Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: May 15, 2024 03:46PM

TheGreek, welcome to the forum. I think you are right that it will be a challenging time for the “new leadership” (and everyone else in Struthers).

Basilisk, you are also very welcome, and I hope you will continue to engage in the discussions, but I have to say I totally disagree with your perspective on this. What you are suggesting is that evangelical churches collude to cover up abuse, “for the greater good”. This is 100% the opposite of what the Bible teaches. We are never, ever told to do something wrong “for the greater good”.

What we are told to do is always do what is right, even if it has consequences. Christ is of course the ultimate example of this, as the result of doing his father’s will was he was crucified.

As I have said before, the people on this forum are witnesses, not the prosecution. They must obey the Biblical command not to bear false witness by being open about what happened to them. They cannot stay silent, as that would be bearing false witness.

Thanks FalkirkBairn for your response which makes this point very clearly.

That “let’s cover it up because if it comes out it will damage the reputation of the church” approach has been tried elsewhere and has never, ever succeeded. In every case, it has failed miserably and the church or other organisation has had to apologise profusely. That is actually what has damaged the reputation of churches and other organisation – the attempt to cover things up.

And that ties in neatly with TheGreek’s point. The “new leadership” have a clear challenge here. If they stick to the existing Struthers line of trying to cover everything up and pretend that nothing has happened, they will simply fail. There are too many incidents and, as we know, some even involve the police. The only results of that approach will be a humiliating climb down and ruined professional reputations.

I have seen people lose professional jobs for “bringing the organisation into disrepute” and that is a real possibility here if these people do not do a proper, thorough internal investigation and then take appropriate action.

The alternative will be tough for them though – to openly challenge leaders and hold them to account. I am hoping that the new team brings a bit of “backbone” as Mr Black would say and that they are up for the challenge, but only time will tell.

I should also add that I have already had one person in the ministry team of a large evangelical church saying that people do have to speak to the BBC. Basilisk, how many real people from evangelical chuches have you spoken to about this? Indeed, if you are a member of Struthers, do you even know people from evangelical churches? If so, speak to them. Ask them to read the forum and whether they then agree with you. You may get a surprise.

As well as this, you are also doing the Struthers thing about knowing people’s motivations, as your guess is that the BBC are interested in one specific angle. I do appreciate that you said, “guess” rather than doing the usual Struthers thing of claiming it as true just because they say so, but this is still just making things up. The name of the reporter has been published on this forum. Speak to them and ask them their motivations and the aim of any investigation if you want to find out more.

As for 1 Cor 6v1 (which, in case anyone is wondering, says “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people”, I fully agree, people should try to resolve matters privately first. But have you not read this forum? Have you not read of the dozens of people who have said the leaders would not speak to them? I have copies of letters sent to Struthers leaders in the last few years that have not received any reply. That is a very clear attempt to take it before the Lord’s people first. It is not the people on the forum that are stopping this happening, it is the leaders of Struthers who are deliberately not complying with this scripture.

To be honest, I was not really sure about speaking to the BBC, but this is exactly the kind of gaslighting that will convince me.

“WE” contributors to the forum should remember 1 Cor 6? Seriously? Basilisk, if you know anyone on the Struthers leadership, you need to go to them and tell them to remember 1 Cor 6v1 and reply to these letters, get in touch with the people on this forum, set up a publicised process for the independent resolution of issues etc. "We" are attempting to apply 1 Cor 6v1, it is the Struthers leaders who refuse to consider that verse.

Basilisk, as I was posting this, I say your second comment about speaking to each other directly. Could you please speak to the Struthers leadership and ask them if they will do this. I have absolutely clear evidence, seen by a number of others, they will not.

I believe that will however ultimately happen. Either the Struthers leaders will do it now willingly, or they will do it after the BBC report, or after a court case or something else, but it will I am sure eventually happen. That is how life works – the truth eventually comes out.

And what about Matthew 5v25?
Matthew 5v25
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.

