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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anon201062 ()
Date: December 08, 2010 11:59PM

Yes I am writing this as someone who does go to one of the Struthers branch of churches and yes I will be biased but see no harm in straightening some facts that have been massively mis-quoted by some who are obviously bitter at their experience.

Please do read this. I hope it may clarify some issues.

Struthers believe in holiness. Yes.
Do they believe we are perfect or should be. No.
Should we be aiming for it. Yes.
Do we believe that anyone is perfect. No.
Should we be depressed or suicidal or give up if we aren't perfect. No.

In terms of women ministry I have no real issue. Being male it is something I have found pops up time and time again when meeting with other christians. As far as I am concerned. If people are being touched by god then regardless of who is being used then it can only be good. For one every critic of the leadership of struthers I could produce easily and willingly 50 who would be able to tell how the guidance of the leaders has helped them to break them free, find god, heal them. The leaders in struthers are not paid or appointed by themselves. People are not made to stay, come or even sign a membership agreement entitling them to come to the church. It's choice, not fear that brings people along.

The reason there is a keen listening of the leaders in the church is because so many people appear in churches and christian circles basically as wolves amongst the flock. To reduce the chance of this then it is not advised taking help or advice from people we/you don't know

I would ask if this is a cult then why are people delivered, healed and saved in the name of Jesus Christ the son of god whilst attending this church?

In response to CovLass's points. I think mistaken would the word I'd use. For instance the occasion a child was reportedly dragged from the church? I have been going to this church for over 20 years. The only time I have ever saw anything similar to this was when a child was mimiking and mocking a member of the congregation worshipping god. The person taking the worship at the front asked the child to go and sit beside the person that brought them. People are delivered in the church through the power of god. Many could tell you even today what god does for them. Perhaps there was a need there that you did not see. Perhaps not. Not for me to say. I have never known the word of god to me, or through leadership to be wrong.

This is Highly Inaccurate and I wonder where you got your information from:
To Quote CovLass:

"There was a man who was quite involved in the church for some time. He had a few disagreements with the pastor of Cumbernauld and decided to leave. Before he left he was 2 renting rooms in his house to 2 guys from the church. As soon as he left the 2 men were tod they had to leave his house immediately. As there was no alternative accomodation they were told they could live in the church. It had a showe and a kitchen and they had to sleep on mattresses on the floor in 2 of the sunday school rooms. One of the men had recently come out of a teen challenge drug rehab centre and was readjusting to life. However within 1 week of this move he went back on the streets and back onto drugs. A tragic case of putting their policies before people."

The man who had the disagreements, left and has returned and happily worships at Struthers on a regular basis. The 2 men who were staying with him were not paying rent. They were there as his free guests. They were not told they had to leave by the church. But as the man (who let them stayed) had left he felt it was better that they found alternative accommodation when possible (he was not making them homeless). They were offered, free, by the church to stay in the church building. Which they both accepted and church, guy and 2 men were on friendly terms still, no bitterness. The man who was out of the drug rehab centre had been out for several months staying at the guys house. It was around 6 months further before he had a relapse and went back to the life he had come from. It was not a church policy. Other than helping 2 people who were about to be homeless. The church has no "policies" as such other than biblical teachings.

I am not wanting to be horrible about it but the above paragraph (2 above) from yourself is basically untrue in accusation and highly inaccurate in it's facts. I suggest before putting criticisms in you make sure they are true. If anyone wishes to verify the story all of the above people can easily be contacted.

Many people do not stay in struthers. This is ok. It is not forbidden to talk to them or anything such as. People are given advice at times. Never told to do anything. Or never told if you don't do this you'll be asked to leave etc. We are encouraged to find fellowship with other christians, regardless of denomination, who are finding god as this will bring us closer to god.

Often at times people leave because of reasons such as Clive has mentioned (women ministry) but at times it is because they do not wish to TRY to live to the standard of teaching that is brought (all biblical). No one is asking for perfection. But one wonders why people come to church and sit and listen to a sermon preached from the bible about teachings that jesus brought us yet still behaves, knowingly, in a manner contrasting the bible.
As I have said I've been at Struthers for over 20 years and am far far from perfect. The people I do see leaving often do not want to accept these teachings, straight from the bible. That is ok. People are allowed to leave and are not in any way regarded in a negative way because of this.

