia, some pastors and leaders who go by the title "Doctor" may hold degrees from diploma mills. This topic has been covered on Wade Burleson's blog as well as Tom Rich's   We plan to be covering this issue as well.


So, money, threats, and phony titles seem to fit very well into a Mafioso lifestyle. May God forgive those who use the faith to act like "Dons" (this word is used by the leader of a particular Mafia family such as Don Corleone in the Godfather). So, if the shoe fits….





Ergun Caner has been known for his racial and gender humor which we contend is not humor whatsoever. Here are some examples which I took from one website called Count Us Out  but these "jokes" can be found on numerous blogs.


 "Part of Caner’s performing persona is his own brand of shock humor, which often relies on racial, ethnic and sexist humor. Speaking to one largely white audience, Caner joked about worship in black churches, where he said they pass the plate 12 times, women wear hats the size of satellite dishes and men wear blue suits that match their shoes and a handkerchief that matches their car. One black Baptist preacher asked for an apology.

At a conference in Seattle a few years ago, Caner joked about the Mexican students at Liberty this way:

“The Mexican students and I get along real well. They’re my boys. I always joke with ‘em, I say ‘Man, if I ever adopt, I want to adopt a Mexican because I need work done on my roof. [laughter], and, and uh, I got a big lawn….

At an Ohio men’s conference in 2007, he got the audience whooping and shouting with this gem:

“Dr. Caner, do you believe in women behind the pulpit? My answer is well, yeah, of course, how are they going to vacuum back there unless they get behind it….[laughter]…..and that’s going to be in half of your pulpits next Sunday. FEEL FREE!!! I LOVE THAT LINE!! But you know one line like that shuts it all up, ’cause they’re not going to talk about it, and they’re not going to talk to you for a while, which is good, which is good".



As a woman, I take exception to this last comment. "Of course women belong in the pulpit. Ha,ha. Let's take out the word, women, and insert "African American."   



"Of course African Americans belong behind the pulpit. How would they vacuum back there unless they get behind it." Ouch…..




There is a painful debate going on within the faith regarding women and leadership. There are conservative Christian women who believe that they are allowed to teach and to have a role in church leadership. Please click on  Sherri Klouda under category to read one such story. Also,  here is an excellent link to the story on Wade Burleson's site.


Caner exhibits incredible insensitivity to issues surrounding women and should apologize for such a statement. Ditto on his "ha ha" comment on black churches. As Caner surely knows, Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Our church are divided racially, white, black and Hispanic. Until we have achieved more racial balance, Caner should keep his mouth shut when it comes to racial jokes. In fact, I would venture to say that in any major corporation in America, Caner would be fired for repeating such jokes. 



TWW will continue to follow the Caner debacle as new breaks. But, we believe that Caner has no business being the leader of a seminary. And, if the Liberty University investigation says that any of the documented lies are just simple misstatements, we believe that students should find a real Christian school that actually knows what a lie, and humor, is.




As requested, our Wonderland story has been fully archived. We suggest that a new reader first read our series on spiritual abuse. Both stories can be accessed under the category section of this blog.


I would like to call your attention to a most disturbing incident when a grandmother was "perp-walked" out of her church. Here is the direct link.




The Baptist Mafia, Ergun Caner, and Wonderland — 25 Comments

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    Dee, please allow me to help you with my description, the definition, and the reasoning why and how I came up with the term “the Baptist Mafia”……

    Here is some examples of who are those “within the Baptist Mafia”

    1. Any minister who has used the Bible passages to further personal wealth and personal agendas;

    2. Personal vendettas against anyone who is opposition or anyone who opposes an issue presented or disagrees with messages from the pulpit ;

    3. Any minister who has thrown out members of a church because they oppose his agenda, are a threat to his deception, have credible evidence of SIN within a member of his staff, or who has thrown anyone out period without reason ;

    4. Any Minister who has willfully lied to a church or denied the church access to that person so that he/she can have a voice on issues unknown to that church ;

    5. Any Pastor who tells his Deacons to lie to a church or covers up a matter that should be exposed to the church ;

    6. Any Pastor / Minister who violates Matthew 18;

    7.Any minister who has done away with all committees and trustees within the church so they can either forcibly or deceitfully have total control of that church is definitely a part of those within “the Baptist Mafia”. They will then also tell you they are “of authority” and it is Biblical and have the Deacons tell the church that they should be lead 100% totally submissive to the Pastor or as they say….Pastor Lead – and the Deacons then accept this Bullying tactic from this Pastor / Minister……

    8. Any Pastor or Minister who knowingly lies and covers up SIN within the church staff and then goes after the person who has exposed this SIN to the church;

    9. Any Pastor/ Minister who uses the LAW and Police to squelch opposition with intimidation and harassing tactics such as ” illegal subpoena’s and trespass warnings”;

    10. Any Pastor / Minister who spiritually abuses;

    11. Any Pastor who tells members of his church to avoid certain members of this church;

    12. Any Pastor / Minister who lies about his Education or FAKE DR degree ;

    13. Any Pastor who turn church members against others members based on false accusations;

    14. Any Pastor / Minister who accepts financial reward based on fraudulent credentials and deception;

    15. Any Pastor who threatens others after being exposed………..

    This is just a start of the reasoning why I came up with this very fitting term in today’s environment.

    I say to all those within “the Baptist Mafia” who think just like the terms above……

    “The Internet,The Great Equalizer!”

    You will be Exposed if you are a part of those ” within the Baptist Mafia”

    Following Christ, Not Man;
    Doug Pittman

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    So any news on Wonderland?

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    Oh I forgot these 6…..

    16. If your Pastor / Minister replace older experienced Deacons and Trustees with fresh, Young, and overall inexperienced men say in their 20’s so he can manipulate decisions more easily ;

    17. If your Pastor / Minister views tithing records or ask for them in an underhanded way;

    18. If your Pastor / Minister preaches or blast negative comments against other ministers from the pulpit;

    19. If your Pastor / Minister blast bloggers for exposing issues against ministers and others within the Convention on the Internet;

    20. If your Pastor / Minister will not answer basic questions and /or ignores legitimate issues ;

    21/ If your Pastor / Minister makes excuses for those that are known to be guilty of certain matters;

    You are known to be a part of “those within the Baptist Mafia”
    Need I say more…..

    Following Christ, Not Man
    Doug Pittman

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    Question: is there any way to educate Baptists so they stop being manipulated by these money and fame sucking mafia monsters? If not why not devising a way to inform the lay people of such facts (eg. email, etc)

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    And you think this is limited to Baptists?

    This occurs in all organizations where money and power can be amassed by charismatic leaders. The problem is that the way we “do church” creates an atmosphere where this is almost the directed result in the evangelical churches in the US.

    The larger the church and the more it is led by an insular elder and/or deacon board the more likely it will turn into a situation where the pastor becomes an example of the Baptist Mafia type of pastor. While I have major issues with the RCC and other hierarchical churches the hierarchy does tend to prevent the rise of such personalities.

    The movie “Leap of Faith” is a great take on charismatic fraudulent preacher.
    Good movie but it’s not “G”., Not bad but not “G”.

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    In my own experience, many pew sitters do not want to know what their pastors are up to. Why? because it would mean they would have to do something about it and most folks just don’t want to be bothered. I have seen people leave churches after conflicts but many just sit around and say, “Well, there are two sides” even in the face of blatant misconduct.

    Hence, the blog community.BTW, it was the Christian blog community that “outed” Caner and this fact is being acknowledged by the media. Thee are many people who read blogs and never comment as witnessed here at TWW. So, the news is getting out. Perhaps God allowed the Internet for this very reason.

    Thanks for commenting.

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    “If not why not devising a way to inform the lay people of such facts”

    Most people don’t want to “be informed”. They want someone to run things and keep controversies “away”.

    History is full of examples of this. It’s one of the most common themes in history.

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    “Amen,” sister! If you will look at our archives, you will see us discuss many nonBaptist leaders. I will try to get the archives up on Mark Driscoll. Now there is a personality that is larger than life.

    I think the average pew sitter has a hard time believing that his/her pastor could be a charlatan. I am amazed how the salaries of pastors in these churches can run into the millions of dollars.

    Anticipating a nice pastor who writes in and says most do not earn this money, I provide a caveat. I am in a church where the pastors do not make much money. In fact, years ago I advocated raising their salaries.

    I know of one church where the pastor makes $150,000. Travels all the time. Has loooong lunch breaks, no time clock, has a house allowance and car allowance. and still complains about being tired and overworked in spite of an incredibly bloated staff and hours that many working slugs would envy.

    Recently, my son, who is a junior in high school, asked me what profession he could go in to that would “guarantee” him a salary of $100,000 year. Funny how pastoring a large church came to mind. Twenty years ago that would have never been a consideration. Now, there is the possibility of big bucks in the ministry as evidenced by Ed Young jr. more recently. How sad it is that our generation allowed this to happen.

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    And when controversies arise, they stick their fingers in their ears and say…”I can’t hear you.” They deserve what they get.

    Mediocre pastors preaching mediocre messages dressed up to look significant and pew sitters who say they are “good” Christians and being persecuted for their beliefs when someone outside the church disagrees with them.

    These folks have no idea what real persecution looks like. I often wonder how many of them would renounce the faith if it got “hard” to believe.

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    Not really. I know there is a decline in the population. I am starting to look into how to change a certain law in NC and will keep you apprised. I hope you get an answer to the question about SGM. You certainly have enough material to work with.

    Now, you have returned to the motherland. I would love to take you out to lunch and hear about your experiences. Let me know if you have time for a mom type.

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    May I use your comments in the form of a blog post? Knowing you, the answer will be yes. The list also applies to those outside of the “Baptist” crowd.

    Also, I need you to clarify some info on financials that have come into my possession.

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    No it is not limited to Baptist. All others fall under my term ” the Religious Mafia.”

    I only called out the Baptist because I have “personal” experiences with several Baptist Mafia Pastors whom I have had to battle and expose.

    I would say to all if you ever have to confront these men, you had better be prepared for all types of wrath from them and their church member disciples – especially the “Demonic Discipled” ones.

    You will receive anything from hateful letters, busted mailboxes, fires in your backyard, death threats, being set up fraudulently on undesirable sex sites as a member, fake profiles on dating sites, verbally attacked from pulpits, cussed at, preached against from pulpits from fellow Mafia members, lies told to fellow church members, verbal attacks on family members, being shunned and on and on………

    But the one thing you can enjoy is the fact that Integrity, Character, and Truth always outshines those that are “within the Baptist Mafia.”

    God loves those who stand for his Kingdom and expose those who are an abomination to his Kingdom!~

    and then there are those who “Bury their Heads in the Sand” and run………..

    But this has taught me that we all should be

    Following Christ, Not Man;
    Doug Pittman

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    Hey Doug

    I thought only we underlings were capable of violating Matthew 18!

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    We need to add this post to the list if you are OK with it. You are part of the Baptist Mafia if you do this to a devoted church member……add above examples. Darn it Doug…what an experience.

    Since Wake Forest is here in NC, this gives new meaning to “Demon Deacons.” This is too funny! I need to add this to the list as well. I know a few of those up here.

    We need to post all of these. Then, I could set up a new page where folks could suggest other “qualities.” We may come up with The LIst.

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    How about a new book “You Know You Are Part of the Religious Mafia If You …?”

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    Remember, I am writing a book about detailed experiences titled “Provoked”

    This will be an eye opener for sure… and indepth concerning thoughts and a step by step almost day by day of how this happened. I think Seminaries and others who want to avoid a similar situation would be definitely be a must read.

    And, of course Dee, Mike Everson (the former Chairman of the Ga Baptist Convention – aka G B C – or 2nd most powerful man in GA) will be one of the “BAPTIST STARS” I will focus on.

    I plan on several others contributing a Chapter or 2 in the book. These are people who knew my every thought and who were GOD sent during this unbelievable time.

    But this Book is not about me, it about something much more important – OUR ETERNITY.

    As GOD has lead me through this and given me a backbone to stand up against many foes, I stand firm that the book has to be written otherwise some may not be able to recognize that TARE speaking from our pulpits…….


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    I can attest to what I saw and experienced was not baptist but non denominational. mostly in the seeker mega movement.

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    I am so sorry. I “unapproved” your comment by accident because it was next to a spam in my comment list.

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    So Lise, glad to hear you are home. My family was finally able to leave Wonderland for good almost a year ago. (My daughter says hello.) I think you will find this as strange as I do—Whenever we encounter people we knew from Wonderland they have an obvious “startle” reflex as if they have just seen Satan himself. They rarely speak and avoid eye contact. I truly miss some of my Wonderland friends. It’s sad that Wonderland leaders encourage the cutting of ties to former members immediately. Praying for light to penetrate the darkness.

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    They should be the ones to be ashamed for sitting back and buying the “spin.” They are equally culpable if they do not investigate the situation for themselves. It is truly hard for some people to understand that their pastors can also be sinners!

    I had someone tell me that she couldn’t read my blog because it had some negative things on it! Somehow, she believes that, as long as you ignore the negative, you are somehow more “Christian.” Funny thing, Jesus often dwelled on the negative. The Bible is hardly the venue for “nice” stories.

    These poor people are cowed with poor Biblical teaching that keeps their blinders firmly on.

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    I’d love to. Let me know when and where. πŸ™‚

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    Some blogs have large visitors and readers. I see there is hope if many many more believers who would do some research and start blogging. Especially in facing a large machine such as Liberty university.

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    This story is now in the secular media. I think the more people blog, the more difficult it is to sweep this stuff under the rug. The sheer number of people blogging on Caner caught the attention of Associated Press and others. Its too bad that the “Christian” entities won’t listen to their own but will start responding only when the secular crowd gets ahold of it. It shows arrogance and stupidity.

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    Cutting ties with former members? Never heard of that, unless there were perhaps kicked out for gross sin. When has that become policy at Wunderland?


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    “β€œAmen,” sister!”

    Sisters tend to have the name spelled as Lyn. πŸ™‚