Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: May 25, 2021 05:53PM

I was chatting to a couple of people about Struthers last week, and in both conversations, the point about how they avoid certain verses of the Bible came up. I thought readers of this forum might be interested to think about some of these, so have listed a few verses below. I will probably add to these over the next few weeks. Feel free to join in or comment, and of course correct me if I ever suggest something that is not true.

Verses that I suspect will never be used in a Struthers sermon include:

Deut 18v21

You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

Wonder the last time that test was used in the context of Struthers? What happened to all the prophecies about revival?

Heb 10v 24
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Does that happen – do people leave a meeting spurred on to do good deeds? Note also the “one another” – the Biblical model is mutual support, not one perfect person instructing others.

Rom 15v 1-2
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.

Is that what happens – do leaders “bear with the failings of the weak” or do they just tell them how bad they are?

Acts 17 v2
As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.

Paul reasoned with people in public! Why do the leaders of Struthers not allow people to publicly reason with them?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 03, 2021 03:52PM

Well, I did say I might add to these verses over the next few weeks, so here are some other thoughts. Please note I am NOT saying the things Struthers preaches are wrong. They may be, but that is not what I am arguing here. What I am arguing is that they miss out whole sections of the Bible.

I think there is no doubt about this. There are for example literarily thousands of verses that talk about giving practical help to others – practical help, not “spiritual” help (whatever that is). If this is not being preached in Struthers, they are not preaching from the Bible, they are preaching from selected verses and, in doing so, are giving a distorted view of Christianity.

So, with that intro, here are some other verses that do not seem to exist in the Struthers’ translation of the Bible.

1 Cor 10v15
I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

This says the hearers are meant to judge what is said, not because they have some spiritual hot-line to God, but because they are sensible people. When have you ever heard that message? Are you encouraged to judge what is said from the pulpit? If not, the preachers are not complying with scripture.

1 John 4v 20
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Simple question – have you ever heard a sermon on these verses?

What more do I need to say? Showing some love to the brothers and sisters on this forum would be a good start.

Proverbs 15 v1 (a)
A gentle answer turns away wrath.

The leaders of Struthers like to paint those on this Forum as angry or bitter. I see no evidence of that but, if that is what they think, they should apply this scripture and provide a gentle answer.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 13, 2021 06:54AM

Thanks, ThePetitor, for all these expositions of verses which are hardly ever, or never, preached in Struthers churches. That is absolutely brilliant and spot on. I often think about verses or Bible portions which were never spoken about in Struthers. What about the verses on looking after one’s family and home, or about honouring your father and mother? They may do this now but back many years ago, people were encouraged not to bother with their parents and to put church before your family.

Yes, public discussions were frowned upon. Very often, people who tried to give their view or ask a perfectly intelligent question at a Bible Study were subtly shut down in such a way that they didn’t dare speak up again and remained quiet in meetings thereafter. Is this because of fear that they, the leaders, would be shown up or be seen as less than knowledgeable?

Thanks also, Petitor, for your outline and analysis of the finances relating to the Struthers organisation (or Movement as they like to call it because of Elim calling themselves the Elim Movement many years ago). I didn’t know that the Falkirk coffee-shop was closing. The staff there used to work very hard. I think a few were paid and others were volunteers. The Greenock New Dawn coffee-shop always also relied on a large contingent of volunteers especially on Saturdays. I know some folk (not young) who used to volunteer there, as it was kind of expected that committed church folks should help out in the coffee-shop, and they told me they were exhausted by the end of their shift at 5pm. They were then expected to travel up to the Saturday night meeting in Glasgow, then attend the Sunday morning meeting and maybe Sunday evening too, and then it was back to work at their secular job on a Monday morning. They hardly had any time to rest or relax.

Anyway, I noticed from reading the Struthers Director’s report for the 2019 financial accounts for Struthers, (link on OSCR website), that it said the church was not able to find volunteers anymore to work in the Greenock coffee-shop and this has meant having to take on paid staff who have of course to be paid the minimum wage. I guess the reason for this is there are fewer students and young folk coming into the church and students now have to do relevant paid work experience and internships, rather than volunteering in a coffee-shop. Also many who volunteered are older and not fit enough now. Anyhow, having paid staff will of course increase the financial outgoings of the church.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 25, 2021 10:40PM

Hi Rensil, and thanks for your comments on the verses I quoted. It is not exactly hard to find these verses, I can open my Bible almost anywhere and see things jump out that never get mentioned in Struthers.

