Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pentecostal Hypnosis

Disclaimer: I AM NOT A HYPNOTIST. This post is based on research into hypnotism and the way the conscious and subconscious minds relate to each other. This phenomenon is well documented through observation, although not completely understood in process. We know what happens and what causes it, we just don't know exactly why. If you wish to attempt the hypnotism of someone or a group of someones, please consult a treatise on the topic as you will be better served.

A great deal of what goes on in modern-day "Pentecost" (an oxymoron if there ever was one: Pentecost refers to a day 2000 years ago, not a movement in this day and age) can be, and has been (by reputable researchers here's a link for you: attributed to hypnosis. I speak specifically of the uncontrollable laughter, speaking in tongues, barking, uncontrolled dancing, etc that you can witness at pretty much any camp meeting or conference held by a "Oneness" or "Jesus-only" group. The roots of these organizations are very easily traced back to early 20th century experiences in California that match commonly known and used crowd/mass hypnotic techniques. The most simple way to describe the process is that a person (or group of persons) create an atmosphere where people are happy, peaceful, and focused on what is happening in front of them. The most common way to do this is to entertain them and get them involved in what is going on. An example is a movie theater. Have you ever gone to a movie theater, watched a 2 hour movie, then been slightly disoriented when it ended? During the movie, you jump when things happen, you laugh when there's laughter, etc. When it is over, you feel like time has passed but you're not sure where, and it takes a few minutes for you to feel like you have woken up. Those are the same feelings you go through when you are hypnotised. Contrary to common misconception, a hypnotic trance is NOT a sleep...quite the opposite: it is a HYPER ATTENTIVE state. The reason this is important is that the reason many Pentecostals state they are not hypnotised is that they are awake. They are absolutely correct in that, except that is the whole point. Hypnotism is more a very vivid daydream than it is a sleep. People that are hypnotised are totally focused on something and very susceptive to whatever suggestion may take place. The difference between a true hypnotic state and what most people believe is that people that are hypnotised will not do something they would normally consider dangerous or immoral. These things are governed by the SUBCONSCIOUS mind and therefore cannot be easily corrupted. For example, a person that is naturally shy about their body for moral reasons will not abandon those beliefs no matter how much suggestion is given.

In a so-called "Pentecostal" meeting, all the fundamentals of group hypnosis are there: entertainment to focus the people, music to create peaceful and soothing feelings (which is funny in light of the fact that the UPCI teaches against rock and roll based on the fact that it affects the minds rhythms), and repeated "suggestions" of group involvement. After the typical 1/2 hour meditation (yes, prayer IS a form of meditation and chanting), 30-40 minutes of "worship" (focusing) and entreaties to be involved, the group is perfectly primed and ready for suggestion. Then they spend 20-60 minutes listening to suggestions and being "prepped" for the Altar Call, where they will do all sorts of crazy nutso stuff that most sane people would discipline their children for (It's worth noting that shorter but more impassioned "sermons" are more effective than long ones as the people are alert through it). During the "Altar Call", there will generally be a guy (or gal for that matter) up on stage giving suggestions about running, talking in tongues, dancing in "the Spirit", etc. There's one experience that really comes to mind that I witnessed when I was 15. The church I was raised in had an "Evangelist" come through, and the first night he got everyone all pumped up. During the "Altar Call", everyone was singing and jumping etc, typical Pentecostal stuff, and the dude said (I quote): "I am going to come around to each of you and put my hands on your head. When I do, I want you to state the date you were filled with the Holy Ghost. When you do, you will begin to speak in tongues and dance in the Spirit until I take my hands off your head." (Where do these people get this crap?) Now if THAT isn't a perfect to the letter example of hypnotic suggestion, then the experts are all wrong. Like clockwork, he went around, and whaddaya know? It worked.

One of the biggest tools used by Pentecostals in their focusing of crowds is the loud music. I like loud music. It's fun. I used to play piano in a UPCI church (quite well too, although, apparently, the person that replaced me has a "special anointing" lol...I have yet to see anointing listed as one of the qualifications for music ministry in the Bible...hopefully, the "anointing" makes up for the lack of skill...) and, believe me, there's lots of volume. Volume is what creates the atmosphere where people get all focused on the stage and totally block out the rest of life. Next time you are at an event where an hypnotist is doing his/her thing, make sudden, loud, distracting noises that interrupt rather than complement the routine. The hypnotist will either ask you to stop (they generally ask for quiet and for cell phones to be turned off...kinda like a pentecostal church) or have you removed. The reason why is not that you are keeping the people awake, but rather that you are distracting them and preventing them from becoming hyper attentive to what they are being told. To prove this, take an air horn to a Pentecostal service, and set it off at random and see what happens. First, they will try to get you to stop, then, if you don't, it will be the deadest, most uninspired service ever. The reason why? You kept the mass hypnosis from setting in.

