Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: May 12, 2013 03:34PM
I would like to go back a few pages to say, Ifellaway, when Archbishop Laud said “seriously?” I think he or she meant, “Do you seriously want me to believe that is abuse” rather than “do you seriously want me to believe that happens”. So I don’t actually think he or she was calling you a liar. That seems consistent with Archbishop Laud’s overall message, which is that these things do happen, but they are “tough love” rather than abuse.
I think that stance would have been generally accepted 50 years ago when Mr Black was in his heyday, but it would not be accepted by most people now. Some people like Archbishop Laud may believe that is all nonsense and we should simply accept these things happen. Archbishop Laud, you are entitled to your opinion, but you have to accept it is just your opinion and that others - including the courts - may disagree with you.
I actually also think that, in spite of the hardness of your words, you are just as human as the rest of us – to quote; “since my views cannot be changed nor expressed otherwise, I feel that I must withdraw from this forum.” Hmmm – so getting people to kneel in prayer for an hour is OK, manhandling them out of the church is OK, but someone being offended by one of your statements is not OK and it requires the draconian action of withdrawing form the forum? What happened to the "grow up" and "get over it" approach here? Up to you, but I find that hard to reconcile.
Archbishop Laud, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to make up your own definition of words. I would suggest that the meaning of abuse is generally accepted to be in line with the definition provided by CovLass. I have read through all of your posts again, and the only criteria you use to help us define abuse is that is it something that does not and cannot happen in Struthers. Is there any dictionary or other authority that explains the word abuse in a way that would allow your interpretation?
Similarly, with the word cult, you seem to have made up your own definition, which is that a cult is an organisation that is not basically theologically orthodox.
You may believe SMC is theologically orthodox, that is your right. Personally, I don’t – the fact that they believe the leaders to be infallible and “only move at the direction of the spirit of God” is, to me, totally unorthodox; and the way that belief is central to all of their activities makes it of sufficient importance to conclude they are way off-beam theologically. In my view, this then feeds through to the ‘operational’ level and leads to the kind of lying and misdirection that cbarb refers to in the post above. But, whether they are orthodox or not is something we can debate and disagree about, no problem there. People have different opinions, and that is OK.
Whether they are a cult is also something we might discuss. I don’t think they are, but for very different reasons form you. Again, that is all debatable however – open to differing opinions and conclusions.
But, Archbishop Laud, if you think the definition of a cult is an organisation that is not basically theologically orthodox, then you are in a minority of one and are re-writing the dictionary. That is a discussion you need to have with the authors of dictionaries, not with contributors to this forum. You cannot simply make up your own definitions of words.
I do think all of that is a distraction however. The question is not so much about what constitutes abuse, it is more about what mechanisms SMC has in place to ensure that the risk of any abuse happening is minimised. And, as ChesterK55 points out, the real question is not really whether you or I think it is abuse, or even if the courts think it is, the question is whether the leaders of SMC think it is.
They have to decide whether these things did or did not happen and, if they did, then whether:
1) these actions are perfectly acceptable OR
2) these actions are not acceptable, or at least may not be and require investigation.
If they opt for (1) they have to explain how this applies to each of their activities – the church part, the school “Fidra activities” (whatever these activities are - they are in the accounts but how they contribute to the aims of the charity are never explained) and the bookshops.
They can have their own view and can disagree with OSCR or the courts if they feel strongly enough, that is their prerogative, but they have to realise there may be consequences such as losing their charitable status or the right of individuals to be company directors. If they want to make a stand against 'the wrong approach the world is taking' (in their view) then go for it- as Diana advocates, refuse to talk to these terrible persecutors, and, if following Archbishop Laud’s line, remove the child protection arrangements form the school as they are unbiblical and do not show sufficient ‘tough love’. That is an option.
If they opt for (2) they have to investigate the incidents, and explain what actions they will take if the grievances are upheld. They are then signing up to the idea that they are not infallible and are actually accountable as a charity and a limited company. That means they can no longer take the head in the sand approach they have taken to date. That will open the floodgates to many more complaints than are listed here!
Whichever is true, they have to put mechanisms in place to deal with inappropriate behaviour, whatever they decide is meant by that.
The sad thing is, if the people on this forum had been listened to and treated with respect when they first raised issues, I reckon 90% of them - perhaps 100% -, would have helped them set up check and balances, and would have as a result contributed to making the organisation more robust and effective. But the leaders have chosen to ignore the advice in Matthew 5v 25 & 26 and are now about to reap the consequences.
That is the real issue, not what is our opinion, but what is the SMC position on behaviour/ belief/ abuse or any other matter, and how do they apply it across the organisation? It basically has to be either (1) or (2) above, and both have very significant consequences. I wait with baited breath.