The Shunnings and Refusal to Reconcile of Victory Baptist Church and Pastor Charles Wetherbee of Weatherford, Texas

I feel led of God to continue to tell the truth about Victory Baptist Church of Weatherford, Texas, and its pastor, Charles Wetherbee. In a recent study I did on Deuteronomy 16:20 in the Hebrew Torah, I was motivated strongly in this direction. That verse reads, “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” As a general rule, the Bible speaks to us about the observing of a commandment. This verse, however, suggests in its Hebrew language that God’s people display a particular energy and make the pursuit of justice a quest.

In ancient Bible times, justice was so important that cases were adjudicated by either three, twenty-three, or seventy-one judges. In ancient Israel, these justice fulfilled the role that we have given today to judges, juries and lawyers. Unanimity was not a requirement. The Torah was straightforward about requiring courage to pursue justice: “You shall not tremble before any man.” (Deuteronomy 1:17) Moreover, the command to PURSUE justice did not rest only in the judiciary. That responsibility was extended to all Israelites. Amos reinforced that call to pursue justice in Amos 5:24. This is especially interesting and relevant to me because of the historical context we encounter here. The priests at the Bethel Temple had succeeded in enlarging their stature, prominence and influence; so much so that they had corrupted the Jewish religion by encouraging sacrifices and offerings that over the years, enriched them greatly. (Shalom Spiegel, a contemporary Jewish Scholar of renown explained how the priests came to teach that giving to the Temple was actually more important than helping the poor with charitable giving, a tenet that was completely at odds with Jewish teaching, Law and tradition and a mainstay of the First century Christian church that never mentioned pastoral salaries.) This is a perfect parallel to Charles Wetherbee’s “Stewardship Campaign” and large banquet every Fall.

Amos was eventually expelled from the temple and deported to his native Tekoah by the High Priest after he pointed out their violation of biblical law. Nobody took Amos’ side. Amos, however was relentless and undeterred in his belief that the pursuit of justice was every Jew’s obligation. Predictably, the principal obstacles in that pursuit would be those who had positioned themselves to profit the most from their influential and well paid positions within organized religion. Charles Wetherbee, with a total compensation package in excess of $100,000, is, I believe, living and executing that corrupt tradition today.

The spirit of Amos is the fire in my belly. Charles Wetherbee, from my perspective of 17 years, exhibits the posture and the motivations of the high priests of the Bethel temple. He guards his influence with vigor and determination. In so doing, he is generally safe from accountability because of the good nature and superficial biblical understanding of his people who do not see past his perfected “golly gee whiz” persona. Christians today tend to live by Grandma’s old adage: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately their lives are often wholly directed by this adage that we find nowhere in the pages of Scripture, yet has risen to prominence in Evangelical Christianity. That is why in almost 100% of church conflicts, the church’s primary and immediate impulse is always to rapidly choose up sides. The brother or sister whose view is at odds with the pastor’s is immediately marginalized and most often excommunicated, disfellowshipped and shunned for life. This is always done through the undercurrent of a gossip-fueled dynamic. Never, but never are the biblical protocols of Matthew 18 followed. Sadly, this is just fine with the church. To the church, those who would oppose the pastor can be neither right, nor moral. The motivation has to be something evil: hate, vengeance, pride, jealousy, hurt, you name it. It could never be that a critic of one’s church is a sincere, honest Christian with a sound testimony who just disagrees with the pastor and has been unfairly treated in the aftermath. One of the reasons for the shunning policy of so many churches (a regular and common practice of Victory Baptist Church for many years) is that they have no desire to “pursue justice” and adjudicate any matter for fear of casting the slightest shadow on their pastor or church. This is in fact a very Catholic position to take, a fact that I pointed out once to one of Wetherbee’s longstanding supporters. His answer to me was, “Well I guess I am Catholic then!” (Wetherbee knew that this man regularly violated some of the major prohibitions and tenets of the church, but the fact that he gave well into five figures to the church yearly seemed, in my opinion, to moderate Wetherbee’s enforcement of church disciple in this situation. In a disagreement that this man once had with another church member, Wetherbee too the big giver’s side, telling the other man that he was to “respect his elders.” The age difference between the two men was about five years.)

So there you have it, people of Victory Baptist Church. You are free to listen to all manner of undercurrents of gossip about me. (I have found in my 30 years of associating with preachers that they can often be the biggest gossips of all.) The truth is that God is blessing my ministry as never before in the last thirty years. We are reaching 10,000 people a month for Jesus Christ, (I can prove that to anyone who questions it). I am currently in the midst of an ongoing and full-blown revival such as churches dream about and pray about—the kind where the Holy Spirit of God comes through a church like a freight train; weeping and repentance are everywhere, rededications abound, and nobody cares when they get home). We support missionaries, a Christian orphanage in Haiti, we are in nursing homes every Sunday, and my books are selling well nationwide and even worldwide. Not bad for “a church destroying demon,” what one pastor called me once for exposing the adultery and drunkenness on his church staff. Of course, not ONE person from Victory Baptist Church has ever come to me to get my side of the story, to ask why we left the church after a seventeen year association, or to say they are praying for me and my wife. That, for us, casts this church, its people, and its leadership in the role of the Priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story. These two figures, of course, represent organized religion. I have made numerous efforts to let Wetherbee know how much we had been hurt by his actions toward us and especially the women of Victory Baptist Church cutting all ties with my wife (who never said a word about the church or pastor) and the shunning of my wife. We are far, far from being alone in this. Over 100 people have left the church in recent times, and many of their experiences parallel ours, including former staff. I have heard many of these stories first hand.

Charles Wetherbee has ignored every one of my overtures seeking reconciliation for almost two years now, in spite of the fact that he drives past our house multiple times a day. It is on this foundation that I will once again structure my case for biblical accountability for Charles Wetherbee and Victory Baptist Church. I am “Accepted in the Beloved,” (Ephesians 1:6) and that is in fact all that I need to be whole and have peace. Regardless of what you have and will continue to hear, my actions are not fueled primarily by anger. My desire beyond that point is only the cause of righteousness and accountability. My mandate is a biblical principle: “ JUSTICE, JUSTICE SHALL YOU PURSUE.”
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Anyone in the orbit of Victory Baptist Church knows that the pastor has chosen to dismiss me rather than to follow the biblical protocols for reconciliation, or to respond to my biblical challenge of his behavior. One highly relevant verse that comes to mind is Galatians 6:1 –“Ye who are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness and humility.” Another is Matthew 5:24 – “Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Other relevant verses are listed at the end of this article.)

Instead of engaging me face to face, Charles Wetherbee has sought to simply dismiss me as a person and as a Christian, using his influence as pastor to resort to gossip about a former church member. I cannot count the times when in our close association of many years, this man has done the same thing in my presence with respect to present and former members of Victory Baptist Church. This is how the man operates. He is highly skilled in forming the alliances in the church using that tactic to maintain the total control that he desires. All the while the man maintains and projects his “golly gee whiz” persona. Do not be fooled, Christian brothers and sisters.

I have known any number of pastors who can manipulate their congregation with ease in getting them to dismiss the honest observations and sincere intent of other church members. Often, you will hear phrases like these, some times even from the pulpit:

● Pray for brother so-and-so. I wish him only the best and I have prayed for him often. (The implication is simple: “He wishes me ill, but I am such a better Christian that I pray for him and want you to as well.)
● Brother so-and-so has had problems in other churches, and he had some difficulties here. We tried to work with him, blah, blah, blah . . . . (Never mind that the “problems” may have been refusing to sweep scandals like adultery and child molestation under the rug.)
● I love brother so-and-so. I will always love him. I pray that he understands some day that there is no perfect church, and that is what heaven is for. (The implication here is that since we can never achieve perfection, then lets do away with all form of critique and criticism. This is a hallmark of all cults)
● Brother so-and-so needs your prayer. Pray that God helps him with his anger. (The implication is that everything he has said about us is because he is a hot-head and easily loses control. Of course, anger is never attributed to God in the Bible . . . is it . . . ?)
● we are commanded to “Pray for those who curse you and despitefully use you.” (While ignoring God’s command to be reconciled with them. This also is meant to convey that anyone who disagrees with your pastor has “despitefully used you.”)

We visited Victory Baptist Church on our many visits to Texas for about 15 years from approximately 1998 to 2012. During that time, we thought that we had found a wonderful church. We moved to Weatherford Texas from Indiana in August of 2010. We joined the church on the first Sunday after our arrival. I remember coming forward and telling  Jonathan Stewart of our desire to join. I was overwhelmed and even perhaps overcome by what I knew to be the power of God’s Spirit confirming His will in my life. I was soaked with perspiration, weeping and barely able to speak. It was a moment I will never forget.  God had great plans for us at Victory.  Charles Wetherbee cared far more about preserving his totalitarian control and keeping anyone there from shining for God any brighter than he did.  I am as sure of that as I am my own name.

I was told on a very regular and consistent basis after my wife and I joined, “Oh Brother Jerry, are we ever going to use you in the church!” This refrain was constant, coming mostly from the church staff. Brother Stewart would tell me repeatedly that Pastor Wetherbee only wanted to wait until we were settled in a new home. Still, a month after we arrived, Pastor Wetherbee asked me to speak at the church’s biggest night of the year, the Stewardship Banquet (a shakedown event found nowhere in the pages of Scripture to put every bit of imaginable pressure to leverage written financial commitments out of the membership.)

We eventually bought a house just a few houses down from the Wetherbee’s mansion and the preacher and I became very close. I am semi-retired and he is home for hours a day, so we had many opportunities to ride our motorcycles together each week. He is also singularly inept when it comes to any kind of mechanical skill, so I was at his home quite often fixing an building things for him. He became my best friend, a fellow preacher and neighbor. We had almost daily conversations about theology, doctrine, preaching, and the church. He shared with me a very personal view of his pastorate, such as the church members he liked, and the ones he did not. I was astounded at how much this man’s staff did for him, marveling at the small number of church responsibilities that remained his. My principal desire was to influence him to adopt an expository (verse by verse) style of preaching. He was a devotional preacher – the kind that reads the verse to establish a theme and then expounds on his personal religious philosophy throughout the sermon without the need to ever crack a commentary or an expository dictionary in his “study.” (Several church members had expressed a desire for more expository preaching in the church. They wanted more Bible and made that plain to me.)

I never let him pay any time we went out to eat, which was often several times a week. It was only later that I would learn that his compensation package was a six figure sum, that being after I had spent several hundred dollars on a Christmas gift for him: a large page from the First Edition King James Bible featuring his life’s verse, Romans 8:28, professionally framed with museum quality glass.

Not long after that, I began to sense that something was wrong. My testimony had been produced as a radio drama and heard by four million people in thirty-seven countries and yet was never played for the church. I had written twelve Christian books, some published by major publishers, but after a year, they had yet to find their way into any ministry of the church or the church bookstore. (They put some of them in the church bookstore just before we left, then removed them after out departure.) After a year had gone by and I had barely been used in the church to do what I do best, preach and teach, I began to sense that something was wrong. (I have an earned Ph.D. in Philosophy in Religion, and a B.S. and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology.)

When the problem could no longer be ignored, I spoke to Jonathan Stewart and told him of my disappointment. This was his reaction: “Brother Kaifetz, you’re a race horse. We can’t hook a race horse up to a plow!” How that was supposed to explain not having the status of even a substitute Sunday School teacher as I had asked for often, I could not understand. Even then, I was unwilling to accept what was becoming more and more obvious: the church I had moved 1,000 miles to join (leaving $100,000 on the table when we sold our house and property in Indiana) and that had embraced me and my wife on the church member level, and a pastor who had no use for me in any meaningful ministry role in the church.

I have recounted in a previous post the afternoon when Pastor Wetherbee came to my house and finally came out and told me that we should find another church, blaming the people: “Our people will never accept you, Jerry.” This was but days after the man wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation to preach in other churches that I have published with my article, “Why I left Victory Baptist Church.”

That was when I began to see who Charles Wetherbee really was:

● A man who lied to his own church about his son’s (Jason Wetherbee) adultery. (I was able to prove that with three different sources, including a later sermon in which Jason confessed to a life wrecking act and then blamed God repeatedly; I only wish I were kidding about this.)
● A man who takes $100,000 a year from the pockets of hard working Christians to live a most lavish and pampered lifestyle, working at best 20 hours a week.
● A man whom I have seen take paid vacations every six weeks often double dipping and being paid to preach while on the road.
● A man whom I have seen push many people under the bus over the years when he perceived that they were not fully manageable as church members and less than 100% willing to be compliant to his personal wishes and style within the church.
● A man whom a staff member personally told me had been verbally abusive in a shocking episode with his wife.
● A man who was unwilling to take the slightest step toward reconciliation with another Christian with whom he was at odds, this despite the numerous Scriptures and protocols for resolving conflict among Christians.
● A man who was willing to betray a close, personal and valued friendship (on my part at least) when that person was perceived as an individual who may not lend themselves to control and to every whim of the pastor.
● A man who looked me in the eye and said, “The men in my pulpit have to reflect me.”
● A man who has no regard for traffic laws and who regularly drives through the stop sign by my house at 30 miles an hour without so much as slowing down. (I have the surveillance video evidence recorded daily.)
● A man who would rather dismiss me with slanderous gossip than to engage on Biblical issues that I have presented to him.
● A man who has no intention of ever following the Matthew 18 protocols on church disciple, and has personally told me that the “take it to the church” part will never be an option at Victory Baptist Church.

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Bible Verses on Reconciliation

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

2 Corinthians 5:18
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

Matthew 18:15-17
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Romans 5:10
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Matthew 5:23-26
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Colossians 1:20
And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Hebrews 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Colossians 1:20-22
And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

Ephesians 1:3-10
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, …

Luke 23:34
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Luke 17:3
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,

Ephesians 2:15-18
By abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Genesis 33:4
But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Colossians 3:13
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 6:27-42
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. …

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Matthew 5:24
Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Acts 3:19
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

1 Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

2 Timothy 2:1-26
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. …

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 15:1-32
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. …

Matthew 18:33
And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?

Luke 13:10-17
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” …

Romans 11:15
For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?

Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Romans 12:14-21
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. …

1 John 3:3
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Hebrews 9:14
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

Philippians 2:1-13
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …

Matthew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2 Corinthians 2:7-11
So you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

1 Corinthians 10:1-33
For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. …

Acts 10:38
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Daniel 9:24
Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Genesis 32:1-24
Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim. And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’” …

1 John 4:13
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

James 2:19
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 1:12
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

Luke 15:11-32
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. …

Matthew 5:1-48
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. …

Philemon 1:1-25
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, …

2 Corinthians 6:1-7
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; …

Romans 4:25
Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Ephesians 4:1-6:24
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, …

Acts 26:17
Delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you

Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 16:15-16
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Nehemiah 2:1-8
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” .

1 Samuel 24:5-22
And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way. Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? …

Genesis 45:4-8
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Isaiah 25:6-8
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

Leviticus 8:15
And he killed it, and Moses took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar around it and purified the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it to make atonement for it.

Mark 12:43
And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.

Psalm 119:89
Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Luke 17:4
And if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Romans 13:8
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Matthew 6:12-14
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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The Unworthy Vessels That Stay Afloat

Occasionally I hear someone say that I have unfairly slandered all IFB churches and painted them all with the broad brush of criticism. When I hear that, I know that they have probably not read “Profaned Pulpit,” for there I make it clear that this is not my view. However, it is in all honesty probably not that far from what I personally believe. Here is why:

All I.F.B. are structurally flawed. They are based upon an unbiblical and corrupt understanding of pastoral authority. You can see my video on this subject on YouTube (link below) and the corresponding article on my blog, JERRYKAIFETZ.COM.

There have been in the history of shipbuilding and maritime engineering flawed models of shipbuilding. Many of these ships before the advent of steel hulls went to the bottom because they ignored the principle of torsional flexing. The larger the wooden ship, the more it would twist and bow, and the more water it would take on, eventually overcoming the ability of the ship to remain afloat.

It would be possible, I suppose, to build a ship that violated the rules of torsional movement and install in that ship some massive pumps that could pump out most any volume of water. One should not, however, point to such a ship on the water as an example of a viable craft structured under sound principles of maritime engineering and architecture.

Today’s IFB churches remain afloat very often because of the apathy, ignorance, and misguided biblical expectations of their parishioners. They twist, creak, buckle and bend, taking on constant water, but they have the capacity to pump that water out and so stay afloat. I have often put this another way: the church is front and center on the altar, not Jesus Christ and His impeccable standards for morality, personal holiness, and proper pastoral authority built on trust and respecting the Priesthood of the Believer. In these churches, scandal after scandal is swept under the rug. So much so in fact that I have often quipped, those auditoriums would make great skateboard parks.

It is the IFB M-O-D-EL that is flawed and corrupt. The proof that it is not can never be found in the number of buses the church runs, the number of baptisms the previous year, the number of missionaries the church supports, and certainly not the old unspoken adage of this fraternity: “If You Say It Loud Enough, It Must Be So.”
Video:
Pastoral Authority

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Why I Left Victory Baptist Church of Weatherford, Texas

http://jerrykbooks.com/VBCletters.htm

Introduction to “An Open Letter to Pastor Charles Wetherbee.”
Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D., Weatherford, Texas

March 30, 2013

Dear friends,

On Saturday November 3, 2012 Pastor Wetherbee came to our house and made it very clear to me that he would rather we found another church. He was my pastor, a close friend and fellow preacher. Gwen and I have not been to Victory since, and we have no intention of ever returning. We were devastated by our pastor’s actions toward us, and also very confused as to the reasons that we have been given for them. This the account of the events of that day, what led to it, and what they have wrought in our lives. This letter is designed to introduce the letter I wrote Pastor Wetherbee concerning these events and others in the church which I am presenting below as an open letter.

We came to Victory badly needing a loving church. Although we were graciously welcomed by the people, that was all overturned for us on November 3rd. In the end, it was made clear to us that we were not welcome at Victory. I am neither naïve nor stupid. I know what Pastor Wetherbee communicated to me on that day in clear and unmistakable terms. For him or anyone else to pretend otherwise is both an insult to my intelligence and a moral travesty of significant proportion for any Christian, let alone a pastor. The following open letter to Pastor Wetherbee is an account of what transpired in that meeting, and my case for the personal responsibility that Pastor Charles Wetherbee bore in the events surrounding his making known to us that it was his desire that we leave Victory Baptist Church. Any denials of that intention by Pastor Wetherbee or anyone else are patently and demonstrably false. I did not misunderstand anything or anyone. I have never been more certain of anything in my life.

The letter that follows was sent by registered mail to Pastor Wetherbee on March 18, 2013. He has not responded, and I do not believe he has any intention of responding. He is the pastor. He is the man who stands in the pulpit. He has total authority at Victory, and I am convinced that he does not believe that any member or former member’s biblical grievances are worthy of holding him accountable in any way. he is, in my opinion (and I hold two degrees in Pastoral Theology) a hireling and a careerist, not a new testament shepherd. This goes for some former staff as well who now see the man as I do. I went from a position of complete faith, love, trust and respect for this man to mistrust, disrespect and a feeling of personal betrayal unprecedented in my thirty years as a Christian; this took place in a matter of fourteen months and culminated on November 3rd, 2012. None of this is imagined or misconstrued in any way. Some have and will call it “gossip,” but when challenged, none of them can define “gossip” biblically or tell me why I am not entitled to take my grievances “to the church,” as I am entitled to do under Matthew 18. Charles Wetherbee would have none of this, hence these actions.

The open letter that follows is being sent to you for the following reasons: It is my attempt following much prayer and counsel with several pastors over a five month period to turn up the light on a man whom I believe has portrayed himself to the church as someone other than whom I have found him to be in my personal and professional judgment as an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for thirty years.

