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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: November 21, 2012 12:28PM

Quote
Rensil
Clive, you've said before that you're not a christian believer, whereas most of us on here, who have been members of SMC, are christians. I believe that we can genuinely feel the presence of God and that it can't be explained away simply by psychological techniques or the power of suggestion. The presence of God can be felt anywhere. I can feel it in the church I now go to. So we can't just throw the baby out with the bath-water

People may indeed feel that presence of God in SMC meetings and it may make them feel good and give them a sense of well-being. But I dont think that it's all down to mere induced behaviour and psychological manipulation. Some of it could be and some people may be more susceptible to being manipulated than others. There may be control through the singing and worship times and tongues-speaking. I believe there
is. But what is really wrong in SMC is the controlling and overbearing interference in people's personal and spiritual lives by the leaders and sub-leaders. But, yes, its a danger to watch out for in any church or revival meeting: people doing things because of the use of powers of suggestion and trickery coming from the person who is leading at the front.

I dont think SMC leaders or other pentecostals on the Platform deliberately set out to use psychology, but so much of what gets set up in these types of meetings is subconsciously ramping up expectations and the emotions. Music plays not a little part in this. The tone and style in which SMC leaders preach and pray plays a huge part I think.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: November 23, 2012 01:31AM

Hi guys

Some interesting stuff here but isn't it just what we've been saying all along about mind control and manipulation in SMC?

It's just as easy to get caught up in the hype in churches as it is to get caught up in the hype of a new movie or a rock/pop concert or an air show - as I did during a red arrows fly-past which litteraly gave me something like a spiritual experience, an inexplicable fluttering of the heart making me cry like a baby for no other reason than the wonder at the skills of these pilots.

It's important to be objective rather than subjective. We are inherently spiritual beings with a deep need to believe in something, giving rise to superstition or OCD-like behaviour in certain circumstances. Even atheists believe in something, whether it's science or just themselves - we all have a belief system which grows as we grow and is very hard to shake or destroy without some kind of catalyst in our lives.

You're right Clive when you say you don't believe the SMC leaders set out to decieve and manipulate but we all do it without thinking about it really because we want others to believe in the same things we ourselves believe in. The problems arise when we accord more significance to someone else's beliefs because they are good orators and can sway the thoughts and feelings of others around them. Politicians rely on this kind of manipulation to win votes, governments rely on it to make us do the things they want or stop doing the things they don't want us to do.

Television is a perfect tool for manipulation - adverts, documentaries, political announcements etc. they are all engineered to manipulate the audience to feel a certain way. Take the debate over marijuana: There are no records of any hospitalisation or deaths due to smoking marijuana alone and yet there are millions of alcohol related problems and deaths on record. However, this simple seed-bearing plant has been declared as a drug and many scare stories have been publicised regarding it, making those, who know nothing about the herb, believe it is as destructive as the MAN-MADE drugs on the black market. I have personally spoken to many doctors and policemen and women regarding this and all have agreed that the herb has not been proved to cause any real lasting damage at all and that the greatest damage comes from the tobacco which is mixed with it in order to smoke the herb.

We are all too susceptible to believing something just because people we look up to say it is so, instead of researching and finding out for ourselves what the real truth is. This applies to our spiritual beliefs also.

I personally believe that God is not a person but the ultimate energy of light and love and it is this spiritual energy which is inside each one of us and connects us all to the ulitmate energy which created the universe. We are each a tiny little fragment of that complete energy of existence. To my mind this answers the questions regarding why God doesn't intervene in wars and famines etc. because God is the ENERGY of life but we are the DOERS in life. If we all lived in the energy of light and love there would be no wars and no one would suffer through famines because we would all be helping each other out in darker times.

I agree with the Petitor on this point, the more love and light in our lives the stronger we are and the human race as a whole would benefit greatly just by loving each other more.

Struthers Memorial leaders would benefit greatly from practicing LOVE OF their fellow men instead of practicing CONTROL OVER their fellow men. Power brings corruption in all quarters, whether personal, spiritual, political, academic, family life or in business.

As previously mentioned by at least one poster here: absolute power corrupts absolutely: and this is true no matter who you are or what you do in life.

The remaining congregation of SMC should try to practice objectivity instead of just allowing themselves to be subject to the will of other human beings.

