Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: August 27, 2013 06:43AM
THIS IS MY SAVED TEXT EXTRACTS FOR CALVARY - EDITED HIGHLIGHTS SELECTED BY ME - APOLOGIES IF BITS ARE MISSING :
After having followed this forum for the past year or so. I've finally plucked up the courage to post something...
I no longer attend Struthers and haven't done so for some years. My experience of this Church was like many other peoples - firstly very positive, then as I learned more and imbibed the teachings the negatives began to become all too apparent…
The positive - I was baptised in the Holy Spirit inStruthers, felt a closeness with God that I'd never previously known. I found a desire to pray and an inner joy that I hadn't
really found in my Christian walk up until that point.
However... in common with many on this forum, my experience was in attending the Cumbernauld branch and various outreach meetings. I don't know about other branches, but as others have suggested 'Cumbernauld' is ruled (and I mean RULED!) by one person and woe betide you if you disagree with her on anything !
In my experience anything that was said in a "Bible" study that didn't correlate 100% with her view meant you were to be looked on as suspicious at best, or seriously rebellious at worst.
This meant that for at least the duration of the next meeting (possibly the next two or three meetings) dirty looks were, at periodic intervals, thrown your way.
If you're really bad the preaching starts being directed at you. Now, most people would think that any sensible person would laugh-off this childish behaviour, but anyone who has been in Struthers knows it's not so easy. You feel very isolated - this, in my view, is to do with the subtle brainwashing that occurs probably within the first month of regular attendance at meetings. I found that very quickly I came to believe the following (which is time and time again reinforced):
* Struthers is the best Church in the UK (if not the world!), all others are full of compromise and backsliding
* The Church leader in your branch is the best in the Struthers movement
* You MUST be obedient to your leader in all things
* There is no hope for you spiritually if you leave
No wonder it becomes so difficult for people to leave...
Apologies if some of this is just repeating what others have said. I will post some more soon.
I hope this has been helpful for anyone currently attending. There is hope - you CAN be free.
Although I finished last time by saying to those still "in" that they can be free. I'm still working through the proccess myself and that after 10 years of being away from the place.
It gets so deep into your being and there is more pain and hurt now coming to the surface than I realised was there. I think this forum is helping many people to realise that there are so many of us with similar experiences, we can't all be wrong... we can't all be evil personified! (can we?!)
With regard to the Cumbernauld leader I don't think anything will be done as she is too close to the overall leader of the "movement".
However, I agree with you, Mandrake, that if i was a leader in say, the Gorebridge or Edinburgh fellowships - which have received very little exposure on this
forum - I would be VERY unhappy at the picture being painted of Struthers churches.
Imagine a potential convert comes along to your church and feels it to be a friendly fellowship, and is happy with the preaching and the warmth of the leaders, then goes home and Googles "Struthers".
They'll find this forum and never return.
Now... in one way that's a good thing because they won't go to camps and have to face what many of us have had to face…
but what if the leader doesn't follow the EXTREME Struthers way (as practiced by the Cumbernauld leader and occasionally by others in the West of the country), what can they do?
If the overall leader of the movement won't do anything about the Cumbernauld leader, then if I was them I think I'd be looking for another church grouping to affiliate with.
However... even if these leaders are not as extreme as the Cumbernauld "pastor"mentioned, I don't think they will follow my advice -
why? Well, if they've been "pickled" in the Struthers way they may not be able to accept that Struthers is not God's only true church.
[They could always be prayed with by the overall leader to make all the nastiness go away!]
I know that there are some on this forum who believe every branch leader has been trained in the same way and believes exactly the same things, and so there would never be any possibility of a split in the church. But I am not absolutely certain of that. In fact,as I understand it, there was a split in the Gorebridge congregation in the late 1990's and this caused Struthers to almost lose the building. Is there anyone who could confirm that?
I think the "discernment" issue is a big one. The Cumbernauld leader controls the church by fear, this is NOT a goldly fear, but a fear of what she might reveal about you. The atmosphere in that church is so unhealthy and the deference to the leadership ridiculous. Apart from the "God's true Church" teaching, I think the reason people stay is all about the anointing and the presence of God.
This is a vast subject... but what I have learned is that anointing does NOT guarantee that the truth is being taught and the presence of God (as experienced in Struthers) does NOT guarantee that truth is being taught. I believe the presence of God and the anointing come from spending a lot of time in prayer with God. But...In my experience, God doesn't teach you theology in prayer times! Your beliefs can be heretical, your ideas of how a church should operate can be majorly skewed, the way you deal with people can be ungracious and unfeeling. You can use the anointing for your own ends. I believe - and I know many here believe - that some of the Struthers leaders have a serious problem in these areas.
I do genuinely question whether some experiences I had in struthers were from God or whether it was psychological manipulation. Another point of agreement is that I have often wondered whether the anti-pentecostal groups are right. Fortunately my faith now is built on the Word of God and not on any experiences I have had be they at struthers or any other church. (Sorry haven't yet embraced atheism!). Twice in your contribution you used the phrase "you people" suggesting there was a lot of support for my views when actually NO ONE posted ANY support for my statements whatsoever!