· I have found a significant number of former church members, including former staff members who have greatly helped to shed light on these sad observations while at Victory and who concur completely that my former, once beloved pastor has and will push anyone under the bus who does not present themselves as 100% supportive and compliant to his authority. The length of one’s friendship, the support that the Wetherbees have received (financial and otherwise) and even family ties have not risen to the level of safeguarding anyone who challenges the authority of Pastor Charles Wetherbe consciously or otherwise. Apparently making constructive suggestions on how to improve the church, having been asked to do so, was seen as a challenge to the pastor’s authority.

· I have written three books on churches and studied church management, church polity and biblical pastoral authority on the highest academic levels, produced blog articles and videos on the subject, and I can unequivocally state that Victory Baptist Church has not and does not reflect the biblical model of New Testament church governance in several important ways. (See the links below)

· I have no present intention of going beyond this letter. My options, however, will remain open. Victory Baptist Church is an Independent New Testament Church, and as such it is not my desire to do anything else other than to present the church with the facts of a very important matter concerning the church’s pastor. What course of action the church decides to take beyond that, if any, in light of the sovereignty of the church, is of little interest to me. What is of interest to me is the truth, and I do not believe that Pastor Wetherbee has presented himself truthfully to Victory Baptist Church, highly skilled and polished as he is in that presentation. Do not be fooled. This man runs the church and has compelling personal incentive to maintain his complete authority in that endeavor. This is the time to examine evidence, not to choose up sides. (Sadly, Baptist churches seem perpetually inclined toward the later.) I have a biblical obligation to “pursue righteousness;” I have studied that term most carefully, and I believe that I am 100% biblically justified in my public efforts to hold Charles Wetherbee and his church accountable to that standard. Not one person from VBC or elsewhere has demonstrated anything to the contrary to me.

· This letter is not an “attack,” as some will surely characterize it. It is not an attempt to “sow discord among the brethren.” It is simply an expression of my right under clear and compelling biblical protocols to challenge another Christian on the basis of my honest perceptions of his biblical qualifications for the office of pastor pursuant to the manner in which he has treated other Christians in the church. Read and you will see, unless you are “a respecter of persons” and place any and all pastoral criticism beyond the scope of acceptable Christian behavior.  (This in fact describes Victory Baptist Church quite accurately.)  If you are guided by pastoral loyalty rather than biblical admonition, you should stop reading now.

· Over twenty families and members have left the church in the last two years, (2010, 2011) and perhaps as many as thirty. Many have serious issues with Pastor Wetherbee and remain unreconciled with him to this day. This, is in my personal view untenable for any Christian, much less a pastor. God has made it plain to us all that we have been entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation.” (II Co. 5:18). How shall we reconcile a lost world to the Savior when we fail daily in reconciling with each other? Again, the church is a sovereign body and the ultimate call on this and other issues is yours. God’s agenda for His people is reconciliation. Pastor Wetherbee has rejected that biblical directive here.

Pursuant to having it made plainly known to me that Pastor Wetherbee wanted me out of Victory (I will always maintain that his claims to the contrary are patently and demonstrably false, a part of his ruse to maintain power and protect his lucrative retirement) other things have come to my attention that would have disqualified Pastor Wetherbee as a pastor for me personally. Chief among these is the handling of an alleged adulterous affair by Jason Wetherbee, and Pastor Wetherbee subsequently putting him in the pulpit to preach and on the platform to sing. Following months of research, I have gathered compelling information provided to me by knowledgeable sources close to Jason detailing this issue based on their dealings with the parties involved, including a sermon by Jason referencing this issue repeatedly. I will provide that information only to representative members of the deacon board, should they wish to know for the right reasons. In addition, I have a link to a sermon Jason preached where he clearly and unmistakably blames God for his past. I know this is nearly impossible to believe, but anyone is free to listen for themselves and draw their own conclusions. (Link provided below.)

Since leaving, I have also come to the understanding that the total compensation packages of the pastor and staff are twice the national average for churches the size of Victory. Pastor Wetherbee, from what I have been told by sources close to the church, receives a total compensation package of over $100,000 yearly. I know the hours he keeps, because we are neighbors. They are not impressive. I believe that the pastor should be the hardest working man in any church. From what I have seen, the opposite of that is far closer to the truth. This man comes and goes as he pleases and takes a vacation every few weeks. I do not believe that any pastor should live far above the lifestyle of church members. The office of pastor was never intended by God to enable a lavish lifestyle for any man, or to enrich those holding that office. I have been in his home many times and can attest to that lifestyle and personal schedule. Once again, this is the church’s call, of course. The staff receives exceedingly generous compensation packages as well (like the pastor, around twice the national average.) They have much to risk by giving any credibility to a position such as mine regarding their boss, and as such I do not expect a fair and biblical arbitration of from them. That is human nature. I support that view by simply pointing out that they have been part and parcel of my shunning (a practice that absent biblical ground as in my case is patently contrary to the Bible) since leaving the church (Galatians 6:1). It is human nature for people to protect their livelihood. The high salaries of the church pastoral staff has a lot to do with the heavy emphasis on stewardship, which at Victory is FAR out of all proportion that Bible establishes for this concept. Look for yourselves. The missions and educational emphases of the church remain commendable, even though they give a mere $100 a month to the missionaries they support.

Then there was the inexplicable issue of the Jewish Heritage Ministry at Victory. As most of you know I was born and raised in the Jewish faith. I was Bar Mitzvah’d on September 2, 1961 at Temple Beth Israel and trained by a great Rabbi, Rabbi Sol Oster. I studied Hebrew and Judaism for many years. I have been to Israel. I looked forward to having a meaningful role in this ministry at Victory. I soon became puzzled to hear that in all the years of this ministry at the church, there had not been ONE convert! I have always been a results oriented person, and so I came to the belief that one of the reasons God had led me to Victory was to network with the Jewish community in Ft. Worth and bring some of these people into the orbit of the church through the Jewish ministry. Instead, I found that the leadership of the group was perfectly content to be 100% fruitless year after year after year and to use me to “put a Jewish faith on the ministry(their words).” I spoke at a few of these meetings and tried to bring the Spirit of God to bear on the status quo with some impassioned preaching, which I was pleased to find very well received by the people. My efforts, however, were ultimately seen as meddling. I was viewed as not being a “team player,” and ultimately a very critical and demeaning letter was sent to me condemning my spirit and my contributions to the group by a member of the church staff. I thought that without a doubt, Pastor Wetherbee would share my view and ask me how we could get Jewish converts. He did not. Instead he came down squarely in favor of the fruitless status quo and told me that like the church itself , the Jewish Ministry was “not a good fit for you.” I was dumbfounded. I have always had a passion for witnessing to Jews. I AM a Jew.   Jews relate to other Jews and greatly value formal education, so the fact that there happens to be a “Ph.D.” after my name has always given me opportunity and credibility in witnessing to Jews. I have spent many years honing a Gospel presentation just for Jews. It works! You can see it on my YouTube channel. Sadly, none of that mattered. My crime was being unwilling to accept fruitlessness and that was seen as an unacceptable challenge to the status quo at Victory, and apparently to Wetherbee’s authority and control . I have found this to be the GREAT sin at Victory Baptist Church. Pastor Wetherbee told me to my face once: “The men in my pulpit have to reflect me.” (I was always under the impression that a man in the pulpit was supposed to reflect Jesus Christ.)

I am also the author of a successful book for Christian teens: “World Class Truth—Bible Principles in Sports and Adventure.”(See video link below) I was a professional skier before coming to Christ in 1983 and raced all over the world. I competed for 15 years as an amateur and three years as a professional. I trained with several national teams in Europe as well as  top professionals under Henri Duvilar. This part of my life along with this book has led to success in reaching Christian young people since it was first published in 1989. After fourteen months at Victory, I was at a loss to understand why this successful book was not used in the youth ministry of the church. Neither was I able to come to an understanding as to why I was not ever used in that ministry. I have never seen the inside of the youth building. I have a good track record with Christian youth and once was featured in a national youth conference with 3,000 teens in attendance.

The other issue that I have with Pastor Wetherbee concerns a phrase that I have heard him use again and again. It is a phrase that I had never heard before coming from a pastor. I have even heard it in the expression of his prayers. He often prays for “the liberty to preach.” I was very confused when I first heard him use that term. I honestly did not know what he meant, so I asked him. What he told me stopped me in my tracks: he said it was all about the church “allowing” him to preach on subjects that may be offensive or challenging to some of them. I was stunned! I didn’t remember Elijah ever praying that prayer, or John the Baptist, or Daniel, or Jeremiah, or Isaiah. I simply didn’t know what to say. Only the respect I had for his office and our personal friendship kept me from saying what was burning in my heart: “Maybe you ought to just have the courage preach against all sins and worry about pleasing God instead of ruffling feathers in the church.”

I have nothing to hide in all of this. My life is an open book, literally thirteen of them.   I was committed to conducting myself in a Christ-honoring way at Victory since we joined the first Sunday we came in September of 2011, and in fact since I was saved in 1983. I believe that my conduct, service, and participation as a church member were without reproach, something that the pastor confirmed to me when he visited me that Saturday, November 3rd. You will see much of this in the open letter letting him know how Gwen and I have been devastated by his actions toward us, and how this experience has impacted us in such a profound and painful way to the point of even our health being affected for a time. We never expected this from our church, and I certainly never, ever, ever expected that from a man whom I considered to be such a close and trusted friend and fellow preacher.

Now Pastor Wetherbee has said from the pulpit, I am told, that “there are two sides to every story.” In the context of that expression, it is clear that he was speaking of me. If he has a side to this story that is different from what I have attributed to him, I believe that I am entitled to hear it. I think that the enclosed letter of recommendation that he wrote for me days before the Nov. 3rd incident attests to my standing with him, with the church, and with the Lord Jesus Christ. (See link below) I believe that as a Christian, I have the right to defend my name. I also am not naive enough to fail to understand that when I do, he and probably his staff will paint me as a person “sowing discord among the brethren.” When a pastor paints a church member in this way, that has always meant to me that the individual is being labeled intentionally for less than honorable or biblical purposes. Other common, defensive and unsupportable labels often used are, “bitter,” “angry,” and the like. No man can look into my heart. If anyone could, they would see no bitterness or anger there; just a desire to shine the light of Jesus Christ and bring out His truth. Please do not listen to gossip about me. If you Google my name, you will find many hours of reading and viewing available to you that will allow you to decide for yourself who I am. There is no lack of information about me all over the Internet.

This letter is then about one thing: shining the light and letting the light reveal what is there. It is written from a very sincere heart in the spirit of truth and rests upon the foundation Matthew 18: the Christian’s right to “take it to the church.” I am 100% certain that one of two things will now happen: either my shunning by Victory Baptist Church will continue, or I will be labeled, vilified and personal motives will be attributed to me that nobody but God and I could possibly know; probably all of the above. My conscience is clear and my motives are pure. This church dynamic is something that is often subtly expressed by experienced pastors unused to being challenged: “Pray for Brother Kaifetz. He has had problems in churches before . . . . etc. etc.” For the record, I have challenged the very worst of sins and their cover-up in several churches: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, child molestation, brawling, the public betrayal of pastoral confidentiality, embezzlement, child rape, participation in pornography, Christians going to court against one another, and even murder, just to name a few. I have never apologized for my actions, and I never will. This has not, however, stopped some pastors from attempting to marginalize me to justify themselves. If your pastor chooses to ally himself with those men, as Charles Wetherbee has done, that is their choice. That is a dark place to live.

Pastor Wetherbee has been around long enough to know how to deal with this letter. He will likely make this a referendum about himself and play on the sympathies and loyalty of the church. By that I mean that he will exaggerate and recast my charges against him to be a complete personal indictment. People in the position in which he will find himself will defend themselves against charges that have not been made and characterize the rest of them as an “attack” by a “disgruntled” former church member. He will deny everything that I have said, and try to make the issue about me while obscuring the facts under a swirl of emotions as he solicits the sympathy and support of the church. Often others join in and publicly support the man accused under a flood of praise that is only designed to obscure the individual charges that I do not believe he can meet head on. He may also try to ignore the entire matter.

If you choose to read what follows, I hope that you will do so in the spirit of honesty, not being a respecter of persons, and hopefully trusting in the honesty of my motives until they are openly proven to be untrustworthy. I love the Lord Jesus Christ with every fiber of my being, and have dedicated thirty years of my life to the study of His word, His church, and to winning precious souls to Jesus Christ. My testimony has gone all over the world, and I am still blessed and inexpressibly honored to be sharing it in churches and with many thousands of people around the world every month. I have taught my personal method and style of soul winning to over a thousand pastors, something I was never asked to do at Victory.

If you are of the belief that loyalty to your pastor precludes any criticism directed toward him or the church, then the open letter below is NOT for you. You should not read it. Feel free to give your pastor whatever authority over you he desires to have, regardless of what you decide to call it. Let him think for you.

Thank you, some of you, for your love and friendship in our fourteen months at Victory. Gwen and I know that we still have a few friends there who have not been a part of our shunning, and who have reached out to us through this painful and confusing episode in our lives. We are doing much better now. God has blessed us in many, many ways, and we thank Him often from a heart overflowing with inexpressible gratitude and love. God has seen fit in His great mercy and outpouring of divine grace to always compensate us for the many hurtful things that have come into our lives over the years at the hands of Christians and churches. No amount of thanks toward God expressed often and with tears can adequately express how blessed we feel today. Sadly, this has all come about not through our pastor, but in spite of him; not through our church but in spite of our church. Three area pastors and their churches have reached out to us in the last few months and been used of God in our healing. God is good. We will never attend a corporate church again, but God is using us in ways that are pervasive and powerful.  We are in the midst of GENUINE revival and reaching upwards of 10,000 people a month beyond that.

Sincerely,

Jerry Kaifetz

Links & References:

Jason’s Sermon:

Pastor Wetherbee’s letter of recommendation:

http://jerrykbooks.com/VBC/CW-JK-ltr%20%282%29.JPG

Video on Pastoral Authority:

When Church Authority is Abused

World Class Truth

Video on “How to Disagree in Church:”

Blog articles on Pastoral Authority:

When Christian Leaders Abuse Their Authority

When Church Authority is Abused

YouTube Video “Profaned Pulpit:”

Profaned Pulpit on Amazon Books

http://www.amazon.com/Profaned-Pulpit-Jack-Schaap-Story/dp/1479180297

My Testimony on Unshackled:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brc0rrQ87KM

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR2d5YEO8vQ

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CERTIFIED MAIL: No. 7011 0470 0003 0770 4052

Dr. Jerry Kaifetz

Weatherford, Texas

March 18, 2013

Pastor Wetherbee,

I am providing you with this letter in order to establish exactly what I have against you (“thy brother hath ought against thee;”) and to give you the opportunity to address these issues and give an account for you actions with respect to us leaving Victory Baptist Church and your role in that event. These are the facts concerning the deterioration and ultimate collapse of our relationship. You and I are unreconciled, yet several times each week you stand in a pulpit and present yourself as a man who leads a church commissioned by God as a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). You pray often in spite of God’s injunction against your prayers when you have unresolved issues with another brother concerning which you have not sought redress.

More for the record than for any other reason, I will here set in order the issues that I have against you, and the details of your failure as the pastor of a New testament church. It is unlikely that you will accept this, but my cause against you is biblical and not personal. I will make that case here for you now in a clear, factual, biblical and objective manner based on the Matthew 18 principle in our Bibles. I do this this in spite of the fact that I have never know you to follow this important scriptural protocol for dealing with conflict among Christians in church, especially the many, many conflicts in which you have been personally involved. You have consistently wielded unilateral, political church influence to frame the dozens of instances of good people leaving Victory Baptist Church and failed to honor the biblical protocols for dealing with interpersonal issues with these church members. (Some 20+ families in recent months alone.)

Please understand as well that as Christians, we are impinged upon by God to not come to Him in prayer with unresolved conflict with another Christian looming in the background of our lives (See Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 5 at the conclusion of this letter.)

Let us understand as well that every Christian is solidly within his or her rights to lay claim to the directive of Matthew 18. I am choosing here in accord to that biblical protocol to come to you first, but I in no way have any intention to take the Matthew 18 option off the table, nor should I. For now, that decision is more in your hands than mine. You have undoubtedly been able to handle situations such as ours in the past through a political process within the church over which you have maintained 100% control, thereby presenting your version alone. I have heard some of these stories from another perspective, and that picture has at times not been a flattering one to you, let alone a reflection of an honest presentation on your part. My belief is that God wants all Christians to be accountable, especially Christian leaders. You would be quite wrong to view this as a threat, although I do not personally believe that you know of any other way to view anyone who disagrees with you. That is just the kind of pastor that I have sadly come to believe you are. Those who support your style of church governance are most always those who have the most to gain.

I have decided upon six individuals to whom I will go for advice and perspective in this matter of my issues with you. Two are out of state and four are local. Most are pastors. I will take what they have to say seriously, although I require from them a solid, detailed and specific biblical underpinning for their positions, regardless of what they may be. Please understand that I will do anything and everything necessary to assure that when God looks upon our broken relationship that He will understand that I have done everything within my power to seek and achieve the reconciliation and the peace that He has made abundantly clear that He desires (II Co. 5:18). There is no bitterness on my part, no desire to “sow discord among the brethren,” and no desire to do anything other than to give an accurate account of what I have seen transpire between us and can fully document. This effort will not fail for a lack of effort on my part. I am fully within the dictates of Scripture here, but I will remain open to any well supported thoughts to the contrary.

We had come to VBC as visitors for around 15 years. We had been making regular visits to the area during those years to visit family. We had come out of the most abusive church in the history of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, First Baptist Church of Hammond. Three books, two documentaries, and countless published articles, indictments, convictions and prison sentences bear testimony to this.

It was always refreshing to come to Weatherford and visit Victory. We had immense faith in Victory, in the leadership, and in the people. We had been at ground zero of a historic war in Fundamentalism, as you well know. My wife had been experiencing nightmares for 24 years as a result of the abuse, control, manipulation and life-crushing expectations of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches. Here is a partial list of what we have endured in churches since 1989:

· My second pastor of seven years had an affair with his secretary and was devoid of any aspect of a marital relationship with his wife for twenty-five years. Neither loved the other. His name was Jack Hyles.

· My favorite professor in Bible college is serving a life sentence in a Tennessee prison for indescribable physical and sexual abuse of his adopted daughter. So is his wife. His name is Joe Combs.

· A deacon in a former church was convicted of child molestation in the church. That church stood by him in spite of his conviction and imprisonment, refusing all support for the victim or her family. He was kept on the deacon board and the Board of Trustees of the church’s schools the whole time he was in prison. That Deacon was A.V. Ballenger.

· In my next church, the pastor’s son was arrested on a sex charge with an underage girl. When I went to the pastor with another man and put the son’s police report on his desk, we were thrown out of the church. The son’s name was Andy Beith. The pastor was his father, William Beith who himself would later be arrested on sex charges making the front page of the paper. That same man was later confronted leaving an X-rated movie theater by a local evangelist.

· One pastor of mine was arrested for soliciting a male undercover policeman for oral sex in a public park.

· In one church to which we belonged, the pastor’s son became the principal of the church’s Christian School, and in that capacity kidnapped an eleven year old female student and fled. He was captured by the FBI many states away and arrested, convicted of sex crimes, and sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison.

· One former church had a full-length documentary produced by a major television network detailing their legacy of abuse and cultish nature. That film was called “Preying From the Pulpit.”

· Another pastor of mine was featured nationally in a documentary on the ABC 20/20 Program dedicated to abusive pastors. This was the second pastor from that church to be featured on a national broadcast on the topic of abuse in the church. His name was Jack Schaap. The previous pastor, Jack Hyles, was featured on the network news show, “A Current Affair” where he was interviewed by Maury Pauvich after the disclosure of a well known affair.

· Yet another pastor of mine was excommunicated from the church he had founded and sacrificed to build when he chose to expose an adulterous member of the staff. The man leading that charge was the new pastor, Phillip Owens of Santee, California, the former pastor’s son.