Re the shops, I think you are right - they must be struggling to get volunteers, and that creates a problem, as the only alternative is to pay some people. I can imagine that is in itself a bit of a difficulty though, as the volunteers are then likely to ask why others get paid and they do not.

It is also a rather poor reflection on the shops paid management that, even with many of the staff being volunteers, they cannot make enough money to cover costs and keep it running. I would be really interested to know more about why they were set up into first place and what "the anointed leaders" said the purpose was.

That is another of the strange thing about Struthers - we have all read stories from the Bible and other books that tell us what people said and how they reacted to different circumstances, but there is no sense of history and story with Struthers.

For example, for a period of time the number of branches grew but, more recently, it has been reducing. What is the story there? What was said when these branches opened or (if they already existed) joined the movement? Why did these branches close? Any biography or other story would include comment about these things.

What about the coffee shops? What was their purpose, and why has one closed? What about things like the wearing of hats? Why was that once a universal practice (confirmed as doctrine in Mr Black's books) but is not no longer practiced? Was there a revelation, a prophesy, a discussion, a minuted meeting? Nobody seems to know.

If these were stories in a biography or in the Bible, we would be able to look at what went before and get a bit of insight into the (human or divine) purpose. Some things might be described as a mistake or ill-informed decision, and others might be a stepping stone or a learning experience. Not so in Struthers - you are not allowed to ask the reasons for any change in position or practice, you are not allowed to learn from the past, you are not allowed to grow in wisdom, you simply have to accept that the anointed leaders are the only source of truth and authority whether that is about coffee shops, hats or who should lead meetings.

That is not a scriptural approach, and is exactly why I am able to quote verses that are never referenced in Struthers - they simply pick and chose verses that support their own paltry view of what it is to be a Christian.

Hmmmm. I think that might be the cue for me to quote a few more verses that are absent in the SMC translation of the Bible. :-)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 25, 2021 11:03PM

While it is on my mind, let me do that and quote a few more verses that I suspect will never be heard form a Struthers pulpit.

James 2v1-4
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Wow. Actual advice – objective standards that allow people to know what is expected of them, and for there to be the same expectations of everyone. Not “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring – what you do is make sure you have a sense of anointing and feel that you are led by the spirit in what you say.” Nope, nothing vague and subjective, just clear and logical advice to follow.

According to these verses, how you act does not depend on how spiritual you are or how much you are tuned into God, but upon a set of principles that can be applied in many different situations. (Again, please note I am not saying you can never be led by God, or following a key principle is the only way to decide what is best to do. What I am saying is that the Bible includes clear advice about standards and behaviour and you cannot claim to follow the Bible if you miss that out and only ever preach from verses that fit your favourite theories.)

Matt 7v21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

So, people saying Jesus is Lord, prophesying and casting out demons should NOT be taken as a sign that someone is right with God. Interesting.

Deuteronomy 1v13
Choose some wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes and I will set them over you.

Acts 6 v 3
Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.

In both the old and the new testament, the leaders ask members of the congregation to choose people they see as wise. The leaders do not choose these people themselves, nor are those to be chosen revealed by God in some way, it is the ordinary people who are asked to choose and, in both cases, one of the criteria used is Wisdom (which is of course also featured elsewhere in the Bible). Could you as members of the congregation identify those in the congregation who are wise? Not just "full of the Spirit" - that is a separate criterion - but full of wisdom?

What about the closing bit - have you ever been asked to “choose among yourselves”? Do you know of anyone in Struthers who has been appointed to any role by this method - that the leaders asked the ordinary members to choose amongst themselves?

If not, they are only preaching from and practicing selected parts of the Bible.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/2021 11:06PM by ThePetitor.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: escapedtofrance ()
Date: January 07, 2022 12:15AM

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's a great one, full of joy and freedom!

I have recently come across this article and I feel that it seems up Struthers very well. Especially the deception, as especially now the website and any publication makes Struthers look squeaky clean and quite like a 'normal' church.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: regtree1234 ()
Date: March 01, 2022 11:22PM

Hey there. I left the church in Neath a few years ago as a result of the leadership. On the outside, the church has an effective front-facing social media presence, however when inside you experience a rather awkward, un-friendly atmosphere. A lot of work is done for children, especially those in the area.when it comes to the services, the ethos of 'should be seen, not heard' is very noticeable, and i know that the church leaders were happy for us to leave as my child struggles with their autism and behaviour, and could be quite excitable at the start of the services. Despite this, the worst behaved child there by some distance is actually a family member of the leadership, who has a big effect on a number of the children's activities, but nothing was ever done.