So, you say "But I spoke in tongues, I felt everything I was told I would, I danced, I ran, I laughed, I felt elated and joyous and peaceful!!!" You certainly did. There is no doubt at all. I do not deny it as I have been there myself. I know how you felt and what you experienced. Now, look back over the times you tried to "pray through" and all the things you were told by people praying with you, over the pulpit, things you witnessed, and tell me that you did something unique that you weren't told about. I mentioned in a previous post that I had witnessed a woman being told she should say whatever babble popped in her head and that would be the evidence of the Holy Ghost. That again is a hypnotic suggestion. It's the way it is. Impossible to deny.

Now we move on to the continued manifestations that people experience. After the initial experience people have, they are told that they must continue to seek that manifestation so that they will "know" they still are saved. What happens is that these people then practice meditation and chanting (called prayer) in an attempt to re-experience the same effects. Over time, they begin to learn how to get to that point of "enlightenment" easier and more often, and eventually need very little time at all. So then you have what are called "Adepts" in most Eastern Religions, and they continue to propagate what they have been taught.

I was in this religion, I know what happens. I was raised in it. I experienced it. I lived it, breathed it, taught it. And then I realised it was false. There have been many people that have stated most of what I have stated here, and that are more knowledgeable than I. The difference is that I DID it. I can talk from experience. The movement that teaches, preaches, and believes the necessity of tongues for Salvation is simply re-experiencing the mass hypnotism that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century.

On a side note: something that has been a bee in my bonnet for some time is that I was accused of being prone to false teachings due to being taught Preterism as a young child. Of course, it was taught by the Pastor that the UPCI licensed to be over the congregation I was in. So I believed it. Now, I have left the UPCI and all the false doctrines they hold so dearly (as well as the Preterist doctrine they refuse to eject), and I would simply like to point out that, according to the accusation made against me, ANYONE THAT BELIEVES A FALSE DOCTRINE THEY ARE TAUGHT AS A CHILD IS PRONE TO FALSE DOCTRINE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE. Therefore, if you are under a Pastor that holds the above accusation against me to be true, you'd better consider whether or not he believed the UPCI "gospel" all his life, or if HE ALSO BELIEVED A FALSE DOCTRINE HE WAS TAUGHT AS A CHILD UNTIL HIS CONVERSION AS AN ADULT. If it's good for the goose, it's really good for the gander, and if that's what he holds to be true, then he isn't qualified to be a Pastor as he must be prone to false doctrine. However, if he wishes to retract the accusation, I would like to know if he made that statement in error, and, if he did, how he justifies counseling ANYONE.

God Bless you

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Links proving the use of un-Biblical standards

I decided to do a post on links dealing with the un-Biblical standards taught in many UPCI churches today. I personally hold to certain standards based on separation between the sexes, and separation from the "world" but I do not teach them as Salvational or even necessarily Biblical. I state them as my own belief and conviction and DO NOT impress them upon or require them from other people. With that said, I hope the links below force you to examine what you believe, why you believe it, and discover what the Grace of Jesus Christ's Sacrifice really is.

Some of these links are to articles written by Stephen Mann, who used to be a UPCI licensed minister. Others are by Jason Young.

The point of these links is one and the same: Read the black, and leave the white alone. NOONE is qualified to add to, rewrite, or interpret scripture in modern day Christianity. The Bible was complete two millennia ago, and God doesn't need a group of men deciding what to add to it. If the Bible says it, then it's true. If, instead, a man says it in a modern day's most likely not true unless backed explicitly by scripture (eg: Men having sex with men is an abomination IS in the Bible, the sentence: A woman that wears pants is immodest and going to hell ISN'T in the Bible).

Pants (on women) -

Uncut hair versus cut hair -

Make-up -

Jewelry -

God Bless you

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How are we saved?

I am posting on the Plan of Salvation today. It's a huge point of contention between Orthodox Pentecostal standard, and modern day Oneness Pentecostal "revelation".

Oneness Pentecostals hold to a rigorous standard of Repentance (complete turning away from) of sin, Baptism in Jesus name only (e.g. "I baptize you John Brown in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins", but " I baptize you Suzy Smith in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost by the authority of Jesus Christ" is completely wrong apparently) by full immersion in water, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the mandatory evidence of speaking in Heavenly tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance to the believer.

Orthodox Pentecostals have believed for 2000 years that the Plan of Salvation according to Jesus and the Apostles was Repentance (commitment to avoid sin henceforward), Confession (audible) of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost by promise. Baptism is taught as a work one should do, but not as a mandatory necessity for Salvation. Orthodox Pentecostals urge everyone to be baptized, and it is considered to be a sin not to be if you have ever been shown the Biblical commandment for it, but it is not the unforgiveable sin and will not send you to hell. After all, Jesus died for the sins of the world, His sacrifice is efficacious on the believer, and not dependant on water baptism.

I believe that is an accurate summary of the statements each "camp" would give for their beliefs. If someone in a position of authority (Full Pastor of a congregation at the very least) wishes to offer a different definition, or to modify the current one, please email me at, and I will include it either as a footnote, or add it to the definition as a whole.

I personally am fully and completely in the Orthodox camp as it is the traditional one, and not the product of 20th century "revelation". As such, I intend to show the issues in the "Oneness" or "Modalist" viewpoint from a salvational perspective. Before I begin, I issue the following disclaimer: NOT ALL ONENESS/MODALIST PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS WAY. It is the most common system and statement of the movement, but not completely accepted.