· This son had a brother who was also a pastor, Paul Owens of Ramona, California. When his pastor-father came to him to ask him why he supported his brother in excommunicating his father, this retired eighty year old pastor was physically assaulted by his son in the son’s church after a Sunday service.

· One of my former pastor’s grown sons was known to advertise in a porn magazine for group sex involving with his wife. These ads included photos of his wife performing sex acts. That man was Dave Hyles.

· One associate pastor in a large church we were in had an adulterous affair with my best friend’s wife. He was sent off to another church in another state, where he did the same thing. He then left for yet another state to pastor where he has continued this lifestyle, which I believe continues to this day almost thirty years later.

· Several teachers in the Bible college I attended were caught in affairs. None were dismissed or underwent church disciple in any way. When their wives came to the pastor for counseling, they were all asked the same question: “What do you suppose you did to drive your husband to that?”

· A woman came to me in 2010 and told me that in her Sunday School class in which she taught the wives of staff men in a large church, 90% came to her and told her that their husbands had had affairs.

· Another pastor came to my door late one night as I was in my living room with several of my close friends from his church. Behind him was a line of over twenty deacons lined up to the sidewalk. The pastor told me that he had heard that my friends and I were there to talk about the church and that they wanted to know what was being said, demanding to be let in.

· One Sunday in another church we attended, a knock-down, drag-out brawl erupted during the auditorium Sunday School class between the pastor and his son-in-law after the son-in-law called his wife “a whore” in front of her father. The men in the class had to separate the two bloodied men.

· We left two other churches over less egregious matters involving simply the clear domination of church politics over principles of righteousness and biblical church polity.

When we came to Victory in September of 2011, our faith in the church had already been established. This was in itself a miracle of inexpressible proportion. I drew immeasurable comfort from you the day that you said to me that you felt a duty to show us that Victory could be an experience of healing and comfort for Gwen and for me in atmosphere of love. Those words of yours were refreshing waters on parched ground. Fourteen months later, you had not only failed to deliver on that promise personally and as a church, but you had added abuse, disrespect, injury, pain and betrayal of trust on a level that Gwen and I had never before known in spite of our tragic church experiences of 22 years. This inexpressibly painful episode, engineered and carried out by you, left us crushed, and for the first time, our health began to be affected. We considered giving up on church altogether. It is truly a miracle of the Lord that we have not.

We had sold our home in Indiana and moved to Weatherford, principally to be a part of Victory Baptist Church. We had a sizable property which was difficult to sell in the market of that time. Wanting more and more to be a part of Victory, we made the decision to leave a six figure sum on the table in order to make possible the relocation of a thousand miles to Weatherford. We joined Victory the first Sunday we were there. We felt on that day as if we were in the epicenter of God’s will for our lives. Again and again and again I was told by you, the entire church staff, and many others that Victory was going to be a wonderful church home and that there was every intention for me to be greatly used there. You yourself told me repeatedly that you were only waiting for us to finish the process of settling in so that I could be free to concentrate on being greatly used by the church. That never came to pass. The reasons that personally gave me when questioned as to why were the following:

· “You have too much energy.”

· “The people here will never accept you.”

· “The men in my pulpit have to reflect me.”

· “Brother Kaifetz, you are a race horse, and you can’t hook a race horse up to a plow.” (Bro. Stewart)

We bought a house on the same street as you and Shelley, just a few doors down. I personally believed this to be providential. We began to enjoy the church greatly. My wife and I had not been in church together in a long time. I had all but stopped going, maintaining only my bare responsibility as a Christian to “not [permanently] forsake” assembling myself with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25, implications of Greek tense added) .

You and I became very good friends. We rode motorcycles together most every week. We were in your home regularly and you in ours. I felt like I had been greatly blessed to have found not just a wonderful pastor, but a very dear friend and fellow preacher as well. Again, and again, and again, I was told how wonderful it was to have us at Victory and how much I would be used of God there. Brother Stuart regularly chimed in on a weekly basis with that refrain, as did Bro. Hamilton. This was repeated to me often throughout late 2011 and well into 2012.

You asked me to give my testimony in the church’s biggest event of the year, the Stewardship Banquet just a month or so after our arrival. You and countless others related to me that I had done an excellent job. I was later asked to speak in the Jewish Heritage Group, the High School Chapel, the grade school chapel, a men’s Breakfast and on at least two occasions you asked me to teach your auditorium Sunday School Class in your absence. In each and every case, the many comments that you and I both heard went substantially beyond a simply modest and courteous praise.

Before long, I began to get restless in what had seemed to be my ongoing church role as a pew-warmer. I also began to observe that the steady diet of devotional preaching at Victory was not feeding me, my wife, or other seasoned Christians who pointed out to me that they sure would like to see less of it and more expository preaching with core Bible teaching and not just biblical flavoring.

Once on a motorcycle ride to Granbury, you asked me if there was anything that I saw in the church that I thought could be improved. We had only been there a few months, and so I declined to answer. Nearly a year later I asked you if I could have a conversation with you. I did this for three reasons: 1.) I thought that the door was still open to answer the question that you had asked me in Granbury; 2.) I had heard you lament on several occasions that the church’s response to invitations was disappointing; 3.) I knew exactly why people were not responding to invitations as a pastor would want.

I had already had one conversation with Bro. Stewart in which I had let him know that God had not called me to warm a pew, and that after fourteen months of it, I was beginning to experience some frustration. His response was , “Brother Kaifetz, you are a racehorse! We can’t hook a racehorse up to a plow!” I left with the feeling that I was in the middle of a political game and that what I was getting was church tactics and not honest answers of transparency from those from whom I expected candor and straight answers. I began to strongly suspect that there were personal reasons why you did not want to use me at Victory. Today, I have no doubt as to the accuracy of that initial assumption. My conclusions beyond those estimations would not be personally flattering to you.

Soon I invited you over and we discussed invitations. I told you that in my opinion, invitations that are far too general always elicit a lower level of response. I had written down the phrase of invitation that you had used the last five services: “If God has spoken to you somewhere along the way, you come.” I tried as respectfully as I knew how to share with you that in every Bible College and seminary class that I had ever had, including on the doctoral level, that preachers were always taught to make their invitations specific and focused. I could tell that my advice, put as humbly and respectfully as I possibly knew how, much prayed over, and coming from a friend, fellow-preacher, and a man whom you knew appreciated and respected you, was falling on deaf ears. The meeting ended on what I consider to be a tense note in spite of my having done everything that I new how to do to keep from having that happen. I could see that you were not a man who was in the habit of taking advice seriously from anyone. Others who knew you and have worked for you would later echo that sentiment.

That week, I realized that I would not be able to be faithful to my calling from God while a member of Victory Baptist Church. I also you knew that this was your clear and orchestrated intention. My testimony on the Unshackled Radio Program had been heard in 37 countries by as many as three million people and translated into a number of other languages, yet it was never shared with the people at Victory. I am the author of twelve books, three with major publishers, yet for over a year, none of my books were ever mentioned, promoted, or made available in the church bookstore. I was academically qualified, with a B.S. and a Th.M. in Pastoral Theology, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy in Religion, yet never asked to teach anywhere.

Then I wrote another book while at Victory: “Profaned Pulpit—The Jack Schaap Story.” I pointed out to you that you were in close association with men who had wholeheartedly supported this inexpressibly corrupt and immoral megachurch pastor, Jack Schaap for years. These men had preached at Victory. They taught Victory’s preachers in training. You had gone to these men’s conferences where Jack Schaap was heralded in spite of his heretical and blasphemous teachings (the Lord’s Supper is having sex with Jesus, family demons cause men to be adulterous, etc.). I felt led of the Lord to make reference to this kind of thing in my book, although out of respect for you, I chose not to name the names of your culpable associates. Again, out of respect for my you, I gave you a pre-publication edition of the book and asked you to read it. You read it in less than day and then we met for dinner at The Mesquite Pit. You told me you thought it was “a good book.” You even suggested that I add another chapter to warn good churches on how to avoid becoming like First Baptist Church of Hammond. I did just that. Unfortunately, this book in fact scared you. I have not a shred of doubt concerning that conclusion; it has been reinforced by people who know you and have worked with you in the ministry. Your style of church management and polity has, I am so sorry to say, elements of commonality with what I have described in my books on churches as a “vertical church polity;” that is, from the pulpit down with no consideration of anyone’s Christian liberty to disagree with you without consequence.

If you will read the reviews of “Profaned Pulpit” on Amazon Books by pastors and victims of those abuses, you will see that this book has been blessed of God. Now, brother, your positive comments notwithstanding, it is my considered opinion that you were were ultimately very uncomfortable and even threatened with the publication of this book and that it was instrumental in paving the way for me to be ushered out of Victory Baptist Church. I have not the slightest doubt as to the accuracy of that statement. That was your intention and your doing.

You then wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation upon my request . I reasoned that if I was not going to be used at Victory (and it was abundantly and powerfully clear to me that I was not), then I wanted at least to get out to other churches in order to be faithful to my calling of God to preach the Gospel of Christ and to edify believers through sound doctrine and good, expository Bible preaching. The letter that you wrote on my behalf, as you know, was an unconditional endorsement. That letter will forever keep you from pointing to any shortcoming you may claim to have perceived as the basis of keeping me out of the pulpit at Victory Baptist Church. I am including a copy of that letter as a reminder of your unconditional endorsement just days before our leaving.

The following week I again asked you once again to drop by. You came over and we sat down on our back patio. As you sat reclined in a patio chair, never removing your dark aviator-style sunglasses, what transpired in that meeting ended my friendship with you and led my wife and I to leave Victory Baptist Church. This was a devastating experience for us that led to a major fracture in my relationship with Gwen’s family. You will never know the distress that this has brought to Gwen, nor do I believe that even something like rises for you above the dictates of church politics. I just don’t think that you care. Your actions have made that plain. I have learned that I am not the first close friend and brother in Christ who has been severed from your life and become the victim of your style of pastoral management and church leadership.

Then the subject of xxxxxxxxxxxx came up. Gwen and I could not listen to Bro. xxxxxxxxxxxxx preach. He was what thousands of IFB abuse survivors call a “trigger.” Gwen had decided to trust me and the faith that I had developed in you in the year that we had been at Victory. That was anything but an easy task for her. People with our background will have a visceral and tremendously unsettling response to a man like xxxxxxxxxxxx who exhibits inn the pulpit what we have come to call the “Fundamentalist Swagger.” I had put it to you in another way before, saying, “Once you have been in a train wreck, there is no such things as an enjoyable train ride.” You told me that you understood. As I listened to xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, far too many of these distasteful and unsettling memories of the “Fundamentalist Swagger” surfaced for me. I can only thank God that Gwen was in the nursery that service. She would have surely been greatly unsettled once again by this style of preaching and its total absence of humility.

That day on our patio, however, you made some demands of me that did not reflect anything resembling the understanding you had promised earlier. You said this to me: “I can’t have someone in church who is going to question my authority. I asked him [xxxxxxxxx] to preach, and I will probably do it again.” I was plainly and expressly told that to be a member of the church, or at least to be used there, I could not exercise my right to not support any preacher whom my pastor put in the pulpit, and that the impact on me and my wife were for you inconsequential. You made abundantly clear that I HAD to be there when he was brought to the pulpit. That was wholly unacceptable to me as a Christian and a member of a New Testament Church. That for me violated my Christian liberty, and was an unacceptable intrusion on my God-given duty to protect my wife. That was sadly of no concern to you whatsoever, and you made that plain. I only wanted her nightmares to end and to feel loved and secure in her new church. That seemed not to matter to you, no matter how I tried to get you to see our position and to understand the abuses we had faced in so many previous churches. In the end, you only heaped on more abuse.

I could not imagine my pastor saying anything to me that I would consider as biblically and personally unacceptable as this demand of unfettered support and loyalty that you had just made known to me was a requirement for being used at Victory. But you were not through. You then added the following: “The men in my pulpit have to reflect ME!” I was dumbfounded. I had spent hundreds of hours with you in the last fourteen months. I had befriended you as I had no brother in Christ in decades. I had spent several hundred dollars on a rare 1611 KJV Bible manuscript of the Romans chapter eight page to give you as a Christmas present in 2011. I had spend untold hours helping you around your house with all manner of projects and improvements that you lacked the skills to undertake. We had taken you out to dinner with your wife many times. I had tried in vain to influence you to eat in a more healthy manner and to think about a program of exercise, even inviting you to work out with me each week. You declined repeatedly, much to my disappointment, and your wife’s as well. In an instant, I saw that our friendship and your divinely ordained responsibilities to me as my shepherd and pastor and friend would take an immediate back seat to the dictates of church politics as an expression of your personal agenda for the church. I was dumbfounded. I had trusted, and I had once again seen that trust shattered and betrayed, this time in an even far greater way than all of the previous times because of the trust, friendship and love that I had extended to you. It has been months now, and Gwen and I are still devastated by our experience at Victory. We can only thank God for the small number people from Victory who have reached out, and for the local pastors who know our story through whom we have been blessed since being pushed out of Victory by you. For the most part, the traditional and well known Baptist practice of “shunning” has sadly been a reality for us since leaving the church.

You would think that we had reached the low point of our relationship with you and that things could not possibly get any worse. You would be wrong. I decided to ask you one last question that day on our patio: “You would rather I just left Victory Baptist Church now, wouldn’t you? Of all the things, words, expressions, and disappointment that reared their ugly head in the course of our time together that day, nothing for me will ever rise to the stunning level of offense that was inflicted by your response to that question. I want to be EXCEEDINGLY careful to be fair to the you in describing this. I want to make no assumptions, add no embellishments or frame this in anything other than a perfectly honest and detailed context. I also want to make it clear that I am not accusing you of verbally expressing the answer. All that being said, you made your answer as clear as if you had written a detailed answer in large, bold capital letters above your notarized signature.

When I asked you, Charles Wetherbee, if you would rather I left Victory Baptist Church, you did the following:

· You continued to lean far back in your chair.

· You had been slouched down low the whole time, never removing your dark green, aviator style sunglasses.

· Your hands were folded on your stomach.

· You then turned your wrists and extended your hands outward, keeping your elbows at your side.

· Your demonstrated a slight grin.

· You then noticeably shrugged your shoulders while showing the palms of your hands and then turned them upwards while still shrugging your shoulders.

Your body language was excruciatingly clear! (I hope that you will not further insult my intelligence by continuing to deny the obvious here.) It was then that I knew that there was nothing left to salvage in my relationship with my pastor or my church. Nevertheless, in my confusion, I thought I would still give it a try, as I had had so much faith in the church, and especially in you. We had made many friends there, or so we thought. Shelley and Gwen, as you know, were very close. Then my wife reminded me of two things, (something that in these situations usually works the other way around): 1.) It would be a major and untenable compromise to stay in a church I no longer believed in (a church where the pastor had made it abundantly clear to me that he did not want me there); 2.) The people there whom I thought were my friends would drop me like a hot potato the second I left. (This has turned out to be quite true with the exception of a small handful of people.) This is always the case in every Baptist Church. Baptists employ the same shunning dynamics as the Amish. The difference is that the Amish are honest enough to call it what it is, “shunning” and to tell the victim to their face. Baptists shun most everyone who leaves their church, and their code of silence and isolation toward those leaving precludes entirely any biblical foundation on which such action is supposed to be founded for Christians. In every Baptist church that I have ever been in, church politics and loyalty to the institution or its leader will always, always, always rise to a higher level than Scripture. (One member of V.B.C. did make a very misguided and unsound attempt to justify my shunning from a biblical perspective with some ridiculously general Scriptures, and one staff member wrote me a demeaning personal e-mail.) Everyone else just put it into practice.

In my fourteen months at Victory Baptist Church, as I patiently and anxiously awaited the opportunity to be faithful to my calling of God to minister to Christians, to preach the Word of God, and to put my shoulder to the wheel of church ministry, I made many, many suggestions concerning what I was able to contribute to the church. I will present here a partial list:

· I volunteered to be a substitute Sunday School Teacher. No response.

· I had taught a 16 week Creation Science Course in other churches that had always been very successful and resulted in much church growth. (I had been trained under Henry Morris at the institute for Creation Research.) I volunteered to teach that course at Victory. No response.

· I suggested a “Creation Minute” before every Wednesday or Sunday evening service, in which a list of meaningful and crucial issues concerning Creation would be addressed in 2-3 minutes. No response.

· I offered to lead a field trip in the local area to show people escarpments common to the local geology and to explain the important connection they have to the Genesis Flood. No response.

· I asked if my testimony featured as a radio drama on the Unshackled Radio Program could be played for the church on a Sunday evening. No response.

· I asked if I could be considered at some future point for a Sunday School class. No response.

· I asked if I could share my testimony with the youth group. No response.

· I was asked on a visit to VBC years ago to explain the SEO (search engine optimization) program that my company had implemented resulting in 1,700% growth in sales the first year. I did a presentation for the entire staff, telling them that the church website was a static “catalogue” website and had no traffic. I explained to them how my company had moved from page 25 of Google to page one, and the enormity of what that could mean if a church decided to take the steps that lead there. More recently I showed them the visible results of these efforts on my main ministry site showing over 15,000 hits in one month, and 1,000 of those people listening to my Unshackled testimony. No response.

· I suggested that the church set up a video studio to record the testimonies of church members for inclusion into a separate website that could be promoted locally the way I have done with my site, and how the same powerful results could be achieved. No response.

· I suggested a booth at First Mondays where I would deliver talks on Creation vs. Evolution and challenge the people to bring their best questions and their validations for Evolution. I have never failed to draw a crowd in doing this. This often draws substantial numbers of people, many of who will come to a church teaching on this subject. These are very often people who would not otherwise come to any church for whom Creation provides a valid path to faith. I have never seen less than 20% growth in these programs. No response.

· I have a close friend who is an attorney and a noted Christian author. His name is Voyle Glover. He wrote a book on how to protect a church from child predators. I offered the book to Pastor Wetherbee to read on several occasions. I also told him Mr. Glover would come to Victory if invited. No church is immune from these scandals, and pre-emptive measures and policies offer a tremendous legal bulwark if scandal comes. No response.

· I offered to provide some information on the dynamic and illuminating “Hydroplate Theory” that explains the science and dynamics of the Genesis Flood on a level that nothing ever has in Christian history. No response.

So you see, it became obvious to me that I was not going to be used at Victory. It is of course the pastor’s prerogative to use whom he chooses. My problem lies in the fact that there was never the slightest reason presented to me why there was obviously an orchestrated effort to keep me from fulfilling my calling from God in my church. I was qualified, trained, experienced, called, highly motivated and leading a separated Christian life that was for all intents and purposes beyond any reproach that had come my way from anyone in my church or beyond for thirty years. If there was a valid obstacle to my being used at Victory, it was never once made known to me. I have been in a wonderful Christian marriage for almost thirty years, had raised two children whose lives shined for the Lord. I had taught hundreds if not thousands of churches my evangelism course. (Never was I asked to do this at Victory.) Further, you well knew that I had always given God the fullest measure of praise and honor for the multitude of blessings in my life. We both know that neither you nor anyone in the church ever brought anything in my life contrary to that spirit in me to my attention.

After examining all the possible reasons for my having been sidelined, some reasons did begin to emerge through my counseling and discussions with other pastors. Even though there was a consistent thread throughout what these men shared with me, I will refrain from going into these reasons here as I understand that my framing of this subject is based on circumstantial elements, and this letter is not about personally diminishing you, other than what I believe is warranted in your role as pastor.

So I am giving you the opportunity to pursue a biblical resolution to our conflict. That is your personal choice. Personally, I don’t believe that you can be comfortable in dealing with these issues face to face with anyone with an open Bible between the two parties. I would welcome being proven wrong.

