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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: September 03, 2012 04:33AM

Hi guys

Happy Sunday!

Squareone, I think you'll find that SMC are quite often changing their minds about the reasoning behind certain routes they want to explore. This has been the case time and time again when they have been trying to persuade the congregation to part with more of their hard-earned cash.

Someone made the point, not long ago, about the incident where Mr. Black lost a huge amount of the church's money in the stock market crash some years ago. This was after I left the church so I don't know all the details but I do know that Mr. Black had been preaching for years about the evils of gambling, including stock market gambling, but the congregation voted to keep him on as minister to them? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me since he was clearly doing something evil (according to his own words from the pulpit for many, many years). I also believe it was the first and last time the congregation were ever invited to 'vote' on anything regarding their leadership and church practices.

OK, I understand that, as Christians, they would want to forgive Mr. Black for this heinous mis-use of their money but to consider that he was still fit to preach to them as God's man for the job leaves me totally confused and speaks volumes about just how much store the congregation put in human beings instead of in God himself. There were far more Godly people in that congregation who could have led the church into a much healthier walk with God than a man whose double standards were so blatantly obvious.

But this is what we have all been saying for so long. The double standards in SMC always work in favour of the leaders retaining their positions of power over the people and getting the submission, not to mention the hard-earned cash, of the congregation. To whit, they can really get away with anything by saying that God told them this was the right way to go and no one will question what is said because these guys are 'the annointed ones'. If it wasn't so serious you would just have to laugh your face off at them.!

Take care everyone and great big hugs and love to you all. xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: September 03, 2012 05:52AM

It is appalling if the leaders are now claiming otherwise [archbishop laud]



Squareone, I think you'll find that SMC are quite often changing their minds about the reasoning behind certain routes they want to explore. [cbarb]



they may well be, was just saying that on the subject of the school etc as outreach I'd not heard anyone say it is or isn't, I had just assumed it isn't. Which isn't the same as them now claiming it isn't, which they may well be. I don't know




its always best to get ones facts straight as much as one is able on these things.[clive]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/03/2012 05:55AM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: September 05, 2012 12:13AM

Quote
cbarb

Someone made the point, not long ago, about the incident where Mr. Black lost a huge amount of the church's money in the stock market crash some years ago. This was after I left the church so I don't know all the details but I do know that Mr. Black had been preaching for years about the evils of gambling, including stock market gambling, but the congregation voted to keep him on as minister to them? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me since he was clearly doing something evil (according to his own words from the pulpit for many, many years).

OK, I understand that, as Christians, they would want to forgive Mr. Black for this heinous mis-use of their money but to consider that he was still fit to preach to them as God's man for the job leaves me totally confused and speaks volumes about just how much store the congregation put in human beings instead of in God himself. There were far more Godly people in that congregation who could have led the church into a much healthier walk with God than a man whose double standards were so blatantly obvious.

I guess some people here may truly believe that it would have been possible, had Mr Black and other leaders been _truly_ in touch with god, the holy spirit etc, on this issue that he and the SMC leaders would thus _really_ be able to discern how to invest this pool of cash wisely. That since SMC claim such strong guidance from above - that thus Jesus should have given them sensible investment "yays or nays". The still small voice shoud have spoken to Mr Black on these things. And thus - the line of reasoning goes - such anointed leaders should never have lost such huge amounts of money.



However, I simply dont share these views, and thus feel that Mr Blacks decisions may well deserve a little more sympathy and understanding on this issue.

Let me explain. If one has accumulated a fund and is tasked with how to sensibly and wisely manage it, here are some typical options

A ) put it into a bank savings account.

B) Put it in the hand of asset managers and diversify to spread the risk.

C) Put it into maybe one or just a limited number of fund - funds that come highly recommended, have performed well etc.

D) put it into some new untested business scheme

E) invest directly into particular shares on the stock market - bypassing fund managers

F) a mixture of the above and more ?