I start with a statement of Salvation as made by the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:8-11 which gives us the necessary requirements that Paul taught. They are: Confession of Christ as Lord, and Belief that He rose from the dead by God's power (verse 9). Then in verse 10, he expounds upon these principals by saying that it is in the heart that we believe or have faith unto righteousness, and with the mouth we confess or testify of Jesus and His Gospel unto Salvation or Eternal Life. In verse 11 we read that when we believe in Jesus we will never be embarassed or ashamed because He CANNOT fail. Paul taught very accurate theology and Salvational doctrines. To question him would be foolish in the extreme. The importance of this statement is high as it goes to the root of the Modalist viewpoint that baptism is an absolute requirement for Salvation.

Baptism is important and to be taught, but is not a Biblically necessary requirement to go to Heaven. Here's why: in Romans 8 we read statements that precisely define the relationship between the Spirit and Salvation. In verse 9 we see that " are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." This statement is very clear that the Holy Ghost inside of you is absolute proof that you are saved. Verse 11 says that if the Spirit of God dwells " you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Lastly, in verse 16, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." followed by 17 "and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs WITH Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together." Taken together and in the context that Paul is teaching the Romans what Salvation is and what they should be teaching the lost, we see that the Holy Ghost in a person is absolute proof that they are saved. It doesn't matter how or through what process the Holy Ghost got there, only that it IS there. The reason this is significant as far as Baptism by water is concerned, is that in Acts 2 we read of the Holy Ghost being poured out on a group of people in the Upper Room. This group most likely was the approximately 120 that were present for Matthias' selection to succeed Judas, but certainly included the 12 Apostles at a minimum. The people present are nowhere in scripture as being baptized by anyone. They did have their feet washed by Jesus, but that is not full immersion in water. The argument has been made that since they were baptizing people in John 4:1-2, they must have been baptized already themselves, but this is not backed up by scripture as we do not have a record of John the Baptist having been baptized at any point of his life either. If the people in Acts 2 received the Holy Ghost and were saved without a recorded baptism, then the earliest and first outpouring of God into man's soul was not dependant on or accompanied by Baptism as a sacramental ordinance. If the first is always the true, then that is the model we should be observing. Of course, while we are in Acts 2, we may as well deal with verse 38. In this verse the greek says something very different than what we read in the english. In english, according to our grammar, it says that Baptism is what gives remission of sins. But in the greek, there are multiple clauses. First we have Peter saying Repent (metanoew = to change one's mind {for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins}) to them in the plural, then he says and be baptized every one of you (umwn) in the singular, then goes back to the plural with for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The reason the greek is so important here is that in greek, clauses are related by the group spoken of. A greek sentence could have 15 clauses describing 4 groups of people, and they would be linked by how many were in the clauses specifically. So in Acts 2:38, we have 3 clauses: 2 plural as a group whole (repent, remission) and 1 singular (baptized). So in the greek, it is the repentance that brings the remission or washing of our sins by faith in Jesus Christ, which is far different than the grammar and word plays employed by the english. In this light, it is far easier to suppose that Peter was requiring them to be baptized by the authority and under the name of Jesus Christ because after having crucified Jesus, they needed to publicly state that they accepted in and believed in Christ as Lord. Under OT law, this would be blasphemy punishable by death, so Peter was requiring them to proclaim to the world that they were transferring their allegiance from the Law and rules of the OT to the Grace and liberty of Jesus Christ. We do, of course, read multiple times throughout the book of Acts and in the Gospels where Baptism is linked to Salvation. But not in a causative way. It's always in a occasioned way: the Salvation occasioned the Baptism. This is supported by scripture that states we are not saved by works, but rather works are the fruit of our Salvation. Where we do read the NT saying that "Baptism doth also now save us.." (1 Peter 3:21), there is no evidence that it refers to water specifically. We read in Ephesians 4:5 that there is "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" but the word baptism again isn't tied to water directly. Both of these scriptures can be just as easily (and actually more accurately in light of other scriptures like Romans 8) be read to speak of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Having said all that, the commandment to be baptized in water IS found in the scripture, and is therefore one that should be obeyed. It is not, however, absolutely necessary to go to Heaven. For example, a question that is asked repeatedly to people that require water immersion baptisms for salvation is thus: If someone gets filled with the Holy Ghost, but dies before they can make it to water to be baptized, do they go to Heaven or Hell? The blase answer given by these people is: It's between them and God. They abdicate all responsibility to stand by their creed and affirmation of faith. But then the same people will get in a pulpit and preach that if you aren't baptized in Jesus name only (sorry people, apparently you can't be baptized in "the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by the authority of Jesus Christ" because there's apparently too many words in it or something...) you are not saved and going to hell. They refuse to answer it to your face, but they will preach it from a pulpit where they refuse to let anyone challenge them. Hypocritical. I answer it thus: Heck yeah they're going to Heaven! If they repented of their sin, made a heartfelt commitment to spend their life trying to be more like Jesus, and believe on Jesus and His Resurrection, they are going to Heaven. If they sin, well guess what?, they have an advocate and are still saved. In fact, I will go further to state that the only way to lose Salvation is if they willfully state that "I know Jesus is true, but I am going to live my life how I see fit and without any regard for Christ and His suffering." This could be by actions OR words, but I believe it can be Biblically shown that actions are more important using the parable of the man with two sons.