I have a great deal more that could be brought out. I have spent several months in the process of investigation, research and documentation using the considerable resources that are available to me. (I believe that you lied to the church about Jason’s adultery and put him in the pulpit at Victory after that offense.) That being said, I absolutely respect the sovereignty of the New testament Church. My intentions are honorable, sincere, as impersonal as one can from a human perspective make them, and most of all, they are biblical to a “T.” I challenge you or anyone to prove the contrary. I do not seek to make or impose any decision for you or for the church, now or in the future. What I do seek is accountability, respect and integrity. That has and will continue to be a matter of serious prayer for me. As you know, I am very, very bullish on accountability.

Many people have left Victory, and you have not had any difficulty in presenting these accounts to the church in a manner that suits your needs best. My belief is that in the end, God reveals to the world who people are. There is nothing veiled here. I hope you will not do me the further injustice of characterizing me as someone who has an axe to grind, or who has made a threat to you or the church. That characterization will not prevail. I promise you that. In the end, the believer’s right to claim his or her rights under Matthew 18 will prevail for any determined and sincere Christian who will not be marginalized or misrepresented. I reiterate once again: this is not a threat of any kind. It is simply a statement of fact. This is 2013, not 1990.

I now give you the opportunity to establish a path for reconciliation. I will only offer you this once. I have an inexpressibly strong belief that Christian leaders should be accountable for their actions. I am giving you the courtesy of coming to you first in the sincere hope that you will accept that opportunity. If you choose instead to misrepresent my motives or mischaracterize the biblical foundation of my actions as expressed in this letter, you will not succeed in that endeavor. I hope and I will be praying that you do not make the mistake of responding in that spirit. I have every intention of holding you accountable for the way in which you have treated me and my family. I have the resources, experience, and ability to do this on any level that I deem to be appropriate and just before God. The venue of choice and method is for now in your hands. If you choose to respond in a biblical way and leave behind the tactics of political church politics and manipulation, then there will in all probability be an honorable and just conclusion to these matters.

There is a path here that honors God. I hope and pray that together, we can find that path.

Sincerely,

Jerry Kaifetz

Jerry Kaifetz

JK@OMEGACHEMICAL.COM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Matthew Henry on Matthew 5:21

IV. From all this it is here inferred, that we ought carefully to preserve Christian love and peace with our brethren, and that if at any time a breach happens, we should labour for a reconciliation, by confessing our fault, humbling ourselves to our brother, begging his pardon, and making restitution, or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed, according as the nature of the thing is; and that we should do this quickly for two reasons:

1. Because, till this be done, we are utterly unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances, v. 23, 24. The case supposed is, “That thy brother have somewhat against thee,’’ that thou has injured and offended him, either really or in his apprehension; if thou are the party offended, there needs not this delay; if thou have aught against thy brother, make short work of it; no more is to be done but to forgive him (Mk. 11:25), and forgive the injury; but if the quarrel began on thy side, and the fault was either at first or afterwards thine, so that thy brother has a controversy with thee, go and be reconciled to him before thou offer thy gift at the altar, before thou approach solemnly to God in the gospel-services of prayer and praise, hearing the word or the sacraments. Note, (1.) When we are addressing ourselves to any religious exercises, it is good for us to take that occasion of serious reflection and self-examination: there are many things to be remembered, when we bring our gift to the altar, and this among the rest, whether our brother hath aught against us; then, if ever, we are disposed to be serious, and therefore should then call ourselves to an account. (2.) Religious exercises are not acceptable to God, if they are performed when we are in wrath; envy, malice, and uncharitableness, are sins so displeasing to God, that nothing pleases him which comes from a heart wherein they are predominant, 1 Tim. 2:8. Prayers made in wrath are written in gall, Isa. 1:15; 58:4. (3.) Love or charity is so much better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifice, that God will have reconciliation made with an offended brother before the gift be offered; he is content to stay for the gift, rather than have it offered while we are under guilt and engaged in a quarrel. (4.) Though we are unfitted for communion with God, by a continual quarrel with a brother, yet that can be no excuse for the omission or neglect of our duty: “Leave there thy gift before the altar, lest otherwise, when thou has gone away, thou be tempted not to come again.’’ Many give this as a reason why they do not come to church or to the communion, because they are at variance with some neighbour; and whose fault is that? One sin will never excuse another, but will rather double the guilt. Want of charity cannot justify the want of piety. The difficulty is easily got over; those who have wronged us, we must forgive; and those whom we have wronged, we must make satisfaction to, or at least make a tender of it, and desire a renewal of the friendship, so that if reconciliation be not made, it may not be our fault; and then come, come and welcome, come and offer thy gift, and it shall be accepted. Therefore we must not let the sun go down upon our wrath any day, because we must go to prayer before we go to sleep; much less let the sun rise upon our wrath on a sabbath-day, because it is a day of prayer.1

1Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

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The Woman Taken in Adultery

In the story in John chapter eight of the woman taken in adultery, there is a very specific context, purpose and there are some pointed key elements. It is somewhat unusual to find a Christian who understands any of these and who does not often completely misunderstand the purpose of the story.

Many Christians believe that here Jesus overturned the Old Testament Law. He did not. The Bible is abundantly clear that God has never changed his mind about the Law. (Romans 7: The law is perfect and holy and just.)

Still many others believe that the central theme of this story has to do with Jesus condemning judgement. He never did that. He in fact said the precise opposite: “Judge righteous judgment.” Judgment ought never to be personal, but rather the application of God’s judgment as His appointed ambassadors. The elimination of judgement always results in moral anarchy.

If we look at the story carefully, the reason why God chose to include it in the Bible will emerge in a magnificent and unique brilliance, and our pop culture myths about its purpose will fade in the unmistakable brilliance of that divine light.

“ And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery;
and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery,
in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us,
that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground,
as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself,
and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience,
went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last:
and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman,
He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?
Hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her,
Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

The Pharisees had a very specific purpose in bringing this woman to Jesus. The narrative reveals that unsavory motive: they wanted to discredit Jesus by showing his disregard for the required penalty for this offense under Old Testament Law: stoning unto death. They cared nothing for the woman or the adjudication of her offense.
When Jesus said “He who is without sin,” this was a direct reference to Deuteronomy 13:9; 17:7, where the witnesses of a crime are to start the execution. Only those who were not guilty of the same sin could participate! This makes the departure of the Pharisees considerably more telling, and may have been a most liberating thought to the woman.
Note here that the woman was on the ground, which we assume because Jesus stooped to write His message there for her. JESUS CAME TO HER THERE! The Pharisees and presumably the rest of the crowd was STANDING. This is noteworthy.
Then in addressing the Pharisees, Jesus STOOD UP. The text says that “He lifted Himself up.” He did not at that point ask the woman to stand up. After his confrontation of the Pharisees using their guilty consciences to leverage their guilt publicly, the text then states that Jesus went back to the woman, and He was left alone with her, AND THAT SHE WAS THEN STANDING!!!
The Pharisees had probably thrown her to the ground in front of Jesus. When Jesus demonstrated to her that her accusers were no less guilty of sin than she was, THE WOMAN STOOD TO HER FEET. I can just see the hand of Jesus extended to her, for I do not believe that her evident contrition would have allowed her to take that action upon herself. This always brings me to the much speculated upon issue of what Jesus wrote on the ground. The truth is that we don’t know. That being said, I tend to lean decidedly toward a question that I believe Jesus asked her: “Are you sorry?” I say this because divine forgiveness of sin never can occur this side of repentance. That means doing our utmost to see our sin as God sees it. I do not believe that Jesus had any other motive or goal with this woman, and I do not believe that He could have forgiven her absent her genuine repentance. Since there is no record of a conversation between the woman and Jesus, I tend to believe that repentance was the subject matter of the words Jesus wrote on the ground.

The glorious and literally uplifting miracle here is that this woman was thrown to the ground in disgust by her religious leaders, and that when the burden of her sin was lifted from her, SHE WAS STANDING UPRIGHT NEXT TO JESUS! Her condemnation was gone! It was gone because JESUS CAME TO HER LOWLY LEVEL TO REACH OUT TO HER while organized religion threw her to the ground and heaped their hypocritical scorn upon her. This is what religion does. Thank God, it is not what Jesus does.

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Should the Confession of Sin in the Church be Public?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnes.”  1 John 1:9

What does it mean to “confess our sins.” There is no shortage of opinions on this.  The one that counts, however, must be 100% biblically based.  This is an attempt to  express that position.

The word “confess” is the Greek word “homologeo”  { hom-ol-og-eh’-o}.  It is a compound word made from the  words “homo”     (together)  & “logos” (word).  We see clearly here that the intent is to suggest an audible speaking together.   One definition given is “to have a discussion.”  This seems surely to preclude simply telling God about it (as if He did not know).  A synonym would be “acknowledge.”  The general use of that term in biblical times was in the context of a public event: “of persons assembled together.”  Often the word “homou” is substituted.  It is the genitive case  of  homos: “an indication of a public event; done out in the open.”   This action refers to an open confession, not a private admission behind closed doors.  This is the condition upon which God’s forgiveness is predicated.  (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon  – 1995)

In my home church in Santee, California,  there has been an epidemic of sexual sins over the years.   (27 people out of the 50-60 to which they have been reduced from several hundred.)  I have always maintained that a major reason for that staggering decline is because there was never the disincentive of public confession attached to any sexual sin committed in that assembly.  That was never a price to be paid for adultery there.  It was evident to all that there had never been the great price to pay for these sins:  standing before church and family and confessing what one had done.  Very, very few churches practice this.  My position is that God requires it, and that once implemented, this policy will act as a monumental deterrent to anyone facing the temptation to commit the sin of adultery or fornication.  This keeps the perpetrator from pretending to be in that church what he is not not.  Confession compels an honest self-evaluation, without which there can be no reconciliation with God, the One most aggrieved by sin.

In the end, God makes all sin visible: “There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed.”  There IS full accountability in God’s economy.  I believe that the world is best served by implementing that accountability immediately following the offense.  By doing so, we help the guilty to take a monumental step in being restored to God.  They MUST agree with God on the nature of their sin, just as in salvation.    This is nothing more than one seeing their sin as God sees it and acting accordingly.  Anyone avoiding accountability and seeking quarter has not come to that point, and their healing, not to mention that of their victims,  cannot properly begin.  They are and will continue to be at odds with God.

Many will now say that if we adopt this method, then we will not have time for anything else in the church.  Nonsense!  This is is just an excuse to continue in the old-school pattern of covering sin and manipulating it politically in the church as we cover for the perpetrators in an effort to minimize the damage in their lives.  We lose sight of the fact that God’s original punishment for adultery was death.  Yes, grace has mitigated that, but Paul said that the OT Law was “holy, and JUST and good!”  (Romans 7:12) Contrary to the rampant pop theology on our religious landscape, there ARE degrees of sin.  Jesus himself clearly spoke of those having “the greater sin” (John 19:11).  We confuse this with the legal categorization of sin, wherein one sin establishes the imperfection required for condemnation:    “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  (James 2:10)

God has described Himself as Light.  Ask yourself what is better, more light or less light?  More of God, or less of God.  Should God extend Himself into the dark corners of the church?  Should the church cooperate with the guilty believer in trying to obfuscate his or her sin and minimize the damage?

Sexual sin may well be in a class by itself as God sees it.  It is the only sin in all the Bible of which God said that the offender “destroyeth his own soul.”  (Proverbs 6:32) A permissible and better translation would probably be “destroyeth his own life.”  This translation of the the Hebrew word for “soul” (nephesh) is given 117 times in the Old Testament, and does not bring into question the prospect of one losing their salvation over sin.  The writer goes on to express that the corrosive nature of sexual sins must never be underestimated by adding the warning: “His reproach shall not be wiped away.”

So how is this sort of thing handled in your church?  Has the biblical model been followed or the human model?  I would suggest that the recurrence of this sin in your church and the safety of the young, innocent lives that have been brought into the church by parents wanting their children to know God, love God and to have a solid Christian underpinning for their Christian lives is something that many churches are willing to risk by adopting the human, political, protective model of dealing with sexual sins in the church.  Sadly, that protection all too often is extended to the perpetrators and not the victims, past present or future.

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Why I Left the DR-HAC Group

I left First Baptist Church of Hammond in 1989.  I had graduated from Hyles-Anderson College in 1986 and from Hyles-Anderson Seminary in 1988.  I was a rather high profile individual in this institution since shortly after my arrival there in 1983.  I had been a professional skier and traveled the world for many years, and  I brought that same level of intensity to my dedication to the Christian life and cause.
Along with my experiences in the business world as the C.E.O. of a California solar company, that all allowed me to fit right in to the ministries of the church and to establish ties and friendships with its leaders.

In 1990 I read the book, Fundamental Seduction, and everything changed for me.  I immediately realized that I could not be a part of a morally corrupt institution.  I had much to lose.  I had won every award they offered for evangelism.  I was best friends with the heir apparent to the Hyles empire, Jack Schaap.  (My wife and I were the first couple he married in 1985.)  I had been the only student to ever be asked to teach at Pastor’s School and taught over 1,000 pastors there my method of evangelism.  I had written a book in 1989 entitled “World Class Truth” and Jack Hyles had written the introduction.  I was speaking in conferences with the full backing of the church.  Once I became convinced that my pastor was an adulterous man, none of that mattered and I left, leaving a promising future behind.

At that time, I was writing a regular newspaper column for the Gary Post Tribune, a paper with a readership in the hundreds of thousands in Northwest Indiana.  I dedicated an entire column to outing Jack Hyles.  The battle lines had been drawn, and the war was on.  I have been a major player in that war ever since.

With the advent of the Internet, the battles took place in a new and different venue: forums.  They were intense, and the participants were exceedingly polarized.  There was no censorship in those days.  Nobody “owned” these venues, and the slugfests were both regular and intense.  These places were not the province of the fragile.  There were no self-appointed censors, and everything and everyone was fair game.  I absolutely do understand the need to protect victms from further abuse, but oh my, how things have changed.

As still more scandals erupted out of Hammond, I seemed to always find myself at their center.  When a church deacon there by the name of A.V. Ballenger molested a young girl in the Sunday School, I found myself closely allied with the victims’s family.  I sat through the three day trial with them.  I counseled with them for untold hours at their kitchen table.  My wife and I befriended their children and we did everything we could for them.  We understood their pain.  We shed many tears for them and with them.

When former Hyles-Anderson student Andy Beith became a Christian high school principal and kidnaped an eleven year old girl and took off with her on a sex filled cross country escapade, I became very close with the girl’s family and spent every day, all day in their home as their media representative and counselor as satellite television trucks lined their street.  I was daily in front of those cameras on their behalf.  We literally prayed together for hours every day, working with the F.B.I. moment by moment until their daughter was safely brought home.  We have remained friends to this day. I was at the mother’s funeral and I believed this ordeal ended her life prematurely.

Around then.  I wrote my book, “Clouds Without Rain” about dysfunctional churches and how to fix them.  I had never stopped being a center of controversy in Independent Fundamental Baptist circles, and my new book fueled that perception, along with helping many churches who wanted to do better.

In the summer of 2012, the man who had once been my best friend and business partner, Jack Schaap, was arrested and pled guilty to having sex with a 16 year old girl from his church.  I had reached out to him since he became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond imploring him to come clean on behalf of the church so that the church could be restored after the damage and destruction they experienced under Jack Hyles.  He ignored every one of my letters.

Jack Schaap’s arrest was the impetus for a Facebook Group called “Do Right Hyles-Anderson College” to be launched.  Schaap had been the chancellor of the college.   I welcomed this venue, as it purported to be primarily a victim advocacy group.  I soon learned, however, that this was not an entirely accurate description.  I found that this group was home to many different kinds of individuals who has come out of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement.   I was upon joining that group immediately challenged by an atheist who wanted to personally debate atheism and evolution with me.  I told him that this was not what I was there to do and referred him to my many post blogs and video series on that subject.  I was chastised for that.   Before long, I was publicly called “a penis-brain, IFB wannabe” by a woman there.  That comment was left to stand.   When I addressed the moderator concerning this, I made the mistake of using the term “loose monitoring.”  I was summarily banned from the group at that instant because I wanted to “debate theology.”

It was then that I wrote my book, “Profaned Pulpit—The Jack Schaap Story.”   The book was released in November of 2012 and has done well.  Many, many victims and pastors have expressed to me and in reviews and correspondences that the book has been enormously helpful in their healing, as well as in the arduous task of re-balancing  their lives.  Reviews from pastors across the country have been very positive, with only the die hard “Kool Aid drinkers” of the IFB Movement having anything negative to say about the book.  (That will surely change now as the DR advocates see my divergence as an “attack,” their default setting to any expression of criticism).  Nevertheless, quite a number of references to the book did not survive the scalpel of the admins on the Do-Right HAC Facebook Group.  It was only after a peace was brokered between the leadership of the group and a third party that I was allowed back in.  Meanwhile, I had started a Facebook Group under the title of my new book, Profaned Pulpit.  (It was not long before I was warned by Trisha LaCroix that members of the DR Group had gone to Facebook and complained of “cyber bullying.”  Two days later an entire thread critical of Trisha LaCroix was mysteriously removed from the Group.  (There are no admins on the Profaned Pulpit  Group but me, at least for now.)

Even with all of that, this was  yet a manageable situation for me.  I had been in many wars before, and I am fully capable of articulating my views and defending my position.  The matter of chronic censorship on the DR Group, however, surely did impose additional burdens.  When every subtle disagreement is characterized as an “attack” and constant references are made expressing “I own this group,” then I come to the place where I must ask myself a very painful and delicate question: how are we any different than the IFB Movement from whence we all came? Were they not patently intolerant of criticism?  Were they not lightning quick to label anyone expressing the slightest nuance of disagreement with them?    Did they not demand absolute authority and compliance? (“Loyalty.)   Did they not plaster their images and pictures everywhere, including the side of a building?  Was there not the notable absence of a path for divergent views?  The answer to all those questions was for me as startling as it was disturbing.  Those who had “come out from among them” were becoming just like them! Still, I reasoned and knew from the many notes of support and appreciation that I was receiving every week that the cost/benefit analysis of remaining in the DR Group still tilted for me in favor of having a presence there.

Many people expressed to me,  and I respectfully and as graciously as I knew how expressed to Tricia LaCroix that we had handed a gift-wrapped and sizable gift to the leadership of First Baptist Church of Hammond.  We had made it possible and indeed accurate for the DR Group to be described as a haven for homosexuals, atheists, agnostics, gratuitous profanity, and of course the inexpressibly damaging photos of the Trisha LaCroix  groping the genitals of the Hyles statue.  (I admit that at first that humor was not entirely lost on me.)  What I specifically said to her was that all these things by which the DR Group would now forever be known had served the purpose of firebombing the bridge that needs to be in place for future victims to cross over to the Victim Advocacy Movement.  It is my belief that as long a Victim Advocacy Movement remains publicly identified with expressions that are highly offensive to the very people we are trying to reach,  then groups like  DR HAC Group are seriously at odds odds with their own professed mission.   The  flow of victims to such support groups will cease and the group becomes a closed system of mutual support without the ability to reach out to any appreciable number of other victims.

As I write this, I am SURE that my words will be construed as “an attack.”  It is NOT!   They are the “faithful wounds of a friend.” I have read Trisha’s story of abuse and I was repeatedly moved to tears by it.  I understand exceedingly well the compelling desire to throw everything overboard that smacks of IFB.  However, they did not get everything 100% wrong.  They were correct about the deity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, salvation by grace through faith, the bodily resurrection, and other things.  Now did they live that way?  Positively NOT!   (See the chapter in Profaned Pulpit, “Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water.”) I fully understand that some dishonest people will not be able to resist the temptation to label me as an IFB supporter for saying this.  Thanks the Lord, the temptation to respond to those criticisms has always been beneath me.

Now I come to the principal reason why I am leaving the Do-Right HAC Group.  I CAN tolerate every single thing that I have described above.  The e-mails and personal messages I receive every week leave no doubt in my mind about that.  Yes!  It has been worth it all, up to now.  Tragically, however, something happened on Feb. 7, 2013 that changed all of that for me.

