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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: April 01, 2020 06:44AM

Hi ThePetitor
The big green van belonged to Jock. It was his work van for his outdoor tree work. It only picked folk up in Glasgow. I remember a van coming from Falkirk too, transporting yet another group of young folk who were giving everything to follow God (or a church?). Yes, we did have fellowship during these journeys but I remember the SMC leaders instructing us that we should be travelling in silence because this would help us prepare to enter God's presence once we arrived at the meeting. Then we had to be silent on the journey home too, in order to maintain the presence which we had soaked up in the meeting. Someone must have told Mr Black and Mary that we'd been chatting and enjoying fellowship whilst travelling, a perfectly normal life hing for young, enthusiastic people to do.

Well, during the present Covid19 crisis, Struthers has had to close all its churches, its bookshops and cancel the Easter Conference and the Summer Camps. So they are in a very unusual and different situation this year. You mention helping those who are isolated. At the moment, people in this Church who live alone or are single will be feeling even more isolated. I hope they can make use of social media maybe.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: April 04, 2020 06:27PM

Hi Rensil,

Yes, that "do not talk to each other so that you can soak up the presence of God" has not been a very successful strategy, has it? I am not convinced it has any Biblical basis, and on a practical level, it seems that many people who tried it have ended up depressed and ineffective. Not surprising really, as we were after all created for fellowship! A core message of Christianity is that God was already in fellowship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) before the creation of the world, so He is fundamentally a relational God. It is very clear from all the greetings Paul gives to fellow-believers, and verses like "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples", that our relationship with other Christians is important and should be the focus of time and effort.

I do hope that all those reading these posts will do something to reach out to others and build communications and community. As well as simply making you feel better, doing this can allow you to examine your beliefs and priorities and help identify your "authentic personality" - the part of you that is the real you. That is after, all in Christian terms, the bit that has the relationship with God.

On a slightly related topic, I have been reading recently about a communication technique called "counter-attitudinal argumentation" (Yes I know,if it wasn't for Coronavirus, I would be saying I have to get out more, but somebody has to read this stuff.)

This long-winded title is not as bad as it sounds. All it involves is people swapping their viewpoint and trying to articulate the point of view of the other side. The idea is to help clarify understanding. It does not involve changing any beliefs, just trying to articulate the position of others.

I wondered if there was any Struthers person out there willing to have a go at this with me. I would try to explain the Struthers position as best I could and they could correct my misconceptions. They in turn would then try to explain my position as best as they can, and I would correct any misconceptions.

Anyone up for that? We can either do it privately or openly in this forum, I don't mind. Surely understand the way others are thinking is a good and useful thing!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: April 07, 2020 05:48PM

Ah we'll, looks like no takers of my "counter-attitudinal argumentation"challenge. That being the case, I think I will have a go myself by laying out what I think those in Struthers believe and what mainstream Christians believe. Feel free to correct me if I have any of this wrong.

Please note, this is NOT an attempt to convince anyone that Christianity is true or that my beliefs are better than anyone else’s. All I am doing is making these beliefs public so that anyone can point out any inaccuracies, foolish assumptions, inconsistencies etc.

If Struthers was an honest church, they would do the same – make the detail of their beliefs clear so that others could see what it was they were being asked to believe. Since no-one has stepped up to the plate to put forward their beliefs in that way, I have made my best effort to try to outline what I think they believe. I may of course have this wrong, but it is hard to know if no-one will actually try to explain!

Whether a member of Struthers of not, please do let me know if there are any inaccuracies of inconsistencies in either column!

Member of Struthers                   Me, and I think 
                                      most Christians          
===================                   ======================

Believe in God                        Believe in God.   

Believe that God has for some         Believe that each believer 
reason uniquely chosen the            has equal access to God
leaders of Struthers, probably 
because they are so holy.

Believe that when God looks           Believe that, when God looks
on a Christian, He sees the           on a Christian, He sees the 
person and their sin, and             completed work of Christ.
acts according to what He
sees, so revival will only come 
when everyone becomes holy.

