Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: March 16, 2022 09:43AM

Hello everyone. Another Thankyou to escapedtofrance, for the link to the beliefnet article which I also found to be very apt when thinking of Struthers. The “5 signs of a Cult masked as a Church” all apply to SMC, as Chesterk55 has outlined above. These signs are definitely the attributes of a cult or a cult-like church. I know that the Struthers teaching is gospel and orthodox, as you say AlDuff, but the leadership do also add on to the Bible with their own approved prophecies and visions, and we are instructed by God not to add to the Scriptures. Many people in Struthers lean on these prophecies and visions and on whatever the leaders say, more than they rely on reading the Word of God. In my view, this is dangerous and strays into the behaviour seen in many obvious cults. But there are definitely some Christian-based cults in existence and perhaps SMC could be in that category.

Welcome to regtree1234 and shar80x. It’s good to hear about what’s going on in the Neath branch in Wales because we don’t often get people posting about it here. I am glad that you’ve both got out of Struthers and that you’ve found this Forum helpful. It sounds as though the Neath leader is not a very caring or good pastor. I believe that when the branch started up, Mr Hugh Black said to the group to talk amongst themselves and appoint someone to be the leader/minister. So this is how he was appointed. The group is of course under the oversight of Diana Rutherford and they all come up to Camps and Conferences, so they’re just following the same Struthers teaching and ethos as is present in SMC in Scotland, including belief that Struthers is better than and superior to every other denomination. Not caring about older people is very remiss, but Struthers always had a huge focus on youth. Favouritism has always been evident in SMC, with some people chosen for special attention and many others basically ignored for no reason or even shunned. Chesterk55 has described the results or lack which are evident in the lives of people who have been stuck in Struthers for many years. I hope that more members will see the light and realise what kind of church they are in and will get out.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: regtree1234 ()
Date: April 15, 2022 12:09AM

Hi Rensil. Just catching up. You are indeed right in what you say about the Neath Pastor. He is very unapproachable and intense and has been a principal reason for many departures from the church which includes my own too. As soon as you leave it as if you 'die' and friendships are encouraged to be ended. One of the leaders even told me one time that they would rather me not attend church at all than attend the church that I now attend. I do not think this would be a loving, Christian response to a situation like this and since leaving you are able to see the bigger picture and close in on just how introverted their vision is for Christianity. In a nutshell they believe they are the only church of worth in the world (of around 8 billion people). True Christians would be happy that you have found God in a church, even if it has meant departing your church. So many red flags there. And the immediate family typify all of the above. Stay away!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 10, 2022 01:18AM

Thanks for your post, regtree1234. I hope you are happy in your new church and that your child will get the support he/she needs. Struthers folk always take that view that there is no other church which is following God or is living in holiness, as much as they are. This is patently untrue as we have all found out after attending other churches after we’d left Struthers. We’ve experienced what Christ spoke of and commanded: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Coincidence or not, but I noticed from the SMC Cumbernauld Instagram feed that Diana Rutherford had recently got the Neath Pastor to give testimony about his baptism in the Spirit. His testimony was mostly about how he’d first met Diana and how she’d said she knew him already in spirit before meeting him and that she also knew all his sins before he told them to her. Is that possible? She’d prayed with him and a special bond had been formed which is there to this day. A bit of a weird story, I thought. What do other folks think?

Anyway, is the giving of his testimony a coincidence or deliberately done due to the recent posts here from people who have left the Neath Church? We all know that the Struthers leaders ask for a testimony when they have a purpose behind it and want to get a message out. Hugh Black himself admitted that he did this. Also, there was a testimony at the recent Easter Conference (now on YouTube) from a young woman in the Neath Church, who had come out of addiction. I do hope that she will get the support she needs in days to come, by the way.
Anyway, testimonies to counteract any seeds of criticism or doubt which may arise after reading the posts on here? Perhaps

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 06, 2022 07:54PM

Hi all, and good to see the comments over the last few months – including some from new contributors. Great to hear from you all!

Escapedtofrance, I really liked the article on warning signs of a cult that you posted in January – very apposite. I know some dictionaries might define a cult in terms of the doctrines and beliefs, but anyone who provides support to people who are suffering mental or spiritual abuse is more interested in behaviours, and will recognise the issues in that article. As the article is entitled “5 warning signs of a cult masked as a church” and ends with the line “your church may be a cult” I have no doubt at all that the author would define Struthers as a cult.

