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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: August 26, 2011 10:05PM

So Clive everyone who doesn't agree with you is a "hypocrite" and everyone who doesn't agree that the Latigo site is a "joke" (which so far is an opinion only expressed by you) is guilty of making people stay in Struthers? Your reality seems to be a very strange place.

Perhaps we should take all your "guesses" about what is happening as facts then you would be happy.

The problem now Clive is that you are being constantly and only negative and condescending about the motives and (your speculation about) the personality flaws of those posting on this forum. You are then demanding that we agree, on the basis of no evidence, with how you "guess" these factors are having an effect on Struthers.

Please stop expecting us to treat your guessing as facts and please stop being insulting and personal. We had enough of that from our time in Struthers.

Commenting on the content of the posts is something we can all do. Suggesting that these posts give comfort to Struthers is bizarre speculation on your part. if you have any actual evidence of that happening let us hear it.

You have never claimed that you were a member of Struthers. Please believe me when I say many of us have been and as a result we will be protective of those who are being attacked when they simply want to be free to openly speak about the pain they have suffered. Please show respect for the feelings and the opinions of those posting on this forum.

I will be complaining to the moderator about the post you just made and I hope it will be removed.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Goldengirl ()
Date: August 26, 2011 10:17PM

I have read with much interest all of the postings on this site and having been in Struthers church for a number of years, then left, I feel I can identify with many of the experiences shared here.

First of all, as a teenager I started to go along to meetings with a few of my friends and very quickly changed from a happy outgoing child who belonged to various groups and organisations, to a teenager who felt worthless and inadequate and never quite good enough. The messages that came from the front via various people were that God's love only came through a lot of human effort which involved giving up friendships, hobbies and attending every meeting. This is how I tried to live my life, even as a very young teenager, but it was never good enough. I remember paying a lot of money to attend church camps and have some memories of the games and “fun times” being fun however being utterly miserable during the services where the message being forced upon us by testimony and preaching was condemnation and a need for deliverence. Often there would be an appeal for all the demon possessed to go to the blue room!! Then would come the Friday night service where the” breakthrough” would come. The immediate meetings following the camp would be the same faces testifying to the amazing change to their lives by receiving ministry, advice and often from the experience of the camp. Within a short period of time these same people often suddenly came across other issues in their lives that stopped them “getting through” to God and had to repeat the same process of more deliverance, ministry etc.

I don't remember at any time being taught of the grace and the mercy of God's love. I don't remember being taught of the unconditional love of God nor do I remember this ever being displayed by any of the leadership or by those “in training” for leadership. I do however recall harshness and heavyhandedness and an awful lot of unhappy, miserable and very burdened christians.

The word of God tells us that “there is now therefore no condemnation in them that love Christ”
I thank God for my salvation. When I did leave Struthers I learned about the whole gospel of Christ and read the word for myself. I listened to teaching that was driven by both a love for God and others and was not judgemental. A leaders job is to deliver the unadulterated word of God not enforce it, it is to guide and to lead by example by allowing their ministry to be an extension of the lives they lead.

On reflection on this website, it makes me sad that the Struthers leadership has not responded to the testimonies of many people who have taken time to record how they were affected by poor leadership and poor representation of the gospel. I suggest that when these leaders are alone, perhaps before they go to sleep at night or even as they look back over their lives they may realise the harshness and poor treatment they have given out to others was wrong. This sight is giving the Struthers leadership a chance to respond to peoples hurts and confusion and to change their ways.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: August 26, 2011 10:26PM

Quote
Chesterk55

I will be complaining to the moderator about the post you just made and I hope it will be removed.

Then you will be guilty of the same kind of “banning” that the SMC is accused of.

I have not to my knowledge critiqued any poster on a personal level.

I critique SOME aspects of Latigo.
I have critiqued somebody called M.

Neither to my knowledge have come out openly to verify they post here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: clare ()
Date: August 27, 2011 12:57AM

The feeling of not being good enough seems to be common to a lot of posters here, not good enough for what? for whom?