Believe that the most                 Believe that our feelings are
important thing is to “dwell          fallible, just like every 
in the Spirit” maintaining a          other part of us, and that God
sense of God’s presence.              calls us to act by loving our 
                                      neighbour, caring for the poor
                                      in society, promoting social 
                                      justice etc. whether we “feel 
                                      the presence of God”, “feel 
                                      led” etc. or not. 

Believe the leaders know more of      Believe that we are each 
people’s spiritual life than they     in our own relationship with
do themselves.                        God, and He leads us in many
                                      ways (see for example the five
                                      CS’s Nicky Gumble uses in the 
                                      Alpha course).

Believes that God gives us            Believe that, while God may
specific instruction every            occasionally offer specific 
moment.                               instruction, He has largely 
                                      already give us our 
                                      instructions about how to 
                                      live, and these are to do 
                                      good, not just to spend time 
                                      trying to feel like we are in 
                                      the presence of God.

Believe women should wear hats        Believe it is up to the 
in church (see Mr Black’s book).      individual (which I think is 
                                      in line with Paul’s advice 
                                      on eating certain foods and
                                      not causing others to 
                                      stumble).

Believe that scripture should         Believe that the words of
should be filtered and judged         any leader, preacher or 
through the words of the              prophet should be judged in 
leaders, and that any belief          the light of scripture.
that contradicts the leaders
must automatically be wrong.

Believe that, to fix a car or         Believe that those who 
a plumbing problem a person           study mental health have
needs appropriate training and        developed a bit of 
the right tools, but to help          understanding of how humans
help someone with their mental        work, and a knowledge of some
health no understanding or            of the research and the tools
training is required, and it          used by professionals can
in fact makes you less able           help.
to support people spiritually. 

Believe that the best way to          Believe that the best way to 
demonstrate love is to stop           demonstrate love is to reach 
speaking to anyone who disagrees      out to people, listen to them  
with you.                             and try to understand them.


Don’t care about whether              Believe that truth is truth
something is true, but care           irrespective of who said it
about who said it.  For example,      (e.g. the story of 
the “Latigo” site pointed out         Balaam and his Ass).
many things wrong with Struthers 
but was condemned by the 
leadership.  The charity
regulator OSCR then pointed out
many of the same things and the 
leaders took action.


Believe all criticism of the          Believe that God will often 
leaders must automatically be         show us we are wrong through 
wrong as they are perfect - see       others – for example Peter
for example the quote form a          publicly rebuking Paul in
sermon below.                         spite of the fact Peter was
                                      head of the church.

Quote
from a Struthers Sermon with the last decade (reference available)
Often we are rebellious and independent and think we know better than our leaders. The church is meant to be like an army with banners, marching in purity and not afraid. An army must be separate unto God. A soldier wears a uniform – our uniform is the doctrine of God, Christ’s teaching – the whole armour of God. A soldier belongs to the army – we belong to God. He will dwell in us and walk amongst us. We must accept the leadership of those over us in the Lord, and take instruction. A soldier must behave appropriately – we must let our conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Don’t answer back or make excuses.


This last point is really quite shocking. I wonder if parents of young people attending Struthers realise that their children are being told the the leaders know best and the expectation is they will "take instruction" and not "answer back or make excuses".

I look forward to any corrections or clarifications.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: April 09, 2020 07:06AM

Hi everyone
Thanks, ThePetitor for your piece on "counter-attitudinal argumentation." That was well done and the comparisons are spot on! I hope you'll receive some more responses. The only inaccuracy I can see is that there is now no rule in SMC about women wearing hats. That went out sometime in the 90s, I think. The rules are always changing.

At this time of lockdown when all churches, even including Struthers, are closed, the majority of churches are running online services for their members so that they can still have "church" whilst at home. Either via YouTube, Facebook Live or Zoom, most churches are running services each Sunday and sometimes through the week aswell. So anyone, yes anyone, can tune in to any church service online and hear the sermon and singing. But when it comes to Struthers Churches, it seems there is only one livestream service from Greenock each Sunday evening and I don't know if it is available to everyone/anyone. The Cumbernauld Church is live-streaming their Sunday morning services but you have to sign in via Instagram or you can't get access. Otherwise, apart from a podcast selection of previous sermons, which you need to request specially by email, there doesn't seem to be much provision for SMC members at this time when most people are stuck at home.