As well as the cult-like behaviours it exhibits, Struthers is very far from standard doctrine and practice. Sure, they use about a hundred standard passages that are also well-used in many other churches but, as I pointed out a page or so back, there are actually many more verses that they avoid, so they immediately fail the test of whether they detract from scripture or not – they do. As you pointed out Rensil, they also add to the Bible by making their own prophesies and visions more important than the word of God. Good point, and one I had not really thought of that way but, as soon as you examine it, it is pretty clear. Just take verses like 1 Cor 10v15 (see previous page). It says, “judge for yourselves” but the Struthers approach is “don’t dare to judge God’s anointed”, and the message from the pulpit is clear – you should give more weight to the teaching of the leaders than to the word of God.

On top of this, they have some very unorthodox doctrines that are not adopted by other churches. They for example believe that born-again spirit-filled Christians can be possessed by demons and need exorcism. I am not sure any other church believes that.

There are then things like the role of women. The two standard positions adopted by churches across the world are either “egalitarianism” (i.e. men and women are spiritually the same and can have equal roles) or “complementarianism” (i.e. men and women have different and complementary roles). Mr Black argued (in his books as well as from the pulpit) for a third position, which is that men and women are different, with complementary roles BUT if women wore a hat, then that overcame the difference and women could have roles that were otherwise restricted to men. That is a very unusual position doctrinally.

Then there is of course the money issue – the Rolex watches and Maseratis mentioned by regtree1234, and the comfortable houses all the leaders have (some, like the one in London, paid for by people’s donations by the look of it). That is not the experience of most men and women of God who have suffered hardship and want, sacrificing their own needs for the needs of others. I know of young Christian graduates today who are planning to work professionally but to live in a poor community and give 50% of their salary to that community. I am not saying everyone needs to do that, but it is interesting to compare that to the affluence and comfort of the Struthers leaders to the experiences of both past and future spiritual leaders who have sacrificed for their faith rather than spending their time in comfort and telling everyone else to give things up.

I could go on, but there is also the ultimate test in Matthew 7v15 onwards, that every good tree brings forth good fruit. Those of you still attending Struthers meetings do really need to ask yourself that question - is the Struthers approach bringing forth good fruit? Have a look around – how many of the people in the room would you want to emulate? Is the meeting packed with people who have grown and are fruitful, or people who have stagnated and have lost their energy and joy? That is possibly the best test of a cult - are the outcomes wholesome and building the Kingdom of God here on Earth, or are they destructive and sucking the life out of people? There are a number of previous posts that shed light on the answer to that question.

As Mr Black used to say, “My Word will not return to me void”. So, if it is returning void, I guess it is not God’s word then.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: regtree1234 ()
Date: June 16, 2022 06:23PM

Reading all the above comments still fill me with a lot of anger relating to the Struthers Church in Neath/Skewen. I tried to initiate contact with some members and indeed the leaders, following my departure from the church (I did not feel I had any other option than to leave), but they all ignored me, and consistently cut people off very quickly - how very Christian? And, what great leadership? I wanted some advice in relation to a sick loved one, and possibly to initiate prayer, and I had questions in relation to this, but all of the above worldly possessions must still be the resounding priorities - I again was ignored, and they were fully aware of the personal situation that was unfolding for my family. I really have no idea how the leaders in Struthers Wales are allowed to get away with the way that they communicate with others, but I suppose in a sense they do not get away with it, because the numbers are falling, and if you took family members and very close friends out of the equation, you would be able to count the congregation on one hand more or less. I learn that even members of the leadership's family have departed and are happy elsewhere in new churches. Good on them I say! God is everywhere and for everyone - not solely in a building in Skewen for between 20-30 people, who leadership preach really are the chosen few. The ridicule of other churches and denominations was common, which in itself made me question the integrity and Christian values of the people in charge.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 16, 2022 11:28PM

Regtree1234() I am not at all surprised by this –one thing all branches seem to have in common is that they shun anyone who leaves. There is of course absolutely no scriptural justification for this and many, many parts of scripture that advocate exactly the opposite approach.

The problem is also compounded as it is an “unwritten law” in Struthers. You will not find it in writing anywhere (largely because they know how ridiculous it would look) but it is nevertheless universally practiced.

There are over fifty people on this forum alone who feel they have been abused in this sort of way by Struthers. That is way beyond the bounds of statistical probability so this is not a coincidence. It is not a failing in the individual, it is something that Struthers does that creates these feelings of abandonment, trauma and anger.

