Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2012

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”Malachi 3:8

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” Mark 11:15-18

We were often taught that we were robbing God if we didn’t tithe and give offerings above the tithe. If we didn’t give, or didn’t give enough, we were robbing God. Edwin Young threatened on several occasions to read a list of the names of those he didn’t think were tithing. Giving cash was not enough–the money had to be tracked to your account, or you were “selfish.”

There are several rumors going around that Edwin Young took money from Faith Tabernacle. Reports of exactly how the money was taken-through a church loan or by manipulating the accounts varies. If these allegations are true, they are wrong and should not be supported by the church. Yet recent rumors are that the church will not take action.

If Edwin took money from the church that wasn’t his, he did not take a small sum. The rumors are that he took more than half a million dollars (one report states the figure to be $750,000) of church funds before he left. And the church won’t pursue the matter.
I am familiar with the church’s mentality. Protect the church at all costs. “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (1 Cor 6:7) The thought is that some things should be hidden to make the church look better to those not in it, so that they’ll come and join. There is a problem with this concept: The truth cannot be defended by lies. Truth will prevail in spite of sin, but if the truth of a matter is hidden, how will it be made right? Would it be right to lie to people so that they would come? How can people be won to truth with lies?

The verse above is not talking about staying silent and letting sin prevail. It isn’t telling Christians that they should let someone rob them, much less the house of God. It is also not saying never to go to the law. Some things are illegal and need to be taken care of in court. However, some things should be decided within the church. There was too much quarreling in Corinth. That was wrong. But it is also wrong to sit silently by and watch someone do wrong without doing anything about it. By refusing to do anything we become part of the problem. Faith Tabernacle prides itself on having the Truth. The truth is more than one verse in the Bible. If we won’t tell the whole truth or if we hide sins rather than dealing with them, are we really standing for truth, or have we corrupted the precious truth with lies?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It can be very difficult for those who have no contact with the church anymore to keep in mind that there are victims in the current situation at Faith Tabernacle. Truly, it’s difficult to even refer to someone from Faith Tabernacle as a “victim”, since I fought not to be referred to in that way, myself.

Yet there are victims. There are many who were hurt deeply by the actions of those they respected, trusted implicitly, and relied so much on for direction. I’m sure I couldn’t begin to describe what those boys must be dealing with. Questions, doubts, fears, humiliation, grief, outrage and guilt could all be mixed into their emotions right now. Their parents, extended families, and friends are also victims, and are left to answer how and why this could have happened. They sacrificed to send their kids to a safe school, a school that ended up being far from safe. In a way, nearly every member of Faith Tabernacle has been a victim. They were betrayed at a very deep level and with two blows nearly simultaneously-their pastor resigned and disappeared under rumors of immorality or unethical behavior, and then this former pastor’s son was arrested on even worse allegations less than two weeks later.

It can be very difficult for those of us who have left to keep in mind that Edwin and Jordan Young left many victims in their wake, and that the deepest hurts have been to minors. Perhaps one of the most glaring examples of the difficulties with Faith Tabernacle’s culture for me has been that I sat next to those who have faced this four times a week for years, but I feel less empathy toward them than I would for a hurricane victim I never met. It’s not that I don’t think they deserve empathy. They most certainly do. Yet there is a seeming mental block when I try to feel what they must be feeling. Whether that’s because I’ve disassociated so completely that I can’t, or whether that’s because at some very deep level I won’t, I’m not sure.

If you can find it in yourselves, remember, there are victims. As overjoying as it is to see some of our suspicions come to light, as relieving as it may be to discover our families are safe or that we left in time, and as mind-blowing as it is to discover we were right all along, there are victims. Please pray for them and their families as they begin the difficult process of legal proceedings and of trying to rebuild lives deeply affected by others’ wrongs.

Read Full Post »

The gifts of the Spirit. Tongues, prophecy, words of faith, knowledge and wisdom, healing, laying on of hands… people argue about how many there are and what some of them actually mean. There are classes taught on how to ‘operate’ in these gifts, sermons taught on them, and many who ‘seek’ them. In Faith Tabernacle and churches like it, the gifts are emphasized and relied on to show who “has the Holy Ghost” and who doesn’t. The ones who appear to “operate in the gifts” most are the ones who are looked up to and considered the most spiritual. People trust them and say they have the touch or hand of God on their lives, that they are anointed, that they are men of God, that they have a call of God on their lives. They may, but there is another aspect that should be considered, rather than simply seeking signs.

Then there are the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. There is no argument over these, no debate over what they mean or how or when they should be used. I’ve never heard anyone talk about how to ‘operate’ in the fruit of the Spirit or heard anyone talk about ‘seeking’ these fruit.