Also, what has been written about the leadership at Struthers is very apparent in Wales, with a big superiority complex at the heart. It is hidden well, but Rolex watches, lavish trips and Maseratis did not go un-noticed, neither did some of the comments relating to the congregation, particularly its older members who seem a burden to the leadership. The leadership often backbit about members of the church within social circles. I definitely heard comments like 'she won't have long anyway' and things like this, from leadership members.

I have lots if things that i remember that left a mark on my memories of being there. i know that the pastor had previously dismissed mental health and communicates a 'man-up' mentality, and one younger member had told me of how he had referred to a cancer sufferer as 'a stupid person' for not coming to Christ, indicating that the disease was their punishment.

the leadership have had homosexuality and divorce in their family, but again this has been hid or disguised, and they preech as the perfect family. Many have left because of the leadership's aggressive is a real shame as there IS a presence of God in the church. But it is very difficult to sit with the others and listen to the leadership when u know how they are outside of the church and how they speak of and to others.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: shar80x ()
Date: March 03, 2022 05:41PM

Hi regtree1234 and everyone.

The pastor you talk about is very argumentative, rude and intense and can be like two different people. me and my family left the church because of this and also because of the way that they put down other denominations of christianity and other local churches. they preach as if they are the chosen church and really there are only 20-30 people in there. most of them are in the same family. we found it very difficult to listen to someone who was so opinionated and negative about others and I know a few people who left at the same time as us left for the same reasons more or less. Really glad to find this group as I have been struggling with memories I hold from there for a number of years.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: March 08, 2022 05:56AM

Hi escapedtofrance

That is indeed a very good article re Struthers.

The 5 signs something is wrong are:

The Pastor/Leader is Always Right
Fear and Intimidation
No Accountability For Leadership

On point 1 the writing is very relevant:

There is no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. If you disagree with church leadership, then you are told it is your issue because you have to learn to submit to imperfect authority. Whenever you bring up a legitimate, biblical issue to leadership, they find a way to turn it around on you and point out that you are not only wounded, but also have no right to question them. No one is always right, including pastors. A pastor’s responsibility isn’t to interpret the Bible; their job is to preach the Gospel. It’s not based upon what they think. It’s based on what God says. If your pastor or leader is unwilling to acknowledge or admit their mistakes or doesn’t accept an obvious mistake, that should be a major red flag. Also, if there’s a problem in the church, your pastor should be approachable. If a pastor is so unapproachable and not open to constructive concerns or criticisms, then his or her heart is not in the right place.

And on point 4:

I remember very well the attempt to intimidate and frighten people seeking answers the leaders could not provide. The claim was if you did not mindlessly accept the teaching and follow (regardless of clear breach with scripture) then God would no longer bless your life and your highest destiny in God would be lost.

In the event not only have the subsequent years shown this was not remotely true or from God, but also that it is those who were conned into staying whose spiritual lives have withered on the vine and are the ones stuck in the past in a shrinking church, with declining membership and closing branches. It is in their lives that there has been a failure to grow and a loss of touch with with any prophetic words given in the past. Those who were persuaded to stay to fulfil their highest in God had to endure endless hours of repetitive meetings attendance year on year on year. They also got to witness the leaders praying endlessly for their favourites of whom world shattering ministry was prophesied and who subsequently, in so many cases, delivered evidence of nothing which has had the slightest impact on the world.

The saddest result of the leaderships lies to those that stayed is that after 30 or 40 years of adherence their lives are stuck, and devoid of any vision for a biblically fruitful future for Struthers - and they know it.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Al Duff ()
Date: March 08, 2022 06:30AM

First: Struthers Memorial Church is not a cult. It is a tight church, for sure, but so is the Roman Catholic church and many others. That does not make them a cult. There are cults, but Struthers is not one of them. Doctrinally, it is orthodox. I say this to anyone still inside the church who has ventured onto this forum.
Secondly: there is a lot that is mistaken, unbalanced,deluded and/or exclusive, in their teaching. At the core, it is gospel, I concede that. But along with the good, there is an abundance of error. The church is essentially a kindergarten. It will help your spiritual orientation for a while, but you need then to apply your rationality - which is God-given - and decide, for yourself, whether you want to stay. God is outside the church as well as within it, contrary to what they teach. You will not be forsaken if you leave.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.