What about telling the Struthers leaders about that verse? Are they trying to settle matters quickly? In fact, Basilisk, let me change that from a rhetorical to a direct question – do you have any evidence of Struthers leaders obeying that verse and trying to settle matters quickly?

And if you go just two verses earlier, you get
Matthew 5v23
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Struthers teaches the exact opposite of this verse. They teach,
Struthers version of Matthew 5v23
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, do not make any attempt to reconcile with your brother but stay here at the alter until you feel you are right with God.

This is simply heresy.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2024 03:50PM by ThePetitor.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: May 15, 2024 03:50PM

It has been reported to police

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FatHippo ()
Date: May 15, 2024 04:51PM

Hi basilisk,

Thanks for joining here. Can you help us understand the point you are trying to make? You seem to be both for and against the conversion therapy bans?

I'm not sure if you are a troll or SMC. If you are currently in SMC then welcome to the famous forum, I do honestly hope you stick around for more discussion.

Your idea regarding the BBC looking for conversion therapy story is certainly new here, but not one I personally subscribe to. To your knowledge is there a lot of conversion therapy going on in Struthers?

Rumours I've heard regarding documentaries on SMC are from film makers who happened to get to know former SMC members in their daily lives. These members described their their long lists of awful experiences in the church (many of which echo SMC experiences shared here). One former member described how after many years of faithfully attending Struthers, the leadership told this man that he had to divorce his wife, because she didn't attend Struthers. This was the final straw on top of many years worth of awful experiences, so he decided that SMC was a cult, kept his wife, and rightly left the church.

These experiences alone seem to have been considered documentary-worthy by the film makers. This one has nothing to do with looking for a conversion therapy story.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: May 15, 2024 06:20PM

Welcome basilisk.

I mean, that's a wild curveball you've thrown there. A total guess, a complete shot in the dark.

I think it's FAR more likely that the BBC are interested in the actual story, ie, how people have been mistreated and mishandled by their fellow humans, purporting to be loving and caring. The world of documentary-making is awash with this kind of thing. The fact that it's happened right on our (Scottish) doorstep makes it ripe for the picking. But sure, by all means continue to speculate about an entirely different agenda.

To the wider SMC audience I would say this: The power only exists because you let it. It has no real form or substance not does it carry any real authority aside from what exists in peoples' minds. Do not be afraid to say 'no' or to stand up for what is right and decent.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: basilisk ()
Date: May 15, 2024 07:52PM

Hello Petitor,

Thank you for your welcome. Let me apologise right away if I gave the impression that I was advocating the status quo. I was more focused on St. Paul's words concerning Christians bringing other Christians before non-Christians to resolve disputes and your quotation from Matthew 5 highlights the need to resolve matters within the Church context.

I do not wish to express any judgment on the credibility of any grievance, but rather try and view it all from a Biblical perspective. I suggested people should be talking to each other, that is probably easier said than done. It may get nowhere, it might get somewhere. But saying nothing creates voids which may be filled in by people according to their perceptions of the "other side".

What does God want? We have already both quoted some Bible texts in that regard. He wants unity and accord in His Church but that is clearly not always achieved, just look at the various disputes St. Paul had to address!

He also formed the Church to glorify His name and for me that is the main guiding principle in these matters. Look at King David's adultery and murder. The story has God forgiving David's sin, but the opportunity it gave His enemies to blaspheme His name was front and centre to God.

That doesn't mean nothing should be done. As you say, there needs to be a conversation. How is that done? Who emails who first? How do you contact someone with an anonymous forum name? How do you prioritise grievances? Is a go-between required in some cases? There appears to be no such thing as a Christian equivalent of ACAS and would such a thing even be accepted?

Just my 2 cents worth.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: basilisk ()
Date: May 15, 2024 08:02PM

Hello FatHippo,

All I am saying in general is that if someone doesn't want to be prayed for regarding anything, be it sexuality or otherwise, then leave them alone. The legislation going through Westminster to me is more about freedom of speech and what churches are allowed to say from their pulpits, etc.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: basilisk ()
Date: May 15, 2024 08:16PM

Hello blackwatch,

Yup, I can't prove it, it's just my opinion.
It would only become evident if and when something is broadcast.