As you say regtree, the leaders also use the pulpit to expound how terrible every other church is, so that anyone who leaves finds it hard to seek support elsewhere.

The result is that, unless people come across things like this forum, they think they are the only one – that they are the person who, “is not spiritual enough” (not a phrase you ever find in the Bible by the way – how do they get away with making these things up?) or has done something terrible.

I have not heard that this approach has ever made people crawl back with their tail between their legs, so the only purpose I can see is the rather cruel one of making the life of those who leave as painful as possible so that others will not be tempted to leave. Making sure there is no contact is of course also an essential part of the longer-term strategy because what often happens is people have a hard time for a while, but then find a supportive Christian community and go on to serve effectively and joyfully. The leaders in Struthers really do not want you talking to these people.

I know of examples where Struthers leaders have refused to speak to people for decades, but will not tell them why. That is not just nonsense, it is actually unspeakably cruel to say, “I know all about your spiritual life, but I am not going to speak to you or tell you what God has revealed to me.” Good luck justifying that position from scripture (and, even worse, trying to justify it before the throne of grace – how can they think they are “in the centre of God’s will” while so blatantly disregarding the central message of love and compassion?)

Even move bizarrely, some who remain part of the church are effectively cut off from the leadership, sometimes for decades, without even knowing what they did wrong. Look around you folks – is there someone sitting in the next pew who has not had a positive interaction with the leader in years? We are commanded to treat “the least of those” with warmth and compassion so, if the leader is not doing it, why not do it yourself? Invite them for coffee (after all the church does run coffee shops, so must approve) or for a meal (imitating Christ who ate with anyone so, again, that cannot possibly be wrong). Even better, reach out to someone who left years ago and invite them for coffee or a meal – you must know that is exactly what Jesus would do.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 26, 2022 03:59AM

I was reading Galatians Chapter 6 today and it reminded me of another point.

Galatians Chapter 6
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions.

Lots of things I could say about this, including the reference to carrying each other’s burdens - which is yet another verse that does not seem to have made it into the Struthers version of the Bible. There are quite a few people on these pages that can testify to that!

The verse that actually caught my eye was v4 however, “each one should test their own actions”. This is something Mr Black claimed was important – he would often say that everyone had a decision to make and that “not making a decision” was in fact making a decision.

I wonder if anyone still believes that, as it seems to me that there are dozens of people who sit in the pews every week not making a decision to visit other churches, to talk to other Christians about their faith, perhaps even to leave Struthers. They read the information on these web pages and know things are not right in SMC, but simply avoid making a decision about any of these things. But, as Mr Black would insist, that is not actually avoiding a decision, that is making a decision.

That is the thing that most concerns and disappoints me about Struthers, not that they have some things wrong, but that they wear people down so much that they do not even follow simple Biblical instructions like “each one should test their own actions”. The attitude seems to be closer to, “Why do you keep challenging things? Could you not just leave me alone to be happy in my escapist fantasy?” A moment’s thought will confirm why I don’t need to answer that.

I actually come across another example of this ridiculous indifference to something wrong on the “about” page of the Cumbernauld website where it says:


While officially the Executive Council has been replaced by the Board of Directors, in reality the task of overseeing the work of the Fellowship continues as it did previously with Mrs Gault carrying the overall responsibility for the work, supported by the other directors and the members of the whole Fellowship.

That basically says they are lying to Companies House, telling them that they are set up as a democratic decision-making body but they are not. Is that not just a bit bizarre? Should they not have the courage of their convictions? If the organisation does not actually have a decision-making Board of Directors, why not just say so? Why tell one thing to Companies House and another to their members?

They would of course lose their charitable status and the associated tax breaks if they were honest, but that is surely a small price to pay. And as I quoted from Mr Black above, “not making a decision is making a decision” so they are deciding to deliberately lie about their governance.

This is quite simply appalling. I know a number of people who have quit their jobs over this sort of issue, losing their security and livelihood because their principles are more important than their financial security. In the case of Struthers, it seems the opposite is the case – they have no problem with lying about their governance structures if it improves their financial security. What? Have they really fallen so far? Will none of the Directors challenge this? This actually brings the whole Church of Christ into disrepute.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: regtree1234 ()
Date: June 30, 2022 03:44AM

A few more things I must share that I have forgotten about, or recently learnt about the Struthers Neath / Skewen church :

TV/film, particularly live broadcasts have been disapproved of for years and many grew up without a TV in their homes - depriving them of the world around them (rather cult-like in itself?)