It is one thing to have people express beliefs that I deem to be wrong and contrary to the Christian faith.  That is the right and privilege of every American.  There was a time when I surely could have expressed my opposition to those individuals in a more gracious way.  (I came out of the IFB world just like many of you did, and graciousness 101 was not in the college curriculum, as I recall.)  But, I have learned, and I continue to learn.

There came a point yesterday, however, when I saw a line drawn in the sand that froze me in my tracks.  I stopped what I was doing.  I looked at it again, desperately hoping that I had misread what was before me on the DR Group.  I read it again, and again, and again.  I had not misread.

Before me was a post on the DR-HAC Group; it  was a cartoon.  It was a caricature of God on a psychiatrist’s couch.  Next to Him was presumably his analyst with a notepad and wearing thick glasses.  Here are the words attributed to God in that cartoon: “I ONCE MADE A WHOLE NEW PLANET AND POPULATED IT WITH LITTLE VERSIONS OF ME, BUT THEY WERE NAUGHTY, SO I DROWNED MOST OF THEM AND I HAD SEX WITH ONE OF THEM AND MADE A BABY ME, BUT I KILLED HIM SO THE OTHERS WOULD LOVE ME.”

I sat in stunned silence, realizing that this was an expression blasphemy that had perhaps gone beyond anything I had come across in my lifetime.  God was being mocked here and His actions described as murder and fornication.  Then that big wrecking ball swung back and hit me even harder: THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS WAS BEING DEPICTED AS THE MURDEROUS ACT OF A JEALOUS FATHER FOR HIS OWN SELFISH PURPOSES.  As I write this, it has been going on 24 hours, and that cartoon is still there.  I simply as a Christian cannot be a part of such an outrageously blasphemous public expression.  How any professing Christian now in an abusive church environment would knowingly come to group capable of something like this is an unthinkable notion to me.  As a Christian (slap any other label of your own choosing on me that that you care to), I come face to face with something God says every believer should incorporate into worshiping Him: FEAR.  (I know . .. . not one of the decals available in “Bumper-Sticker Christianity”…) If someone chooses to create a God after their own image, and fear doesn’t fit into that plan, then I have no cause against that person.  We live in a free country.  For me, however, calling God a murderer, a fornicator, and attributing the death of my Savior on the cross to a capricious and vain expression of divine jealousy is someplace I cannot go . . . nor can I associate myself with those who are comfortable pitching their tent there.  Some dishonest folks will surely contend that that means that I am deep down a repressive IFB type.  Again, that sentiment does not deserve to be dignified.  There is plenty of ground between adhering to the basic tenets of the Christian faith and being another Jack Hyles.

I fully expect to be labeled, vilified, marginalized and hear people say that I was “one of them” all along.  The problem with that characterization is that I have a 24 year history with hundreds of thousands of published words, an appearance in a television documentary about FBC, numerous television interviews on every network TV affiliate in Chicago and a scathing book about an IFB leader with another soon to be released that tells a far different story.  Those of you ready now to put your label machine on full-auto, perhaps you should consider this: will it not bother you at all that you will then have the entire IFB world as your ally in maligning me?  That is a tough question to ask, I know.   I hope you can come up with an honest answer . . . . . . Take your time . . . .

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The Law Was For Old Testament Times . . . Right?

The title of this article is a very common belief among Christians.  Like all religious beliefs, however, to have validity, accuracy and benefit, it must be biblically based.  With that in mind, let us understand first of all that all assumptions are problematic by nature, and so undertake to look at what the Bible says about The Law.  This vital today for the Christian given the church’s modern tendency to portray God a love often in the complete absence of judgment.  This is not the God of the Bible.

The first thing we must do is to understand the origin and purpose of the Law, which are interwoven together.  The Law was NOT given as the pathway to redemption.  “If there had  been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law.”  (Gal. 3:21) The Law could not save man because “It was weak through the flesh.”  (Rom. 8:3) I can walk the length of 2 X 4.  I can probably walk the length of a few of them end to end.  Line them up from Chicago to San Francisco, however and it is a sure bet that no human alive could cover that distance without falling off.  This is what Paul meant when he said the Law was “weak through the flesh.”

We must understand that the Law was given to accentuate man’s knowledge of sin.  If you cross a state line in your car and are driving 60 m.p.h., you won’t know you are speeding until you see the sign that says “Speed Limit 40.”  That sign is the Old Testament Law.  The sign cannot slow you down.  Its only purpose is to show you that you are speeding in violation of the Law.  While conscience does play a role in understanding our guilt, the standard that establishes transgression is the Law, otherwise we are justified in saying, “transgressing what?”  Heathen societies have for centuries understood the concept that man needs to appease God for transgressions inherent to human nature.  This is why nearly all false religions have involved sacrifice.

The accouterments of the Old Testament priesthood such as the tabernacle, the holy place, the holy of holies, the laver, the altar of incense and the role of the priesthood itself were designed to help us understand the weight of the law by bringing us to a better place of understanding regarding the holiness of God.  The ceremonial laws were a visible manifestation of the holiness of God.  And then, as Paul says, the Law was given to man as the vehicle or “schoolmaster” to lead men to Christ. (Romans 10:4)   Paul called the Law the paidagogos, a reference to a trusted and educated slave in a Roman household who was often charged with the academic and moral upbringing of the children.

In the Old Testament, the atonement was made by the priest in the Holy of Holies.  Before  Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did not indwell the believer.  Hence, the atonement had to be made where the Holy Spirit dwelt: the Temple.  After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit indwelt believers and the “priesthood of the believer” had been established.  Logically, each believer then has a Holy of Holies within them and THAT is where the sacrifice had to be brought.  That sacrifice was Christ and no priest was needed any longer.  HALLELUJAH!

To sum up the purpose of the Old Testament Law, its task was to reveal to man his sinfulness in contrast to the holiness of God.  By pointing via the priesthood, sacrifices and the tabernacle to God’s coming sacrifice, Christ, the origin and scope of the Law’s purpose can be clearly understood.

Today the believer understands that he or she is delivered from the Law.     But is this in fact completely true?  Can we claim that our relationship with the Law ended when the Old Testament ended?  In fact, many Christians, seriously misinterpret the statement that the ordinances were nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14) .  This means that the believer is dead to the law’s power of CONDEMNATION, as the cross was an instrument of execution.  But the Law itself is anything but completely invalidated.   God established the seriousness of the capital offenses of the Old Testament, and God has surely not changed His mind about them.  God never changes: Mal. 3:6.   God therefore surely believes that transgressors of Old testament capital offenses such as murder, adultery, kidnapping, and rape deserve the death penalty!  That can never change for God, or He would not be God.  What does change is that God as a righteous but merciful judge steps out from behind the divine bench of judgment, takes off his judicial robe, looks at the sinner and sees His Son Jesus Christ when the sinner claims Christ’s death as his own substitutionary payment for sin.    God never says to the sinner, “Your sin doesn’t matter.”  He says, “My Son has made the payment for you.  You are forgiven because the price has been paid. “ PRAISE GOD!

That being said, are we to believe that the Old Testament Law does not matter today?  Many well-meaning Christians today would tell you just that, that it does not matter: “That’s Old Testament,” as a friend of my wife’s often expresses.  We clearly see, however, that the Bible does not ever dismiss the Law.  The Scriptures do tell us that in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the believer is delivered from the curse of the Law  (Gal. 3:13)  We could say delivered from the penalty of the Law,  (Rom. 7:4).  This refers both to the moral and ceremonial Law (II Co. 3:7 -11).    This is the “yoke of bondage” whose penalty the believer avoids.

So the believer is made free from the law, but never do we find the notion that the Law is incapable of condemning the unbeliever.  This is a tremendously important concept and a vital one to grasp.  The great line of demarcation between unbeliever and believer is seen in Romans 8:1.  All of Romans chapter seven describes the UNBELIEVER (a commonly misunderstood fact), and in the first verse of Romans 8:1, the transition is made to the believer:  “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION” to the believer, NOT the unbeliever!     He is still guilty before God, and it remains the province and purpose of the Law to make the indictment!

Sin
Now let us  have a look at the concept of sin, for sin and the Law are closely linked.  Like so many doctrines of the Bible, the overwhelming majority of Christians have understood sin only in the very broadest, if not simplistic  terms.  Despite the phenomenal nuances of the Koine Greek language that express these truths  so beautifully,  God has thankfully not made this doctrine a complicated one to understand,  and so the popular definitions serve their purpose.  Children know what sin is.

That being said, here are eight Greek words used in the New Testament that will help us to build for ourselves a more comprehensive  definition of sin and to see it more clearly from God’s perspective:

Hamartia:    Missing the mark.
Hamartema:    Crossing a boundary
Parabasis:    Disobedience to a voice
Parakoe:    Falling where one should have stood.
Paraptoma:    Ignorance of what one should have known.
Agnoema:    Diminishing what should have been rendered more fully.
Hettema:    Failure to observe a law.
Paranomia:    Discord in the harmonies of the universe.

Here are a few other pertinent facts regarding the biblical doctrine of sin:

– There is also the sin of omission related in James 4:17.

– Sin is not just in the act, but in the inner condition from which it derives (Lev. 4:14,  20,     31, 5:5,6) That is why Jesus condemned the thought as harshly as the act.  The sincere  yet sinful Christian understands that corrupt fruit can only come from a   corrupt tree     (Matt. 7:17,18) and seeks to fix what was wrong on the inside first and  foremost.

– Sin is present in every Christian. Continual vigilance is a key component of the          victorious Christian life: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves .” I John         1:8

Deterrence
One of the major elements missing almost completely today from the church dynamic in its treatment of sin is the principle of deterrence.  This is strange to me, as deterrence is plainly illustrated and commanded in Scripture throughout.  We find that under the Law of Moses, the punishment for the false accuser was commanded to be on the same level of severity as the charged crime required.  The Bible plainly tells us of one very important purpose with respect to our societal responsibility in carrying out the full measure of the punishment: “And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.”  (Deuteronomy 19:20)  Solomon said, “Smite a scorner and the simple shall beware.” (Prov. 19:20).  Should our mercy then exceed God’s?  Should our political interest in not embarrassing a man or the church allow us to diminish Moses & Solomon’s principles of deterrence?  “Thine eye shall not pity him,” God said.  In the words of Matthew Henry, “The benefit will accrue to the public.”

That is not the way of the church today, however.  Today sexual sin is rampant in the church.  I once considered my home church the best church I had ever known.  Today, my home church, Prospect Avenue Baptist Church of Santee, California has experienced several dozen sexual scandals.  One completely and permanently closed the church’s Christian school.  Although they have not been totally ignored, they have essentially been swept under the rug in the interest of “sparing the families.”  This lack of deterrence has done nothing but to generate momentum until these sins  became chronic in the church, and in the families of church leaders.   One man did the right thing before God and exposed an adulterer in the church, a former minister.  He was excommunicated for that and barred from the church he founded and sacrificed  for for nearly four decades.  That man is Pastor Dorman Owens, to whom I am greatly indebted for many things, including my improved understanding of the Law.

Let us Conclude
If God thought adultery deserved the death penalty in the Old Testament, then he cannot have changed his mind today.  That doesn’t mean we will be drawing straws for the firing squad in church this Sunday, but it absolutely means that it is imperative today for every Christian to determine to work, study and pray to see all sin as God sees it.  Sadly, there is no greater failure in the church today.  Today the church only “manages” sins like adultery and fornication.  Billy Sunday said, “You can’t love the flowers unless you hate the weeds.”  It is time for Christians to do a better job of combining mercy and truth.  There is too often way too much of one and way too little of each other.  These two have made peace in Christ; in fact, that is where they “have kissed each other.”  Imbalance on one side of the scale is as bad as on the other.   We need to always remind each that Paul’s understanding of the Law that it can help us immeasurable to understand the relevance of God’s Law today:

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7: 22

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”  Romans 3:31

Posted in The Law, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bumper Sticker Christianity

The more I talk to Christians about concepts and principles of the Christian faith, the less I am inclined to want to ever do it again.  It is a lot like a fast-food meal.  I probably indulge in one of those at the rate of one every few years, and every time I do, without fail, I always tell myself precisely the same thing: “Don’t ever do that again!”

I have come to the conclusion after many years of engaging Christians about their faith, that this is rarely a worthwhile endeavor.  I think the place that has been established by the divine providence, wisdom and grace of God to do that is the pulpit or the Sunday School classroom.  Outside of that, you will almost always be displaying God’s pearls to those who do not have the ability to distinguish them from costume jewelry.  With  the advent of blogging, the number of people with  opinions built on foundations of sand seems to have  increased exponentially.

What my experience has taught me (although I never seem to learn my lesson) is that most Christians’ personal library of doctrine consists of a stack of bumper stickers.  They either reflect or consist themselves of one solitary “proof text.”  The problem with establishing our theology on the basis of individual verses is there are 31,173 of them in the Bible!  To establish any doctrine on the basis of only one of these verses would be like a sailor trying to sail to his destination on the basis of one number of one his destination’s coordinates of latitude and longitude.  These efforts would be pathetic and just plain dumb, yet in my experience, this is how most Christians navigate the  seas of biblical truth in their quest to establish their beliefs.

I like to ask tough and thought-provoking questions.  I like to make people think.  More than that, I like to think that I am doing Christian  people a favor when I ask them to back up a belief with some Bible.  We take so many things for granted when it comes to our belief system.  It is as if we have suffered from arrested spiritual development and our theology is stuck on a 6th grade Sunday School level as a result.

When I ask people a probing, foundational religious question, they act no differently than would a person thumbing through their stack of religious bumper stickers frantically seeking which one to hold up.  They are absolutely sure that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” but they get a confused look on their faces when you ask them where that promise is found in the Bible.  They are even more confused when it comes to other issues like the relationship of law and  grace, God’s vengeance, God’s hatred for sin, God’s judgment, God’s anger, and the relationship between forgiveness and repentance.  Unfortunately, one finds it exceedingly difficult to property exegete those elements of doctrine in the limited space afforded on a conventional bumper sticker.

What follows probing questions to the bumper sticker Christian types is always the same thing without exception: they feel the need to diminish you personally so as to then be able to discount the question by ascribing to it an evil or malevolent motive: “Oh so you just think God should squash everyone who slips up in life like a bug!”  They can’t assail your position honestly and fairly, even though  you may not have even revealed it yet, because  the image of God that you are alluding to is not to be found on any of their bumper stickers, and that is for some inexplicable reason apparently very threatening and destabilizing for them.  Their belief about God most often goes no further than their one solitary proof text: “God is love” for instance, and that text is never one to which they have dedicated any serious measure of study as God has commanded Christians to do.    They feel highly threatened, for instance,  by anyone who would dare suggest that one of the biblical adjectives used by God to describe himself is “terrible.”  (Having the ability to bring terror.)

If one would describe Niagra Falls to you as “wet” and were doggedly determined to leave it at that, I think most people who had stood on the edge of the falls in Western New York would perhaps want to add to that description.  Not only that, but what of the person who had ignored the warning sign, jumped the fence,  gotten too close to the edge and been swept over the falls?  I suspect that he  would like to weigh in on the issue and extend the one word definition well beyond any one word.

Christians tend to think that when they get to Heaven, there will be a backslapping hug-fest with Jesus.  I don’t think so.  I think when we come face to face with God, we will have two primary thoughts that will burn in our souls like a handful of sun:

● I have seriously underestimated the holiness of God.

●I have seriously overestimated my own righteousness.

If you want to see how us lowly humans react in the presence of a Holy and righteous God, there are several examples in Scripture.  The classic one for me is John on the Isle of Patmos in the presence of Jesus Christ in His fully radiant glorified body:  “I fell on my face as dead.”  (Rev. 1:17)

One day I walked across stone bridge spanning a large river.  On the other side was a field dedicated to kite fliers.  Some of the kites were flying several hundred feet high.  I was drawn to a very old man flying his kite.  I could see the string going up into the sky, but I could not see the kite.  I looked and looked, but no kite was to be found.  With my curiosity getting the best of me I asked the elderly man where his kite was.  It has been forty years,  and I have never forgotten his answer: “You aren’t looking high enough, young man.”  Then he pointed up at a much greater angle.  I followed his finger and there, up where the big planes fly was the little dot that he identified as his kite.  “How much string to you have out” I asked him in amazement.  “Over a mile he replied.”

Maybe you aren’t looking high enough for God.  Maybe your God is too small. I strongly suspect that mine is.  Maybe He can’t be defined by a collection of bumper stickers.  Maybe it takes a lifetime of reading His Word, and like Jacob when he wrestled the angel, we need to cry out, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me!”  Maybe you expressed that to God a long time ago, but maybe you tired and quit the wrestling match too soon.  You’ll never get your hip dislocated by a stack of bumper stickers like Jacob experienced in his agonizing and relentless determination to be blessed of God, but neither will you ever feel the breath of God  on your face as you wrap your quivering arms around His neck and cry out to Him that you will never settle for anything less than His best for you.  That is called “The Victorious Christian Life” and it does not come cheap, though should it cost you your very life itself, it would be an indescribable  bargain.

Posted in America's Morality, Bumper Sticker Christianity, Encouragement & Inspiration, Forgiveness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Racism

Racism is a subject that somehow seems to find its way into the news quite regularly.  In my experience, it has been several decades since America has been in the grasp of overt, mainstream racism, and since racial tensions were based on real events rather than a cultural “climate” which seems to all too often lack concrete examples.    But the cries of racism continue even with a Black American in the White House and more minority representation in Congress, education and commerce than at any time in American history.  So what is going on?

Human beings tend to seek out the company of those most like themselves.  We are selective in our gregarious expression, and so we tend to feel more comfortable in the midst of those with whom we share common interests and backgrounds.  This is perfectly normal and understandable and there is not a thing wrong with it, (the strident efforts of the “Diversity Police” notwithstanding).  There are however, those among us who would painfully stretch the definition of racism in an effort to believe that simply liking people who are most like us brings with it a social and cultural pathology that must be remedied.  The race baiters then appoint themselves as the arbiters of how that process should be executed and managed, and of course who should benefit.  I would submit to you that this is not in our best interest as a nation.

I was taught as I grew up in a family of educators,  both in Europe and the United States that good English was the hallmark of the educated.  Education was held up to me as the greatest determinant for success.  Today, I hear many young people try to express themselves without the ability to speak in complete sentences and to otherwise mangle and torture the English language, ending every phrase with, “Know what I’m sayin’?”   I often then quickly conclude that time spent with that individual does not have enormous appeal to me.  Now if that person happens to be Black, there are those who would call me a racist.  I reject that out of hand!  I would drive a hundred miles to hear Thomas Sowell,  Clarence Thomas or Alan Keyes (all Black men)  wax eloquent.  Thus it becomes obvious to me that to hurl about the label of racist as freely as so many do in our society is nothing more than a calculated effort to reap some kind of manipulatory or compensatory benefit.  Sorry ,but that isn’t going to work with me, and I think that Americans have had about enough of it.

My grandparents were Jewish and fled Europe to escape the Holocaust.  Was the Holocaust experience on the moral level of slavery?  Were the concentration camps as bad as the slave ships?  I was in neither place and will not attempt that comparison.  What I do know is that the generations succeeding the Jewish holocaust victims have not created Jewish Affirmative Action or expected anyone to hand them anything because their great-great grandfather was brutalized or the victim of genocide.

I don’t think I owe Jesse Jackson a blessed thing.  Let him live off his corporate shakedowns and the two Budweiser distributorships his sons wound up with after Rainbow Push Coalition accused Budweiser of discriminatory practices in 1998.   (Some of the allegations are covered in the book Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson by Kenneth R. Timmerman.)

The cry of racism in America today is largely fabricated.  People have the right to like whom they choose.  Barack Obama’s ascendency to the Presidency should once and for all put an end to the notion that we are a racist nation.  The blood shed by Union soldiers during the Civil War for the sole purpose of ending the enslavement of Black people should never be forgotten or diminished.  The souls of the 360,222 Union soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of Negro emancipation should not be insulted daily by the race baiters who continue to find new ways to leverage fairminded Americans by trying to tarnish them with the unwarranted stains of racial guilt.

