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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Questions for Calvary Temple Members

Calvary Temple members,

I wonder if I might ask you a few questions, especially to those who have not seen or spoken to family members that have left Calvary Temple:

  1. Are you very, very sure that you have a biblical mandate to cut off your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, relatives or friends?  
  2. Have you tried to find out if the people that have been cut off from members of Calvary Temple are truly in biblical sin? And if so, does the Bible really teach you that you are to have nothing to do with them because of that sin?
  3. Have you contacted those who are cut off and spoken with them about their (supposed) sin? Heard the other side of the story? (does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?  John 7:51. He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and a shame to him. Proverbs 18:13).
  4. If you do not know what has caused them to be shunned, found out if it is biblically mandated, and sought them out to hear the matter, then why have YOU shunned them? You have hated people just on the word of another?
  5. Is leaving to attend another church a biblical mandate to shun someone?
  6. Is wanting to marry someone outside of CT and attend another church a reason to destroy a family?
  7. Is not wanting to remain under the leadership of a man who is not qualified to be a pastor (according to 1 Timothy) a reason to divorce your spouse?
  8. Is the leadership of CT the only ones who can decide whom you should speak to?
  9. Who is the head of your family? Calvary Temple Leadership or Jesus Christ? Star Scott or the husband/father/head of the household?
  10. Who is to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit for the direction of your life? Calvary Temple leadership or you?
  11. Should you blindly obey Calvary Temple leadership without knowing all the facts?
  12. HOW LONG WILL YOU HIDE FROM THE TRUTH AND SUPPORT LIES?

A few specific questions to a some CT members:

  • To the wife of M......   What biblical reason did you have to divorce your godly husband? Did you not promise to love him all the days of your life? What gave you the right to break the covenant of marriage? Was illness a reason to divorce him? Were you just too selfish to stand by your husband through the difficult times? What sin did he commit that caused you to cut off all hope of a long and godly marriage? Didn't God say He hates divorce?
  • To the four F..... children: what exactly is your mother's sin? Are you absolutely positive she is not serving God? (and suppose she is not serving God, is that a reason to end a relationship with your mother?) What does it mean to honor your mother? Who did you always know her to be? Is it possible she is still the same loving, godly mother you always knew? Shouldn't you find out for yourself? What if she has only spoken the truth?  
  • To the wife of A....:  What does the scripture mean concerning "pleased to dwell"? (a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 1 Cor 7:13).  If it does not apply in your situation, when does it apply? Why was this written if not for you, K....., to give your children their father and to give your husband an opportunity to be converted by what should be your chaste lifestyle? (that they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 3:2). What godly behavior does he see in you now?  
  • To the wife of J....  How are you justified in divorcing your husband - the head of your household - because you do not agree with his decision to lead his family out of CT? (Wives, be subject to you own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. Eph 5:22). Do you notice that Star Scott's name is not in that scripture? When does this scripture apply? Just when you want it to?
  • To the son of R and P: Are you positive your parents are not serving God? and are you sure you are supposed to shun them because they do not attend CT? Are you to shun them because they have spoken the TRUTH about Calvary Temple leadership? What does the scripture mean to honor your parents? Please note that the scripture does not say you are to honor your parents only when they are obeying the leadership of Calvary Temple. It just says to honor them. Period.  
  • To H... and M....:  I ask the same questions of you both. You have dishonored your parents for many years, all because they disagreed with the leadership of CT. Are they not serving God? Even if they weren't, how are you, the supposed Christians, to treat them?
  • To the daughter of G... and M....:  I often think and pray for you and wonder how you lay your head on the pillow at night and not weep with shame. You know your parents, you know the love they have for Jesus, the lives they have led as they serve Jesus and His body. And yet you take the word of another man (or men) and refuse to stand against the lies and deceit. You know your parents have spoken only the truth. It is time for you to stand up and speak the truth yourself. Take your children and return to the home of your parents.  They will do whatever it takes to protect you and them.  