I do know the history of the Cumbernauld church and recognise that DR has been trained in the Struthers way by previous generations of leaders. I noticed you didn’t mention Mr Black as being involved in her training, but as she tells the story, at one point he spent a lot of time mentoring her... However, in later years I believe he may have had some reservations about her ministry style. (I might expand on that at some point in the future).
The issue I want to focus on is your comment on the discernment of the Cumbernauld leader as being the most accurate of all the struthers leaders. This was certainly championed in Cumbernauld, often while “preaching” she would speak about what she called “Mr Black’s drum roll” which was the fact that she could see people’s spiritual condition just by looking at them. She also knew what specific sins they had indulged in and what they needed deliverance from. In addition she would also get “words of knowledge” about specific situations. I personally believe she may have some gifting in “words of knowledge” but am very suspicious as to the extent of her discernment. CovLass has shared her testimony as to how DRs discernment can be way off beam. I’d like to share another story which shows a complete lack of discernment.
(Note: I am absolutely convinced of the truth of this story however I am not person “A”. Person “A” told me this to warn me about person “B”. Knowing person “B” as I do, I have very little doubt that the flowing is true…)
Person “A” goes to Struthers in Cumbernauld but doesn’t have a car. Person “B” regularly gives “A” a lift to the meetings. “A” and “B” become relatively good friends. “A” likes “B” but is a little concerned because “B” seems very close to DR. “A” has no major problem with DR at this stage but is not ready to tell DR all their weaknesses and struggles. Tentatively “A” tells “B” one or two areas in which they are struggling a little – nothing too detailed or too revealing (just general issues like struggling to spend enough time in prayer, etc). In the next week or so “A” notices that the issues mentioned to “B” seem to come up in the “preaching” but the “preaching” doesn’t appear to be specifically directed at “A”. So unsure, “A” sets a trap and decides to tell “B” that she has a major sin problem. Deliberately picking an issue that she has absolutely no problem with whatsoever; she ‘confides” in “B” telling “B” how the issue grips “A” but that she’s not ready to go for prayer for it yet. Sure enough “B” spills the beans to DR and “A” goes along to the church the following Sunday and waits… “A” is subjected to a sermon directed pretty much solely at them, DR rants and raves about the evils of this particular sin, (which “A” has absolutely no interest in) and on this occasion “A” tries to look a bit guilty!!
Where was her discernment?
I think the story I’ve just related may suggest someone could be in the “naked emperor” category. What do you think?
I would agree that many people become more humble and more open minded when they leave struthers. If you’d had to work in the same place as me when I was going to struthers I’m sure you’d have thought that I was a raving fundamentalist who was full of myself, with no concern or compassion for anyone else. It was all about my spiritual well-being. I’m embarrassed when I think about it now… Now I recognise “oranges are not the only fruit”!
I also agree with much of what you say about the isolationist emphasis in struthers and the fact that many people don’t realise that “presence experiences” as you called them, happen in other Pentecostal and charismatic churches too.
It is an interesting point you make about powerfully experiencing the “presence of god” in a giant mosque. This is why, as I said before, I wouldn’t base my faith on experience (which can involve all sorts of strange practices to make people feel things and can include, for example, mass hypnotism), but instead squarely on the teachings of Scripture.
In regard to the public exposure of people and their sins, I believe Mr Black would have agreed with your point 100%. In my opinion, Mr Black was not against "words of knowledge" being used in meetings, as long as people weren't specifically identified. He was happy to see God move and people challenged to total committment. However, I think he was conscious of the dignity of the individual and the possible accusation of bullying. This area - that of identifying specific people - was one of the reservations he had about the ministry of Pastor Di. How do I know that? Well she admitted it in her preaching on at least one occasion saying and I roughly quote "Mr Black doesn't like it when I identify people in the company when I'm talking about specific issues".
As I wrote before, I believe Mr Black had real reservations over her ministry style and while he was around her platform speaking at conferences was VERY limited. I remember on one occasion she was asked to speak at a morning meeting and she was very impressive. Many people started going on about how wonderful she was - particularly the Cumbernauld people! So what did Mr Black do? During the evening meeting he spoke about the morning meeting and basically (in a very gracious way) told the people not to be concerned with the channel that God was using, it was not all about DR, but the focus must always be on God. He finished by admitting it had been a lovely occasion and that she would get a chance to speak again at the next camp. In my view, although he respected and endorsed her gifting, he didn't always like the way she did things and I think, often had words with her about it. (My view on this was formed with limited, but I believe compelling, source material - if I am proved to be wrong in this assessment I do apologise). Does anyone else have any insight on this?
What is the point of sharing this, anyway? Well, if the behaviour of one, or more, of the struthers leaders which was previously being kept in check, continues to get worse it is the people in struthers who will suffer and the church becomes even more "cult-like".
I was shocked at the post from Religionless about the wedding she attended, because one of the things struthers always used to be concerned about was their public perception. Mr Black was very conscious of the need to APPEAR reasonably "mainstream" - they always put on a good show for outsiders. Everyone was meant to think they were the perfect church - friendly, kind, caring and deeply spiritual - everything a good church should be. I think that to have had this kind of outburst at a public wedding would have been a step to far for leaders of a previous generation (as cbarb suggested). This tells me two things about the Cumbernauld leader: 1st - she is not being properly supervised; and 2nd - she cares more about her own agenda than the good of the so-called "movement".