The leadership in Wales are not only ageist as people have mentioned earlier, but very prejudice. A few members have now informed me that they even think they are racist, and have often made comments about other nationalities in a detrimental way. Why do they keep doing things like this? People are listening and monitoring, and feeding back to help others get out or stay away?!

Conditions in children like ADHD and autism? The Pastor in particular has been heard expressing his thoughts that these do not really exist yet are curses. While he has also been heard to down-play mental health issues. Apparently they are not real, people are just being weak and looking for excuses in life. In spite of all of this, the man himself is clearly far along the autism spectrum and I would even suggest has Bi-Polar. Ever the hypocrite.

Sports, hobbies, holidays (anything that means you may miss a Sunday meeting at one point in your life) are also frowned upon and discouraged. The idea of ‘What does it give/do for the church?’ is at the forefront with this. And when you think of world-famous Christians throughout sport, music, film, TV, literature etc, the leadership forget this. They think that just existing in their narrow-minded congregation of 25 or so, they are impacting, inspiring, motivating and encouraging in comparison to most of the Brazilian football team, or some well-known US mainstream musicians who sing Christian music to millions of people all over the internet. But obviously, Skewen / Neath, and those 25 people are right, and nothing good can come from any other interest or talent in a Christian way. I argue that Christians in sport and the public-eye are nothing but good for the church and are a testimony to God, his love, his faithfulness and his grace to gift talents, in itself. This just shows how out of touch and cult-like they really are, and they really are the reason why so many people hold negative thoughts about the church and its stuffiness. This one is run by quite frankly a dictatorship of absolute imbeciles.

All the above is sadly so very true. And the church in Wales is trying hard to make this forum fall lower and lower in the Google searches by adding new pages all the time, however one of the first things that now comes up when you start typing its name into Google is infact ‘struthers church cult’. They can hide no more.

Thank you and good night.

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2022 03:54AM by regtree1234.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymousfornow ()
Date: June 30, 2022 04:46PM

This was certainly the case in the Pudsey church (which has now thankfully closed) - I was directly told on one occasion that I shouldn't visit the house of a family friend who was from India because of the "evil spirits" that might lurk there. It won't surprise anyone that the entire congregation was white.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: July 14, 2022 08:39AM

Thanks for your posts, everyone. Very interesting as always.
Just a wee clarification, ThePetitor. You mention the house belonging to the London Struthers church. If it’s the house in the countryside near Aylesbury that you’re referring to, that building, called The Refuge, belonged to a man who became a Christian and joined Struthers some years ago. He lived there and gave the premises to Struthers for them to freely use, so they set up a meeting-room in one of the outbuildings plus other accommodation for visiting folk to stay in and an apartment for the resident leader. When the owner passed away, he left the house and outbuildings to SMC. They have since sold it and I don’t know where the small London group meets now as there’s no information on the Struthers website. So they struck it lucky with that one and will have made money out of it I’m guessing.

regtree1234, I am appalled that the Struthers leader in Neath has said such things about mental health issues and autistic spectrum disorders. Grace Gault has a daughter with Downs Syndrome and nobody says anything about that and rightly so. I know others in SMC who have offspring with Autism. I have, though, also heard unkind comments about folk in the church who have mental health issues and that what they need to do is get right through to God and then these problems will disappear. The same has been said to some folk with physical illnesses especially chronic ones which continue for years. One lady in this category told me that many folk in her church refused to believe she was ill and she was told by a leader that she couldn’t remain ill for such a long time, so therefore the cause was a lack in her spiritual life and disobedience. I know this is not the case. People can end up feeling rejected, guilty, hopeless and consequently depressed when they’re told such things.

Re television, I’ve had some amusing interactions with Struthers folk (the ones who still speak to me) regarding TV. One young couple told me they plonked their two young children in front of the TV so they could get stuff done. I said, “TV? You have a TV?” “Yes”, they replied looking bemused. When I told them that we weren’t allowed to have televisions in past years in Struthers, and that I was surprised that they had one, they became quite defensive and told me not to criticise their church. I know that many Struthers folk still do not own televisions but they proudly tell me they watch programs via the computer on iPlayer or All4. They say they only watch TV on their laptop because they’re avoiding the evils of television. But what’s the difference? They’re watching the same program!

Re Google search, the link to this Forum will always keep coming up. The leaders won’t be able to stop that from happening. They tried to do that years ago, but the link still comes up in Google.

Best wishes to all.

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