(Individual Greeting) I wanted to write everyone that I’ve loved from “meeting” for the last ten years, to say I will no longer be going to meeting. That doesn’t mean I have chosen to leave Truth, as it truly is in Jesus, In fact, I’m leaving to follow Him more closely. In making this decision, I’ve spent more hours praying and begging for God to correct, direct and protect my heart, mind and soul than ever before. Also to protect me from deceit or deceiving others.
Please don’t jump to a judgment that I have “lost out”, am “unwilling”, bitter, offended, angry, have a bad spirit, guided by Satan, have gone crazy or anything like that. This was a difficult decision that has made me look deep into my own heart, but now it’s made, I have sweet peace. I want to offer the reasons for my departure so you won’t have to guess or hear rumors from others. If you are not interested in why I am leaving and you think I’m leaving because any of the above reasons, please don’t read any further, it would be of no use. I am making this decision independent from Chris.
If you are interested in why I’ve left, read on. When I “professed” in November of 2001, all I knew is that I needed God in my life. I was not professing with the desire to join a system or group. Now I see, I’ve blindly followed an arbitrary partial truth with only selected scriptural references that focused on a set of man-made rules. I just felt I needed answers about “why” I’m even on this Earth.
Overtime, I have become increasingly concerned about what I hear in testimonies and what I hear from the ministry.
First and foremost – Exclusivity is wrong – I cannot further accept the tenant that we (only those that fellowship in this way) are God’s chosen people and the only ones that have salvation. Jesus freely gave salvation to ALL that would believe and follow him. He died for this. Further, it is often stated that the only way to salvation is to hear the Gospel preached only from God’s true servants (the workers) and then we have to be baptized only through them. How can we feel that we can be that special and that exclusive? Jesus was not exclusive…He included the likes of the adulteress about to be stoned, the Samaritan woman married five times at the well, and the criminal on the cross next to him – just to name a few. We have become so exclusive that we have forbade people in this fellowship from taking part in testimony and the emblems for so many reasons or even bringing up the concern. I just can’t find anywhere where Jesus would be that exclusive and agree with that decision.
Second – unlike 99.3% of the Christian World our ministry does not believe that Jesus is fully God. Just ask about the Trinity or the Godhead and you will get your answer. John 1.1 is very clear…In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Third – The level of “Worker Worship” has increased greatly over the last few years or maybe I’m just hearing it more loudly now. I can’t tell you how many meetings, special meetings, and conventions I’ve been to where most of the time we hear from the podium about the “homeless ministry” being the only way and what the workers are sacrificing for us – or from testimonies praising the workers with actually little about Jesus. I’ve often asked myself, “what about Jesus”? I appreciate the workers’ role in my early growth, but there comes a time when a personal relationship must grow and the need for a human middleman diminishes.
Fourth – Legalism just like the Pharisees – The importance of “appearance” and certain “rules” seem to take a much higher priority over where we are in our heart. It just makes this way “dead” for me. Living a lie (not the whole truth) makes one die, or feel dead.
Fifth – We have all been told that this ministry was started by Jesus and has carried on until today. Actually, it is very well documented that this ministry was started by a man named William Irvine in 1897. He took some basic Christian doctrine and unfortunately added a whole lot of his own (often twisted) ideas. He was eventually rejected and died with his delusions about being the Lord’s anointed man to bring the last message of Jesus Christ to the world before judgment – in Jerusalem in 1947. Again, there is overwhelming evidence of this and I can provide the documentation. Why the deception in a group that calls itself “The Truth”? There is an unbroken chain from Irvine to the present.
Sixth – I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve asked spiritual questions of the workers and have either been faced with complete silence, answers that didn’t make sense scripturally, answers to change the subject, uncomfortable humor, answers to direct the conversation elsewhere, answers like ‘just keep going to the meetings” or something like “it’s best you don’t even ask that” or “what have you been reading?”. I need a ministry that would at least say to me “Stan, I don’t know, but I’ll sure try to find out for you” or maybe “Stan you need to pray about that”. Mostly I just got silence. I’m no longer asking them for any answers because the trust in them is gone, but the trust in Jesus has soared.
Seventh – The harvest field has always been a mystery to me in how it relates to our ministry. Workers really don’t seem to go out and work in this field. In fact, it often feels like they try to avoid the world as much as possible by just going from one professing house to another and staying put there. Then a few hours a week they preach to the choir at Gospel meetings or go to one convention after another. How is that going out into the harvest field? Isn’t the harvest field the world?
Eighth – I have been shocked about how much I really don’t understand about the Bible after 10 years. I first had to get rid of the almost incomprehensible King James Bible that was written in 1610. The NIV, for example, is a much better Bible in my opinion and we love the Quest Study Bible. It is written in a language we actually speak and it makes much better use of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic source material used to compile the Bible. It includes history, culture etc. that make certain verses appropriate for the meaning intended then and now. So it is a much more accurate Bible translation.
Also, it was never indicated in these old Greek and Hebrew scripts that we use the personal pronouns like thee, thou, thine when referring to the Godhead and in our prayers. That is from England of 1610 and just adds confusion. The idea of sitting down with the workers in the morning and reading a passage (they selected) from the King James Bible did not help me to grow one tiny bit. I didn’t even see how it could be called a “study”. They did attempt to manipulate their thoughts to become my thoughts. If you want to see a real Bible study – just go online and do a search of any type of topic you wish to study and you will learn more that you could ever have imagined. Our little church and men’s and women’s study group has taught me more in a few months than I learned in all the years I professed.
Ninth – Often our Wednesday night studies are composed of verses that (I feel) direct us to a certain conclusion. We don’t want to use the Bible to hunt and pick verses to prove a point that isn’t really there in the full context. We don’t want to add or subtract from the Bible to support a particular doctrine or “way”.
Tenth – Where money is used is a secret better kept than the US Intelligence Community that I worked for 20 years. Just ask for details about where our money goes and wait for the silence. Ask about overseers of several states having elders buy precious metals and stocks for them. When we call ourselves the truth, there shouldn’t be any secrets.
There is much more, but I know many will conclude I’m deceived, have a bitter or angry spirit. That’s an easy out to avoid asking yourself and praying, “Who am I truly following?” When this way becomes an obstacle, it’s time to let Jesus lead me on. I am actually very excited about my future with Jesus. I can’t wait to read everything anew. I look forward to this with eager anticipation (hope) that I am going to grow in my relationship with God and not just be worrying about satisfying a system or form based on intimidation and fear. Salvation is freely given, not something you have to earn by suffering through what we’re taught to believe. The workers (at least on the California Staff) generally preach the Gospel of fear and intimidation.
I hope, as Jesus instructed, that you don’t judge my decision. I don’t feel that these ten years have been wasted at all. In fact, I believe this was a part of God’s plan to help me go higher than a religion. I will continue in my journey to know more about Jesus and the salvation he offers ALL of us. These experiences have made me love greater and see clearer my Lord and King whose Kingdom is bigger than just the kingdom of this denomination and for that, I am grateful! I am always open to contact with you all because I continue to love you.