As always
Much love and huge huggggs to all
Be blessed by God's light and love xxxxxxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: November 24, 2012 10:19AM

Quote
cbarb

I personally believe that God is not a person but the ultimate energy of light and love and it is this spiritual energy which is inside each one of us and connects us all to the ulitmate energy which created the universe. We are each a tiny little fragment of that complete energy of existence. To my mind this answers the questions regarding why God doesn't intervene in wars and famines etc. because God is the ENERGY of life but we are the DOERS in life. If we all lived in the energy of light and love there would be no wars and no one would suffer through famines because we would all be helping each other out in darker times.

You might find this interesting Some top theologians, philosophers and scientists interviewed by brain scientist Robert Kuhn about the kind of stuff you mention. Enjoy !

Is God a person ?: [www.closertotruth.com]

About the Interviewer : [www.closertotruth.com]

Ps - this site isn't pushing scepticism or atheism, its just a load of top theologians, academics etc being asked the "deep questions.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: November 24, 2012 09:41PM

Saw an interesting article today in a sociology journal.

Heres a snippet:

"Megachurches, or churches with 2,000 or more congregants, have grown in number, size, and popularity in recent years, coming to virtually dominate the American religious landscape. More than half of all American churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches.

Megachurch services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music, and what Wellman calls a “multisensory mélange” of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor.

The researchers hypothesized that such rituals are successful in imparting emotional energy in the megachurch setting—“creating membership feelings and symbols charged with emotional significance, and a heightened sense of spirituality,” they wrote.

As part of their study, Wellman, Corcoran, and Stockly-Meyerdirk analyzed 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys on megachurch members’ emotional experiences with their churches. Four themes emerged: salvation/spirituality, acceptance/belonging, admiration for and guidance from the leader, and morality and purpose through service.
The researchers found that feelings of joy felt in the services far exceed the powerful but fleeting “conversion experiences” for which megachurches are often stereotyped.

Many participants used the word “contagious” to describe the feeling of a megachurch service where members arrive hungry for emotional experiences and leave energized. One church member said, “(T)he Holy Spirit goes through the crowd like a football team doing the wave. … Never seen it in any other church.”

Wellman said, “That’s what you see when you go into megachurches—you see smiling people; people who are dancing in the aisles, and, in one San Diego megachurch, an interracial mix I’ve never seen anywhere in my time doing research on American churches. We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug.”
Wellman calls it a “good drug” because the message provides a conventional moral standard, such as being a decent person, taking care of family, and forgiving enemies and yourself. Megachurches also encourage their members, such as by saying, “Things can get better, you can be happy,” he added.

This comforting message also is a key to megachurches’ success, Wellman said. “How are you going to dominate the market? You give them a generic form of Christianity that’s upbeat, exciting, and uplifting.”
The researchers also found that the large size of megachurch congregations is a benefit rather than a drawback, as it results in resources for state-of-the-art technology—amplifying the emotional intensity of services—and the ability to hire more qualified church leadership.

Wellman said, “This isn’t just same-old, same-old. This is not like evangelical revivalism. It’s a new, hybrid form of Christianity that’s mutating and separate from all the traditional institutions with which we usually affiliate Christianity.”
Megachurches, which rarely refer to heaven or hell, are worlds away from the sober, judgmental puritan meetinghouses of long ago, Wellman said."

More Here In Full:

[www.newswise.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2012 09:42PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: November 25, 2012 08:41AM

As I posted before, if you're not a Christian believer, you would be open to psychological and sociological explanations of religious phenomena and behaviours. If you are a christian believer, you exercise faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ and you follow the teachings of the Bible. You may at times be moved upon by the Spirit and exercise gifts of the Spirit outwardly. You may enjoy singing praise and worship to God in a lively fashion. In these mega-churches, there will be genuine believers and nominal believers. Not everything that happens in their meetings can be explained away by psychology and sociology which is a secular view of things. I've never been to a mega-church in America but I've watched film of a few such churches on God TV. A lot of good things were happening and again, I say, we can't throw the baby out with the bath-water. But I take your point, Clive, that there can be a danger of being carried along by the manipulation of charismatic-type leaders from the front and being duped into thinking they are always right, because you have neen whipped up into a euphoric, emotional state.

Anyway, I don't think SMC is in any danger of becoming a mega-church (I'm being funny) because it has never had 2,000 members and is not really growing.