Overall:

I don't doubt people will have issues with Struthers and the way in which it is. I understand and accept that. I do think however that people are not made to go any where. It is their choice. If a church is opening it's doors to many people with problems and they are going out happier and finding more of god through it it's a good thing. I'm not saying we should all be at struthers far from it. But for everyone that has an issue with the work god is doing there I can find 50 who have been set free, healed or are finding a freedom in god that is a result of the work the leadership has done, and the work that god is doing in that place. If you are unsure. Come along and find out.

Regardless of how you feel,

God Bless and I hope, if you haven't already found it, that you find peace and salvation in the one place it is found... The Lord Jesus Christ.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 13, 2010 09:18PM

Hi anon201062


Good to see your comments about this. It is good to know there are people willing to enter into the discussion and defend the position rather than hide away somewhere say, "I don't need to talk to you - I know I am right."

I am not so sure about what you mean by "advice" however. In an earlier post I mentioned a site I came across (http://www.latigo214.info/index.html) which states it's purpose as,'To place in the public domain information and articles for people who have questions about the practices, teaching and beliefs of Struthers Memorial Church." One of the articles on that site is about the abomination sermon preached in a Struther's Church (see [www.latigo214.info]). Is this the kind of "advice" you refer to? I must admit I have some concerns if this is what is meant by offering advice.

In the course of my career, I have ended up managing a variety of disciple and grievance procedures. I have worked with very senior managers, HR managers, full-time union officials, HR consultants, independent investigators and the police when dealing with a whole range of issues from the fairly trivial to the criminal. I therefore have very credible experience in dealing with these sorts of matters across the public, private and third sectors. In all of my experience, there has to be a recognition of two different aspects of the issues - the underlying issue and the process used. For example, if you think of a surgeon being drunk on duty, a counsellor abusing a client or an accountant embezzling money, I would expect everyone to agree these are examples of gross misconduct (taken form the private, public and third sectors for completeness) and have to be dealt with. No argument there (I hope!)

How it is dealt with is also important however. If the senior manager choses to ignore standard good practice and instead to publicly chastise the individual about something, for example using the words of the abomination sermon quoted at the above web address, any industrial tribunal in the land would agree this was bullying - especially if there was no agreed policy about the issue (i.e no stated policy on alcohol in this case).

There are of course good reasons for this - it is recognised that the "abomination sermon" approach is NOT "giving advice" but is in fact unconscionable bullying. I know it is not your personal opinion, but according to a substantial and uncontested body of research, this does lead to conformity through fear.

That is a bit of an aside however . My main point is that, even if something is wrong, there are good ways and bad ways to go about dealing with it. So, leaving aside the question of whether drinking alcohol is right or wrong, and leaving aside the question of whether the 3 people identified in the sermon acted correctly by expressing their opinions about alcohol, there is still an issue about how it was dealt with, which is really central to your point about whether the leadership offers "advice" or something that would by many be considered even stronger than direct instruction.

The questions I have are:

QUESTION 1
+++++++++++
Does Struther's Church accept that the approach taken to correct this (apparently) aberrant behaviour ("the abomination sermon") would, in any work situation, be considered as potential bullying and that the leader would be subjected to a disciplinary enquiry? If not, I would love to see the argument and any examples where tribunals have taken a different view - it would certainly add to my own professional development.
+++++++++++


If you do agree that this would, in any employment situation, be subject to an investigation into bullying the question is whether Struthers adopts this industrial standard into their own practice.

Please do try to separate out these two aspects. The first is about whether Struthers accepts that this kind of action would be subject to a disciplinary enquiry in the world of employment. The second is whether you chose to adopt this process in to your own organisation. These are separate questions.

I confess I will be totally amazed if anyone tries to dispute the first of these points, as it really is universal accepted. That does not make it right of course - which is why we need the second question. So, assuming that you accept point 1 above, i.e. that it would, in a work context, lead to the preacher being subject to a disciplinary enquiry, the question is, how does this apply within Struthers? Specifically:

QUESTION 2
++++++++++
Does Struthers agree that point 1 above is not just standard practice, but is GOOD practice, and therefore aspire to applying it in their own organisations? If so, I expect that there will be a disciplinary enquiry and that the sermon will be removed from the website pending the outcome of this enquiry.
++++++++++

