I was reading over a few recent posts and was again reminded of the shares fiasco, for example:
I presume in case new people found out and wanted to leave) as "perhaps the biggest test to come against the church and in that test, some people went down" i.e. they left the church, including someone she valued greatly who assisted her in leadership.
So Mrs Black was saying that God was testing the church and its members. And a sign of passing that test was whether or not the SMC members stayed after heading the details ?.
And if any SMC member chose to leave ( in disgust on presumes ) it was their fault for not having the "faith" to see it through ? They were clearly weak and not committed enough ?
Its almost as if no transgression by a leader would ever constitute a valid enough reason for any SMC member to leave.
In other words god was testing how loyal the congregation was to its leadership. COME WHAT MAY.
Yes, I think that is the point. People WERE being tested, but the test was whether their loyalty to an organisation built by man (or woman!) was higher than their loyalty to the truth. The Bible is full of stories like this that turn the "received wisdom" on its head. The people in Struthers think that those who passed the test were those that remained. Really? Why? What possible example or teaching from scripture would suggest that loyalty to a man-made institution was more important that following the truth? The whole idea is laughable.
It is now entirely clear that those who left were the ones loyal to God, or to their own conscience, and those that remained in Struthers were simply weak followers of a man-made religion that offers only confusion, depression and stagnation.
It is a shame that the sermons have been taken off-line, it would be interesting to hear what is going on now. I have not been there for 20 years or so, but, I can predict a few things -
(1) it will be totally self-centred - me, me, me - this is what God is saying to ME, this is the pain and suffering that is happening to ME, this is the wonderful way God is blessing ME.
(2) it will be someone else's fault - possibly those who post on this forum, possibly other Christians, possibly the congregation for not giving things up, possibly Satan for attacking them. One thing is sure, it will not be their fault, oh no, definitely not, that could never be.
(3) It will be full of vague promises about what God will do to bless them, His chosen people, with no justification at all of why they think they are His chosen people, or why He has apparently been promising this for 30 years but nothing has happened.
(4) it will be entirely unrelated to the needs of the world around them - not like the great Christians who worked with the poor and deprived, freeing slaves and prostitutes and standing up against evil.
Well, how did I do. A more accurate prophesy than most of the ones heard in Struthers perhaps?
Wake up and smell the coffee!