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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.