Which are more important? Which should be emphasized and sought after?

The gifts of the Spirit are attractive. Those who say they have them and emphasize them get the spotlight, the TV shows, the accolades… sadly, too often we not only seek these gifts, but those who exhibit them. Some run back and forth to meetings where someone who claims these gifts will be preaching. Instead of studying the Bible for answers, we may seek a ‘word of knowledge’ for what we should do. We may base our own spiritual walk on our experiences and emotionalism rather than on the promises of God. Some may even seek gifts rather than God, or they may seek Him only for the gifts, rather than for who He is.

For a very long time, I did those things. And by doing them, I got hurt, burnt out, and stressed out. I often doubted my salvation, my understanding of the Bible, and the will of God for my life. I finally realized that whatever the will of God might be for my life, those things weren’t it. Gifts mean nothing in a fruitless life.

1 Cor 13:1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Which are more important in a Christian’s life, gifts or fruit? I believe Paul gave us the answer. The greatest of these is love…

Read Full Post »

“Whom the Lord loves, he chasteneth”. I’ve heard it quoted many times, but it was very difficult for me to understand it. Many people are afraid to leave churches like Faith Tabernacle because of verses like these. But what is the chastening of the Lord?

The things I’ve heard people say were the chastening of the Lord often don’t bring a person to repentance, but push them away from religion entirely. There are three verses that talk about the chastening of the Lord: Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Hebrews. Hebrews is a quote of Proverbs. And Proverbs may very well refer back, in thought, to Deuteronomy.

Quote:
Deut 8:2Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.Prov 3:11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12because the Lord disciplines those he loves,as a father the son he delights in.Heb 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

None of those talk about horrid bad things happening as a result of God punishing us for sin. The verse in Hebrews talks more about discipline as regulation or training than punishment. According to these verses it would seem that bad things may happen and we may even bring bad things on ourselves through our sin, but God is with us and teaches us through those things that happen. He didn’t bring them on us for hurt. If He brought something at all it was to teach us–and He helps us through the lessons, on top of that! Chastisement seems to refer more to teaching than corporal punishment on a supernatural level.

Forty years in the wilderness was bad, but the passage that refers to that as chastisement talks about God caring for them during that time, not punishing them:

3He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

They were stuck in the wilderness for 40 years. That seems harsh. But even as God taught them-disciplined them-He loved them. And they learned. At least for a generation or two. God’s chastening isn’t without love or care, and it isn’t without lessons learned. He isn’t an abuser, waiting to strike anyone who messes up. He’s a teacher, wanting to instruct us. Can you imagine the chaos if the Israelites had gone into Canaan complaining and ready to go back to Egypt? They would probably have either turned to idols or lost their battles in their fear. Holding them back from Canaan, if that was the case, wasn’t mean as I was taught. He loved them through that, but He did what was best for them.

There are things I can’t explain in the Bible that make God seem mean. Korah, for example, scares me. But “him the Lord loves, He chasteneth” comes with promises that I was never told in Pentecost.

Read Full Post »

I used to be asked “Do you even have the Holy Ghost? Then where’s your joy?”

Where was my joy? It is quite possible that I was grieving the spirit of God by staying in Faith Tabernacle when I knew enough that I should have left and shouldn’t have supported that church anymore. There would be no joy in that. What I know for sure is this: when I left Faith Tabernacle, the joy that had been so elusive became a very real part of my life.

Righteousness, peace, and joy. I had been told that people who left might feel a little peace or joy for a short time, just becasue they’d finally decided on something, even if it was the wrong thing. Three years after leaving, I have more joy and peace than I had when I left. Righteousness? How could anyone who left Faith Tabernacle be righteous? My righteousness isn’t in myself. My righteousness is found in Jesus. (Phil 3:9, Rom 3:22)

Peace. I lived in fear for several years. Fear of what people would say, what they would think, what they would think of me. I’m no longer afraid. I tried to please people, so that they wouldn’t report me or judge me. That’s no way to live. There is peace in living for God. His burden is light. It was men who put burdens on us that were too heavy to carry, and who wouldn’t carry them, themselves. (Luke 11:46). To have those burdens lifted, to be able to dance in the rain, celebrate Jesus’ birth and resurrection with special services in various churches, to sing because I want to, when and where I choose… that freedom has brought joy. Contentment and thankfulness. Gladness that though my righteousness is as filthy rags, there is One who died for me, in whom I place my faith. It’s not about what I can do but about what he’s already done. Righteousness. Yes, I want to live as he would have me live. Not in rules, but in love.