The fact that a highly disproportionate percentage of minorities populate our prisons only evidences one thing to me: these people commit more crimes! (Ask your insurance agent.)   The cultures from which they come give prominence and social status to successful criminals and  often believe that the “snitch” who reports crimes to law enforcement is the true culprit and not the predatory criminal with a record of felonies as long as their arm.  Sorry, but I have a right to not like people like that, and I reject wholeheartedly the notion that this makes me a racist.

Do I believe that we can paint entire communities with the predatory characteristics and social patterns of a few?  Not at all.  The realistic and honest question however, is whether or not these types are in fact the “few.”  I will admit that they do not represent their entire community’s moral standards, if you will admit that they are anything but “the few.”  Both  of these premises seem strikingly evident to me.

You can feel free to bow to the pressures of societal convention and take the politically correct route (maybe with a little “white guilt” sprinkled on for good measure), and consider any critique of any minority an expression of racism.  Like an old LP record stuck in one place, no matter how enjoyable that passage, it quickly becomes annoying.  It is time to bump the stuck needle , America, and to give our country a fair assessment on racism.  The Al Sharptons and other race baiters know they have much to loose, and they will fight this tooth and nail, but America has much to gain.  We are at heart a tolerant, fair, and very giving people.  We have made all the amends that can possibly be made for the errors of our past.  It is time to move on.

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Revivals that Aren’t, and One that Was

One day I drove by a church and saw on their sign in front, “Revival,” along with the dates and times.  I thought about this as I drove to my home, not far away.  I wondered: is there really going to be a revival?  How many of these events bearing that title actually bring genuine revival to churches?  My answers to these questions based on many years of church experience were not encouraging.  Nevertheless, my heart went out to those people at the church that I had driven past because at least they were trying.  They were facing in the right direction and their motives and desires were good ones.

The use of the term “revival” implies the bringing back to life something that once had life but no longer does.  The term is not used literally, of course, but rather concerns itself more with spiritual vitality that has presumably gone on the wane and that churches wish to bring back.  The specialist dedicated to that endeavor is the evangelist.

I overheard a group of evangelists down South once discussing a revival one of them had recently held.  They never once mentioned attendance or the number of decisions made for God in the lives of those who came.  One man asked one question, got a one word answer, and the discussion was over.  That question was telling and brutally pointed, and it told these men everything they needed to know about those meetings.  The question only had four words, and the answer one: “Did it break loose?”  The answer: “no.”

Having been in one revival where there was not a molecule of doubt that the Holy Spirit had convincingly and completely taken over, I knew as soon as I heard that term, “break loose,” that it was the perfect description for what happens when God’s power sweeps through a revival meeting.  This is not a metaphorical expression.  I have seen it happen twice.  I am not the least bit prone to hyperbole or exaggeration, but the closest I have ever come to justly describing this phenomenon is to say that it is like standing under a waterfall.  It is overwhelming to the human capacity and senses and leaves the lives of everyone there permanently and unforgettably transformed.  The effect often lasts for generations.  These events are true miracles of God.

If there is a key  element to true revival, it is that there it is an open  secret as to how they are accomplished.  I would say from my personal and very limited experience at seeing the Spirit of God “break loose” in a church that the common ingredients seems to be sincerity and an uncompromising desire for the presence and revitalizing power of God.

I was in one revival once in a small church in the hills of Kentucky where the  Holy Spirit did not “break loose” until one woman followed her personal directive from God in a very public way.  The preacher said that there was “someone here whom God told to testify,” and made it clear that the meeting would not go on until that person followed God’s prompting.  There was a long silence, and he repeated his words.  Still nothing.  The congregation sang a song and he asked again.  Silence.  Finally a young woman in the far right aisle (there was standing room only) shouted out with every bit of volume and energy that was in her small frame: “ITS ME!  ITS ME!  ITS ME, PREACHER!!!”

She poured her heart out a mile a minute with a riveting account of how God had been working in her life.  Her words  swept every person in that small church along in a river of spiritual emotion and energy that was beyond anything I had witnesses in my twenty five years of church life.  The second she was done, a man on the other side of the church felt emboldened to speak out and gushed forth with a testimony that he too could no longer contain.  Then another, and another, and finally the evangelist had the good sense to understand that the order of service had been taken over by the Holy Spirit.  He extended the invitation without ever preaching a word.  Out of about 350 people there, probably all but three or four came to the altar and poured their hearts out to God for a solid forty-five minutes, including me.This was the real thing.

I’m sure that if anyone in that revival service was ever asked that uniquely important and telling  question, they would all have the same answer.    The question that the knowing Christian understands is all that needs to be asked about any revival to know whether or not it lived up to its name.  It is   still till the only question that matters:  “Did it break loose?’  The answer on that day from that small white church-house in the hills of central Kentucky is as simple as it is joyous: “yes, it did!

Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D.

Posted in Church, Encouragement & Inspiration, God, Revivals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Offend Just About Everyone in Nine Paragraphs

How to Offend Just About Everyone in Nine Paragraphs

Homosexuals: Quit your whining and understand that the Judaeo-Christian ethic has been around for 5,974 years longer than Gay Rights, and condemns your behavior. The Apostle Paul called it “vile affections” & Moses called it “an abomination.” Your tantrums will not change that, neither will calling folks bigots who simply choose to believe the Bible. Homosexuality is an excrement-soiled fist in the face of God.  He is keeping score.  You will one day see that scorecard.

Feminists: You are neither inferior nor superior to men. You are different. You have breasts and estrogen, and since form follows function, you were made for nurturing. Get over it. (Meantime, you might think about the political hypocrisy of maligning strong, successful Conservative women.)

Shrinks: When are you going to stop indefinitely extending the boundaries of mental illness? Sure, some people have brain tumors or other evident pathologies, but most of your patients have just made bad choices, which your excuse-based treatment keeps them from confronting. Freud was dead wrong:  guilt is not neurosis, it is the sign of a conscience trying to be heard. Quit doping it into a fog!  (Never knew one who didn’t need one . . . )

African-Americans:” You are not African. You weren’t born there, neither were any of your ancestors that you can name. You are Americans. Your forefathers were sold into slavery by African tribal chiefs who had been executing conquered tribes for centuries until the slave traders came and offered them payment for their captives. There is plenty of blame to go around. Grab your share and quit this obvious extortion and race hustling and whining about “reparations,” and get rid of those “social justice” pimps some of you have been conned into calling your leaders.

Church Leaders: Your mandate is not to uphold and defend the church at any cost. Your mandate is to uphold truth and righteousness and let the chips fall where they may. That is called ecclesiastical integrity, and it is in very short supply in the church today. For  an exceedingly high percentage of you, the church has become your idol. There are so many idols on the altars of so many churches that Christ was crowded off long  go.  You need to learn to deal with people who don’t agree with you without feeling threatened.  Your mandate from God is “restore in the spirit of meekness.”  Far too many pastors are all about preserving the church’s status quo.  They will only speak of sin in generalities.  That’s not how Jesus did it.

College Professors: Stop rewriting history the way you think it should have been. Thomas Jefferson should be judged for his slaves by the standards of the 18th century, not the 21st century. You can’t be guilty of a civil or moral awareness before it is understood.  Stop indoctrinating and start educating. A university was once a place of universal knowledge, not a narrow, agenda-driven trade school that stamped drones out of the same cookie cutter to assure that they all  thought exactly alike and had zero tolerance for those who didn’t. Universities have become academically inbred, thanks to you.

Sports Fans: That fact that someone can throw a ball through a hoop, run with pigskin, or hit a ball with stick or club does not make them a great person. Greatness is the expression of character, virtue and selflessness. You want a hero? Look in a faculty lounge, the firehouse, the police station, or on an airplane  full of soldiers coming home from a war. It takes an empty life to make a pop-culture icon your hero. Fill it with something other than all the pre-packaged stuff. Then go out and BUILD something or DO something. It is only then that you will have the right to shout, “I am somebody.” Nobody owes you that right, but if you care enough to find someone who has legitimately earned it through the expression of character, I’d be willing to bet that they will tell you how their achievements came about.  There are few heights in life than you cannot achieve if you are willing to pay the price and work hard.  No point in even starting though, if you still think that the definition of success is measured in dollars.

Parents: Mom & Dad, your greatest responsibility in raising your children is to instill character in them.  Unfortunately, your efforts will fail if they are not backed by example.The most important facet of childrearing is teaching children how to relate to and respect authority.  There is no greater determining factor that will dictate how their lives will turn out.  Ninety nine percent of those in prison have failed principally on that one count.When you trade your responsibility as a parent for your misguided attempt to become your child’s friend, you are a failure as parent.  Sadly, it is your children who will pay the price.

Celebrities: Western culture has a fascination with celebrities.  Based on where Americans put their money, we can properly assume that a man with talent for hitting a ball with a stick offers society a greater contribution than a person who would teach children to read and write, or instill in them moral values.  Jesus Himself pointed out that where one’s heart is, there will his treasure be found.

My belief is that there are some key indicators to success in life, and proficiency in playing children’s games is not on my personal short list; neither is proficiency in another children’s game:  “play acting.”  Actors and athletes derive their craft from the vestigial elements of adolescence:  games and pastimes in which we engaged as children.  Here are some more serious and substantive indicators of real success in the journey we call life:

  • Earning the respect and admiration of our children.
  • Remaining faithful to one’s spouse for life, both in deed and thought.
  • Never running afoul of the law.
  • Having a dynamic relationship with God that is evident in one’s daily life.
  • Maintaining a healthy mental state without the need for anesthetizing effects of drugs or alcohol .
  • Treating others with kindness, compassion and generosity.
  • Instilling character in your children by your example.

When a human being fails on any of these counts, they have failed in life.  To adopt anyone  as a  “hero” because  of their celebrity status in sports or entertainment, while their personal life is characterized by serial adultery is both pathetically shallow and incredibly revealing.  Sadly, that is what Americans do.

The Hollywood agencies, movie and music studios, and publicity agencies who vaunt and market celebrities will never speak to my personal values or reflect my life view.  A few seconds of watching any of the talk shows on constantly as I flip through channels is usually enough to trigger the primary stages of my gag reflex.  I have never had much of a tolerance for self-obsession or narcissism, much these anyone who believes that celebrity status automatically confers executive privilege in areas of personal morality.  They have been foolish enough to believe the hype about them.  In times past they would have been town criers or court jesters.

**************************

To help some folks who live in an urban bubble of Liberal thought understand how Middle-America sees the world, I am offering the two perspectives on a number of social and political issues side by side (just in case the article above hasn’t finished the task of pushing some of you “Progressive” types over the edge into the abyss of apoplexia:   (No need to thank me . . . . )

What Common Words & Phrases Really Mean

Conservative terms  follow each Liberal euphemism:

Arsenal of Weapons
Gun Collection

Delicate Wetlands
Swamp

Undocumented Worker
Illegal Alien

Cruelty-Free Materials
Synthetic Fiber

Assault and Battery
Attitude Adjustment

Heavily Armed
Well-protected

Narrow-minded
Morally Principled

Taxes or Your Fair Share
Coerced Socialistic Theft

Commonsense Gun Control
Gun Confiscation Plot

Illegal Hazardous Explosives
Fireworks for Stump Removal

Non-viable Tissue Mass
Unborn  Baby

Equal Access to Opportunity
Socialism

Multicultural Community
High Crime Area

Fairness or Social Progress
Marxism

Upper Class or “The Rich ”
Self-Employed Small Businessman
Progressive, Change
Big Government Scheme

Homeless or Disadvantaged
Bums or Welfare Leeches

Sniper Rifle
Scoped Deer Rifle

Investment For the Future
Higher Punitive Taxes

Healthcare Reform
Socialized Medicine

Extremist, Judgmental, or Hater
Conservative

Truants
Homeschoolers

Victim or Oppressed
Whiner or Leech

High Capacity Magazine
Standard Capacity Magazine

Religious Zealot
Church-going

Reintroduced Wolves
Sheep and Elk Killers

Fair Trade Coffee
Overpriced Yuppie Coffee

Exploiters or “The Rich ”
Employed or Land Owner

The Gun Lobby
NRA Members

Assault Weapon
Semi-Auto (Grandpa’s M1 Carbine)

Fiscal Stimulus
New Taxes and Higher Taxes

Same Sex Marriage
Legalized Perversion

Mandated Eco-Friendly Lighting
Chinese Mercury-Laden Light Bulbs

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Confronting Satan on a Chicago Street


Several years ago I parked my car in a residential area in Chicago. As I got out, my eyes glanced across the street. The homes on that street were two-story dwellings, the bottom floor being a partial basement. The entrance to the lower floor was under the front porch of the top floor.

My eyes fell upon three young men under the front porch of one of the homes, standing in front of the doorway to the lower residence. I was locking my car door when I felt that God  conveyed to me a very specific and unmistakable directive: “Go tell to those young men about my Son.”

I had learned by that point in my Christian life that to ignore such a clear prompting of God as this would make for the kind of unrest that wold take away for some time the peace and closeness with God that I had come to enjoy so greatly.   I crossed the street and began walking toward them.

As I approached them, I could tell that they were in their early to mid twenties. They all had long hair and were all dressed in similar fashion: blue jeans and denim jackets. They also seemed to share another distinction in their appearance: their clothing was covered with unusual emblems, hand-drawn with a black marker, along with some insignias and buttons that I did not recognize.

Not knowing how else to begin, I simply introduced myself and told them why I was there. I said to them, that “as I got out of my car across the street just now, God  impressed upon me to come over here and share my faith with you guys.”

That was when they all broke into a slight grin and began to exchange knowing glances with one another. I had the distinct feeling that something was amiss. I also knew that it would be best to deal with this now. I asked them directly, but politely: “Alright now. I see that you all have this we-know-something-you-don’t-know look; does anybody want to tell me what that’s all about?”

As their smirks grew to modest grins and they looked at one another as if to decide which of them should spit it out, the one to my right looked at me and gave me the answer: “We worship Satan!”

I could tell that they fully expected their startling confession to end our encounter, perhaps sending me running back to my car with arms flailing. In fact, it had the opposite effect: I
became very determined to tell them about Jesus Christ. Here is how our conversation went:

Calmly and and in a quiet tone, I spoke: “So you fellas worship Satan. Well, I worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me tell you why. I worship Him because of His great love for me. Have any of you ever been truly loved? Jesus loved me so much that He was willing to bleed to death and die a death of torture and anguish on a wooden cross to pay for my sins when it was fully in His power to avoid the cross and be in Heaven. He loves me so much that He has prepared a place for me in Heaven that is so beautiful as to defy description by any human language. If I had been the only person on earth, He would have given His life for me just the same. And you know, He loved me this much when I was pretty unlovable. He had no illusions about me. Not only that, but He has given me a life of inner peace and blessings right here on earth.”

“Now if I may, let me ask each of you an important question: what kind of deal does Satan have for you? Is he motivated by love for you, or are your lives just fuel for his rage against God? I think everyone knows where Satan winds up. He winds up in the fires of Hell as a prisoner himself, doesn’t he? And guess what? He wants your company there. Does that sound like a good deal to you?”

The three young men fell silent. The smirks were gone. They were no longer looking at each other, or at me. They all looked down. Quietly, I again began to speak.

“One day I prayed a prayer to God–a very important prayer.  I reached out to Him from my heart and asked Him to come into my life,” I told them. “I’d like to pray that prayer with the three of you again right here, right now. If you want, you can pray along with me in your heart. That is 100% up to you. Only you and God will know, and I won’t ask you after. If what I am going to pray expresses what is in your heart, then pray. If it doesn’t, then don’t. Is that fair?” Something had changed in their demeanor.  The cockiness was gone as all three just shook their heads in agreement.  I began to pray aloud.

“Dear Lord, I thank you that you cared enough for these three young men to send me over here to express your love for them. I sure do thank you that You offered this love to me one day in April in 1983. We all know that we are sinners and that we have fallen fall short of pleasing You. For this we are truly sorry and ask your forgiveness. We want to turn our lives around today and accept not only your love for us, but also the payment You made with your own blood on the cross for our sins. If there is anyone here serious about trusting You to save their souls from the eternal fires of Hell, I pray that You would take them in right now and accept them to be one of yours for all eternity, just as you did me. Amen.”

After that prayer, the atmosphere under that porch was transformed. The young man on my right was visibly moved.   Not a word was said for probably over a minute. This young man then related to me the following story, which I will do my best to recount in his own words.

He began by telling me of an experience he had had the very night before: “Last night I went to a Black Mass at midnight [a Satanic ritual and worship service]. It was my first one. The priest gave me a cross. It was made out of wood. He wanted me to break the arms off it [a symbolic expression of being anti-Christ]. Everybody there was looking at me and waiting. But there was something saying to me,  ‘don’t do it.’ Everybody there waited and waited . . . but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t think I was going to have any problem breaking the cross, but when they put it in my hands and I looked down at it, I was shaking and I couldn’t do it. I have been up all night with my friends and we talked about it, and that I should try again at the next Black Mass. I didn’t know why I couldn’t break it.”

Then the young man looked toward me, although not directly at me as he spoke a few short words that I have never forgotten: “Now I know why. I just asked Jesus to save me when we prayed.”

The other two men never spoke. As I had promised, I didn’t ask them anything. I prayed for all three of them regularly after that, especially the one I knew had put his faith in Christ, but I never saw them again.

As I look back on that experience now, I am struck by not just the beauty  of God’s grace, but by its power. God’s grace reached into a Satanic Black Mass and touched the heart of a young man on the edge of a dark and eternal abyss. God pulled him back from the edge, and within  hours sent a divinely commissioned messenger to bring him into the heavenly fold.

We serve a wonderful and gracious God.

Jerry Kaifetz

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Atheism

Atheism seems to have gone from being just the offbeat expression of a few ACLU-types to a mainstream movement in America. Today atheists not only deny God, but do so with an evangelistic fervor and an in-your-face attitude.

Today the New York Times bestseller is the atheist manifesto, “God is not Great. Why Religion Poisons Everything” By journalist Christopher Hitchens. Besides Hitchens book, there are the following currently popular atheist books: Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (sequel to his earlier book The End of Faith), and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkin’s book “The God Delusion.”  All of these have been N.Y. Times best sellers. Other popular titles include, God, the Failed Hypothesis, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Atheist Universe, and others.

I have but two comments:

1. GOOD!!! Yes, this in indeed a very, very good thing. I want to see the Lord’s return in my lifetime, so the more inroads made by secularists and God haters, the quicker He will come. He said Himself that there must first be a “A falling away.” (II Thes. 2:3) So as we this falling away gain momentum, we should quit whining and see it as the harbinger of the greatest day of the last 2,000 years, if not the last 6,000.

2. Christians are under a scriptural obligation (I Peter 3:15) to be ready, willing and able to give a reason for their faith and to present a well reasoned and compelling case for their beliefs. Atheism rests first & foremost on the foundation of Evolution. Evolution in fact rests on very, very shaky ground, and any well informed and studied Christian should be able to disarm the evolutionists’ false claims in one short paragraph, if not a sentence. Sadly, this is not the case. Christians are derelict in their responsibility to be able to defend their faith. Churches are more interested in peddling drama than Bible study, and emotion rather than the science of Creation. “Three Points & a Poem” still satisfies most Christians Sunday after Sunday, and the droning masses in the pews find that perfectly acceptable.  Churches , like citizens, have the leaders they deserve.

Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D.

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Does the Bible Reveal the Actual Mechanism of the Resurrection?

jk-portrait-art Does the Bible actually give us the MECHANISM of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Could God have possibly revealed to us not just the event, but HOW He accomplished it?  The answer appears to be, “yes!”  And the amazing thing is that this great secret has been “hidden” in plain view in our Scriptures for two thousand years.