The world in general likes achievers.

Families like achievers. Parents often make the mistake of favouritising the achieving child.

Church likes achievers. Church often preaches achievement.( Struthers like achievers, as long as you follow the company "line")

What is one of the most common questions we ask God when we first start a relationship with Him?

"What do you want me to DO for you?" " What shall i achieve for You?"

For me the answer is this :-
Dont do,
just be,
be what?
be still, and know...

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 27, 2011 07:25AM

Clive,

I see that ChesterK55 has already commented on some of the more speculative aspects of your recent posts. I don’t want to start analysing all that has been said, but I have to say I find the same issue, and am really getting quite baffled by the very strong conclusions you reach based on a whole range of assumptions and speculation; for example:

“It is clear that Struthers influence over L’s decision to not have further contacts with L cause M great hurt, confusion and a sense of betrayal.”

Really? I have re-read the article and can’t see where you get that at all. I can’t see any reference to any hurt caused to M, and the reasons actually quoted in the article are about a vow and promise made after the relationship was over. I think there was quite a different purpose to the article.

“something, that clearly involved affairs of the heart…”

Ah, is that what the promise was about. You obviously have access to information that I don’t. The words I read were, “this post is not about any personal relationship”. I think we have been reading a different script.

“and a lost or frayed friendship”

Oh, I see, AND a lost and frayed friendship – that is also part of the motivation, is it? That’s good to know.

“ - as seem from M’s perspective.”

You appear to be assuming at this point that M is the author, but you later seem to say it is OK to insult M as he has not verified the story by posting directly. This is confusing to say the least. Do you credit M with authorship or not? (And, for that matter, would it really verify it if a new contributor came on and said, “it was me”? What difference would that make?) There are actually a number of possibilities here, and only one is the M was the motivation and source of the article. I will not say any more, but your conclusion is actually still speculation, not given information.

I could go on, but you will hopefully get the point. I simply cannot see where most of these speculations come from, and I do not think that a list of speculations forms a "critique" in any normally accepted use of that word. Similarly, some of the comments about the latigo articles or about how you think people in struthers will react to things are simply without foundation - personal opinions expressed as unassailable truths. For the record, I personally think that the finance articles are actually some of the most compelling on the site. I hope to get some more time to look at the detail again soon, as I think there are some serious implications in the information given.

Some of your assumptions may of course be right. That is the nature of speculation. It does however seem at times that the whole post is simply a list of assumptions followed by a strongly worded conclusion. I am not sure if others see that as a sustainable form of argument, but I am afraid I can’t give it much credence.

As I have already said, I support your right to comment on the forum along with everyone else, but that does not mean I support comments that are critical of other people’s experiences, especially when they are just based on assumptions and speculation. Others also have a right to tell their stories as well, and to do so without feeling their experiences are being undermined or invalidated. That does not mean we cannot criticise the arguments of others: in my book, there is a world of a difference between criticising arguments and giving the message that the stories and feelings of individuals are inappropriate, or wording speculation as if it was fact.

I want to encourage people to talk about their experiences. Some of it might not form a consistent pattern, some of it might be unreasonable, some of it might not make much sense, but it will be people speaking about what happened to them and I strongly believe that, when taken together, it will tell a compelling story. I think we should do all we can to support those brave enough to share some of their experiences.

I hope we can all work together to support every person as they tell their story, and not spend time criticising, which inevitably lead so to criticism of the criticism!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: August 27, 2011 10:36AM

The post by The Petitor relating to the story of L and M raises some issues which are very important and do need to be answered by the Struthers leadership. The story very well illustrates some of the ways Struthers has sought to control people and has taken no responsibility when that interference results in devastating damage to peoples lives. Hopefully even if there is yet again no answer from the leadership, the fact that these issues are being shared publicly may help people currently being put under unfair and inappropriate pressure.