To many others in Calvary Temple that have shunned their family and friends, divided their homes, hated their brothers and sisters - I advise you to be very, very sure you are 100% right. If you are wrong, you are in opposition to God. You cannot hide behind leadership and say you were just being obedient. You must be obedient to God rather than to man. If you are wrong, you will find yourself answering to God for the destruction of families and even souls. And the truth is, you are wrong in believing the twisted lies of Calvary Temple leadership.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Please Read

Haven't had much time lately to write anything new but I recently read the following article.  It rings almost 100% true when comparing to Calvary Temple. Perhaps the only characteristic mentioned concerning abusive churches that does not apply to CT is "Frequent Changing of  Group/Church Name".  (At least for now.)  It is shocking how accurately Calvary is described  by this article.

In addition to the characteristics listed in this article, there are many others central to Calvary Temple that are discussed in other entries on this blog.

https://www.probe.org/abusive-churches/


Sunday, November 23, 2014

He Said That? Part 3

We have looked at several quotes from Star Scott in the previous two posts. The following are further illumination of his apparent desire to be seen as above the congregation in his ability to hear from God for the purpose of not only running the church, but running your lives.

"We live in a day when we've  lost sight of the fact that God predominantly speaks to men that are placed by Him in roles of leadership." (Knowing God's Voice...Pt 2)

"And I want you to see that one of God's major methods of guidance is divine authority, spiritual authority, recognition and confidence in God's order, that allows me to be led by orders of my superiors."  (Knowing God's Voice...Pt 5)

"You're going to be deceived and you're going to become shipwrecked if you refuse to understand that God has put counselors, overseers, and spiritual authority into your life who will speak to you the Word of God.  They hear the Word of God from a different perspective and on a different level than you hear it."  (Knowing God's Voice..Pt 2)

He is stating unequivocally that one of our major methods of knowing God's guidance is by the established leadership.  Throughout the years we attended Calvary Temple, there were numerous teachings that established this "truth". Fortunately, the Word of God does not support this. The word of God shows us a new and better way.  As mentioned in the previous post, Star Scott has greatly exaggerated a biblical truth for his own purposes.

Much of the teaching entitled Knowing God's Voice, Doing God's Will  includes encouragement to put God's word above all else when seeking to hear God's Voice.  But once again, Star Scott has another message and the above quotes give us the real thought he wants to communicate.  He uses circular reasoning to say - yes, God's word is the primary source of leading but His word says obey them that have the rule over you, therefore, obey me and you will be fulfilling the scripture. (For an accurate explanation of the biblical meaning of Hebrews 13:17, read this) So in the end, Star Scott wants you to seek God in His Word and discover that God's primary source of leading is the men he has placed over you, your superiors.

This is not to say we should not seek counsel from a pastor nor follow the example of the godly men and women in our lives. And as far as how the church functions, of course we should follow the guidelines set down by those in authority. But for my own personal life and that of my family, I believe that God has set husbands as the priests of their own households and has given each one of us the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads and guides our individual lives. (Star Scott once said that the husband's only role in the family is to reinforce the teaching of the pastor and be sure it is carried out in his home.) The pastor is not to reach into the home and usurp the role of the husband. Beyond the order established for a church or home, each individual must hear from God - we each one will stand before God on our own. No pastor, husband, parent or other authority will be standing next to us. And if no one will be standing with us then surely God does not intend others to be responsible for our own relationship with Him. We are responsible, and He has given us the ability to walk this walk of faith.  Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  2 Peter 1:3

Why is this such an important subject? Because man is not infallible. Star Scott is not infallible. He does not have some special ability to hear God for my life that God has not given to me. An elder of a local congregation leads and guides the church for the sake of order and growth in the church. The danger comes when the members are convinced that to disobey the pastor (even when he is wrong - see previous post)  is to disobey God. And when the pastor himself is communicating that very message, the members must understand they are in a very dangerous, authoritarian, and even cult-like group.

The following scriptures tell us of the precious relationship God has granted each one of us through the death and resurrection of His Son. He gave His all so that the door would be opened and Jesus would come and have fellowship with us. Should we say - no, we want a king (man) over us? Jesus is our High Priest, not Star Scott.

Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy (said Paul) 2 Cor 1:24

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.   Hebrew 10: 19-20

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they will follow Me.  John 10:27

For as many are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "this is the way, walk in it" whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth.  ....you know Him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14: 16-17

Some of us who spent many years under the teachings of Star Scott and his associates have had a difficult time recognizing the twisting of scripture that allows a pastor to gain control over our individual lives. I suggest researching the following subjects:  authoritarian churches, abusive churches, and religious abuse. The links posted on the right side of this blog are all very informative. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must protect ourselves from false teachers that deceive many. Please do not take lightly the many voices warning fellow believers of the unbiblical and dangerous teachings of Calvary Temple.








Sunday, November 16, 2014

He Said That? Pt 2

In the previous post, we quoted Star Scott expressing his belief that he is always right and you are always wrong even when you may be right and he may be wrong. He attributes his "infallible rightness" to his position as an elder and your "defiant wrongness" to your position as a subordinate. In this post, we look at two additional quotes from Star Scott's teachings that reinforce his belief that he is alway right and the rest of us are always wrong (and the women are not only wrong but evil).

"I don't think we are the only ones ones who are right; but I think we're right, amen? When I share with somebody, there is no question  in my mind that  I'm right and they're wrong if we disagree." (A Little Leaven Pt 1 2008)


In context, Star Scott used the example of healing to illustrate why he is right and others are wrong. Someone is saying it is not God's will to be healed and Scott says of course it is - so therefore I am right and they are wrong. His "example" was limited to a clear biblical truth that the majority of bible believing Christians would agree with. But what was communicated? He uses an obvious example  to prove his point that he is always right and you are always wrong. In addition, he starts the comment saying WE are always right and ends it by saying "I'M  right". The congregation once again hears Star Scott's declaration of his innate rightness and position of authority.

Not only does Star Scott spend a lot of time reinforcing his superiority, he also communicates messages "between the lines". 

Please note the following conversation between Star Scott and his wife:

"I asked Greer this morning, "How would you summarize the message of the last six months? What have you heard over the last six months of our teachings? She thought for a minute, she said", "women are evil....I know that's how a woman is hearing it." (Ezra and Nehemiah Dec 2008)

Even Greer recognizes that the people, specifically the women, are hearing something other than what was being preached. Should not a pastor have grave concern if the message he is preaching is perceived as something entirely different? Apparently not Star Scott - he continued this message for six months.

Star Scott has long been known for exaggeration. In many ways we gave a pass to him - writing it off as "you know how Pastor Scott is - he exaggerates for effect". But that is exactly the point - he uses exaggeration to get across his hidden message. In this case, women are either seen as evil or at least suspect of being evil. Women apparently absorbed a message for at least 6 months that they are evil.   And it is not just the women hearing that they are evil, their husbands are hearing the same hidden message. (not to mention their children). Because they are now labeled "evil", women are less likely to speak, to ask questions, give their opinions, or disagree. And underlying all teachings is the ongoing message from Star Scott that he is ALWAYS RIGHT and SUPERIOR.

  • But the wisdom from above is first  pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  James 3:17
  • For by grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought...Romans 12:3
  • He that speaks truth shows forth righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.   Proverbs 12:17,18
  • For such people are not serving our Lord Jesus, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.  Romans 16:18
Communicating the Word of God should be dependent upon speaking the word with purity, allowing the Holy Spirit to bring the message to each heart. It should not be done with exaggeration or with hidden messages, or with insistence on receiving the word from a superior vessel, i.e. Star Scott. The next post will highlight a couple of comments made by Star Scott that speak of his ability to hear the Word in ways that the rest of us just cannot achieve.  







Thursday, November 13, 2014

He Said That? Part 1

The following is a quote from Star Scott of Calvary Temple that should cause all of us to be concerned. 

