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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: susie ()
Date: May 08, 2011 03:23AM

Hi solascriptura

welcome to this ever growing number of voices on this forum. God it seems is gathering a crowd of witnesses against the system of things in SMC. I am glad you have spoken out, for every voice that has spoken out has spoken for the truth that is only found in Jesus Christ.

I can relate to what you said about the emphasis being on speaking in tongues, I always had the impression that as long as you could speak loudly in tongues you were counted a good Christian and spiritual with it. When I was there I really thought some of the speaking in tongues was not real it was just a babble. At times it felt as though it kept the real anointing from coming through.

And yes, I too had to re-learn scripture again. When I was at SMC the preaching of the word was mostly if not always taken out context, this was used of course to hide the truth and revelation that is found only in the word, as well as used for their own selfish purposes .

God bless.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 12, 2011 07:43AM

Thanks for your post, SolaScriptura, and welcome to the Forum. I'm glad you got out of SMC. It's obvious that you read and study the Scriptures and I think it's very important to highlight the necessity of really knowing what the Bible says. It is our only guide as to what the will and purposes of God are for His children, and the only way we can be made aware of erroneous teaching. And, yes, it's easy for people to think they've heard God's voice when they haven't backed it up from the Scriptures. It's easy to "get revelation" but is it of God and is it confirmed in Scripture?

Re your friend committing suicide, I know that a number of years ago, a young man with mental health problems and who was a member of SMC, tragically committed suicide. We were all very upset and so were the leaders - rightly so. It was nobody's fault; as I say, he was mentally unbalanced. So it seems very heartless for the leaders to say to you that you shouldn't hang out with such people (who struggle with life and take their own life), when it has happened to one of their church members. Surely compassion is in order and also support for you in your loss and shock. This is what you would find in most other churches which have a close-knit fellowship and where there is a care for the flock. If one member of the Body suffers, we are meant to suffer with them, not ostracise them.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: May 12, 2011 09:47PM

Hi Biscuits and Sola, and welcome to the forum. It seems like everyone has had basically the same experience – trying to do what they are told, always being told what they are doing is not good enough, but no idea what else to do. That is certainly my experience, and I suspect it is the current experience of many of those still sitting in the pews each week.

In terms of your question about whether it is a vibrant church Biscuits, the simple answer is no. The membership has hardly changed in about 30 years in spite of all of the “New Year Prophesies” of revival. As far as I can see, the total number of people is still basically the same and, apart from children of existing members, there have been very few new members over the years. In terms of “quality” rather than “quantity”, I would wholeheartedly agree with Rensil who says,

"…re the fruit in the lives of general members of SMC: I perceived, (and indeed had many of these myself) fear and anxiety, paranoia, introspection with accompanying condemnation, low self-worth, indecisiveness, and even depression…"

That is my experience, and my perception of the overall achievements of Struthers. Not exactly the revival we were promised.

The comment about people leaving being “hushed up” is also so important. The whole model is that truth can only come from the leaders. If you speak to someone who has left and they give a reason, it is totally irrelevant. The only way to know why they left is to speak to the leaders. Scripture says that accusations against elders should be listened to if there are witnesses. Well, there are witnesses in this forum. Struthers instead says that, even if there are 100 witnesses, do not listen to them, just listen to the leaders. Is that not just nonsense? As well as being unscriptural, it is unhealthy. No wonder people are depressed; they are deprived of the vibrant life God has given them.

One other thought that again demonstrates the arrogance of Struthers. In the now famous sermon of 12 March, Mrs Gault says she has not read the online criticism. Is that not bizarre? Can you imagine a company executive or a government Minister being interviewed by the Media and saying, “I have not read these criticisms”. If it was my business, I would be reading them all, discussing them with colleagues and looking at what I could do to learn from any mistakes. As a Christian, I would also be treating the critics as my neighbour and going out of my way to help them.

The parable of the Good Samaritan included a Pharisee passing by on the other side because they believed that the Messiah would come if they were all “ritually clean” at the same time. If the Pharisee had touched the unclean man, he would have become unclean so, in their book, the Messiah could not come. I am not sure where I heard this, but I suspect it was one of Mr Black’s lines. So Mrs G, do you believe that, in spite of the fact your father preached against that approach? Are you so afraid of being ritually unclean that you cannot even read some comments online? Is that why you tell people not to have contact with friends depressed to the point of suicide? Why else would you avoid obeying scripture and helping people that had been beaten up?