QUESTION 3
++++++++++
If you do not agree that is the correct approach, there is another problem, as Struthers has a number of related ventures including coffee shops, bookshops and a school. If the leadership of the church do not accept the need for an anti-bullying policy and processes to enforce this, staff in all of these organisations need to know that any issues will be dealt with in some other way. If the church believes that the correct way to deal with non-conformist behaviour is to publicly identify and chastise individuals, then I presume they would want to use this alternative "best practice" in their school and other ventures. Is this the position adopted by Struthers and its satellite organisations?
+++++++++++

Finally, QUESTION 4
+++++++++++++++++
You said leaders, "only offer advice". As the abomination sermon is currently still available on the Struthers website, I presume that it is currently an accepted part of the doctrine and practice of the church. Are you happy to include this sermon within your definition of "only offering advice"?
+++++++++++++++++



Apologies if I have somewhat laboured the point here. Thanks for bearing with me as I tried to explain what I was getting at. This shouldn't really be a difficult argument to follow, so sorry if I have made it more complex than it needs to be. It is basically quite simple:

1 You say the leaders only, "offer advice"
2 There is a published sermon which identifies and chastises individuals.
3 In an employment context this would not be considered offering advice, it would be considered as bullying.
4 (Question 1 above) Do you accept point 3 above and, if so, how do you link this with your comment that it is "only advice" that is offered (Question 4 above)?
5 (Question 2 above) WIll Struthers apply standard industry practice by launching a disciplinary enquiry into something that is, on the surface at least, "corporate bullying"?
6 (Question 3 above) If not, will you explain the alternative Struthers model of personnel management and how this is applied to employees of church ventures?


There are a number of other issues I might mention, but I do not want to make this too lengthy at this point. It is however possibly worth mentioning that your initial YES/ NO answers disagree strongly with Hugh Black's view. I think I still have the tape of his sermon on perfection. In it he clearly states that he agrees with John Wesley doctrine of Christian Perfection. If you have studied Methodist doctrine at all (which Hugh Black had), you will know that two of your five statements are in disagreement with this, and therefore in disagreement with Mr Black's stated and considered view. So who represents the official Struthers view, has it changed over time, or are such statements purely random?

I look forward to your response and, most seriously, thank for being part of the debate. There are a lot of people out there still hurting through the actions of people in Struthers, and it will really help them if there is an opportunity to get some answers. I know it is easy to use phrases like "a lot of people"without any substantiation, but I would suggest that you simply hang around and try to answer these questions. If you do so, I think you will find quite a number of people wanting to hear more.

All the best to everyone reading this thread,


ThePetitor

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: seekingsusan ()
Date: December 13, 2010 10:47PM

Quote
anon201062
I would ask if this is a cult then why are people delivered, healed and saved in the name of Jesus Christ the son of god whilst attending this church?

There are plenty of cults AND churches that exhibit cult-like behaviour whose members and leaders claim repeatedly that healings occur and that people are saved in the name of Jesus Christ. Just because S.M espouses roughly the same mainline theology as a typical benign pentecostal church ( excepting the holiness teachings ) does not in any way absolve SM of cult-like attributes. It is very typical of cults to contain members who can reel off a long list of ways in which they have personally benefited from being a member through some personal incident, deliverances and such.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: December 14, 2010 10:27AM

Anon

Thanks for your reply

Firstly lets clear up a few points. Regarding the information regarding the 3 men in the church. The information I received regarding that was from another member of Struthers congregation who was also upset by what had happened. My apologies if the information they gave me was incorrect but that still doesnt nullify all the other accounts I gave to which I personally witnessed or was involved in.

You say

"Many people do not stay in struthers. This is ok. It is not forbidden to talk to them or anything such as. People are given advice at times. Never told to do anything. Or never told if you don't do this you'll be asked to leave etc. We are encouraged to find fellowship with other christians, regardless of denomination, who are finding god as this will bring us closer to god."

My friend was FORBIDDEN to have anything to do with me and I was FORBIDDEN to have anything to do with her. This was confirmed by the Pastor of the church. And this while I was still in attendance. I was also told and I roughly quote "If you don't like this perhaps its best you go back to Coventry" This was said to me by the pastor at Cumbernauld church.