Isn't it strange that SMC are still wary of making their meetings public? What or who are they afraid of and why? Do they not want the good news of Christ to get out there, just as other churches are currently doing via online means? I hope SMC members will avail themselves of some of the thousands of sermons from preachers and churches worldwide via YouTube, and see that there is a lot of superb Christian teaching out there in other churches aswell.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: April 10, 2020 04:53PM

Hi Rensil, and thanks for you encouragement.

The hats issue is an interesting one. I think the fact that hats are no longer worn at services has been mentioned before on this forum, but it does create a huge problem for Struthers.

The point is that the whole power/ obedience to the leaders thing is based on one key premise, which is that the leaders "walk in the anointing of the sprint", are "constantly led by God", are "directed in all they do" etc. If anyone has any doubt of this please get back to me and I will quote extensively from Struther's sermons. This point really is beyond debate - they teach that they are led by God in all they do.

(This of course also places an intolerable burden on their followers, as they are expected to somehow enter into a similar experience, even though it is a fantasy.)

But, think about the hats issue for a moment. Mr Black clearly wrote in his book that the only way women can teach in a church is if they are wearing a het. That is there in black and white.

From what you say, female leaders in Struthers now no longer do this.

So, either Mr Black - who "walked in the spirit" and was "led by God every moment of the day" was so wrong that he was not "walking in the spirit" when he drafted the text, revised, it, sent it for publication and endorsed it post-publication,

          Or…

Every time a female leader steps up to the platform, they are so out of tune with the spirit that they are not aware that they should be putting on a hat before they speak.

Which is it? Either Mister Black was not "walking in the spirit" when he wrote his book, or the current female leaders are not "walking in the spirit" every time they rise to the platform. It has to be one or the other. There is simply no other possibility.

The leaders are not therefore "walking in the spirit every moment" and there is no need for followers to feel they have to:

    [1] obey the leaders' instruction and
    [2] feel guilty that they do not "walk in the spirit every moment" themselves.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: escapedtofrance ()
Date: May 22, 2020 04:07PM

Good morning,

I've been following this site for a while now but I thought I'd actually be brave and share a little of my story :-).

I grew up in Struthers Memorial Church during the 90's and early 2000's. I went to all the meetings, summer camps, spent four year in the school and always tried to be the best 'Struthers' christian girl I could possibly be!

I'm sure I would have stayed in the church had what I believe to be a miracle not happened. I got the opportunity to go to France for my 'year abroad' whilst I was studying French at uni. To this day I'm not quite sure how the leadership 'let' me go, as it meant I would be away from the church for at least six months, but at least they did!! (Of course I felt the need to pass my decision by the leaders, like every other tiny decision in my life!!!)

Thank god I found a lovely, Love-centred Anglican church in the town I moved to, and I began my healing journey away from Struthers. I realised how dangerous its teachings were and how badly growing up in it had affected me. Over time I received counselling and became the person who I was always meant to be. In Struthers I always felt like a fragment of myself. The 'shy', 'good' girl I had played had swallowed up my whole personality.

Fast forward a few years and I have left church altogether, but I continue on a spiritual journey of freedom and love.

I thought I would share links to three blog posts I have written about growing up in Struthers.

[nicolacasey.wixsite.com]

[nicolacasey.wixsite.com]


[nicolacasey.wixsite.com]

Forums like these have made me feel less alone in my 'breaking out' and I hope and pray everyone finds the healing, love and wholeness that they deserve.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 23, 2020 12:11AM

Dear escapedtofrance, welcome to Cult Education Institute message board community!

Please feel welcome.

Everything should be fine. If, however, you get any private messages that seem
odd, inappropriate or wrong, send a copy of that message at once to
Mr. Rick Ross, owner of the the CEI website and moderator of the message board. He wants this to stay a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

[forum.culteducation.com]

You are under no obligation to justify yourself or answer questions that you deem inappropriate.