For example there was a particular scottish fund manager outfit I can recall, having been one also to make decisions on my own pool of cash in that same era - that - prior to the dot com bubble bursting - did exceedingly well. The fund invested in technology. Now prior to the bubble burst, many many IFA's financial advisors., consultnts and the like would have reccomended such a fund.


So is one to bank safely but only barely accrue any interest ? or does one take a risk based on advisors ? Anyone who knows the slightest thing about pension funds will know that if the fund manager simply put the money into a bank savings account the person would be fired. To be a good steward in this situation is to NOT just put your money into savings accounts but to go to where the risk lies. Asset management.


I suspect but dont know that Mr Black listened to - what - prior to the crash - seemed eminently sensible advice. Go for the highest performing fund managers PEP funds etc.

Now - if it turns out that Mr Black was actually investing this money in the shares of certain companies directly that is another matter. A much more risky proposition. But was this really what was done ?
Those who know please do enlighten me on this here.

I'm only guessing here but I suspect thst -just like many others at the time did - he put maybe a little too much into the funds on a limited number of fund managers and then suffered exactly the same fate as many others did.


Even for the vast majority of posters here who are christians, it should be obvious that god doesnt give investment or bettting advice. Believers are 99.999999 in the dark on these things as everyone else !.

So unless someone is able to show categorically that Mr Black made some REALLY bad and risky investment decisions - ones that were done totally without advice from financial experts, I for one am happy to cut Mr Black or any others
connected with those investments some slack.

Methinks we're all human here and very much groping in the dark.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2012 12:23AM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 05, 2012 04:34AM

Clive

I have two thoughts on your comments about the financial scandal. First, you are of course right that it would be a bit unreasonable to expect God to be telling Mr Black which funds to invest in etc. But that is the point, isn’t it? I don’t believe that God is telling the leaders which fund to invest in, which house to buy, which job to take, how to prepare school lunches to get a good inspection report or anything else, but that is what THEY are claiming. Not only that, but they claim God tells them about these things for other people as well, so the members of the congregation ask whether they should marry a particular person, whether they should apply for a particular job or where to study at university.

The importance of incidents like the financial scandal is that it clearly demonstrates to all that the claimed discernment is false. That is of course pretty clear to all now with testimonies like that of Covlass confirming how inaccurate the discernment is, but I still find it really interesting when there is something like this which is subject to “scientific verification” if you like. Totally clear evidence that the whole discernment thing is simply a case of the emperor’s new clothes.

In terms of the actual scandal, you would be right if it was just a case of picking poor shares. Even “high risk” shares presumably would have the benefit of a potential high return so might be reasonable to some people. I think most would see it as a bit inappropriate to gamble with church funds in that way, but I agree it is in many ways a matter of judgement.

The reality is not so debatable however. My understanding is that this was at a time that public companies (BT I think, but I could be wrong) were being sold off. Every member of the public was “being given the chance to be a shareholder” and everyone could apply for a limited number of shares. I have no idea how much, but lets say it was 100 shares at £1 each.

Mr Black thought this was a great opportunity and (presumably assisted by Chris Jewell who was the treasurer) wanted to use the church money to buy more than 100 shares. The problem was that, although the church had the money, each individual could only apply for 100 shares. Solution – ask people in the congregation to sign their name on the application form. The church would provide the money (£100) and buy the shares. When they went up in price to say £150, which is what was expected, the church would sell them again and retain the profit.

A number of people did sign the forms and the shares were purchased but then fell in value instead of increasing. Result, the church invested something like £1m and it was suddenly worth only £0.5m. This is not just bad management; it is dishonest, and might even have been illegal. Because it was such a heavy loss, it was of course noticed, but here is an interesting question – would it have been noticed if it had made a profit? If it had made money, I suspect it would all have been “God’s guidance” leading them to financial success.

I think some of the financial problems date back to that time, as I think that a number of people re-mortgaged their house to get the church out of debt. That may be the source of the “interest-free loans repayable on demand” that still appear in the church books (or may not, I don’t know, but how many organisations do you know that are based on loans that have no equity or interest arrangement and are repayable on demand?) It seems to me this whole financial scandal is quite a big issue and, above all, demonstrates that the discernment thing is not real.