I heard that the Cumbernauld branch has re-started its outreaches to 3 of the 10 cities mentioned in the prophecy, given by their leader D. Rutherford some years ago. I was wondering why they have re-started them. Did God tell them to take a break or did He tell them to re-start again now? Or could it be a response to the criticisms on this Forum and Latigo, to make people think that everything is fine and the church is doing well and that it is indeed doing outreach to the lost? Why is similar stuff not being done in the Glasgow branch-church? Glasgow has many inhabitants so you would expect a lot of work going on there. Its minister is of course Head at Cedars School and its Assistant Minister is I believe, Depute Head of the School. Perhaps they are taken up with that, I don't know. Can anyone shed light on this strange anomaly?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: November 28, 2012 09:05AM

The forum might be interested to know that Struthers Memorial Church are soon to have their charitable status reviewed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

As they run a private school they are on a list of the next few charities being visited and inspected by OSCR during the next 12 months to ensure that they meet the legally required tests of charitable status.

A link to the page where they are listed as a charity under review is here:

[www.oscr.org.uk]

If Struthers can demonstrate sufficient benefit to the public they will remain a charity. If they cannot they will have to agree a plan of changes with OSCR which they will then be required to put in place to introduce clearer public benefit.

Since the directors decided to set up one charitable company covering the private school, the churches, and the bookshops presumably OSCR will have to look at the organisation as a whole. If anyone has anything they think OSCR should be aware of when visiting and inspecting Struthers they can contact OSCR and provide details of their concerns and anything they wish to bring to the regulator's attention.

[www.oscr.org.uk]

OSCR make it clear they accept anonymous complaints. They seem to take the view that the important thing is that they go and check whether the complaint (or concern) is true and valid rather than pre-decide that based on who it came from.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: November 30, 2012 12:01AM

Hi guys

Some interesting reading on Latigo214 regarding the recently filed annual accounts. Particularly interesting is the sudden change in the number of 'employees' between 2010 and 2011 with no explanation for the difference reported on both sets of accounts? Most disturbing is how a charity with debts of around a quarter of a million pounds can increase their staff by about 60% since the beginning of 2009? This just does not make any sense in a charity which is so obviously losing money hand over fist. It also seems that the nepotistic way in which jobs are handed out to the 'in-crowd' should be seriously questioned not just by us and the SMC congregation but also by the Charities commission, especially since SMC quite obviously can't afford to employ these people and rely on dwindling congregation funds to keep these people 'in the style to which they have become accustomed'.

If I were still a memeber of the congregation I would be asking some very serious questions here regarding how my tithes were being spent! Especially since I know for a fact that many members are struggling greatly just to survive themselves and yet are being used to subsidise no small amount towards the cost of unnecessray staffing of bookshops and the school.

Thanks for your information, Chesterk55, I will certainly be getting in touch with OSCR regarding the haphazzard way in which the SMC directors are using their members funds and the damaging way in which they deal with the very people who are and were contributing to these funds.

Also, there are so many unanswered questions regarding spurious figures in the accounts which, to me anyway, seem to have no backing or explanation for their appearance in said accounts.

With regards to the seeming surge in outreach work in recent months, I fervently pray that NONE of this outreach actually manages to dupe any more unsuspecting people into joining this damaging and obviously cultish organisation. I would say to anyone who is considering joining because of outreach work to think very carefully and visit other local churches before becoming embroiled in this organisation.

It is clear to me that there are either some very unqualified people preparing the accounts or that those who are preparing them are outright liars and therefore not in the least bit Godly at all!

On another note, thanks for the info Clive, it's good to know that other people think the way I do and that I'm not just grasping at straws. I actually changed my perceptions of God and creation after a very enlightening and illuminating dream which changed my life litterly overnight and made far more sense than any of my 18 years in SMC.

Well, it will be interesting to see how the church fares after it's upcoming inspection - I wait with baited breath but I, for one, would now not be sorry to see the church close its doors for good and spare many people any more damage and hurt.

As always
Much love and hugest hugggggggs to all.

God bless you richly.
xxxxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: kelvin ()
Date: December 05, 2012 06:00AM

@Chesterk55 Your suggestion is an interesting one. I think the complaints/allegations people on this forum do make ought to be put to OSCR and the detail of the complaint posted here also, with any answer you receive. The question is, when OSCR allows SMC to retain their charitable status will you accept that they have been cleared of any financial impropriety or will it be business as usual?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: December 05, 2012 04:35PM

Kelvin

First, welcome to the forum! It is good to have you on board.