If anyone wants to start a conversation with you, click on their name, go to their profile and select all posts that person has made. Read them and you'll have an
index to that person's character.

Again, welcome to the message board.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: GlasgowGirl ()
Date: May 24, 2020 09:59PM

Welcome escapedtofrance

I haven't looked at the site for quite a while now and had thought folk had stopped posting. It's easy to forget that the church is still going and that there are still people gettting hurt and leaving it and maybe not coming across this site ftill much later. I didn't come across it till about 3 or 4 years ago. I know people find reassurance reading about the experiences others have had and realising they didn't imagine how bad it was or the level of cotrol and manipulation that was practised.


I started going in 1969/1970 and left in the early 90s when financial irregularities surfaced. Quite a few of us left at that point ( which itself led to heartbreak, broken friendships and horrible things being said about those who left). It would have been lovely to hear that things had changed and it had become a nurturing environment. Unfortunately that's not been the case and some things I've read suggest things got a lot worse in some ways.

I'll try to remember to keep checking the site and am happy to read and respond to any points or have a private chat.

I'm glad to read that you managed to find a loving church in France that helped to open your eyes to the goings on at Struthers and that you are continuing your spiritual journey.

I reckon you must be a similar age to my kids and I'm so glad I took them out of that environment when I did.

All the very best

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 27, 2020 07:57AM

Welcome to this Forum, escapedtoFrance. I am so glad that you managed to leave Struthers after you took a study Year abroad. Getting out of Struthers took great courage as did posting on this Forum and writing a Blog about your experiences in the church. You will also help other young people who are confused.

I have read all three of your blog posts: they are very well-written and explain exactly what life in Struthers is like. I'd recommend folks to read them because they accurately describe what the manipulative and destructive practices are like within SMC. I'm dismayed to read that these practices were also meted out on teenagers and young people, because the strict teaching on peripheral matters such as clothing and makeup is given out just the same to older people. For them, hair-dyeing is the big issue as well as wearing stylish clothing. However, as you wrote, there is now more leeway on these matters and women are now allowed to wear makeup and dye their hair. So silly, isn't it, to go on about such trivialities when the main ethos behind Christianity is loving one another and having faith in Jesus. "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart", the Bible tells us.

On that note, I'm recalling the posts above by ThePetitor about hat-wearing and how that rule was done away with. The same has happened with hair-dyeing, makeup and fashionable clothing including tight jeans/jeggings etc. The rules have been relaxed in recent days, most likely because the leaders have realised that they won't be able to get new people to join the church if they have such strict, off-putting rules. That was apparently the reason why hats for women were done away with. Because it made us look strange and could put new folk off. So, as ThePetitor has been wondering, did the leaders hear from God on these issues, as we were told (the sin of vanity and all that), and if so, has God now given different instructions?

Escapedtofrance, I am thrilled that you have found a path of joy and freedom. Don't let anyone cause you to feel guilt about leaving Struthers. You've done the right thing and it took great courage to get away and build a new life. This is what many folk on this Forum have done. You're not alone and please feel free to share when you need to.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: #thisisme ()
Date: July 12, 2020 07:48AM

Hi everyone. Apologies for not responding before now and I hope my posts didn’t appear rude. I wasn’t sure how well used and monitored these forums were and after years of reading I’ll admit I was in the defensive. It’s great to hear from so many of you and realise I’m not alone. The long term affects that being part of struthers church has affected so many. It breaks my heart. I want to help so many. It’s so wrong that this happened and sadly so many years later it is still happening. In my opinion it is abuse. It’s horrific. I am close to a place where I have overcome what happened to me but it’s taken a lot of time, money for counselling and effort. Sadly I do know many things that I could share that are condemning about the church and individuals in it. And there was a time I wanted so desperately to get it out there but that time has passed and I do not want any more lives to be destroyed by this movement. My fear is that they destroy any more young or old lives. I really don’t want that to happen. So I’ll avoid ‘spilling the beans’ and instead be here as support for anyone who needs it. Lobe to you all xxx

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