"The authority, even when it is wrong, is right. What I mean by that is this: as the subordinate, if I'm, right and defy the authority, then what has happened? I have become wrong, because it is not about the issue, primarily, it is about the heart." (Star Scott I will Build My Church Pt 7)


(The context of this teaching - I Will Build My Church - concerns spiritual authority and the elders placed in local churches. Though Star Scott says he is referring to non-doctrinal matters, he is in fact talking about someone being RIGHT and someone being WRONG. Therefore, his one example of "the time we start church" is not relevant. His statement is clearly talking about right vs wrong. The concept of authority vs subordinate is communicated as one being always right and one being always wrong. By extension, the hearer or reader understands this to mean he is not to bring truth to an elder. What is spoken and what is understood can sometimes be two different things.)


My first response was the scripture "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." Ephesians 4:15. In looking at this verse in context, I do not see any place where it says "except the elders or except the pastors or the authority".  verse 4 says "there is one body and one Spirit"....vs 6 "who is over all and through all and in all."  We are to speak truth to all our brothers and sisters - no matter their position in the body. We are one body, being prepared to meet our bridegroom. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and therefore all are in need of the ministry of the body. 


Galatians 6:1 says: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness." Again, I do not see in context an admonition to NOT speak to a pastor or teacher.


1 Timothy admonishes us: Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. We are told how to address the "authority", but I cannot find any scriptures that tells us no matter how wrong the leadership may be, I am out of order by bringing truth to a brother. But the fact that we are instructed HOW to bring truth to an elder lets me know there is a time for doing so. Are we to run to the pastor every time we don't agree with something he is teaching? Or we don't like the new requirement to turn out the lights when we leave the bathroom? Of course not. But Star Scott is stating if you have a differing opinion or disagreement about a teaching, you have a heart issue if you approach them.


And a further thought - Star Scott says:  "If {you are} right and defy the authority..."  Suppose the authority is telling me to lie on my income tax? We know without a doubt that this would be wrong. Would I be defying God if I refuse to obey the elder telling me to lie? And try to tell him that it would be sin for me to lie on my income tax and sin for him to tell me to do so? Does Star Scott really believe an elder who is "wrong" gets a free pass just because his is in a position of authority? And we should obey just because he is our elder?


Suppose the authority is telling the congregation we must now attend church every Monday morning for prayer. Am I out of order if I go to an elder and express my disagreement with missing family prayer for corporate prayer? Am I automatically defying authority?  


So now my question to members of Calvary Temple - why would your pastor admonish you with the above statement? Why would he say that speaking the truth to an elder is out of order? Could it be that he wants you to stop hearing from the Holy Spirit concerning teachings coming from the pulpit? (in other words, stop being like the Bereans). Is he trying to gain compliance from the congregation?  "just do what you are told and shut up". Since when are we to disregard the still small Voice within us?


One final note: I find it interesting that Star Scott's comment equates being right with defiance. Just because you are right or have a different opinion and desire to speak truth to an elder does not meant you are DEFIANT. Of course, no one wants to be seen as defiant so the threat of being seen in such a light takes away our desire to even know the truth much less speak it.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Warning

The writers of this blog are regular readers of "Tactics of Calvary Temple". Recently there was a post on "tactics" that encouraged us to read Isaiah 59. Just in case you did not have an opportunity to do so, I include it in this post.                                      


Isaiah 59 New International Version (NIV)

Sin, Confession and Redemption


Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,

    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
They hatch the eggs of vipers
    and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
    and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
    and acts of violence are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.
The way of peace they do not know;
    there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
    no one who walks along them will know peace.
So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
    among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
    we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
    for deliverance, but it is far away.
12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
    turning our backs on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,
    uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
    and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
    honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
    so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
    and retribution to his foes;
    he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath of the Lord drives along.[a]
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.


Monday, October 13, 2014

A Silent Church

        Throughout the years I attended Calvary Temple there have been accusations and rumors of sexual abuse, especially child abuse. One major incident has been substantiated by copies of a report to the police, confirmation from a family member, and admission by the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the victims did not pursue the matter any further, and subsequently there has been a very long cover-up. In addition, other alleged incidents of sexual abuse have been hidden. The congregation may or may not know of these incidents but there were unsuccessful attempts by the victims to be heard concerning their abuse. In addition to sexual abuse there are reports of extreme corporal punishment (that leaves severe bruising and emotional distress beyond the needed "correction"). The perpetrators were able to "shut down" the investigations. As a result, young children have been pushed aside and unheard, allowing emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual harm that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  And we will be held responsible if we do not speak out against these evils.
       