It is interesting that the word “sorry” has appeared about a dozen times in this forum – people sorry because they have made a mistake in what they said, because they have reported inaccurately, because they have inadvertently caused hurt and, more generally, sorry that others have had such a tough time. If the leaders of SMC had any compassion at all, they would be apologising for all of the hurt they have caused over the years. People from Struthers obviously do read this, and some have even commented, but the word sorry does not appear in any of their posts. Interesting that those not in Struthers show more of Christ’s love and compassion than those who are still in the movement. Come on Anon or Lorna, will you not say, “I am really sorry that people have been hurt”? Is compassion so wrong?

Finally, with reference to the comments about people leaving, we seem to have found yet another verse from the gospel according to Struthers – “If a shepherd has a hundred sheep and one gets lost, does he not say to the other 99 ‘make sure you don’t speak to number 100 if you see them, they have rejected my leadership’.”

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: English ()
Date: May 13, 2011 03:05AM

Well well well, in an idle moment of, well idleness I suppose I tapped three words into google

Struthers

Memorial

Church

and what did the auto fill on ggole add ?

Cult.


My parents were members of one of the English branches of SMC, as a child I attended dutifully with my brothers from a young pre teen age.
We had been to churches before CofE and Penticostal, happy places in the main with happy people running them.

I thought I knew what to expect.

My illusions were shattered when the first contact we had with the leaders was a lecture on how we were to behave, sit at the front, dont look around and behave.
We went on many camps and met some truly lovely people. SMC back then seemed to attract a certain type of person, it was there I met my first drug addict, first alcholic and my first demon possesed person. SMC seemed to be a magnet for either the less fortunate or, if you look at it another way, people who previously liked to really enjoy themselves.

It always struck me that the majority of leaders were school teachers, even our English branch was run by school teachers, and they were all controlled by the fat controller himself, Mr Black, oh and his daughers Grace (if ever someone was misnamed it was her )

My main beef with SMC was the amount of control levied by the leadership, there was no tv in our house, popular culture was banned and if Mr B could have fitted into a horse and carriage and got a horse hair shirt to fit then Im sure he would.

My Dad used to tithe a 3rd of his wages, not a percentage which would have been intelligent, a 3rd. Were did it all go ? Who accounted for it ?

Some may say that it was used to invest in the stock market.

Some may say an awful lot of it was lost in the late 80's stock market crash.

Certainly non was ever spent on the damp, miserable edifices in Greenock and Pudsey.

Is SMC a cult ? I doubt it, it wasn't then, I was given the choice by my parents of attending or leaving once it obvious I was never going to become a missionary or a devoutee of Mary Charmicheal.

Is it now ? I sincerely hope not, when I was there, as I said, there where so many happy people there who wanted to do great things.

Shame they were all in the congregation

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 15, 2011 06:53AM

Enjoyed reading your post, English, some of which is very amusingly written. Thanks. You're not sure that SMC is a cult, because your parents gave you the choice to stay or to leave. Fair enough: that's what sensible parents should do. That is what happened with most children brought up in SMC. The position is a bit different for other members who join as adults of varying ages, and who decide to leave. They experience terrible fear, shunning by others in the church, loss of friends, and they are usually classed as backsliders from the high calling of God who did not "break" on some area of teaching from the leaders or who dared to disagree with the leaders.

I'm glad you decided not to stay. In my experience, very many children who were brought up in SMC left eventually, usually in their mid to late teens. Very few return even if their parents are still members. I think you would find, English, that many of those whom you described as "happy people who wanted to do great things" have left SMC and are now doing these very things in other churches or missionary groups.

You mention that you met your first drug addict and alcoholic in SMC. I realise you are maybe speaking a bit "tongue in cheek" but I'm glad you did meet them there, because SMC was, and probably still is, also a magnet for many academically and musically gifted people with good jobs, yes, and as you say, many school-teachers. At times, drug addicts and those recovering from addictions have felt out of place in this church and weren't always given the support they needed from the church members or from the leaders. They need more than a quick deliverance session. They need love.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Stephen ()
Date: May 17, 2011 08:29PM

Many years ago, certain SMC members run the youth group in Buckinghamshire. Certainly this was a female dominated group and favour was given to the women and to one teenage male, who always wore a suit and tie, and received birthday presents, when all other males did not.
The Anglican Church, saw through them and kicked them out, and they left, taking the females with them. Such was their control. I left before this, as I was made aware on numerous occasions, that I was out of favour, even after a face to face with the husband, Derek.
Joan controlled the show, and when Derek gave his testimony about smoking on the bus in Glasgow, he was told, in front of his young audience, that there would be more to discuss later, on this matter.
Even now, one of the girls was so enamoured by the leader, that she named her child after the daughter of the leader, it was an unusual name as well.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: May 18, 2011 02:49AM

Its been ages since I posted here and its disturbing to find so many others who seem to have been
similar experiences or have similar doubts about this organisation. All goes to show I wasn't merely imagining things.