The next thing that Modalist's teach is that Heavenly Tongues WILL accompany the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Orthodox Pentecostals hold the opposite viewpoint, and exegite the scriptures as traditionally understood in that Tongues are NOT a requirement of salvation. There is nowhere in the Gospels where Jesus said anything about tongues being linked to His plan and commandments of Salvation. In fact, Jesus taught repentance, faith, obedience to God, and even taught Baptism (with far less import attached than the other three), but never mentions tongues. The reason tongues are considered as required evidence is because of the experience on the Day of Pentecost by the Apostles. It's silly though how that becomes an absolute without being taught ANYWHERE. What we have is an example or occurence becoming a doctrine. This is devastatingly poor Biblical exegesis. If you look at the original texts, you find that the "tongues" spoken of in Acts 2 were very specifically human languages understood and known to the people that were present...Verse 5-12. The Bible is INCREDIBLY clear that the Apostles were speaking to these people fluently in their own languages; languages the Apostles had never learned before. It wasn't just a few words here and there couched in gobbledygook. It wasn't simply babbling with the occasional Persian word thrown in for fun. Verse 11 states that "...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." But in modern day churches that teach and practice Glossalalia, the people are said to be speaking some "Heavenly language as God speaks through them", and with "groanings that cannot be uttered". Two problems with that: first, Heavenly language? Which is that precisely? French? Russian? Ancient Aramaic? In all seriousness, the Bible clearly shows they were speaking known languages and MINISTERING in those languages as God saw a need to show His works to Jews of every nation. That's as plain as day if you actually read your Bible. Second, if they are groanings that cannot be uttered, then how do you propose to explain that they ARE uttered? It makes no sense. If they cannot be uttered, then no amount of influence from God will change that. The word "cannot" states an absolute, not a variable. What that scripture states is that the Spirit makes intercession FOR the saint, not THROUGH the saint. In that case, where can you exegetically show that the saint makes the groaning that they couldn't utter in the first place. The teaching breaks down completely in the face of logic and proper hermeneutics. Because of all this, there is no way to show that tongues are a required sign of Salvation. They are a gift that will manifest itself when there is a need. I was recently at a conference where a man was "praying people through" to the Holy Ghost. I was close enough to hear him tell a seeker that while she was praying, she would hear weird sounds in her head and that when she heard them she should speak them as that was God telling her what to say. LOL. I have yet to find that in the Bible. It sounded so much like the Charismatics that these people claim to eschew that I wanted to laugh right there. I think these people should rewrite Acts 2:38 to say "Then Peter said unto them (in a heavenly language), Repent, and be Baptized in Jesus name only for the remission of your sins (beware those that teach any deviation as they send you straight to hell!!!), and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which will make you babble like a 3 year old again." What is interesting to note is that in 1 Corinthians 12 we read of the gifts of the Spirit as Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Divers (divers = diverse or many) Tongues, and Interpretation of Tongues. In Mark 16:17-18 lists the following signs: They'll cast out devils, Speak with New (the word "new" here translates properly as "previously unknown to the speaker") Tongues, they'll take up serpents (presumably without harm), they will not be harmed by deadly drink, and they will heal the sick through the laying on of hands. Ephesians 4:8-11 states that Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers are gifts, not callings or positions. With all these different gifts and signs, why do organizations put such an emphasis on one sign/gift such as tongues only? I guarantee that if you walked into a church where the entire population was babbling away, and threw 300 texas rattlesnakes on the floor, then handed out pitchers of cyanide laced koolaid, everyone would stampede each other to death trying to get to the door. I wonder how many of the survivors would actually brave the snakes to go lay hands on the people dying from the snake venom and heal them? You simply cannot take one sign out of one or two verses and state that it is the penultimate sign of Salvation when the scripture doesn't state that anywhere. I don't believe speaking in tongues is necessary for Salvation any more than playing with Cottonmouths or King Cobras is. I don't think there's a need to check someone's salvation by giving them Drano to drink when they claim they have prayed through. What the scripture shows is that, when necessary, these signs shall FOLLOW the believer. It doesn't state they should be sought after to prove you're saved. If you pick up a snake thinking it's a twig, then, Biblically (if you're a believer) it won't kill you...bite or no. Same for drinks: if you happen to drink some bleach thinking it's water (that actually happened to my brother when we were kids lol) then you aren't going to kick the bucket. If you happen to end up in company that doesn't understand english and you are full of the Holy Ghost and Faith, then by Biblical standard God will speak through you to those people...Just start talking and let Him work.

I hope this clarifies for you what the Bible says about Salvation in the New Testament. Salvation is based on Faith and Grace. It's liberating!