On a more general note, Rensil, I think you summed it up when you said,

Quote
Rensil
Re the callousness and uncaring attitudes in SMC, I have witnessed a lot of that over the years, especially concerning people with mental illness, which, in a similar way to the epileptic seizure story given by Cbarb, was usually spiritualised. The reason for ignoring someone or showing coldness towards someone was always that that was what God was telling the leaders to do and was usually because the person wasn't making the grade as far as leadership was concerned. These attitudes don't just affect the young, but also elderly members of SMC. I know an elderly member who suffered tragic circumstances and they have been left totally alone with no church support. I don't think they get pastoral visits or phone-calls, despite having supported the church for years, financially too. There are others in a similar position who just get conveniently forgotten. Doesn't the Bible say, to help widows in their affliction?


Yes, this is my experience as well, and I would like to resurrect one of the words Archbishop Laud used ages ago – unconscionable. To me, that sums it up entirely. No one with a conscience could do what they do - but they do not have a conscience, and are even proud that they don’t have a conscience. Jesus told the story of the lost sheep and how the shepherd would leave the 99 and go to look for the one that was lost. Struthers tells the story of the lost sheep and how God, in his infinite generosity gave them, the elite leaders, a “band of iron” that stopped them even thinking about the lost sheep. How good is that! No need to have a conscience folks, in the Struthers view, God is so wonderful he can take away the most troublesome conscience. That is why they can be callous, and why they can continue to lead a church even after that sort of financial scandal.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: September 05, 2012 04:51PM

Quote
ThePetitor
The reality is not so debatable however. My understanding is that this was at a time that public companies (BT I think, but I could be wrong) were being sold off. Every member of the public was “being given the chance to be a shareholder” and everyone could apply for a limited number of shares. I have no idea how much, but lets say it was 100 shares at £1 each.

Mr Black thought this was a great opportunity and (presumably assisted by Chris Jewell who was the treasurer) wanted to use the church money to buy more than 100 shares. The problem was that, although the church had the money, each individual could only apply for 100 shares. Solution – ask people in the congregation to sign their name on the application form. The church would provide the money (£100) and buy the shares. When they went up in price to say £150, which is what was expected, the church would sell them again and retain the profit.

Thanks for the clarification ThePetitor.

Boy that is indeed shocking.

So nothing to do with allocating church funds to badly performing funds or fund managers at all.

Clearly if thats what happened it doesn't warrant cutting Mr Black and the church leaders/treasurers any slack or sympathy at all on this.

Didn't Jesus say something like: "to him that has - much will be given, to him who has not, much will be taken away" ?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2012 05:00PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: September 05, 2012 05:00PM

between roughly 11 o'clock last night and 9 o'clock this morning there were 100 views of this forum page. That's quite a lot of interest if it's accurate, given that most people would be asleep for at least some of these hours!!


I wasn't around at the time of the shares fiasco but I know a few right-minded people who Were around and who were and still are disgusted with the whole affair and the way Struthers is about money in general. I know some people left not long afterwards too and who could blame them! However I can't in my heart of hearts say I think that those who stayed and forgave Mr Black were wrong to do so when they presumably believe that forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. Both groups did what they thought was right. Or was the group who stayed just mindless? Find it hard to know what to think of the folks still involved, they don't seem mindless people to me



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2012 05:17PM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: September 05, 2012 07:43PM

Quote
squareone
between roughly 11 o'clock last night and 9 o'clock this morning there were 100 views of this forum page. That's quite a lot of interest if it's accurate, given that most people would be asleep for at least some of these hours!!