What I strove for “in the church” I finally found when I left it. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. And with them something else. Hope.

Read Full Post »

Some have been upset that there are people who are “rejoicing” over what happened. They are sadly mistaken about what emotion some are feeling.

I went to Edwin Young’s church, Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Junction City, KS, for nearly 10 years. I sat on the pews. I ‘amened’ his preaching. I knew all the verses, had the ‘standards’ just right, made sure to stop thinking rather than to question anything that happened. Until it happened to me. It’s easy to shout ‘amen’ when someone else is getting the brunt of someone’s wrath. “Get them, pastor! Nail it down! Preach!” It’s simple to accept the labels placed on others and think they must have ‘deserved it’. But it’s not so easy when it happens to you.

I thought I was doing the right thing. But someone got jealous. Someone got upset. Someone thought they should have something I could give them. And when I didn’t, the gossip started. Rumors built and then they went to the pastor. “Concerned for my soul.” They sat in the office while Edwin Young yelled at me and told me I wasn’t a part of the church. From responses from friends, the person must have texted several people before I ever left the office that night.

Then things got worse. I was somewhat threatened. “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll tell Bro Young and he’ll take care of you!” Worse, fewer and fewer people would speak to me. The rumors were too thick, I suppose, for them to ignore. Edwin Young preached, “Be careful who you fellowship! Choose your fellowship wisely!!” and the silence built.

Finally there was a last straw. I didn’t leave because I wanted to leave, but because I felt I had to. By that point I was sitting on the pews and go through the motions of service and thinking, do I really believe any of this at all? And so I left. I went to another Apostolic church, and was greeted by a member there with “Well, what happened? If you don’t tell me, that’s ok. I know so-and-so and so-and-so from your church, and we talk all the time. They’ll tell me everything!” I walked out and never went back. Not because I didn’t believe Acts 2:38, but because I believed more. I believed that true Christians wouldn’t lie and gossip and slander each other. I believed that biting and devouring each other was wrong. I believed that our true motivation as Christians should be love. And I couldn’t find that in Pentecost. Not in my area, at least.

Do I rejoice over what happened? I rejoice that Edwin Young resigned, yes. I rejoice that finally my name might be cleared, that the silence is broken, that people might say hello to me rather than turning their backs, and that someday, broken friendships may be restored. More than that, I’m relieved. Relieved that I left, that I’m not associated with the allegations against the former leaders of Faith Tabernacle, that I wasn’t a part of whatever happened and is still under investigation. I’m relieved that I had no part of what happened and that I left before things got so bad.

Do I rejoice? I don’t rejoice that children may have been molested, that money may have been misused, that men and women sinned, or that anyone might have hidden what was happening. I don’t rejoice over the women that Edwin allegedly fooled around with or that people may have been too afraid to “leave the truth” to tell it. I hurt for them. I hurt that they are still there, that they still cling to the hope that now things will be better, that now things will be different, when they follow the same patterns as before. There may be changes, but unless they change, they will risk the same things happening again. No matter who is in leadership. And so I hurt for them.

I haven’t met anyone yet who is happy Edwin Young or Jordan Young “fell”. I have, however, seen people reunited who hadn’t spoken to each other for years because of the distrust Edwin had built between people. I have seen some deal with their hurts and begin for the first time to open up and talk about long covered wounds. And I have hope that they will find healing when they do. For that I rejoice.

Read Full Post »

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely…”

I’ve heard the quote several times recently in regard to the issues at Faith Tabernacle. Why? Because Edwin Young had, or thought he had, that power. If he said it, people believed it. If he said someone was bad, few looked past the accusations to see if there was any basis to them. There were a few times that he even preached that if the preacher said the sky was green, we’d better just believe it, even though we’d always thought it was blue.
Wait. He told us how to dress. He required a weekly fast. He told us to pray and hour a day. We were supposed to ask permission to leave town and miss a service, to date or to marry, to buy a house or a car, to apply for and/or accept a new job. He said no one made us do that and that no one made us stay. But the doctrine of the church said that if we didn’t, we could be thrown out… and that if we left the church, we were “backslid” and headed to hell. Further, the teaching of the church was that if a person “backslid” they couldn’t just come back anytime of their own accord, but would have to call and ask the pastor’s permission to return, and that if we didn’t, the church “family” should have little if anything to do with us. “Choose your fellowship wisely!” “Be careful who you fellowship!”
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Whether Edwin Young had absolute power or not, through fear of hell and the potential threats of shunning and rejection, he did have an enormous and unbiblical amount of control. Whether or not that control led to corruption I seriously doubt many would debate.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »