My Dear Friends and Family,
I would like to share my thoughts with you today. I do this by the grace of God and with the courage of hearing His “fear not”.
I wish to relate to you all, why I have recently left the fellowship. I am telling you this because God’s Word teaches us to be open and honest with one another as we are with Him. I write too because many falsehoods may be told, concerning me, as I have heard falsehoods about others. Most importantly, I write to encourage you to know Jesus and believe on Him, only.
I have left because of the following reasons:
- Most importantly, is the fellowship’s view of God’s plan of salvation. In the fellowship there is a disregard of the Blood of Christ as atonement for our sins. Recently an elder spoke in a Bible study, that when he is asked if he is saved, he replies “Saved from what?” Is that not making light of the very Blood of the Son of God which was shed for you and me that we might have life eternal with God?
This same elder in the same testimony said he knew little about the grace of God, referring to Paul saying, “By Grace, you are saved and not of works lest any man should boast”. I do not fault this Elder any more than myself as we have all been led astray and have missed the message of Christ’s love for us and His plan for our salvation.
I, until recently knew little about this gift of God either. Do you not find it strange that so few have a real concept of what God’s grace means to us when God’s word proclaims it is the very means by which we are saved? A worker recently spoke that when he is asked if he is saved, he replies “I am working at it!” What do you think you or I can add to the blood of Christ to pay for, or earn our salvation?
I have pictured it like this. I am standing in front of the cross looking up at the perfect Son of God, who has been mocked, rejected, forsaken, tortured and now hung on a cross bleeding for me. And I, daring to believe in my heart confess with my mouth, that I must add to his work after he proclaimed “It is finished.” My response should be to fall down and worship him and praise him. To love and adore him, to follow his teachings and commandments, to love all that are his. I have chosen this response and cannot continue in a fellowship that in any way makes light of the Blood of my Savior Jesus Christ.
- The proclamation of being the Truth. I now see how presumptuous of God we have been in allowing this name to stick to our fellowship. It may border on Blasphemy. Jesus proclaimed himself the Truth, and now a body of believers, proclaim they are the Truth. In essence, saying we are equal with God. In saying we are the Way is much the same way. The Truth is Jesus, the Way is Jesus.
The person of Jesus Christ revealed to us and in us, is the rock upon which he proclaimed he would build his church. Recently I have heard many say that it was revealed to them that this fellowship was the right way. The scriptures do not point to a body of believers, but to Christ himself as the revealed way. I must follow Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
- The proclamation that all other bodies of believers are false and lost. Who am I to judge another man’s servant much less God’s children? Continually there is blanket condemnation rendered to all outside the fellowship. Yes, there are false religions, false teachers, but even as God allows the tares to abide with the wheat he does not condemn the whole field. Who are you and I to do so? I have much enjoyed fellowship with other believers over the years and now embrace them without reservation as brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Deception concerning the origin of the fellowship. This was a snare that the early leaders succumbed to when they decided to hide William Irvine and others who actually began the fellowship and to teach that it was of Biblical historical origin. God is not a deceiver and this deception is not from God nor does it serve his purpose. Rather it simply deceives the individual who believes it and serves the destroyers’ purposes in taking our faith on Jesus and placing it on man and his efforts.
There is a play on words in the fellowship. When asked when this way began, the fellowship will say it has been since the beginning. They refer to the teachings of God and the Truth (the fellowship), which is believed to be Jesus’ way. Deception occurs when the person of Christ is replaced by the fellowship. The asker of the question: “when and where did this way begin?” wants to know historical facts—not doctrinal theology. Consider, if you asked a member of the Baptist Church how his church began and he proclaimed it was from the beginning, meaning the word of God which is taught in the church. What he told you may be true but it does not answer your question.
- Legalism of manmade unwritten rules which are denied. My wife attended meetings for many years but never professed. Many commented over the years, many things to and about her, about her hair,…that she was coming to meeting more than she did, etc. Not once in 10 years did anyone ask if she believed in God? Or was she saved? Or did she know Jesus? Or was she born again? The fellowship is so focused on how things appear it is impossible for things of the inner man to be considered at any length or depth.
Recently we were visited by two elders from a local church at our request. We found their intent was not to sign us up as members, but rather of concern for our souls, that our faith be grounded in Jesus Christ. I was very touched as they prayed openly for Enid and I and our children. They acknowledge me as a brother in Christ and have evident concern for myself and my family even though we are not church members. We enjoy attending many different Christian churches and fellowship with God’s children wherever they are.
Time is a precious thing. Thank you for your time in reading my thoughts. I pray you prove them right or wrong by God’s word and the aid of the Holy Spirit.
Love in Christ to you all,
NOTE: The above is an edited version of my exit letter of July 30, 1994
My picketing of the Apopka, Florida convention…
This was not done lightly as I knew this would be a significant factor regarding family relationships which were already strained with my leaving and letters sent out. More importantly, I did not want to be doing things God did not want done or to do things for the wrong reasons, as there was a part of me that was angry for the deception and the treatment during the final days by the workers.
The desire to do something to let others know the truth about the founders and more significantly the true gospel of grace through Christ was strong. After consulting with our current church leaders and having their approval and prayers I set out to do this as long as God gave me the desire to do so. I am not sure how many years this went on but maybe 3-4. We distributed info from RIS and held signs and put up signs in Burma Shave fashion with messages about the founder and the true gospel. It was my intent that the messages we were publicly communicating would also be appropriate for the general public.
I sensed God’s hand and power over me on occasion and most vividly was the first day when the head worker and assistant head worker and grounds owner came out to try to stop my work. I was granted courage and clarity I did not possess myself, that day! I asked them if they would explain the founders from the platform that day. They would not, even though they found no fault with the accuracy of the information I possessed.
When that visit failed to get me to lay down my signs and come into the meetings and listen, a member, who is a sheriff’s deputy, was sent to intimidate me, legally challenging my right to protest. A quick call to the County Sheriff’s Office assured me of my rights that his threats had no legal basis and God caused it all to continue. The community of Christians and non-Christians would stop to see why I was there. I shared Christ with many through those days. Some passer-by believers prayed for our work (my wife came sometimes as did Ken Coolidge).
We do not know the full extent of what we did but I am confident that it was not in vain.
We know of a family that was set free through that work after The Mom felt the strong desire to stop and speak with us after seeing us several times as they went in and out to their hotel. She later wrote and thanked us for helping them to see what they were involved with and for helping them to see the way out and to the Savior. She was a believer who had gotten caught up in the group many years ago. Her husband, while he left the group with her she discovered he was not a born-again believer in Christ at all. Not sure what occurred with the grown children. We spoke with several who would brave the trek across the road to talk with us. Many of those were teens.
Each year we would ask God to somehow tell us if we were to go and I believe that He took the desire to go from me and that was the end of that work.
In 1999 we returned to Seychelles Islands ( Indian Ocean) where my wife is from. There we shared what we had learned to almost the entire fellowship on two islands which met together at our invitation. We shared about the founders and gave several Secret Sect books and shared the true gospel of Christ. We also met with some church leaders and informed them of what was going on with the hope of outreach to those who had their foundations shaken. We have no idea what has happened there.
We also distributed information at a gospel meeting locally here at home and this caused quite a stir and prompted some contact with some of the friends as they called us for more info. Once again I do not know what if anything came of it.
We continue to fellowship and serve in the same Community Bible church as we did then and have raised our two kids pointing them to Christ. God is very good!
I was born in 1958 in Wisconsin, 3rd generation. Workers converted my grandparents in the 1920s. I professed in 1978 at a Menomonie, WI convention and after a couple of years wandered away from the fellowship. I re-professed in 1985 two years after marrying my wife, Enid. She never did profess but the teachings of the group have had a lasting effect on her.