Regarding the child that was dragged out of the meeting, perhaps you were not present at the meeting when it happened. However I know what I saw unless you are accusing me of lying? I dont claim to know what happened for her to be dragged out and as she was sitting on the front row I assume that very few people did see except the pastor who was leading worship. However she was definitely held by the arm and removed from the main hall for the rest of the meeting and after the meeting she was made to go and speak to the pastor and she was crying.

Another point you make is very interesting You say "I have never known the word of god to me, or through leadership to be wrong." Maybe Im misreading you here but are you suggesting that the leadership are never wrong and therefore ARE perfect? My current minister is a godly man and is very sharp when delvering the word of God. However he would not claim to be always right.

I also find the comments regarding why people may leave a little condescending

You say "Often at times people leave because of reasons such as Clive has mentioned (women ministry) but at times it is because they do not wish to TRY to live to the standard of teaching that is brought (all biblical). No one is asking for perfection. But one wonders why people come to church and sit and listen to a sermon preached from the bible about teachings that jesus brought us yet still behaves, knowingly, in a manner contrasting the bible."

How do you know if people are trying to live according to the standard of the bible or not? Ok in some cases it may well be obvious ie Going nightclubbing on a saturday night and going home with a different man/woman every week and then turning up in church with your hands raised on a sunday morning like it was all fine.

However in my case I was trying to live for God when I was accused of being unclean. I challenged the leader to tell me in what area I was unclean and she couldnt tell me. Her response was "I discern it" Discern what exactly? Im sorry but that is a total cop out.

I have a good relationship with my minister and several other ministers and no one else has 'discerned' uncleaness in me. Does this mean they are not as righteous or close enough to God? Or could it be they are right

I could go on about several ther points you have brought up. One thing that comes to mind is the almost 'god like' status of the leaders among the congregation. Several members have told me that what the leaders say is right and anyone questioning them is looked down upon by the vast majority of struthers memorial church members.

You also say that "People are allowed to leave and are not in any way regarded in a negative way because of this." yet I have heard people who have left being spoken of in negative ways such as "they were never with us" or they were not truly part of us" I recently met a lady who was 'with' Struthers for over 40 years and has now left. It took her several years to get over the way she was treated.

You also say that you can find 50 people who will say how wonderful struthers memorial church is for every person who has a ad word to say against it. That may be so, after all you are part of the curch and I doubt anyone who uis a current member will have a bad word to say about the church (at least publicy) However over the last 6 months I have found more and more people who who are not just disgruntled members because the minister didnt send them a Christmas card but have been seriously hurt by the actions of the leadership at struthers church. Sadly some are no longer walking with the Lord.

Finally you say that no one is forced to come to the church and I would agree, except perhaps children of parents who attend and dont want to. However for many people it is the fear that keeps them there, keeps them quite and prevents them from leaving and speaking out.

I will finish my post answering a point you made at the start of yours. It seems that you think the reason people are writing these posts is because they are bitter about the way they were treated. It seems to me however that most people writing these posts who had direct contact with struthers memorial church have been extremely hurt by what happened to them. I to was hurt and for a time yes I was angry and bitter. If I was bitter I would be trying to exact some kind of revenge. However my, and I feel everyones elses motivation here is to get some answers and to warn people about the experiences they may face if they consider becoming a part of this organisation

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: December 14, 2010 10:36AM

Susan

I also agree with you. Many of the posts on this forum are about churches who can probably provide a number of people who would say how wonderful the church is and how it has helped them.

However this does not nullify the position of the many people who have had seriously negative experiences. In the run up to the seige at Waco Texas with David Koresh and the mass suicide of Peoples Temple with Jim Jones there were people who said what wonderful people these men were and could no doubt say how they had been helped, healed and delivered throught their 'ministry'

Now Im not likening Struthers Memorial Church to either of these groups, however just because a church can produce members who will say "God really blessed me through such and such a church" or " I received healing through the ministry of Joe Bloggs" doesnt mean there isnt a wider issue and many more are being hurt and abused

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 14, 2010 04:56PM

CovLass

Thanks for picking up some of the points I missed and, by the way, apologies for not responding to your earlier post.

I do not want to make this too long a trail, but I am going to address a brief comment on my experience to anon201062.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 14, 2010 05:16PM

Anon201062

I think that CovLass makes a number of interesting points, although I am not going to follow them all up here. One thing I do want to mention however is that your comment, "It is not forbidden to talk to them or anything" is simply wrong. People WERE forbidden to talk to me, and I would be happy to testify to that in any court of the land.