I think your idea about note taking is a good one, and I hope some people in struthers start to do it. I think the problem will be that the prophetic words given are mostly generalisations, but hopefully if people pick out the specifics and then look back...
One previous prophetic word I would like to bring to the attention of everyone now attending the Cumbernauld church is the "10 Cities Prophecy" If you started attending struthers Cumbernauld before the mid-1990s you'll know what I'm talking about....
For everyone else... DR got up one Sunday night in the mid to late 1990's (sorry I don't recall the date or even the exact year) and excitedly preached this word that God had given her. She (yes DR!!) was going to be put in charge of ten cities. God had given her the Word (from Luke 19:17). I remember she was upset that people weren't getting more excited... this was AMAZING!!... God was raising her up over an entire region - the whole of lanarkshire, so it seemed. Of course it wasn't 10 literal cities, it was some towns and possibly some large villages accross the area. Well, we are now in 2012, and while there was no date put on this 'revelation' you would surely expect to see some sign of it coming to fruition by now. As I understand it two of these "cities" were to be Wishaw and Hamilton (struthers at one point had outreach meetings in both), at the time of my last contact with people in Cumbernauld there was NO ONE regularly coming to struthers in Cumbernauld from either Wishaw or Hamilton. As for some of the other places like Motherwell, I think there was 3 or 4 people attending. DR is still not known by 99.9% of people in lanarkshire and is most certainly not the spiritual leader of the region!
If you go to Struthers Cumbernauld... I have some questions... what do you think of the failure of this prophecy to come to pass? Are you still holding onto it for some point in the future? Is it one of the promises of God you are still praying through? Has it not come to pass so far because of a failure of the members to pray enough, or people like me who have been disloyal? How do you rationalise it? Is she a false prophet or isn't she?
I think you're right about Mr.Black's view of 'words of knowledge' and unfortuately, since his death, there is no-one left to supervise the way in which the current pastors use these 'words of knowledge'.
I'm reminded that good orators can incite crowds to riot and strange behaviours outside the church as well as inside. We only have to look at certain so called religious leaders who can incite young people to sacrifice their lives and those of the innocent, in the name of God.
I believe that, when dealing with people who claim to be visionaries, we must ALWAYS test those claims and question them. I know that there is no one in SMC who would agree with killing innocent people in the name of God but it happens because their leaders can 'talk a good game'. Politicians win elections by 'talking a good game' but seldom deliver on their promises.
The current congregation of SMC should view pastor Rutherford's claims as questionable and should be extrememly careful about believing something just because they are told it is the truth. In my view she is obviously an extremely good orator but that doesn't mean her claims are true and great care must be taken when being told to believe something blindly and with no questions. We have already read postings here by people who have been badly hurt by her lies about them from the pulpit and, in my view, if she is capable of lying about why some people no longer attend SMC then first and foremost she is NOT a godly person ("Thou shalt not lie") and secondly her quite evident self-agrandizing attitude has absolutely no back-up in the Bible (quite the opposite since pride is seen to be a sin in God's eyes).
The '10 cities' episode you mentioned did give me a bit of a hoot and I wonder why the congregation didn't get up and leave en-masse. This woman is a dreamer and is making her dreams out to be a revelation from God. I too have had lucid dreams about being in a certain place at a certain time and occassionally the incident has happened but these are dreams that we're all capable of having, the french call it deja vue (seen before). We are all essentially spirit when you remove the body which means that from time to time we may experience premonitions which later turn out to be true but that doesn't make us prophets, it's just part of the human phyche that allows our sub-concious minds to occassionally witness an event or a conversation or similar and it's a perfectly normal part of being a human being. For the most part these types of dreams don't actually come true and have no bearing what so ever on our walk with God.
I believe that when God gives someone a true revelation it will be for HIS glory and not for the glory of the orator and the very fact that Pastor Rutherford was saying that SHE would be lifted up over the '10 cities' puts her in the category of a dreamer but certainly does not put her in the category of being godly or a prophetess. She is a complete sham and charlattan by all the accounts I have read here and the current congregation need to be very VERY careful about what they choose to believe about this woman. Test her words, keep notes, ask questions, read what the bible has to say about true revelations and false prophets. ALL biblical prophets and prophetesses, whithout exception, gave God the full glory and remained humble and in subservience to Him and not to themselves.
As Clive has already pointed out, the woman needs to be approached with great caution and questions need to be asked. If questions are asked and not answered in a sufficient way this raises doubts and, where there are doubts, the questioner needs to research for themselves just how much of what this woman says is completely right and not just ambiguous statements. I for one would love to hear if any of what she has said from the pulpit is actually true, has she made true statements about members of the congregation which have not been heresay from one of her 'inner circle'. Remember, even if you tell someone something in confidence that person will not always keep your confidence. So, if you have been affected by her so called 'discernment' during a sermon then ask yourself, who in the church have I already spoken to about this?