God Bless you

Monday, May 25, 2009

What a leader is

In light of the current state of affairs in so-called Christianity today, I have decided to examine what a Biblical Pastor/Shepherd is expected to be and do according to the word of God. Too many preachers these days are not qualified Biblically to be in the position of leadership, and this is the reason many people are turned off of God completely. When the so-called Pastor of a church does not respect the duties and principals of God's ministry, the people affected by it are more likely to not trust other true ministers with their soul. This often leads to people turning their back on God completely, rather than seeking out an actual church where there is healing of the hurts caused by the world, sin, separation from God, and other people, well intentioned as they may appear to be. Come along for a journey through the scriptures. At the end of this post I will include webpages I have used as references in my studying, as well as scripture references throughout so that you can study it further on your own.

The first thing to do is to define clearly what a Pastor actually is. It seems rather pointless to decide what exactly they do without first defining what they are. The word "Pastor" is the english translation of the Greek word "Poimaino" (Strong's # is 4166), and is found only once in the NT (Ephesians 4:11), and 7 times in the OT (Jeremiah 3:15, 10:21, 12:10, 17:16, 22:22, 23:1,2) (1). This word is not a common one used in reference to and by the NT church. It seems to be a holdover from the previous belief system. It would appear to be used as a reference to a Shepherd, although figuratively OR literally. In reality, the same word could be used to describe a literal shepherd with sheep, or a figurative one in reference to anyone that cared for, watched for, or fed a flock of something. This means that the Ephesians reference to a "Pastor" requires anyone fulfilling this role to do so by fulfilling what a Shepherd would do with his sheep.

However, there is more assigned to this role than would meet the eye at first glance. When we look at sheep and the relationship with the shepherd, we see a man that leads his wards to food, water, and rest, and is responsible for protecting them from predators and natural dangers. A shepherd is also one that would go looking for lost sheep that strayed away or were missed when the flock moved and so were left behind. A shepherd would lead his sheep and they would follow him. We know from historical and current practices that sheep are relatively easy to herd. They tend to flock together as an inherited trait, and can be "hefted" to a specific pasture preventing them from straying...without the use of fences. This heft, once taught to a group of sheep, will be passed down by the elder sheep to the younger ones, and is not something a shepherd had to teach more than once, as long as the flock was never completely culled (2).

Bearing in mind that the ministry in a congregation are chosen from God's church, or God's "sheep", we see that an Elder is also a sheep, albeit with more experience. Thus we must examine what an "Elder" is to fully understand the nature and calling of a Pastor/Shepherd as they are one of God's sheep.

The word "Elder" in the NT is translated from the greek word "Presbyteros" (Strong's # 4245). An Elder is one that can impart some knowledge to younger people based on his own life experiences and walk with God (3). This requires him to not be a young man but one who has been through some good times, some bad times, and some utterly desolate times. Without these things, he would have no ability to empathize with the troubles, trials, and elations that others experience, and therefore couldn't begin to counsel, encourage, or rejoice with them.

To finalize the full meaning of a Pastor, we must examine the link in 1 Peter 5:1-2. We see that Elders are also equated with "Overseer" which is translated from the greek word "Presbuteros" (Strong's # 1985). The word refers to the duties performed by a person, and is not precisely related to the person themself (4).

So the word "Pastor" is found to be synonymous to and inclusive of the words "Overseer", "Elder", and "Shepherd". This, in itself defines the Biblical duties and calling of a Pastor. A Pastor is called to lead and teach the flock, counsel them in life's paths, feed them with God's word, and to help the poor and deprived in the church.

So far, noone in modern day Christianity would have any disagreement with this. In fact, they would take it as justification for their status and position in the church. What the NT states therefore is thus: A Pastor is an Elder is an Overseer, an Elder is a Pastor is an Overseer, an Overseer is a Pastor is an Elder. The problem this creates for most modern day legalistic churches is that they have One Guy in charge and he is THE Pastor. Nowhere does the NT refer to a single Elder being in charge of a congregation. In fact, the opposite is true in that we continually read the NT speaking of Elders in the very specific masculine Plural in every congregation mentioned. If the Bible is correct that an Elder is a Pastor is an Overseer, then no congregation should have a single domineering authoritarian "leader" that is the complete authority in the lives of the members. This model is not found Biblically and is the reason why unethical conduct permeates many organizations. It allows for "absolute power to corrupt absolutely". The fact that the word "Pastor" only appears once in the NT church should be indicative of the lack of importance the Scriptures place on the title. The church was designed to be run by the Elders (plural) performing the different functions as their talents permitted. There was never in the NT church an instance where a single person was ever in complete authority over a group without full accountability to the other Elders in the assembly.

Now we come to what the Bible considers to be an Elder/Pastor. We are given definite requirements for this in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-4. We find from these scriptures that an Elder is to be Blameless, Husband of one wife, circumspect, Sober, well behaved, hospitable, a teacher, not a heavy drinker, not a fighter, not greedy, patient, not covetous, one that rules his house well, having children that are obedient to him, experienced, of a good report of those OUTSIDE the church, unaccused, having children that are unaccused as well, not selfwilled, not soon angry, a lover of good men (not simply men in the "church"), just, holy, temperate, holding fast to what he has been taught, not as lords over God's people but as examples. This last clause means that they must fulfill all the statements made by Jesus and the Apostles as to what a Christian should be. If a man falls short of any of these qualities then he is no longer Biblically qualified to be a Pastor/Deacon/Overseer. On the other hand, any man that DOES fulfill these qualities automatically fulfills that capacity (5).