I don’t know how others would respond, but I for one would be happy that there was no financial impropriety if this was the outcome confirmed by any independent authority. One of the real issues with Struthers is that it is accountable to no-one, denying even basic human rights like the right to a fair trial. A bit of external scrutiny has to be good and its conclusions should be welcomed, whatever they are.

In terms of the accounts and the OSCR, I think there are some other issues however. The way I read the Latigo article, it is not so much about financial impropriety as about Christian ethics (or just ethics if you prefer). For example, why do they show donations falling form £605k to £580k in 2010 then work from a different starting figure of £467k falling to £441k in 2011. That may not be illegal, I don’t know, but it sure is misleading and, in my view, is unethical.

If this is a genuine mistake, that is not a problem in my view. They know the accounts are being examined publicly, so all they need to do is post an online explanation and apology. I don’t know about others, but I would accept that and would think well of them for being so honest.

Similarly, the comment in the accounts about “new members joining the charity” may be true but I suspect that even greater numbers are leaving. You may expect a politician to make a one-sided statement like that, and OSCR may have no objection to it, but I do not find it sits well with an ethic of honesty.

Also, as the Latigo site says, ‘to claim the “vast majority of funds come from personal giving at services” is clearly wrong.’ That seems pretty clear and in accord with the evidence. I doubt OCSR will have much interest in where the funds come from as long as it is legal, but I would again argue that it is misleading and dishonest, and that does not sit well with any Christian ethics I know of.

According to Chesterk55, none of this will be the real test however, the real test will be “If Struthers can demonstrate sufficient benefit to the public”. Well, I am not sure the jury will take long on that one – banning members of the public without a reason or a chance to appeal, creating trauma in the lives of those brave enough to leave, dragging a high proportion of those who remain into clinical depression, and perhaps even brining the name of Christ into disrepute through a misleading set of accounts – I can’t see any benefit to the public there.

Finally, you have asked that “when [an interesting choice of word, you obviously know something that OSCR themselves do not yet know!] OSCR allows SMC to retain their charitable status will you accept that they have been cleared of any financial impropriety?”. Other than the fact you use "when" rather than "if", I think that is a fair question.

Can I ask you one in return – IF OSCR does NOT allow SMC to retain their charitable status will you accept that they ARE guilty of financial impropriety?

This is not a rhetorical question by the way, it is a 100% genuine. It is also exactly the question you are asking of others, so I presume you think it is a good question to ask. I look forward to your reply (unless you are in Struthers of course- it seems that members of Struthers are exempt from the normal rules of discussion and debate – they have been put on this earth to tell others they are wrong, not to examine their own lives).

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: kelvin ()
Date: December 05, 2012 06:30PM

@ThePetitor

Let me be clear, I am in no way answering on behalf of SMC. This is a personal view on my reading of this forum. My motive for posting is that I think there is a danger of demeaning legitimate and clear cases of "cultish" behaviour by relentlessly going after SMC because of personal grudges, which is what is happening here.

There are so many non sequiturs in your reply it is hard to know where to begin. For example, you claim that SMC is accountable to no-one and yet proceed to also claim it will be relieved of its charitable status by OSCR, to whom it is ... accountable.

You claim that the accounts are "misleading". If you were so badly mislead, how would you know? If you weren't mislead, then ... they weren't misleading were they! Unless you have inside knowledge that is not available even to members of SMC, this makes no sense. You have to accept also that there may be information legitimately withheld that would clarify the statement you find "misleading".

Another example: "... will you accept they are guilty of financial impropriety". The clear implication of Latigo is that something suspect is going on, despite their being a sufficiently transparent set of accounts, and numerous inspections of their school. It's a weak argument. OSCR denying charitable status is not an indication of financial irregularity and "benefit to the public" has a specific meaning. For example, many famous public schools in England were in danger of losing charitable status a few years ago ... no-one in their right mind claimed they were behaving badly or were a "cult"! It was a nakedly political attempt to open up their facilities to the State. I suggest you familiarise yourself with the meaning of the phrase before interpreting it in a peculiar fashion. Anyone who did not get their child into Eton might feel aggrieved but do you think OSCR wants to know about that?

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