The following is a link to an article by Boz Tchividjian addressing this problem.

http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/02/14/silence-abandonment-hurting-souls/


To the members of Calvary Temple:  As long as you continue to give of your time, finances, energies and attendance, you are supporting the wrongs that have occurred and continue to occur at Calvary Temple. 

If you once attended Calvary Temple and have left: you have an obligation to speak against the sins that have occurred and continue to occur at Calvary Temple. 

And to those in leadership that have left Calvary Temple (pastors, deacons, & captains):  you have the highest responsibility to speak against the evil deeds you not only knew of and have since learned of, but may have participated in.  


But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.  Ephesians 5:13

From Matthew Henry Commentary on Ephesians 5:13 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers....Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God?...There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. 

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Isaiah 5:20

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

We have been silent too long.  Do not allow fear, apathy, or a desire "to just move on" keep you from speaking out.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Red Flags

Members of my family and I attended Calvary Temple for many years. During that time the Holy Spirit brought to our attention many things that were troubling. They were either scriptures that were misused or misapplied or events that were disturbing. Unfortunately, we often overlooked them. In retrospect, I see the great sin in turning away from the warning of the Holy Spirit. We allowed our admiration for Star Scott to override the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Our prayer is that current members of Calvary Temple would not ignore these red flags.

I was recently reminded of Star Scott once saying: "The Bible read says that {your sin} is cast into the sea of God's forgetfulness, amen?" (There is Yet One Man Pt 12 December 9, 2012). In reality, the scripture he was referring to do says something quite different. It actually says You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. I was struck by how forcefully he mis-quoted a scripture and pulled the congregation into agreement by saying "amen?" and waiting for the "amen!" response.

This should have been a  concern to me, but I ignored the red flag. I began to think of other red flags that I or my family had allowed to go by without challenge. Many of the following can be found in other groups when studying abusive churches and cults but the following list should especially be taken note of as they are particular to Calvary Temple.


  • families or marriages breaking up when one member stops attending Calvary Temple 
  • misquoting and twisting scripture to say something other than its actual meaning (as in the above example or the now infamous "high priest" being required to marry a virgin)
  • encouragement to read only those books in the church bookstore  (that have been pre-approved by leadership)
  • being encouraged to follow Star Scott and leadership rather than the Holy Spirit (because they hear from God more than us)
  • bible studies or book clubs requiring approval by leadership
  • discouragement of marriage counseling or marriage-related events (such as cruises) outside of Calvary Temple
  • complete lack of financial transparency or accountability
  • marriages taking place within a few short weeks without the time of getting to know each other
  • directing children to find other families to live with in the event parents stop attending CT
  • separation from and even isolation from natural family
  • continual criticism of other churches and pastors
  • maligning of character from the pulpit (especially of those who have stopped attending CT)
  • the respect of persons, those in the "inner circle"
  • unwritten rules - we all knew what we could say or ask and what we couldn't
  • constant adulation of Star Scott ("propping him up")
  • fear of losing salvation if you leave CT
  • warnings of bad things happening if you leave CT
  • elitism (see previous post) 
  • encouraging members to recruit from other churches
  • lack of accountability for the leaders
  • being told we might have to move to the property
  • being told we might have to bring our resources to the feet of the apostles
  • the cutting off from the Assemblies of God
  • insults (and false witness) directed at former members 
  • father's authority in home being weakened and even removed (I remember  Star Scott telling fathers that their only job is to enforce what is being said from the pulpit)
  • unscriptural marking
  • our children hearing intimate details of Star Scott's sex life
  • telling kids to miss college exams when young adult retreat was rescheduled to another weekend
  • daily bible reading being controlled along with assigned prayer lists rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to direct reading and prayer
  • being told that we should be studying only what Star Scott is teaching during our own study time
  • statements such as "...we can't go into the details but...."  or "I can't remember exactly but...." and saying enough that everyone in the congregation knew exactly who was being talked about 
  • statements such as "that's the kind of woman I would like to punch in the face", or they are "daughters of satan"
  • extreme corporal punishment - sometimes leaving severe bruising and causing parents and teachers to be very concerned
  • a wife being put into a hotel room for 91 days to "break" her
  • rumors of child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse
  • rumors of the above being covered up
  • being told God had placed us here and therefore could not accept a job transfer
  • being told we could not date someone we met somewhere other than inside Calvary Temple
  • the exodus of many long-time members (even those in leadership) 
  • being told to avoid or not talk to those who have left ("we have it under control")  ("if we can't convince them to do the right thing, why do you think you can?")
  • learning that our pastor had covered his sin and then misrepresented the nature of the sin when it was revealed