The interesting thing will now be what you chose to do with this information. Will you:

1 engage in the debate, trying to find out why you are not aware of what really goes on?
2 give up and not even bother replying as you are happy in your delusion
3 report to the leaders who will pray with you and make it all go away.

I hope it will be number 1. You may think that the only way out is to become bitter and cynical, but that is not the case. Probably about a dozen ex-members of Struthers have stopped me in the street and spoken to me over the years. All were pleasant, getting on with their lives and had a refreshing joy and peace (the fruits of the spirit perhaps?) with no bitterness.

The only exception was one person whose marriage had been destroyed through leadership "advice" (to the wife only!!) about what was best for her spiritually. (And yes, by the way, this was a first marriage by both and both were committed Christians). I don't know about you, but I have a bit of sympathy with a bitter reaction to that experience.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 14, 2010 05:42PM

Dear all,

I think you will be interested in this email I have just received, and which I provide in full below.

Anon201062 - any suggestions?

+++++++
The Petitor

I wonder if you would be good enough to add the following to the discussions on the Rick Ross site, as I feel I have to comment on the question of whether people are banned from speaking to those that leave the church. I realise this will identify me to the leaders of the church, and possibly to some others, but I value truth above reputation. Apologies for not posting direct, but I already have about 10 email addresses and don't want to create another for this.

I was totally cut off from any contact when I left the church. The leader of the branch I was in refused to talk to me. I still send letters every few years to let her know I am alive and would like to talk about what happened, but I get no reply.

How can that possibly be right? You have to remember this is in a context that anon201062 says, "I have never know the leadership to be wrong" and "it is not advised taking help or advice from people we/you don't know".

OK, I am taking that advice. I am not taking help from people we/you don't know. Can anyone see a problem here? I am following the Struthers advice and not taking help form others, but my own leader in Struthers has consistently refused to speak to me for 20 years. By definition, this leaves me with no advice. Is it any wonder I am confused?

+++++++

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: December 15, 2010 04:48AM

Many thanks to the person who has had the courage to speak up via ThePetitor. I hope you find some answers soon and your confusion lifts.

You raise another point when you touch on what Anon201062 first mentioned in his post.

I am referring to not speaking to or asking advice of Christians who are not members of Struthers Memorial Church.

Anon201062 stated

"The reason there is a keen listening of the leaders in the church is because so many people appear in churches and christian circles basically as wolves amongst the flock. To reduce the chance of this then it is not advised taking help or advice from people we/you don't know"

This strongly suggests a religious/spiritual elitism. Please correct me if Im wrong, but what is being said in essence regarding every church or Christian organisation that is not part of the Struthers Church movement, is that the majority of people (so many people) are not actually Christian but are in fact 'wolves among the flock.'

Let me explore this point a little further if I may. Firstly for such a statement to be made then surely the leadership of Struthers Church should have a wide and sweeping personal knowledge of a large number of churches. This must not be hearsay alone but they must have visited them and spoken to such people and the ministers of these said churches. They must have examples of the kind of wrong teachings that have been put forward. Also if they have witnessed such false teachings, then they must have spoken to the leadership about their concerns, complete with biblical references regarding the wrong teachngs being put forward.

Again I am not talking about one or two local churches. If a sweeping statement is to be made then surely proof exists to substantiate this statement. If proof is not available, or it is based on an experience of one or two other churches, then surely it is nothing but prejudice against non struthers churches. Surely the bottom line regardng whether a persons spiritual teaching and guidance can be trusted is not based on which church they attend, but that what they say matches up to what the bible teaches.

Taking this point further it suggests that the leaders of Struthers Churches are superior to other church leaders and have some kind of special knowledge only available to them. This would certainly fit in with my experience of being told I was 'unclean' even though no further enlightenment could be given to me.

It also tells members that only their own leaders and others approved by the movement have anything valid to say regarding spiritual matters. It also says that all other churches are inferior and are largely full of people wo will lead them away from the 'truth'. What then does a member do if he or she disagrees with something a leader has said? Who do they discuss the matter with? Where do they go for advice if the Struthers line is that they are not advised to go to other Christians as most of them are 'wolves in sheeps clothing'?

