Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: May 14, 2019 01:40AM
Reepicheep mentioned boundaries a few weeks back, and I think healthy boundaries is something that has to be re-learned post TLWF. Allowing a human to take the place of God is so destructive to the most sacred part of our lives. The deception of false “words from God” is that they bypass the normal filter of human communication and destroy us from the inside out. When you really open up, you are defenseless. Even a spouse doesn’t typically enter the most private parts of our hearts – it’s too risky to share with another human, and I would suggest, meant for God alone. Many, myself included, put far more weight on what the leadership of TLWF had to say than our own spouses. In hindsight, that should have been a red flag. Loving Marilyn more than my wife was simply adultery – she never was God. There should have never been a closer human relationship than my spouse.
A couple of books that have been very helpful to me in re-learning boundaries are “Boundaries” and “The One-Life Solution” by Dr. Henry Cloud, a New York Times Bestselling author. Perhaps the quickest way to recover from unhealthy relationships is to establish healthy ones – starting with our self. We tend to attract others just like us. It’s helpful to be armed with some insight so you can actually identify healthy (and unhealthy) people. There are many wonderful people in the world that will give you hope that life really can be better than what you have known in the past. Leaving TLWF was like coming out of the darkness into the light for me. There is no question life improves in every area when you escape that which wants to kill, steal, and destroy.
Organized religion by itself is just a system that has been created to meet the requirements of the law. It’s the people in the system that determine if it is destructive or life giving. The system itself is not something God came up with, but man – and therefore every system has its flaws. I’ve discovered good and bad people in every church I have attended – including TLWF. The commonality of the good people is that they have a personal relationship with God that produces the fruit of the Spirit. It doesn’t come from the system. I have a close personal friend that is a Catholic priest. I can find many doctrinal errors in the Catholic Church, and yet from within this church structure has come a man that genuinely loves God and others – the thing that God says is the most important.
I see TLWF as a corrupt structure with corrupt leadership, and yet there are many that have come out of it that deeply love God and others. After twenty years removed, I tend to view it as a deceptive web that was meant to take good people out of circulation. Even if they manage to escape physically, there still is a poison that remains to keep them out of circulation and functioning as a member of the Body of Christ. Learning to flip the hierarchical structure over and relate to the ‘least of these” is so foreign to TLWF culture – and too much of what calls itself Christianity for that matter. Pure religion takes care of the widows and orphans, not those that want to take the place of God in the lives of others. A quick check of the leadership will reveal whether there is an upward flow or a flow to the most marginalized of society. The gospel has always been good news for the poor and hated by religious leaders looking for personal gain.