To the last poster, Steven, I'm interested to hear more of this "smoking testimony" incident.. seems like you were suggesting that this woman Joan, definitely wore the "trousers" in that household!.

Where did you go after you left this group ? Do you feel you grew spiritually after you left, or do you still miss the
experiental aspects of SMC meetings that often come up in posts by others here ?.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Stephen ()
Date: May 18, 2011 05:44AM

Clive, after I left I jined a hose group, that love bombed you, but the peple were nice and I met my wife there. My real maturity came when I moved to Chesham and started studying Roger Price audio tapes whilst attending an Anglican church. My faith is still strong, but I do reject so much of the Jewells influence, I shudder when I remember them shaking me as a teenager to empower me with the holy spirit. And speaking in tongues, whilst accepting it, will not do it myself, as I believe it may have ben for a different dispensattion. But each to theiir own. I may not be right. The smoking thing was Derek Jewells testemonyy, and strangely, Joan had not heard it before. The othe rthing was that nobody was allowed to sit in Joans chair. There was no TV present, but that may not be a bad thing. All the youngsters were expected to helpout with the gardening, I never did as I worked part time on Saturdays, but wouldnt have anyway.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: May 18, 2011 07:15PM

steve:

“hose group” ?? lol ! is that some sect with rituals involving being sprayed with water ?

Never heard of this Roger Price person , but recently came across a Lutheran podcast “Table Talk Radio” featuring an interesting discussion between between a Dr. Robert M. Price and Dr. David Scaer concerning the resurrection.

" I shudder when I remember them shaking me as a teenager to empower me with the holy spirit” - this reminds me a little of some of what covlass has shared here.

Regarding the “no TV” thing, yes i agree it isnt nevessarily a bad thing, except that in the context of a sect where every effort is being made to prevent children being “infected” or influenced by any “outsider" or “foreign” idea, xtian or otherwise - with differing opinions or cultures, this becomes a darker thing.

It becomes yet another tool to force and ensure conformity. reminds me of how china and some of the islamic countries, not to mention soviet russia - controlled access to media in order to prevent any form of dissent. It speaks of a fear and deep insecurity concerning their own brand of pentecostalism - one which cannot stand by itself and only survives in an environment where all dissent is squashed.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: pentecostal ()
Date: May 18, 2011 10:58PM

In the interests of balance and fairness, may I give my opinion on this matter?

I too am no longer a member of Struthers but I left for geographical reasons and parted on amicable terms. I find the general tone of this thread too biased against Struthers and wish to offer something positive in their defense.

I am not here to defend Struthers as a perfect and infallible church, not even the leadership would say that and indeed I remember Grace Gault saying that if anyone could demonstrate they were wrong from scripture they would change their position (as any sensible christian would do). Did anyone do this before they left?

Now I recall Mr. Black as being one of the best preachers I had heard in years. He was an effective communicator of the gospel and the pentecostal message as well as a warm hearted christian gentleman. But he was no compromiser on sin and I like that in a preacher too. Now he has gone on to better things, the leadership has shifted to a more female emphasis and this seems to be a source of contention here. The reason for the predominance of female leadership is historical. Almost all the Struthers branches were set up and maintained by women. They were the ones encouraged by Mr. Black's views on female equality in the 1970s and 1980s to go and form small groups which eventually formed larger churches. In other words, they are there on merit having been there and done it and gained the experience of leadership thru it. The leaders are keen to have more male leadership, I have heard themselves say it, they are just not quite there yet but I am sure based on what I have seen that this will rebalance with time.

As for the alleged "control" of leaders, I think this very much exposes the individualism that pervades society and the church in general today. People don't like being told what to do - period. You see it everywhere and it is a sad sight. People should not compare Struthers against how cosy and accommodating their new church is, they should compare it against the New Testament model which says submit yourselves to the authority of the elders.

How about this verse from St. Paul? "Them that sin, rebuke before all that others may also fear." Have you seen this biblical command exercised in your new church recently? Probably not. How about this verse from the supposed meek and mild Jesus:

"If he refuses to listen to them (i.e. 2 or 3 witnesses), tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.". Ever seen that happen at your local church? Now we may debate how this public ostracisation is done, but I have seen it done in very few churches. Too many leaders don't want to upset the apple cart in case some people get grumpy and leave with their monetary contributions.

What about the man handed over by Paul to Satan for the "destruction of the flesh" in Corinth? Not applicable to perfect, modern churches?

Also, I see little in the way of praise for what God has been doing thru Struthers. The healings, the deliverances, the cleaning up of people's lives. Let's have some balance please!

Thank you for hearing me out.

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