It is worth mentioning that the NT does not record any specific annointing being poured on men to qualify them for this position/calling. It is based simply on their life and the requirement of the Holy Ghost residing in them. The scripture that is used to justify a body of men pointing out others that they feel are qualified to minister is Acts 13:1-3. The broad application of this is not supported Biblically as the scripture specifically states that it was for the work that God had for THOSE TWO individuals, not as a pattern for choosing ministers as a persistent doctrine. If God had wanted it set as such, He would have recorded it as such to the Apostles He chose in the first place. Not to a single assembly to help strengthen and encourage two men twho were going to do arguably the greatest amount of work the Kingdom of God has ever seen.

The other scripture that is twisted out of context is 1 Timothy 4:14. This scripture is written, once again, to a specific man, not to the Elders of the church as a general whole. Therefore, to apply it to the entirety of God's church is erroneous, and demonstrably incorrect Biblical exegesis.

Taking all this as a whole shows that congregations in God's church are to be ruled by a plurality of Elders/Pastors/Overseers, rather than the usual model of a single man setting himself up as the authority in a group. Regardless of a man's personal claim on God granted authority and the apparent confirmation of such by other men of the same organization, a congregation is Biblically shown to have a group of men that oversee it as a whole. It cannot be Biblically shown in the NT that the opposite is true. Therefore, if you truly want to be in God's church, you MUST be in a congregation that is ruled thus.

In conclusion, the Elders/Pastors/Overseers are simply sheep within the flock that fulfill the requirements of the Bible. They do not have a special annointing, they don't have a higher calling. They are simply men that are shown and proven to live uprightly, with wisdom to share from life experiences. Any other form of church government cannot be proven as Biblically correct as far as the New Testament example is concerned. To do so requires you to ignore the quoted scriptures.

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I truly suggest you try studying these references as they go into quite a bit more detail.

God bless and keep you



Haha, lawsuit.

Well I just plugged my phone in to charge and it came up saying I had a missed call and VM. I listened to the VM and it was (name removed for peace). He stated he would be seeking legal counsel in reference to this blog. Still no refutation of scripture or specific allegations, just threat of legal action. I put my trust in God, the Bible, and truth. Yeah, I'll talk to a lawyer, but I haven't made an untrue or inaccurate statement yet. I'll keep you posted.

God Bless you

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Un-Biblical Legalism

I decided that today I would post on legalism and standards in God's church. I am quite aware of the level of standards that are taught in extremely restrictive organizations, and I feel that this is truly at the heart of what God is all about.

The first thing that bears mention is the control that is exerted by these organizations over what we can eat and drink. It shows just how much they want to be in control of everything we do. I recently left the UPCI organization, and am quite familiar with the LDS church as well. The LDS church specifically bans alcohol and coffee as being substances that pollute the body because they can harm it. The same rationalization is used for things such as cigarettes although the moderate use of coffee or alcohol has never been proven as unhealthy...quite the opposite in fact. The UPCI bans the same things (for the most part) except for coffee. The original reason given for coffee by the LDS church is ambiguous at best (D&C 89 actually talks about hot drinks, not coffee or tea specifically), but is interpreted nowadays in the light of what are common hot drinks. The two most common reasons put forth by the modern LDS believers about coffee are that caffeine CAN be addictive so they avoid it, and the other is that there are tannic acids involved in the processing of coffee beans that are bad for the stomach lining. I'm not sure if the latter is actually based on fact, but that is the reason I was given by a LDS bishop and his second counselor. As for alcohol, both organizations ban them because it can be addictive. Tobacco is banned by both organizations for commonly known health reasons, although they quote the scripture about polluting the temple of God (the believer) as the scriptural reference. While I agree that not smoking is good, and not being a drunkard is Biblical, I also believe that they are not the unforgivable sin. Jesus died that we might have liberty and grace and mercy. Not so we could live under men's laws and commandments. The Apostles bound only three things: no idolatry, no fornication, and no blood (including strangled meats) in Acts 15:20, 29. If those are the only three things bound by the apostles that had the authority to do so, why do we end up with all these organizations making up more rules? In Acts 15:21, we see that they do make mention of the Law, but which Law? the Ten Commandments? or the Lesser Law? It would seem that they would be referring to the Ten, because Jesus Himself condemned the phariseeical rules and Peter refers in Acts 15:10 to the yoke their fathers couldn't bear. I doubt he was referring only to circumcision as that was an act performed on every male at 8 days old...they didn't have to bear it because it was done before they would need to make a decision about it. In that light, it seems that we are called to live under grace, albeit with the effort and commitment to not break the Ten Commandments of God (the Bible says the Law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ) as they are the clearest and earliest record of right and wrong, with one huge exception: Cain and Abel. Cain was held responsible by God for the murder of Abel, even though the Law had not been given. We do not read where God had said "don't kill each other", yet Cain knew better. How would that be possible without the Law? Concience. The Bible states that God will write His laws on the hearts of His people. This shows a return to the pre-Law state of affairs where people knew right from wrong based on what God had put in man to begin with. The whole reason God had to die for man was because man had gotten so far from where we were supposed to be in our relationship with Him that we didn't have that inside voice telling us to not do certain things.