Vows are important

No one in the Bible who made a vow was excused the consequences of that vow based on their youth. If you promised to fight along side someone then, no matter what, that is what the vow meant. That applied whether the person was young or old when it was made and still applies 1 or 26 years later. A vow is a vow. If you don't want to be bound by the terms of a vow – don't make one. If these people were adults they could vote, drink, marry, and lead a church at the age they were. A vow is a vow. If you as a Christian adult have made a promise before God relating to anything you cannot break it without consequences. If that later restricts your choices in life without breaking that vow then you must live with those restricted choices. That is the cost of making a vow. If a vow made before God has been broken that is a serious issue which needs to resolved.

Is that not the view of the Struthers leadership? Are we again faced with a situation where they are holding people to a “higher” morality than the bible and feel they have no requirement to explain what that is? Does a vow to serve the ways of Struthers mean you can break other vows?

This is a very serious question. Have people been encouraged to break friendship, family ties and marriage vows to prove their loyalty to Struthers? On what authority do they encourage people to break vows? Has someone who has broken a vow made before God – such as a marriage vow - been given a position of authority in their organisation?

The self righteous silence

The story of L&M also illustrates the Struthers habit, also often mentioned in this forum, of not answering questions. The position seems to be

“If you are loyal to us you can cut off all others without owing them a word of explanation and God will still be happy with you. Their pain, former position in your life and feelings do not matter to God. Ignore their needs and go and focus on getting a blessing for yourself. That is more important.”

What Bible does this come from? Jesus taught us that others were as important as ourselves and we should treat them as well as we treat ourselves. Do Struthers leaders teach their members to love their neighbours as well as they love themselves?

This smacks of what Archbishop Laud raised about the Close Brethren roots of Struthers. Once they are comfortable in their “holy” church it seems some of them don't deign to eat, sit or even speak with the worldly and the undeserving. Other Christians and family members are cut off – even from communication.

Is the the perfect expression of the love of God or the perfect definition of unloving pride?


Making a supreme sacrifice

The story of L & M also illustrates the struthers obsession with teaching young people they were likely to be asked by God to make a supreme sacrifice as a way of demonstrating their commitment to Struthers. Because the normal way of presenting this was the story of Abraham and Isaac this often took the form of sacrificing a valued relationship. In a one size fits all theology this then became a sure sign of loyalty and it was taught that this would lead to powerful ministry in future life. This outcome proved to be seldom if ever true. The ministries in Struthers are not noticeably strong and certainly generally less noteworthy than the ministries you can easily see operating in churches who do not require bizarre mandatory sacrifices. They depend on people having gifts and a calling from God discerned by themselves and others in the church, followed by accredited training to come into ministry and service positions. The churches in Scotland that are growing and biblical do it this way.

The huge confusion was the mistaking of a sacrifice demonstrating loyalty to the leadership being therefore automatically a sacrifice demonstrating loyalty to God. In this respect the conduct model was closer to the way the Mafia works that anything you could find in the bible or a healthy church. To get on you simply had to prove your loyalty to the ruling family – not your gifting and calling. But once you understand this is the way it works it makes the totally unaccountable, undemocratic “family” set up, and some of the bizarre leadership appointments, easier to understand.

It is amazing how often people identified by such an act of loyalty were held up as spiritual and “anointed” future leaders but were soon gone. (Never an explanation or apology from the leaders who had been wrong about them.) It is amazing how many declared after sacrificing a relationship “for God” that God had called them to a single life (as the leaders nodded approvingly) then within a short time were married to someone else (sometimes with the leaders obvious approval!). Many held up by the leaders as fine spiritual examples who had done what the leaders wanted fawned to the leaders but treated their fellow church members like something nasty they found on their shoe.

But many of these approved people were perfectly happy, they had figured out how to get the leaders approval and had gained it. As many have said in other posts discernment seemed entirely absent.

This leadership approach is doomed to always fail as those seeking to encourage sacrifices were also those who held all the patronage. They controlled who got approval, public compliments for the special, platform access, roles in the church and basically power. Like a medieval court where all the power and patronage sits with one person – that person could never know for sure whether they were being told the truth or being flattered by those wanting something. This remains the position.


