Like others, I agree that we have a very good idea what the leaders are thinking, as their sole occupation is to inform others of their idiosyncratic view of life. If you actually sit under their control (I won't use the word ministry, as that means “servant” and I see no evidence that they are there to serve others) you discover that there is very little other than their continued and unfounded assertion that they are right and everyone else is wrong. No doctrine, no exposition of scripture, no good works or morality, just “we are right, it is a sin not to listen to us”. What arrogance!
I should point out that I didn't actually make a claim that this insight was some sort of absolute truth however, what I said was, “It seems to me the leaders of the church... ”. Missing out the first few words - “It seems to me...” made it sound a bit like I was claiming some sort of authoritative knowledge.
Not so! I have strong views based on my personal experience, as do others who have been part of the church. I personally do not believe any one of us (including me) has a monopoly on the truth, but I find it very compelling that so many people have come forward to say - “wow – that is what I heard as well” or, “that is exactly what I experienced”. Such a comprehensive and consistent set of testimonies is huge – probably ten times greater than then the evidence that has convicted many a murderer. While I do not claim any unique insight, I do therefore believe the question of whether Struthers is of benefit to individuals is now “beyond reasonable doubt” as they say in the courts.
What I do genuinely question is when their clearly unhelpful behaviour and attitude moves from a forgivable lack of understanding to deliberate self-delusion. As Susie says in her brilliant discourse (I felt like quoting it all, but that would be a bit over the top!),
... there is a hard to define point at which people seem to cross over and can no longer admit mistakes.
As the saying goes if it looks like and elephant and smells like an elephant it probably is an elephant.
It is now much more clear that those who perhaps started with good intentions are now operating a closed shop which targets advantages towards a very small group within the church and ensure that the roles which channel those benefits stay tightly in their control.
And that is the point many of us seem to have arrived at if I have read the postings here correctly.
Yes, that is certainly the point I have reached. What might be interesting to some is that I have only reached this point over the last year, which tells you two things. (1) I did not reach this conclusion because I was bitter, reacting against the truth, backsliding or anything else – it took me over 20 years to come to a considered opinion. (2) the testimonies on this site have been very helpful to me, allowing me to see an objective view from a large number of people.
My view is that the comments on this website and the questions on the Latigo site are very significant in terms of whether the Struthers leaders – and congregation – have crossed the line and can no longer admit mistakes. What might a year or so ago have been forgiven as ignorance of the impact of their actions can, in the light of comments now publicly available, no longer be excused in that way. The leaders now know that they are harming rather than helping people, they know have the means to do something about it, and they refuse to consider any change in approach, something which I believe provides objective evidence that they have no interest in the welfare of others.
Mr Black used to quote a preacher that said, "If I believed what you say you believe, and all England was covered in broken glass, I would crawl all over it on my hands and knees to save one person". Seems to me that the current line is closer to, "If all England was covered in rose petals, I would not take one step to offer you any help".
The Struthers followers now also find themselves in an unenviable position. Seeing a single sermon or even to the message over a single year as beneficial might have been credible at one point, but I cannot see how any honest person can look at the testimonies and the lack of any recognisable progress over 30 years and still pretend that the church has any purpose other than the self aggrandisement of the leaders and the creation of followers too weak to question anything.