I wasn't around at the time of the shares fiasco but I know a few right-minded people who Were around and who were and still are disgusted with the whole affair and the way Struthers is about money in general. I know some people left not long afterwards too and who could blame them! However I can't in my heart of hearts say I think that those who stayed and forgave Mr Black were wrong to do so when they presumably believe that forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. Both groups did what they thought was right. Or was the group who stayed just mindless? Find it hard to know what to think of the folks still involved, they don't seem mindless people to me


Peter Popov springs to mind.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: September 05, 2012 08:26PM

had to google that...Popov? Popoff?....the faith healer guy? or some reference to Rentaghost? though am not sure why either would spring to mind

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: September 05, 2012 08:29PM

Hi guys

Wow, this is interesting. I was really looking at the double-standards of everything because I had heard Mr. Black preach on many occassions about it being unholy to gamble on the stock market in any form. I wasn't aware that members of the congregation had given their signatures for the shares to be bought, that's food for thought for me.

With respect to those who still attend SMC, I don't think they are mindless but I do think they are under the mind control of people who genuinely believe they are beyond reproach because they are 'annointed by God' to lead the people in whatever direction they choose.

Like any other cult it is the mind control which keeps the people in check and it can be very subtle but also very destructive. To put a more personal point of view on this, I am and always have been a very strong minded person but I married a man who was a control freak and after 13 years of marriage to him I became suicidal because I believed that he was toally right and I was a completely worthless person and my family would be better off if I was dead (his actual words to me). Of course none of it was true but, once I got myself together and realised that I wasn't worthless I could see him for what he really was. The parallels with SMC are obvious to me because of my experiences there of always feeling totally worthless to God because I was constantly being told I wasn't good enough or holy enough for his love. The feeling of being 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' is probably enough to keep many people in the church because they are afraid that SMC may just be right.

I think it's the uncertainty that keeps people there because they get the hype and what feels like spiritual experiences while in the meetings, especially when everyone starts praying loudly in tongues and crying for their sins etc. the emotion can quite often be overwhelming and make you feel like God must truly be moving in the place or people wouldn't be reacting in the way they are. It's really a kind of mass hysteria whipped up by the leaders and their minions but to those sitting on the pews it can feel like a totally spiritual experience which leads them to believe that the leaders must be correct or God wouldn't be moving people in the way he seems to be. I think the FEAR that the SMC leadership could be right keeps many people in the church even if they do have some misgivings, they probably quite genuinely believe that their misgivings have been planted in their minds by satan and they need to ask forgiveness for having these thoughts. Personally, that's exactly what I believed for many many years, even after I left the church I believed I was completely doomed and everything bad that happened to me was because I had left the church. Thankfully though, it was the complete opposite and God was still waiting for me with open arms just as soon as I turned to him for help. Praise God!

Even strong minded people can be duped into believing something that is completely untrue, if the speaker is a good orator and knows the right buttons to push for the reactions they wish to get. Let's face it, a good orator can convince a young man (or woman) to strap bombs to their bodies and go out to commit mass murder - that might be a bit extreme but it does illustrate how destructive mind control can be and how easy it is for unscrupulous people to control masses of people.

We just need to keep praying that those still attending the church will eventually realise that their misgivings are more likely to be coming from above than below.

As always, much love to all and God bless.
xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 06, 2012 03:47AM

Quote
squareone

... I can't in my heart of hearts say I think that those who stayed and forgave Mr Black were wrong to do so when they presumably believe that forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity.

squareone - I quite agree. I for one am perfectly happy to forgive Mr Black for these actions, or to forgive other leaders for any mistakes or indiscretions. What I am decidedly unhappy about is anyone making a mistake like this then being part of a culture that says "we are infallible, we never make mistakes". That's the bit that worries me. Not the mistakes themselves, but the fact that the leaders continue to hold themselves up as people who have some sort of secret knowledge of God that is denied to all others.

If they would admit they made mistakes like everyone else, that would be a huge step in the right direction. Of course, whether anyone would stay in the church if they admitted they made mistakes would be interesting as it seems that the only reason most people stay is that they believe that the leaders have this inside path to God and they cannot be questioned. Why else would members only ever go to Struthers meetings and feel it is a sin to set foot in any other church?

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