In my view the only people they can really trust to tell them the truth are posting on this forum. We can be honest with them. We want them to tell the truth and explain their conduct. They have nothing else we want.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2011 10:43AM by Chesterk55.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: August 27, 2011 10:55AM

ThePetitor - "As a result, the matter of the promise to him and the related solemn vow to God is still outstanding nearly 30 years later. “

Lets see now if i can paraphrase without yet more nitpicking: Mr M wants L to keep a 30 year old promise, and thinks God agrees with him. Ergo , L should obey God and keep this promise. And SMC should be obliged morally and biblically to create a state of affairs whereby L ends up finally honoring this oath. Thirty Years Later...

And no one here finds ANY of this in the slightest bit disturbing ?? Especially the women here ?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 27, 2011 04:04PM

Clive apologies for the nitpicking, but I think it is important to get the facts right. I think there are still assumptions in this question that are not in the original article. For example, you say, “Mr M wants L…”

That is not in the text. M may not want anything of the sort. It might be the last thing he wants. I once spoke to a concentration camp survivor who was approached by a Christian former guard. The survivor most definitely did not want to meet with the guard, but the guard had read Matthew 5 v23 and believed he should at least make the attempt to be reconciled. Is it not possible that might be the situation here? How do you conclude “M wants to…”?

This might also have been raised, not by M, by someone with a concern for L – after all, it is her spiritual life, not M’s that is being compromised. It is actually her I feel sorry for, not M. What has M to gain from this? To me, it is L who has much to gain by reviewing what happened.

I think we need to get away from all this speculation about what the motives might be and concentrate on what the story tells us about how things work in Struthers. I am grateful to ChesterK55 for adding his or her insight into some of the principles that might be at work here. It raised a number of issues I have thought of, and others that I had not thought of, which is great. Lots to think about!

Finally, Goldengirl, welcome to the forum - we have all neglected you while busy with our discussions about semantics. I think the issue about personality changes is very relevant. As I look back, I can think of a number of people who went through a change, always in the same direction - from the energetic to the passive and from the enthusiastic to the depressed. Some appear to have got stuck in the position. I am glad you found your way out.

Like you, I pray that the leaders will at some point reflect on why so many people have felt hurt and will seek reconciliation first and foremost with the God of Love.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Treetop ()
Date: August 27, 2011 05:01PM

Quote
Clive:
Mr M wants L to keep a 30 year old promise, and thinks God agrees with him. Ergo, L should obey God and keep this promise. And SMC should be obliged morally and biblically to create a state of affairs whereby L ends up finally honoring this oath... quote



Actually, for many christians, this summary is fairly accurate! Bear in mind we aren't told what the vow was, only that it wasn't about their relationship. Chester's points about a vow made to God apply to both men and women (unless you see God having less expectations of women or vice versa.)

Christianity brings with it a morality and standard of conduct that is as valid today as when the Bible was written. As a christian, I believe God is still active in people's lives and if someone made a vow before God to another person, they should keep it or expect consequences. If they can't live up to the vow, or feel they were rash in making it, they have a right to ask for release from that vow. But only the other person can grant release, not a 3rd party.

Struthers meddling in people's private business is a common complaint. If a church starts meddling or taking sides, how can it fulfil its mandate to look after the needs of all in the congregation?
Church leaders should be expounding biblical standards of conduct and ensuring members understand their responsibilities towards God and each other - without fear or favour. This includes the responsibility for dealing with vows you make.
Alongside this, trained counsellors are essential, to support (not direct) members in personal issues.

But of course, Struthers leaders are suspicious of anything that might dilute their power over people, so any proper training is OUT. No wonder there're so many testimonies that peoples' lives change for the worse under Struthers regime!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 27, 2011 07:01PM

To whom it may concern:

No posts will be taken down.

Please focus on the topic rather than petty bickering and/or theological debates.

The topic is "Sturthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church".

That is, whatever those concerned see as questionable behavior regarding this church and its leaders.

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