What does all that have to do with standards like alcohol and coffee? Simply this: God doesn't care if you drink them, He doesn't care if you eat pork, He could care less if you like to eat vegetables only. Everything in moderation is the only admonition we have. We are told that getting drunk is bad, but Paul tells Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach. A cup of joe can be a nice way to wake up or finish a meal, but 3 pots a day is probably a little excessive. A t-bone steak is good with some asparagus, but eating an entire rib roast is not good for your cholesterol. If you want to preach against alcohol, you better teach against cough syrup. Or, just simply teach people moderation in what they do. In all aspects of their life. Legalistic phariseeical standards are no longer required by God in the NT church. An organization that teaches them may well be good for someone that simply cannot control their drinking. But if you want to have a glass or two of wine with your meal, feel free. It aids digestion, inhibits the body's ability to absorb fat from your meal, and promotes heart health. It also has been shown that it may reduce the risk of most cancers. If you can't keep your drinking moderated at 2 glasses with your supper, then don't drink. As Paul said, don't be bound. If you want to have a cigar when your baby is born...go nuts. It isn't going to send you to hell. If you can't moderate your tobacco use, then don't smoke or chew in any form. Common sense. God will give you strength if you ask. Don't spend your life bound to an organizations standards of what men think is ok. Let God define it in your life.

God Bless you

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jesus Loves

Post Deleted in an effort to promote God's love. The original intent of this Blog is to spread the Gospel of God's love, grace, and mercy. In that light, the post in this spot was out of place. I apologize to the readers.

God Bless you

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mercy, Grace, Love

Well, I was planning on doing a post on the Trinity or Godhead, depending on your term of preference. However, after last night and what I dealt with whilst trying to go to sleep, I've decided to do it on forgiveness instead, and do the Godhead another day. So here goes. I will be confining my discussion to a few well known examples of times where God was merciful to individuals in spite of major transgressions.

In the scriptures we read of several converging themes that deal with mercy, grace, and forgiveness. We begin with Adam and Eve falling in the Garden. In that record, we don't find where God forgave the snake, or the devil that worked through it. We do read, however, of Adam and Eve being forgiven, yet punished, for their actions. An animal (or 2) was killed to provide the blood required by God's judgement. God cannot lie, and He had said they would die in the day that they ate of the tree. Because of His righteousness, there had to be atonement, and the only way was for something to die. Adam and Eve were not let completely off the hook though. They subsequently were separated from the presence of God, and forced to live outside the blessing and love that they were designed to enjoy. As well, they were condemned to a physical death, rather than immortality. Yet we still see the mercy and love of God when while He is judging them, He provides a promise of a way that He will bring man back to the place where we are supposed to exist.

Next in our journey, we read of Moses. This is a man that would have experiences with God that no other human in the course of history would ever be able to experience. He is spoken to by a burning bush, he proves God is bigger than Pharaoh, he has, arguably, the most awe-inspiring experience a person can have while he is on mount Sinai, he sees more of God than any other person has and lived, and he witnesses the awesome power of God in His dealings with the children of Israel. But then, in a singularly uncommon mood caused by frustration with the murmuring and complaining of God's people, he strikes the rock twice. For this transgression against God, he is condemned to never enter the promised land while he lives. He gets to see the children of Israel come to the Jordan river twice, but is left to die outside the Promised land. But then, when Jesus walks the earth, we see that Moses was not barred for all eternity from the Promised land. In fact, he appears with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, which occured inside the borders of the Promised Land. Once again, we see God's mercy.

Now we move on to Saul. Here is a man that is chosen to be the first king of Israel. He's a man that God honours with a high position among the people of God. We never read though of where he cedes his will to God. He repeatedly does things that are dishonest and at odds with God. He rebels against, disobeys, and ignores God. Finally he is driven to a place where he consults a witch at Endor, and has Samuel appear from the dead. We know that it wasn't a trick by the witch, as the Bible records her fear and astonishment when someone actually appears. This requires a supernatural act by God in a last ditch effort to bring Saul to a place of repentance. Even to the very end, God was showing mercy and love to Saul. The kingdom had already been taken away, but God was still trying to reach Saul and bring him back to a place of covenant.

Then there's David. This man is blessed beyond compare. He has everything a man in his era could desire, including the benevolence of God. But he falls into adultery and murder. He seduces a woman, impregnates her, and attempts to cover his sin with another one. Of course, in the true spirit of mercy, God sends the prophet to point out the sin, and allows David to repent. Yes, the child would die, and yes, there were issues in David's house until he died, but God did not damn him to hell when that would have been the appropriate punishment.