Here is where we find it:  Romans 6:4.  “ Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father …”

We should first of all understand what this verse does NOT say.   It does not say that Christ was raised up “TO the glory of the Father,” or “FOR the glory of the Father,” but BY the glory of the Father.  While broader interpretations may be possible, that word, “by” is the Greek word “dia,” a primary preposition denoting the channel or mechanism of an act.

The word, “glory” is the Greek word, “doxa.”  This word also has a number of possible indications, but the most prominent by way of a compilation of  traditional meanings yields something along the lines of, “the splendor,  brightness, magnificence and the absolute perfection of God’s manifested excellence as apparent in His external brightness.”

I am reminded of that this glory has been visible on Earth at other times: Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19), the Transfiguration (Matthew 17), the Apostle John on Patmos (Revelation 1), just to name a few.  So then how could this divine, manifested presence cause the body of Jesus Christ to be awakened from death?  I believe  that in fact, a more appropriate question would be, “How could the intensity and blinding brilliance of God’s presence NOT bring back His Beloved Son from the grip of death?”  What is death?  Is death not the ultimate outcome of corruption and sin?  Could those elements occupy the same confined space with the revealed glory of a holy God?  Can darkness survive the presence of light?  I say no, it cannot.  And thus we can easily and rationally come to the belief that the resurrection had a MECHANISM, and that mechanism was the manifest  glory of God Himself, the “Doxa.”  God the Father was physically present in that tomb because His love for His Son drew Him there.  He could not stay away, and Jesus could slumber in death no longer in that Presence.

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The Woman at The Well and Organized Religion

In the story of the Woman at the well, we see a classic contrast between the will of God and the practices of organized religion. And by the way, unless your church lines up with the hierarchicjk-portrait-artal principles, the locus of authority, the protocols and the ministries of the FIRST CENTURY CHURCH, it is part of “Organized Religion.” (If your church happens to be a reflection of the First Century Church, God’s model church, congratulations are in order. Your church is one in many thousands, maybe millions.)

Here is the crux of this story of the Woman at the Well for me: the Samaritan woman who came to the well had to have crossed paths with every one of Jesus’ disciples as she made her way to the well on the outskirts of Sychar as the disciples were heading into Sychar. In the Jewish tradition, it is evident that the disciples looked down their noses at the Samaritan woman and kept their distance and probably avoided eye contact. Jesus, however, saw her as a human being in need of salvation. Jesus was expressing God’s will (John 4:34). The disciples were mired in the rituals of organized religion, just as so many who would consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ are today.

So deep is this religious pit we call organized religion (pick your denomination) that the disciples’ reaction upon seeing that Jesus had engaged this woman at the well is in fact far beyond what our English language Bibles reveal. One sense of the word “marveled” (v. 27) is in fact, “rendered immovable by astonishment.” In fact, these men were speechless. But this was probably not the first time. What did they think when Jesus called Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene)? She was a prostitute to the Roman army — a whore that other whores themselves held in disdain. Mary Magdalene would later be accorded what may be the highest honor ever given to a human being: she was the first witness to the Resurrection, and the one to announce it to the world, thus making the Easter story her story, humanly speaking.  In the story of the of the Woman Taken in Adultery in John Chapter 8, we also see jesus engaging with compassion a woman whom organized religion there present with authority literally wanted to stone to death.  These are all accounts of Jesus taking on organized religion. They are also prima facie evidence that His very own disciples were a part of that religious edifice, and provides for us an insight into Jesus’ frequent exasperation and disappointment with his own disciples. Here is then the question I would pose to churches today: It is 1985 years later. Has anything changed?

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This is a WARNING for Christians in Northwest Indiana that you may know that not all of God’s people are welcome at Bible Baptist Church in Highland, Indiana pastored by Michael Poole. In fact, Pastor Poole has recently made it known to a woman seeking a new church home that she was “not welcome” in this church. This is a Christian mother and wife who recently left First Baptist Church of Hammond, and therein lies the rub.

This woman’s young son was assaulted on a FBC Hammond bus in April of 2015. The bus driver is a deacon and “turned a blind eye” to all of this. The pastor, John Wilkerson, was clearly more interested in safeguarding the reputation of the church (as if they actually had one worth safeguarding) than doing the right thing and going to local authorities. The boy’s father went to Pastor Wilkerson and what ensued was an unfortunate series of lies, excuses, and manipulation by the church. This was when the mother began to speak of the incident on social media something that did not sit well with Wilkerson and led to her being told she was “not right with God.”

Not long after this lady visited Bible Baptist Church of Highland, Indiana. The problem was that Wilkerson has gotten there first. Wilkerson obviously related the events that had transpired to Pastor Michael Poole and added that she should not be considered for membership in his church because she was either “under church disciple” or had unresolved issues at First Baptist Church of Hammond. Anyone who understands how the Independent Fundamental Baptist pastoral, “Good Ol’ Boy” network operates full well comprehends that somewhere in these conversations could be found the term, “troublemaker” or “disloyal.” This has been standard fare with this crowd and their modus operandi of choice for the 33 years that I have had my front row seat. I was trained by the best of them, including Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap , the later now serving a twelve year sentence in a federal prison for the sexual assault of a sixteen year old girl in the Hammond church.

The woman in this bus assault story has been paid visits by Pastor Wilkerson, Linda Wilkerson his wife, and most recently, Pastor Michael Poole on November 14th, 2015. In the woman’s own words, this is what happened: “Pastor Poole and his wife came by and told me that I was no longer welcome at Bible Baptist Church because I should listen to … Pastor Wilkerson and keep on attending First Baptist Church of Hammond.”

Here is what is wrong with Bible Baptist Church and the actions of pastor Michael Poole in all of this:

As a New Testament, Bible believing church, Bible Baptist Church is an autonomous and independent church. John Wilkerson had NO BUSINESS sticking his nose into their affairs or trying to influence how they treated a Christian seeking membership. Poole should have had the courage to explain that to Wilkerson.
As a believer-priest, a Christian has the right to disagree with any pastor at any time, especially when there is at play the responsibility to protect and advocate for one’s small children in the face of physical harm.
Christian fellowship is based on JESUS CHRIST. No Christian who claims that name and gives evidence of living that life should ever be told they are unwelcome in ANY church, especially over the expression of a dissenting view in another body of believers.
No pastor should ever feel or express fear in engaging or fellowshipping with a Christian woman solely because she has had the courage and the conviction to hold her child’s abusers accountable. Michael Poole, you sir are a weak and cowardly pastor. You deserve no respect in the Christian community.
The authority in all New Nestament churches is IN THE ASSEMBLY, not in the pulpit.

For the record, I have contacted Pastor Poole, Pastor Wilkerson, and Linda Wilkerson and asked them for any comment or defense that they may want to offer. That was greeted by silence.

Choose your church wisely, my Christian friends. Bible Baptist Church under Pastor Michael Poole and First Baptist Church of Hammond under pastor John Wilkerson are churches where you will be absolutely required to check your critical thinking propensities at the front door. These are churches where your loyalties to institutions, offices and individuals will be expected to rise above your loyalties to biblical principles every time. These are churches where the Systematic Theology undergirding the Christian message consists of little more than a stack of bumper stickers. If this is what you seek in a church, then you will be right at home in these two churches under these two men.

On a side note . . . . if you have any suggestions concerning how this mother can console her young child who had grown to love Sunday School in the short time he attended Bible Baptist Church and began to cry when he was told his family was no longer welcome there . . . feel free to pass them along.

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Angel’s List, by Ken Reamy

(This article was first published in the Trinidad Times Independent on Aug. 17, 2012).

Seeking ‘Angels’ to Grade Churches
By Ken Reamy

All advertising, regardless of media, is really nothing more than mere word-of-mouth tidbits passed from one person to another.

The online consumer review site, “Angie’s List,” is a good example. Here, people can share their experiences with a business, whether good or bad. Members can get objective reviews and obtain advance warning whether they should secure the services of a business, or steer clear of it. A favorable review or sad tale can often be the sole determining factor in people’s willingness to engage a business.

It occurs to me that such a list would be helpful for those desiring to learn about churches. Let’s call this “Angel’s List,” shall we? I think warnings and “reviews” of churches and their leaders would be most helpful prior to attending.

As a “religious consumer,” I would be interested to know if a church and its leadership are trustworthy, and if their reputation in the community is good or bad. I would like to know if they follow through with their promises, pledges, and proposals, or if their oratory is nothing more than pious platitudes.

Financially, I would want to know ahead of time if a church handles its finances in an open and honest manner, as well as if the church treasurer routinely violates his fiduciary obligations by co-mingling funds received for one account with other monies. Is church giving merely to line the preacher’s pockets, or to address ministry objectives? Is church property held in trust by devout people sincerely desiring to honor their Lord, or is it merely the headquarters of a religious franchise?

Focus on its core mission is important to me, so I would want to know if a church talks more about its corporate presence, its facilities, and its operational and organizational agenda than it does about the Lord of the church.

Prior to visiting a church I would like to know if the people in the pews are viewed merely as a revenue source or members in a living body. Are church members “sheep” to be led, or “cattle” to be driven?

It’s important to me that a church pastor is an honorable person; not one given to lies, slander, and character assassination of those he deems a threat to his position or income. Along this line, what is the pastor’s response when parishioners bring verified accusations against him—does he deny them due process, or does he allow grievances to be aired? Does he claim immunity from criticism or allegations? And does the church comply with the scriptures, state laws governing non-profits, and its own by-laws when disputes arise? Is the leading personality of the church the pastor, or the Lord on whom the church is founded?

When hard economic times hit, does the leadership roll up its sleeves and “get in the trenches” with the people in the pews by going out and getting a job in the real world, or does it insist that the pastor should be inoculated from fiscal realities, claiming the right to be fully supported by the sweat equity, labor, and wages of others? I would want to know if the pastor is a freeloader or a productive member of the community.

Does the pastor ignore, belittle, or marginalize the contributions made by others? Does the pastor vicariously impose his own guilt on others, condemning them for his own transgressions? Does he spend a lot of time on “we” vs. “them” topics to make himself appear in a more positive light? Are his favorite pronouns “I, me, mine?” Is the pastor preoccupied with self-promotion; or exalting the Lord? Does the church conduct a thorough background investigation of all prospective pastors so as to avoid installing a stealth narcissistic reprobate in the pulpit?

Can the church furnish references of previous and existing members, proof of insurance, and certification of compliance with all applicable laws governing non-profits, stating that it does not discriminate, and that it adheres to Civil Rights laws in order to retain its tax-exempt status?

Why are all these advanced warnings important? Because of the enormous potential for people to be unwittingly or intentionally wounded, injured, or victimized by religious scams and hucksters. Churches on the up-and-up will earnestly agree with such a thing as Angel’s List. Those operating on the sly will chafe at all reasonable restraints. I look forward to an enterprising entrepreneur setting up such a list to assist other religious consumers in shining the light of truth in this darkened temporal world.

The truth is either going to set you free, or set you off!

(Addendum)

It may be a mystery to some folks how a preacher can manipulate or dupe supposedly spiritually-minded people.

When one remembers that phony ministers are described by Jesus as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15), it becomes readily clear what their motives and intents are. They are versed in subtle deception that does not appear to be deception. To those who have known the depths of Satan, it’s an elementary matter to convince the non-discerning that what they’re hearing from the pulpit is of God! The appearance (sheep’s clothing) is vital to concealing the motive (ravening wolves). Soothing homilies uttered soothingly by soothsayers easily pulls the wool over the eyes of the biblically ignorant!

Biblical discernment is the only inoculation from spiritual deception. But that takes work, study, and diligence, and the modern rank and file church member resists these efforts as he rests in his contentment to relate to God based solely on what comes forth from the pulpit each week. While not all preachers engage in deception to convince others to exclusively adopt their views on things, all of them are adept at using phrases, highly-charged language, and metaphors to bring others around to their way of thinking. The sincere minister will not abuse speech and sermons to deceive the easily-duped believer, but will seek to edify his hearers with everything he says (Eph. 4:29). The preacher with a carnal or deceptive agenda, on the other hand, attempts to sway others with every word he utters (Daniel 8:23).

Salesmen use these techniques to steer the customer’s thoughts toward a predetermined outcome, as do politicians, and as did Satan in the Garden of Eden when he cleverly led Eve astray by promising wisdom only God possesses.

But when Jesus speaks to the believer, He furnishes sufficient information that empowers the hearer to think and act on his own (John 6:68); not respond in a lifeless, robotic, rote reaction that strips the hearer of individual initiative. And hearers without discernment are nothing more than sanctified robots.

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God’s Command to Pursue Righteousness, by Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D.

There are a few places in the Bible where we find a concise summary of God’s laws or requirements. Jesus’ two great commandments to love God and man in Matthew 22 is a prime example of such a place. Another famous example comes to us from the Old Testament, Micah 6:8: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Unfortunately, the majority of Bible translations do not get this verse right in a key sense. They translate the most important verb, “do” (Hebrew “asah”) as “act.” This translation badly misses the mark and dramatically alters the meaning of his verse. The injunction from God is not directed toward a general action or the conduct of one’s overall life. It is there to impose an obligation upon believers to proactively seek justice and to aggressively speak out against unrighteousness in the pursuit of justice. This was the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, over twenty percent of our Bible.
In fact, the Hebrew word “asah” means “to accomplish, to advance” and even to embody something to the point of becoming that very thing. It means “to act with effect.” God is seemingly not just concerned here with us taking a position, but with a person prevailing in that position in the interest of what is righteous. We find that very thought coming rom the mind of God in the Doctrine of the Pursuit of Righteousness. God tells us that those who actively engage in this pursuit please Him: “He loveth him that followeth after righteousness.” (Proverbs 15:9) This is the Hebrew verb “radaph,” a primitive root whose meaning meaning is “to run after,” “to pursue with vigor,” and “to attend closely.”

The New Testament is not silent on this concept. In 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul instructs the younger Timothy to “follow righteousness.” The verb “follow” is the Greek word “di ko” which is a prolonged and causative form of a primary verb meaning “to pursue, to press forward, to run swiftly after, to seek after eagerly, to persecute.” We can see that the intent there is for Christians to not just express a belief concerning righteousness, but to personally do whatever is necessary and within their power to bring it to bear, and not to take a pass by deferring judgment to God as a default response.

Many Christians today believe that what goes on within a church is the business of the church and to be critical of other Christians is to “hurt the cause of Christ.” This is an absurd, foolish and damnable belief. A pastor is to be “beyond reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2). That is HIS responsibility, not the responsibility of others to remain silent about glaring and damaging flaws they may have themselves observed in his character, conduct or governance in order to “protect his reputation.” Of course there will always be those in the church or in the faith whose loyalties are not to principles but to institutions and individuals are not the least bit reluctant to level charges of “gossip” at those who have poked their sacred cow. (More often than not, I have found that there will be in these instances paychecks, careers, and other benefits involved, not to even mention more often than not a Systematic Theology consisting of a worn out stack of bumper stickers.)

As Christians, we are commanded by God to “PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS.” That does not mean checking a box, or nodding the head to convey assent. It means to be merciless, impartial, and doggedly determined in shining the light of truth, cleansing and purity in the dark places where evil and hypocrisy fester. Like Eleazar whose sword stuck to his hand after having courageously done God’s work with it among God’s enemies, we should never let the whining of those supporting corrupt leadership in America’s churches ever slow us down is bringing to bear the noble and magnificent spirit of the Old Testament prophets. Swing the sword like Eleazar. Swing the jawbone like Samson, and pursue righteousness until the stars fall.

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The Observations and Indictments of the Prophet Amos — Still Relevant to Today’s Church 2,765 Years Later

The French have a saying, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.” The more things change, the more they remain the same. As I was recently studying the prophet Amos, I realized how much his comments on the Temple had in common with mine on the church in general, and the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement in particular.

Amos came from Tekoah near Jerusalem and preached around 775 to 750 B.C.. It is significant that he lived during a very affluent period in Jewish history. Israel was extending its borders, retaking captured cities (II Kings 13) and taking control of important trade routes. A wealthy class soon emerged (Amos 3:15). Amos gives a sense of the affluence and decadence that developed, yet there was also an impoverished class in their midst living the life of serfs. This was the first time in Israel’s history that there was this kind of economic class division. What made Amos particularly angry was that this wealthy class of Jews was claiming that their wealth was a sign of God’s blessings upon them, and conversely, the poverty of the region was a sign of the absence of divine favor. My question is, how does this differ from today’s “Health and Wealth Gospel?”

This is where things get interesting. The priests at the Bethel Temple were tempted and attracted by the wealth surrounding them and began to be very proactive in leveraging more and more generous giving from temple goers (Amos 4:4). Amos decries the morning sacrifices, the tithes, the free-will offerings and the thanks offerings. He saw these as vehicles for the transfer of wealth to the priestly class of professional clergy of the temple. The Jewish scholar Shalom Spiegel writes of how the temple priests even came to openly preach that giving these offerings to the temple was literally more important than helping the poor, thus going against the core fiber of Jewish economic religious practice and longstanding belief: charity and benevolence.

At the Bethel Temple, Amos accuses the priests of neglecting the poor among them, and even oppressing them: “…you who devour the needy.” (Amos 8:4) He also mentions the accompanying sexual decadence (2:7). Amos also gives us an indication of the prevailing mentality of the temple officials which seemed to express an immunity from judgement because they were “God’s chosen people.” (2:6-8) How many of America’s churches today reach into the pockets of poor people to build lavish buildings at the expense of those living in rented homes?

The result of Amos’ preaching was swift and predictable. After all, this was on a practical and economic level the very same dynamic that wound up bringing a death sentence upon Jesus Christ 800 years later on the basis of his indictment of the Jerusalem temple and its corrupt officials. The High priest announced that Amos was to be expelled. History records the consequences of that decision: Amaziah, King of Judah would die in exile, his family would be destroyed, and the ten Tribes of Israel would be taken from their land (7:17).

The parallels to the modern church in America are striking and powerful. The church has been corrupted by wealth, has ignored the poor among them, and has run off and shuns those among them who have brought back to life the message and observations of Amos. Come, Lord Jesus.

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Pastor Phil Owens of Santee, CA Destroys His Own Parents

Pastor Phil Owens — Prospect Avenue Baptist Church, Santee, CA is a good example of an Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher who will crush anyone who gets in the way of his church agenda, position, or pastoral career. Here is an account of two elderly people whose lives have been destroyed by that ambition: his own mother and father. (His father, retired pastor Dorman Owens pictured here founded the church, worked for years with no salary, and pastored it for 38 years with growth to 450; the church under Phil Owens averages around 65 in attendance.)
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PASTOR PHIL OWENS BETRAYS A CONFIDENCE
by Pastor Dorman Owens (retired) January, 2015

In 1987 a man in our church attempted to burn down an abortion clinic. Because I visited him in jail I was charged with, “withholding evidence” from the government and “interfering with a government investigation”. They sent me to prison for fourteen months. When I was released I was told that I could not longer own or possess a gun. It was legal for my wife but, not for me. Jean kept a gun for her protection in case of an invasion of our home.

In 2007 Jean developed Parkinson’s disease and suffered from severe depression and anxiety. As a result she threatened suicide often. Because of this danger I hid Jean’s gun from her. One day, while confiding with my son, Phil in his office;, I shared about her suffering and how I had to get rid of the gun because of the danger for her and that I would go to prison for two year if it was found in my possession.

In July, 2008, Phil expelled me from the church. In the process of getting a restraining order against me, he told them that I had an illegal gun in my possession.

A few days before this happened I went to his house to seek peace. He drove me away and called the Sheriff to evict me. Jean called Phil and told him to talk to me and make peace.

Phil said to her, “Momma, you don’t understand. Daddy is going to jail.” He had purposely made plans to put me in prison for two more years for having a gun I told him I was trying to get rid of. Do you think he gave a thought as to who would take care of his sick mother or the suffering we would both endure? Evidently, he did not care.