I have not elaborated on these Red Flags; those of us that attended or currently attend Calvary Temple are familiar with these incidents and characteristics. Calvary Temple is a dangerous place; on the surface it is biblical but underneath it is depraved and abhorrent. When your eyes are opened to the control and abuse, you find yourself sickened that you never saw it before and thankful that you see it now.







Thursday, September 25, 2014

Elitism

The following is adapted from a post on the website Pure Provender:

One common sign of an abusive church is a sense of elitism. Just what IS elitism? It's a feeling that your group is special, better, far superior than other churches or groups. Most churches feel that they are on the right path, that their particular doctrines are right. That's not elitism.  Elitism goes beyond just thinking that your doctrines or practices are correct. It's a hyperactive puffing up about it. Your group thinks not only that it is on the right path, but that almost no one else is.

There are a couple of ways elitism is expressed. One is that the leaders come right out and say it. The pastor or leaders might preach that the group has a special call or a unique mission. This will be a repeated theme in abusive churches. It tends to isolate. If you are so special, God's own favorite children, why would you even want to hang out with the "unspecial"?

It also takes subtler forms. The pastor might not focus much on your special calling. He might instead spend time cutting down other groups, focusing on their perceived weaknesses and problems. If he does this enough, you get the idea. Church X doesn't really stress scripture (unspoken lesson: WE DO!); Church Y doesn't really preach salvation (unspoken lesson: WE REALLY CARE); Church Z doesn't live out the gospel (unspoken lesson: WE LIVE THE GOSPEL).

What elitism does is unify church members. They get the message. THEY don't want to be like the worldly groups out there that don't care about lost souls or the poor or missions or the scripture. They want to make sure they are among the chosen few. To do this, they will hunker down, they will keep to the group, they will make sure the leadership knows they are loyal and true and not heathen like those other groups outside.

When things get messy and they are tempted to leave, elitism is a powerful handcuff. Members have spent so much time looking down on other groups and playing up their own gifts that to leave means they have to reverse their thinking, and that's very hard to do. Suddenly, they are thinking about no longer being part of God's special group, and also about joining up with groups they - along with the church leadership - have looked down on for so long. That's a hard reversal to stomach.

Besides bragging about gifts and callings, and besides castigating other "inferior" churches, another sign of elitism is when the pastor or leaders won't meet with other community pastors. They will not join ministerial alliances or Christian groups in a community. They are too good for those lukewarm Christians. They are far above them and will not deign to rub shoulders with them. While many elitist pastors do meet with such groups either just for show or because it lends credibility to the group, the very hard core elitists will not. If your pastor won't meet with other pastors unless they are of the same denomination, it is a big, bright, red flag that he is an elitist and possibly abusive.


Elitism can be blatant or subtle, but it's a common trait of abusive churches.


If you find yourself recognizing any of the above in your own church, Calvary Temple or any other, please do more research on abusive and authoritarian churches.  There is a very dangerous increase in controlling and cultish churches that is doing great harm to the Body of Christ and the cause of Jesus Christ. These churches have  the appearance of sound biblical doctrine but the fruit of their ministries is corrupt.