Again developing this point further still, one can see how this can create a fear in leaving the church and going elsewhere. It gives the message that if you leave us you leave behind any chance of hearing the 'real truth' and you go to a church that is full of wolves who will drag you into the pit of hell. I have heard such messages preached from the pulpit in struthers churches.

This is backed up further by the attitude that Anon201062 speaks of when he says
"The people I do see leaving often do not want to accept these teachings, straight from the bible. That is ok. People are allowed to leave and are not in any way regarded in a negative way because of this."

My question is has Anon201062 spoken to each and every person who has left and asked them why it is they have left? Or is it assumed that if someone leaves because they disagree with something that has happened or something a struthers leader has said that they "often do not want to accept these teachings, straight from the bible" and would rather take an 'easier route?'

And what of people such as the one who has sent this email to ThePetitor. Do struthers leadership only offer spiritual help and guidance to those who currently attend their meetings? Anon says that people who leave are not thought of in any negative way. However this person is not even dignified with a response to their letters. I once walked right past a lady who still attends struthers shortly after I had left. As we were walking towards one another I said "hello *****" and even though the woman knew me and had even given me lifts home in her car she didnt respond. How terribly sad that this lady didnt even feel she could say hello to me.

Surely the purpose of Christian ministers is to produce mature believers who are able to go to God and the bible for themselves and become able to make distinctions between what is biblically sound doctrine. I have read a number of articles on this forum and from ther sources and one of the danger signs that often occurs is a church or organisation that has an elitest attitude that says we are better than other churches and ADVISES members against taking help or advice or even in some cases - speaking to people that they dont know or approve of, even other believers.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Treetop ()
Date: January 02, 2011 06:42AM

The original question in this topic was a request for more information about Struthers Memorial Church and whether or not it is a cult. I feel it is really important that these questions are brought out into the open and would like to contribute to the discussion.

Mental Illness:
Jesus said that Christians' love to each other would mark us out as His disciples. The testimonies on this thread don't show that has been happening consistently in Struthers. I know many people in Struthers. I know for a fact that several faithful and devout people – christians for over 20 years in Struthers - are depressed and have needed medication to get through normal life. There are also some cases of serious mental breakdown in people associated with Struthers. Maybe this isn't unusual in churches. However in over 20 years attendance at Struthers, I never once heard a message that acknowledged and addressed the needs of these people. This may be done privately – who knows? But not addressing the general issue in a public way leads to misunderstanding for all and further loneliness for those that suffer.

Leaving Struthers:
I personally do not know of anyone who has left Struthers happily, with a sense of calling to another church and been given public blessing on their way from Struthers leaders. Anon 201062, please get back in more detail about why/how people leave as I'd be interested in hearing more about your view 'from the inside' so to speak. Do you know anyone who has been "allowed to leave" as you said, and were still highly spoken of by Struthers leadership? I PERSONALLY know of 50 people who have left Struthers regretfully, in deep pain, with terrible confusion. I have written all their names down and know each of their stories. Some of them are sad, broken or bitter at the way they were treated by the Struthers leaders and turned away from God completely. Fortunately many have managed to break free into christian life in other churches.

Is Struthers Memorial Church a cult?
You wouldn't say it was if you were part of it. Like Anon201062, I loved God's presence in meetings and couldn't accept that any criticism of the church or leadership was valid. My doubts stemmed from witnessing very little love in action towards the weak and broken in society and a selfish preoccupation with one's own spiritual walk. I witnessed a leadership who managed to wield full authority over other intelligent adults, allowing no questioning, and who had no accountability to anyone. I heard doubts, criticisms and disapproval expressed about other churches by the leadership. None of this squares with the example of leadership given by Jesus Christ.

In my opinion – cult or not – Struthers Memorial Church has a lot of HONEST soul searching to do. The leaders need to get proper training in reading and interpreting the Bible from an accredited, mainstream christian school. They need to reach out to other churches with a spirit of humility and ask what they can learn from other christians. They need to teach their people very plainly that following God and going to Struthers Memorial Church are NOT the same thing.

It's not shameful for christians to acknowledge wrong acts, confess to God, then go and make reparation to those they have harmed. I sincerely hope the pastor in question can do this towards Covlass. Anon 201062, this has become a public issue – perhaps you are the one to broach it directly with that pastor? Please remember for yourself too, that being a member of Struthers and following God are not the same thing.

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