It has been 6 1/2 years since he expelled me and hew has never visited or called to check on us. He is “without natural affection”. (11 Timothy 3:03)

How can a “Man of God” so abuse the Command to “Honor your father and mother”? Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 27:16 says “Cursed is the man who treats his father and mother with contempt! Is it possible for a saved man to commit such a crime? How can anyone support a pastor who would betray his Godly parents like this?

What Phil does not know is that we got rid of the gun many months before. The police and judge ask me for the gun three times, but it was gone.

How sad that any son would even think about trying to put his father in prison for 2 years. Only a wicked mind could do what Phil did. Remember that the next time you hear him preach the word of God. He is a blatant hypocrite. Ask his mother. She has suffered much because of his carnal life.

He loves his kids, but not his mom and Daddy. He loves his dog better than us.

Sorrowfully,

Pastor Dorman Owens

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The Modern Day Nicolaitans, by Kenneth Reamy

This article was written at my request by my friend Kenneth Reamy and is a timely, relevant and a powerful warning that illustrates that many church leaders have been self-serving for the last 2,000 years, and these types are alive and well in our churches today. jk
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Modern Day Nicolaitans

One of the key challenges for any Bible preacher or teacher is to present the word of God in its proper context, rightly divided. This is inclusive of highlighting the historical context of a passage, as well as demonstrating the Bible’s relevance in today’s world for contemporary believers.
One of the criticisms many in our generation have of Bible teaching is that it’s boring, antiquated, and lacks relevance for our modern times. The same goes for those who preach and teach it.
I share some of this criticism. It seems that some commentators and Bible scholars are vying for the mantle of “Sleep-Inducer Extraordinaire.” I have cured many a bout of insomnia while reading dull, dry, parched, drought-plagued Bible commentaries laden with irrelevant minutia, written by humorless scholars whose predictable lifelessness permeates their cumbersome writings. And religious broadcasts often achieve the same outcome when brainy, monotone teachers engage in excruciating textual hair-splitting and historical nit-picking while Christians slumber and the world goes to hell.
Systematic theology, biblical lectures, and scholarly Bible presentations notwithstanding, it’s vital for preachers and teachers to be historically accurate while still being capable of demonstrating that the word of God for today is lively, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword! When this is achieved, listeners’ interest in the word can be resuscitated, and new life breathed into believers’ appetite for the bread of life.
Such is the case with the topic of the “Nicolaitans.” While only mentioned twice in scripture, (Revelation 2:6 and vs. 15), I will demonstrate that this sect and its deeds not only existed during the first Century when John wrote the revelation, but in our day as well, chiefly in an operational sense.
Here is what Jesus had to say about these Nicolaitans: To the church at Ephesus He says, “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Jesus hates their deeds. And to the church at Pergamos, He linked the “doctrine” of the Nicolaitans with Balaam’s prophecy-for-hire, (ministry for money), idolatry, and fornication. He says, “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” The word “doctrine” implies a teaching process.
The word “Nicolaitans” is a Greet compound word noted variously in Bible dictionaries as Nikao, Nike, and Nikos. Depending upon context, it means “conquer, overcome, prevail, victorious, victory.” The other Greek word is “laos,” which means “people.” We get the English word “laity” from this word. The full word, “Nicolaitans” literally means “conquer the people,” or as Strong’s Concordance notes, “Victory over the people.”
Some of the Bible dictionaries limit the application of this word to Nicolas, supposedly a deacon of the church of Jerusalem. Webster’s 1828 dictionary also attributes the origin of this word to this same deacon. Nicolas’ followers were sexually permissive, and apparently believed that all married women in the church should be available sexually to the male members of the church to prevent jealousy. Religions that allow people to remain in their sin, then and now, are very popular and experience growth!
But this explanation doesn’t fully recognize the dynamic of the compound word, which means, “victorious over the people,” specifically in deeds and doctrines. This sect and mindset, which had infiltrated the early church, divided the church into two groups: The clergy, and the laity. These Nicolaitans believed that the clergy should be distinct and elevated above the common people (laity) in the church, and as such, were entitled to privileges commensurate with their unique and elite calling and office. Unfortunately, (then and now) the operational manifestation of this philosophy results in two sets of rules: Those for the laity, and those for the clergy (the elite ones who have conquered the laity).
Jesus makes no secret of His hate for the deeds and the doctrines of these Nicolaitans!
So are there modern manifestations of this Nicolaitan mindset? Is there a contemporary representation of the Nicolaitan perspective in our churches today? Are there problems noted in the First Century churches that plague us today?
The answer to all the above is “yes.”
You don’t hear the word Nicolaitan much these days, but you can sure identify them by their actions and means of operation, and the obvious sense of entitlement among the modern “professional clergy.”
The Apostle Peter wrote, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you…” (II Peter 2:1). Here, Peter equates false teachers with false prophets. In addition to the false doctrines and teachings, Peter reveals their motives in vs. 3: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you…” The words “covetousness” and “merchandise” speak specifically of money. The Nicolaitans are after your money, and they utilize false doctrines and teachings to get it. One of these false teachings is that they are entitled to it from the flock which they have taught to support them with tithes and offerings.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy (an apostle to a preacher), he noted that covetousness could be cloaked as “godliness.” It’s a clever trick when it can be done, and it works best when the audience believes the same way. Paul wrote, “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” Rather than link all of God’s blessings strictly in monetary terms, Paul instructed Timothy, “From such withdraw thyself.” (I Tim. 6:5) He said that the threshold for contentment is godliness (vs. 6), and food and clothing, (vs 8).
Paul further warned Preacher Timothy, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (vs. 9-10). Only a foolish preacher is self-deceived into thinking these admonitions apply only to the pew and not to the pulpit. God does not have two sets of rules: One for the laity, and another for the clergy. The same rule book (Bible) applies to all of us! Since Paul’s letters to Timothy are ministerial in context, the first and primary application of all the material is to the preachers!
In Second Thessalonians, Paul reminded his readers of his own behavior while with them. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought (worked) with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.” (II Thess. 3:7-8). A few verses later Paul, having already reminded them he worked both the night and day shifts and didn’t eat anyone else’s bread, instructed them that “with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” (vs. 12).
Since this context is also ministerial (Paul reminding them of how he, as a minister, behaved), these instructions can also be applied to the preacher!
Yet there is a presumption among many modern preachers that these instructions don’t apply to them, and that they are somehow exempt from following these rules. And this presumption has given rise to the monolithic monstrosity we see today (some call it a church) wherein all God’s blessings are reduced to their lowest common denominator, i.e. cash, offerings, budget, etc., while some in the pews are hurting financially. Add to this the pressure from the pulpit to give more, tithe more, “meet the need…stand with us…be part of the team…sow generously…don’t be God-robbers,” and you have a highly charged atmosphere of pressure imposed on God’s people to fork over their simoleons in order to be blessed of God.
It’s ironic that modern fundraising is conducted by preachers who translate all God’s blessings into dollars and cents when it’s in their possession, but who teach that in order for God’s people to receive the same blessings, they must hand the money over to the preachers!
Without a doubt, it takes money to be in this world. And our world is much obsessed with money. But the church of the living God ought to be different and should not be defined by this obsession. When a church can respond to the things needful for the body in its local community, it more closely reflects the Lord of the church. When huge resources are eaten up with salaries, benefits, vacations, mortgages, debts, and “outgo” designated for the professional clergy, the elitism of the clergy is most glaringly obvious because once they’re needs are met there’s nothing left for anyone else!
God’s heritage is not an enemy to be conquered by the ruling elite—it is a flock of believers who are to be taught and led by love. And giving by the flock should always be done through love and sincerity; not because some preacher browbeat them with guilt and urgency to meet a need or satisfy a debt, or inoculate the preacher from the harsh economic realities everyone else faces. Kenneth Reamy

Posted in Abuses of Church Authority, Church, Fundamentalism And Church Cults | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sixty Little Known Historical Facts About the Atlantic Slave Trade From 1440 to 1890

Sixty Little Known Historical Facts About the Atlantic Slave Trade
From 1440 to 1890
Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D.

It has been my experience that the basis of many of the sentiments toward Whites that have come out of the Black community in my lifetime have their origin in the colloquial and anecdotal presentation of slavery in America. With that in mind, I have sought to study the available historical data on the slave trade across the Atlantic from the 15th to the 19th century. What I found was not at all what one would logically use to support the anti-White sentiment and the virulent racism of some in the African-American community in the 21st century in the United States.

The participation by African monarchies willing to sell their neighbors into slavery was beyond widespread in Africa going back to the fifteenth century and even well before that time. In fact, the historians who have chronicled those eras tell us in unmistakable terms that African participation and profiteering from the Atlantic slave trade was in fact universal on the continent of Africa going back to perhaps Egyptian dynasties.

This should bring the issue of Reparations and perhaps Affirmative Action into an entirely different perspective for the rational and honest individual, as will the fact that the United States was far down the list of nations participating in the slave trade. Along with Great Britain, the United States was first to champion the cause of abolition to the point of fighting a civil war over it resulting in 490, 309 deaths by the Union forces seeking to end slavery.

There is no purpose to this research and the presentation of its results other than to give an honest historical perspective on the Atlantic Slave Trade. Jerry D. Kaifetz

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1. The “Royal Families” of Africa in countries like Benin, the kings of Ashanti, Congo and Dahomey and the Viti rulers of Longo sold a great many slaves over many generations.

2. Even the African rulers who at first declined to participate in the Atlantic Slave trade eventually succumbed and played the same role as all the other African rulers.

3. Participation in the Atlantic Slave Trade by African rulers was nearly 100%.

4. The Azanaghi were one of the most important clans of the African Tuaregs, a tribe that had been conducting slave raids for countless generations on such cities as Timbuktu and other settlements on the Niger River. They adopted Islam as a result of their contacts through “The Sea of Sand,” the Sahara Desert. This was long before the arrival of the Portugese.

5. Islam came to Africa and promised an end to fighting and tribal fragmentation through barbarity, violence, and brought with it a moral condoning of slavery through the Almoravid Movement.

6. The seizure of slaves was a common practice in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. This was called the “Razzia.” This was practiced by Muslims and Christians. There was no major culture that was not engaged in slavery.

7. It was both a Christian and Muslim belief that the descendants of Ham had been turned black. According to the historian Zurara, who himself was influenced by the historian Egidio Colonna. Colonna taught that if a population did not live peaceably under formalized laws, they were no better than animals and thus could be legally enslaved. This influence prevailed in the 15th century.

8. Slavery was a major institution in antiquity. Prehistoric graves in Lower Egypt suggest that Lybian people many centuries before Christ made slaves of African bushmen and the Negrito tribe.
9. At the peak of Hellenist glory, Greece had about 60,000 slaves.

10. Romans made great use of slaves, with up to four hundred to be found in a single household.
The slave population in the Italian peninsula may have been as high as two million.

11. Aristotle reflected the world’s view of slavery in his first book, “Politics:” “Humanity is divided into two: the masters and the slaves.”

12. Cicero believed that the enslaving of conquered peoples was moral if those poeple were unable to govern themselves.

13. There were many slaves in Visigoth Spain who had deliberately sold themselves into slavery to achieve a better life. The historian Gregory of Tours wrote of this practice in the sixth century.

14. In 651 A.D. Egypt made a contract with Nubia by which the Nubians would deliver 360 slaves a year to Egypt.

15. The trans-Sahara slave trade began around 1,000 B.C..

16. African kings in West Africa collected and sold slaves long before the arrival of Islam.

17. At Bornu, just beyond the Songhai Empire in Africa, the historian Leo writes in the 16th century that slaves were regularly exchanged for horses at the rate of fifteen slaves for one horse. The slaves came by Africans raiding their African neighbors to the south.

18. In what is now western Nigeria, the Oyo kingdom of the Yorubas procured thousands of slaves to work in agriculture.

19. In the 1450’s the Venetian Alvise Ca’da found that kings on the Senegal River tributaries, and before them the mali had a well established slave population.

20. In West Africa, slaves were the only recognized form of private property or expression of wealth.

21. The individual most responsible for European participation was probably the portugese monarch,
Henry the Navigator

22. The Catholic Church also participated in the African slave trade. In 1446 the Bishop of the Algarve fitted out a caravel for the purpose of slaving the West African region. The church of Rome expressed great interest in acquiring slaves.

23. Ca’da Mosto recorded that the king of the African Wolofs supported himself mainly by slave raids on his African neighbors, and then selling his captives to Moorish and Azanaghi slave merchants.

24. The Portugese slave traders did not introduce slavery to West Africa. It had been well established there going back to antiquity. The Tuaregs, for example, had been raiding their southern neighbors for centuries up to the nineteenth century.

25. There was no sense of kinship between African tribes. Many hated each other. The slaves captured were looked upon as the lowest form of people. Historians such as Ca’da Mosto described the reigning monarchs and castes as despots.

26. There was some salve raiding by Europeans, but in 1458 Prince Henry sent Diogo Gomes with three ships to negotiate treaties with African rulers that established the purchase or barter of slaves from which the African leaders derived a steady stream of wealth. One African king, Nomimsana even became a Christian in the process.

27. The African tribal leaders were most content to receive European good such as knives, hatchets, swords, iron bars, Conch shells, candles, striped woolen shawls called lambens from Tunisia, such wines as Malmsey wine, rum, and especially copper rods.

28. Some slaves were destined for African ports. Slaves from the “Slave Rivers” and estuaries were often taken to Elmina where they were traded for gold. The African gold merchants paid higher prices for slaves than could be fetched in Lisbon.

29. The African people known as the Ijo and the Itsekiri in the Guld of Benin bought their slaves at inland slave auctions for sale to save traders in coastal ports.

30. Many slaves were purchased by Antoniotto Uso di mare from Genoa in his dealings with African slave traders on the River Gambia in the 15th century.

31. The first cargo of slaves to cross the Atlantic were sent by Chritopher Columbus in a west to east direction. He sent a group of Taino Indians from Santo Domingo in Hispaniola to his friend Juanotto Berardi. The Taino were cannibals. (The word Caribbean derives from “cannibal.”)

32. The beginning of the slave trade to the Americas was the gold of Hispaniola.

33. Spain was the licensing agent for the slave ships destined for the Americas. By Americas, Brazil and the Caribbean is what is meant the majority of the time.

34. The overwhelming majority of educated Europeans believed that the rampant starvation and constant tribal warfare in Africa meant that a slave was most fortunate to be taken from Africa to European colonies. The punishment for disobedient slaves was often a return to Africa.

35. Many families sold their children to the slave captains, believing that any life would be preferable to starvation and conquest bu warring African tribes. Many African walked great distances to offer themselves to the slave ship captains.

36. By 1535 “great caravans of blacks” would find their way to African slaving ports at the hands of their African captors.

37. The African Pangu and Lungu tribes in the River Congo area were raiders of tribes to their south to capture slaves. King Alfonso complained in 1526 that these raids had a genocidal effect on his country’s population. He testified that the raiders were Congolese, not Portugese.

38. The Emperor of African Songhai on the Middle Niger offered a gift of 1,700 slaves to Cherif Ahmed Es-Segli.

39. The Christian King of Congo, Diogo I contracted with Portugese slave traders (Fernando Jimenez, Emanuel Rodruigues and Manuel Caldiera) to purchase around 10,000 slaves a year. There were more slaves than there was room on the ships leading to overloading and some slave revolts.
In 1567, the new King of Congo, Alvare, continued the slave contract with the Europeans.

40. The slave trade became the mainstay of not just the economy of the Congo, but also Angola under the African leaders there. Most of these slaves went to Brazil.

41. In 1567 Frei Garcia Simoes wrote, “ Here [West African Angola] one finds all the slaves that one might want and they cost practically nothing. . . almost all the natives here are either born into slavery or reduced to that condition without the least pretext . . . After their victories, the [African] kings give over entire villages . . . with the right to kill or sell all the inhabitants. One could by three slaves for the tail of an elephant. ” Between 1575 and 1592 over 50,000 slaves were taken from Angola.

42. The Manioc plant did much to diminish starvation in Africa, as did the maize brought from the Americas. One of the results was to produce even more slaves for sale by African leaders to the slave traders.

43. In a 1790 British inquiry, Sir George Young testified, “Purchasing slaves was much the cheapest method of keeping up their numbers; … for the mother of a bred slave was taken from the field of labour for three years, which labour was of more value than the cost of a prime slave or new negro.”

44. A similar British inquiry found that, “to cultivate 100 acres of cane requires 150 Negroes at least in the field. It is plain to demonstration that hot countries cannot be cultivated without Negroes.”

45. In the first quarter of the 17th century, the total number of African slaves was close to 200,000. Half went to Brazil, over 75,000 to Spanish America, 12,500 to Sao Tome, and just a few hundred to Europe.

46. Many fishing villages on the coast of West Africa in the estuaries of the Niger River developed economies that were almost entirely based on the slave trade. These cities developed as strong African monarchies.

47. The Dominican Friar Thomas de Mercado wrote in his Suma de Tratos y Contratos in 1569 that prisoner captured in African wars throughout history had been enslaved or killed and were undoubtedly better off in America. He also pointed out that the African monarchs continually raided each other’s lands to take slaves to sell to the Europeans.

48. Ethiopia was the country where slaving first began in antiquity.

49. Throughout modern history, blacks were especially sought after as eunuchs in the Muslim world for use as civil servants and the management of harems as illustrated by the famous painting by Levni around 1732.

50. The large labor force that was an important part of American agriculture in the mid 1800’s would not have been there had it not been for the participation of African noblemen and leaders. In 1842 the sultan of Morocco wrote, “the traffic in slaves is a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam.”

51. “Most slaves carried from Africa between 1440 and 1870 were procured as a result of Africans’ interest in selling their neighbors.” Hugh Thomas, “The Slave Trade – The Story of the African Slave Trade 1440 to 1870″)

52. Voltaire made the comment, that while it was difficult to defend the conduct of the Europeans in the slave trade, that of Africans bartering each other was even more reprehensible and deserves to be better remembered.

53. The introduction of maize and manioc compensated for much of the population lost through slavery by substantially increasing the birth rate through the ability of Africans to now feed their populations. Rice and yams also played an important role in the burgeoning African agriculture.

54. The slave trade encouraged African monarchies to capture more prisoners in their constant tribal wars and to kill far less of them so as to be able to profit from the slave trade themselves.

55. The slave trade vastly increased employment in West Africa due to the great numbers of men needed in the entrepots as porters, canoemen, and guards.

56. The greatest opposition to the slave trade from any religious came from the Quakers, who had once participated in the slave trade themselves.

57. Nelson Mandela in a visit to Britain paid tribute to the Englishman Charles Wilberforce (1759-1833) as the greatest force in opposition to slavery. Benezet and Moses brown were his American counterparts.

58. Prior to the Amrican revolution, the British wre responsible for transporting large numbers of slaves to the American Colonies. Between 1721 and 1730, they brought well over 100,000 slaves. Only about 10,000 came to the mainland colonies such as South Carolina. The rest went to Jamaica, Cuba, Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

59. The participation in the slave trade by order of slave voyages and numbers of slaves by country:
COUNTRY VOYAGES SLAVES TRANSPORTED
Portugal 30,000 4,650,000
Britain 12,000 2,600,000
Spain / Cuba 4,000 1,600,000
France / W. Indies 4,200 1,250,000
Holland 2,000 500,000
N. America / U.S. 1,500 300,000
Denmark 250 50,000
Other 250 50,000

60. Origins of Slaves:
Senegambia (Arguin) / Sierra Leone 2,000,000
Windward Coast 250,000
Ivory Coast 250,000
Gold Coast (Ashanti) 1,500,000
Slave Coast (Dahomey, Adra, Oyo) 2,000,000
Benin to Calabar 2,000,000
Cameroons, Gabon 250,000
Loango 750,000
Congo / Angola 3,000,000
Mozambique / Madagascar 1,000,000
TOTAL FROM AFRICAN PORTS 13,000,000

The principal source for the material published in this report was the book, “The Slave Trade – The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440 – 1870″ by Hugh Thomas

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