My concern for documentaries is proper due diligence being performed and making sure all sides are given a fair and balanced hearing.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: May 15, 2024 10:12PM

Personally, I don't think applying theology here is appropriate. (I'm not saying people shouldn't express views but rather that it's not going to work).

That's fine say within a specific church or even within a group of churches whereby the membership and leaders are broadly in agreement on theology and interpretation and how it's applied.

This forum is a mix of believers and non-believers and to suggest we 'look at what the bible has to say' is likely to have little bearing on anything.

As a society and a culture, we do have a much broader agreement on what is right and what is acceptable and it is, in my opinion, at this level that we deal with such issues.

A vulnerable teenager being violently shaken and told they have demons isn't a theological issue, it's a moral and potentially legal issue (in the context of this forum).

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: TheGreek ()
Date: May 15, 2024 11:51PM

basilisk - 4 points

If only this was about the problem of those who would “gag what churches can say on sexual morality”. It is not. It is about Struthers Memorial Church telling a 14 year old they are gagged from telling the truth about a rape BECAUSE IN THEIR VIEW it helped the reputation of their church for them to falsify the situation and claim it was her fault.

So who is gagging what can be said about sexual morality?

Secondly when you have read what people here have actually said, Struthers leaders praying for a child or adult who was concerned about their own sexuality is almost absent. Maybe one. What is much more common is the Struthers leaders descending on a perfectly happy young Christian and claiming knowledge that they are both gay and/or demon possessed. Even in the face of their denials of any such feeling or nature this claim is pushed and, as you can easily read, lives are devastated for decades by this narcissistic spiritual abuse.

Look at Free@Last_sometimes (p174) and look at Covlass (p1) and then tell us who has "an obsession with coercive prayer” on LGBT issues?

If there ever is legislation that would be bad. But once again you dont seem to have a problem with what Struthers do in their un-Biblical blundering that might bring about such legislation. You think the problem is us talking about and telling the truth about what they do.

In your view should we be quiet so they can continue? That is not going to happen.

Thirdly I admire the courage of the victims who have posted on this forum and the last thing they need is platitudes from Struthers apologists. In particular your wisdom that it is the right thing to sort this out in a mutual way before going public or to law. As ThePetitor has repeatedly indicated over 10 years here, he has been writing to them for 30 years about his bad experiences, requesting to meet, and they have completely ignored every word. Everyone here spoke to them and was ignored or rejected. We are not the problem. This forum is happening because the leaders of Struthers Memorial Church have not listened, are arrogant beyond belief and don't have to listen because there is no adequate church government structure, no conduct guidelines for leaders, and no New Testament way to prevent abuse.

Fourthly : In your reply to The Petitor:

“Who e-mails who first? How do you contact someone with an anonymous forum name?”

People who have been in Struthers too long say things like this. Any – and I mean any – other Christian leader in the UK reading about abuse in their churches on this scale would have joined this forum and either publicly addressed the pain caused and also sought to contact people on the private messaging bit and – even without knowing who they were – begin a conversation to try and help and fix the pain and suffering they caused. To set this up would take about 4 and a half minutes. This forum has been constantly active since 2011.

The fact that not one of the Struthers leaders has attempted to help any one person or ease their pain shows their character and is a vile example of self righteous pious spiritual snobbery. Yet we can only hope that the current chaotic financial and personnel shambles the church is dealing with will force them to now act differently. The church is in decline and ministries are closing down. The school may be next. Will this make them now behave according to New Testament guidelines (those quoted against us by basilisk) and try to settle with those who have a grievance against them while they still can?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: FalkirkBairn67 ()
Date: May 16, 2024 12:10AM

anonymousfornow Wrote:
> FalkirkBairn - thank you for sharing your story,
> and for finding the courage and strength to do so.
> We believe you, and we have your back. You did not
> deserve any of that, and Struthers should have
> done better to protect and support you. I hope you
> continue to find healing and peace.


Options: ReplyQuote

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