The last example I want to use is the woman brought before Jesus on the charge of adultery. She had every expectation to die. So often, we focus on the men that brought her to Jesus, but we neglect her side of it. Here's a woman that has been brought before Jesus fully knowing her guilt, but ALSO knowing that her accusers could only accuse her if they were actually present and/or involved in her sin. The Law stated that only with 2 or 3 witnesses could a charge be upheld, and the witnesses had to cast the first stones. The reason for this part of the law is that if someone falsely accused another, they would be guilty of murder before God, and would be without hope in eternity. How this bears on the woman is thus: when Jesus told the men that the one that was without sin should cast the first stone, He was forcing them to either admit their duplicity in the act (they brought only the woman, which begs the question: where is the man? According to the original language, it can be argued that they were fully guilty in the actual act of adultery with the woman), or walk away without pressing the matter further. When they had all left, there were no witnesses and noone to carry out the sentence of death. Note that Jesus did not at any point say that she hadn't sinned. Rather He said "Go thy way, and sin no more". In saying that, he was stating her guilt, as well as His forgiveness on the matter, and a command to not do it anymore. This story is a complete depiction of God's love. Fully knowing her guilt, knowing that she knew the penalty, He gave her a way out. He offered hope and deliverance to a life that was without right to any future.

If Jesus could die on a cross, with the full ability to save His natural life and body, and declare to the Heavens "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", then those of us without divine right to judge ought to learn from the same. We are wronged in life, we suffer hurt and shame at the hands of others. But we have a God commanded duty to suffer the wrong, forgive, and then minister to the very people we feel have wronged us. Nowhere do we read of where we can pass judgement, even in our own minds, on others. The way God's children are known is by our love. If you do not show love exclusively, then you don't show God.

I hope I finally got this off my chest. I want so much for people to live with hope and knowledge of God's mercy. There's enough condemnation and accusation by people outside God's church that it is unnecessary and self-defeating for God's people to do it. People know they are wrong and that they are not right with God. They don't need to be told that. They need to be shown the light, not the darkness of their life.

God Bless you, keep you, and encourage you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hate : Love

I watched American History X for the umpteenth time today. Every time I watch it I am reminded that hate and strife will not always destroy you; often they destroy someone you love. I have spent my life warring against what I was taught to be false beliefs and false churches, with the misconception that I was doing it in God's great plan. I have lost many years of my life to a belief system that is incorrect at best, and I grieve. I have watched it destroy my brothers through their hate and bitterness, I have watched it destroy my parents marriage, and I have watched it strain and break the bonds my dad has with his family. There are beliefs that people hold that I do not. There are thoughts and feelings people have that I don't share. But what gives me or anyone else the right to judge someone based on their beliefs? Too often, the statement "Judgement must begin in the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17) is taken out of context of the entire verse, and used to justify hatred, contempt, and self-righteous arrogance. It's time that Christians everywhere sit in judgement on themselves. We are, after all, the temple of God. We can no longer afford hatred, envy, and strife towards our neighbours. I refuse to condemn anyone to hell based on their belief. I can say that I do not agree, that I do not condone or believe, I can even attempt to convert those that are outside what I believe the Bible to say. But nowhere do I see where I have the right of Almighty God to condemn people to hell because they don't agree with me. We need, more than ever before, to earnestly contend for the FAITH, not personal interpretations, not organizational boundaries and standards, not even for "personal revelations". If God's church is to reach this lost world, it's time that God's church judges itself, repents, and begins to work together. As they said in the Bible, if it is of God, it will prosper, if it isn't, it won't. It's time to wake up, church of God. No single person, assembly, or organization has a monopoly on God. If you can honestly state that you believe Jesus died for your sins, that you have repented, and that you are looking for and expecting the return of God in glory, then I call you brother. If you can't do the same for me, I forgive you. But I pray you see the light of God's grace, mercy, and Love.

Good Night, God Bless you, and I apologize for the philosophical rant.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I finally received an email back from someone I asked about their experience leaving the UPCI. I won't name them or reveal details of the communication to protect their privacy, but it's incredibly encouraging to know that there are licensed, ordained members of the UPCI that have left due to the garbage that is permeating that organization. The fact that these men have spoken out publicly to other members of the UPCI is also relieving. The largest issue most people who leave abusive UPCI and/or Modalist churches face is that they are alone and the only ones. There is a constant struggle within them to keep a love for God in the face of all they have been through in "His name". It's gratifying to be able to hear from God that there are others who have not bowed. I am reminded of the song "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex" ( when I look around at what often seems to be the focus of the "ministry" in abusive churches. When someone leaves, the ministry always comments on their tithes. They either belittle what they gave or wonder how someone that gave so much could leave. The other issue is control through fear. It's nice to know that others have gone through the same deal and come out successful in their devotion to and walk with God.

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. -Psalm 150:6

At last

I have finally decided to take the plunge. In a technologically dependant world, I have finally created a facebook account, as well as a blog. I intend to use this blog to discuss relevant issues and experiences in my life, specifically related to my leaving an abusive church, and the lifelong journey to know and serve God. If you have a specific topic you would like me to discuss that's relevant, please send me an email at I will attempt to answer within a week on this blog. One caveat: I will not respond to emails that are accusatory or abusive in any way. Honest questions only. Also, all public domain email sites such as Yahoo and Hotmail are automatically redirected to the garbage folder in my Gmail account. You will need to use a non-public domain email for it to get through.

I pray that God blesses all His children.