Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: May 12, 2011 09:47PM
Hi Biscuits and Sola, and welcome to the forum. It seems like everyone has had basically the same experience – trying to do what they are told, always being told what they are doing is not good enough, but no idea what else to do. That is certainly my experience, and I suspect it is the current experience of many of those still sitting in the pews each week.
In terms of your question about whether it is a vibrant church Biscuits, the simple answer is no. The membership has hardly changed in about 30 years in spite of all of the “New Year Prophesies” of revival. As far as I can see, the total number of people is still basically the same and, apart from children of existing members, there have been very few new members over the years. In terms of “quality” rather than “quantity”, I would wholeheartedly agree with Rensil who says,
"…re the fruit in the lives of general members of SMC: I perceived, (and indeed had many of these myself) fear and anxiety, paranoia, introspection with accompanying condemnation, low self-worth, indecisiveness, and even depression…"
That is my experience, and my perception of the overall achievements of Struthers. Not exactly the revival we were promised.
The comment about people leaving being “hushed up” is also so important. The whole model is that truth can only come from the leaders. If you speak to someone who has left and they give a reason, it is totally irrelevant. The only way to know why they left is to speak to the leaders. Scripture says that accusations against elders should be listened to if there are witnesses. Well, there are witnesses in this forum. Struthers instead says that, even if there are 100 witnesses, do not listen to them, just listen to the leaders. Is that not just nonsense? As well as being unscriptural, it is unhealthy. No wonder people are depressed; they are deprived of the vibrant life God has given them.
One other thought that again demonstrates the arrogance of Struthers. In the now famous sermon of 12 March, Mrs Gault says she has not read the online criticism. Is that not bizarre? Can you imagine a company executive or a government Minister being interviewed by the Media and saying, “I have not read these criticisms”. If it was my business, I would be reading them all, discussing them with colleagues and looking at what I could do to learn from any mistakes. As a Christian, I would also be treating the critics as my neighbour and going out of my way to help them.
The parable of the Good Samaritan included a Pharisee passing by on the other side because they believed that the Messiah would come if they were all “ritually clean” at the same time. If the Pharisee had touched the unclean man, he would have become unclean so, in their book, the Messiah could not come. I am not sure where I heard this, but I suspect it was one of Mr Black’s lines. So Mrs G, do you believe that, in spite of the fact your father preached against that approach? Are you so afraid of being ritually unclean that you cannot even read some comments online? Is that why you tell people not to have contact with friends depressed to the point of suicide? Why else would you avoid obeying scripture and helping people that had been beaten up?
It is interesting that the word “sorry” has appeared about a dozen times in this forum – people sorry because they have made a mistake in what they said, because they have reported inaccurately, because they have inadvertently caused hurt and, more generally, sorry that others have had such a tough time. If the leaders of SMC had any compassion at all, they would be apologising for all of the hurt they have caused over the years. People from Struthers obviously do read this, and some have even commented, but the word sorry does not appear in any of their posts. Interesting that those not in Struthers show more of Christ’s love and compassion than those who are still in the movement. Come on Anon or Lorna, will you not say, “I am really sorry that people have been hurt”? Is compassion so wrong?
Finally, with reference to the comments about people leaving, we seem to have found yet another verse from the gospel according to Struthers – “If a shepherd has a hundred sheep and one gets lost, does he not say to the other 99 ‘make sure you don’t speak to number 100 if you see them, they have rejected my leadership’.”