Category Archives: Resources

Guest Post By Ken Marino: Jesus is Waiting Outside

We are pleased to have a guest writer sharing his heart from God’s Word today. Ken Marino and his family were a part of Calvary Temple for 19 years. The Lord brought them out of Calvary Temple and into freedom in 2007. Ken has authored a devotional on the book of James entitled “The Physician & the Pharmacy,” which we enjoyed. We are grateful for his thoughtful and encouraging words to the former members of CT.


Leaving a church can be an emotionally charged life altering event.  Letting go of the familiarity of long time relationships and church culture increases our angst about the uncertainty of what lies ahead.  When it comes to Calvary Temple, leaving the group is exponentially more stressful and traumatic.  Departure here means burned bridges and  scorched earth behind.  Despite all that, rock-solid hope awaits you in John chapter 9.  Let the blind man at the pool of Siloam encourage your trembling heart in the inexpressible priceless exchange in store for you.

“When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam'” (John 9:6-7 NASB)

Jesus does something very unusual–spitting on the ground to make a clay eye salve.  Why did Jesus do this?  John lets us know that Jesus’ miracles were signs (see John 1:11).  Signs direct us beyond the miracle to the spiritual reality about God behind it.

Clay as it’s used in Scripture has two main ideas.  One is the soft, pliable material for the potter (usually God).  The other is its brittleness and weakness (Dan 2:41-42; Job 13:12).  This clay was composed of spit, an act of contempt to bring shame (Num 12:14, Deut 25:9, Job 17:6).  Our Lord’s prophecy, “They will mock Him and spit on Him,” was fulfilled by the mockery of the Roman soldiers: “They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him” (Mark 10:34, 15:19).

The blind man was about to discover that eyesight comes at a heavy personal cost.  He was going to learn that through weakness, shame and humiliation that the works of God would be displayed in him (John 9:3).  All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  It’s a persecution that, as the Book of Acts attests to, is more often than not at the hands of religious leaders.

Be encouraged that through weakness (clay) and shame (spit) we gain increasing revelation of Jesus Christ.  Watch how this man’s comprehension of Christ grows as the opposition mounts.  “So they were saying to him, ‘How then were your eyes opened?’  He answered, ‘The man who is called Jesus made clay…'” (verses 10-11).  At the beginning, all this man knows is His name–Jesus.  After the first grilling of the Pharisees, his answer progresses in understanding: “He is a prophet” (verse 17).  By the end, this fellow’s spiritual eyes are wide open: “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him…. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (verses 31-33).  Even though we keenly feel our weakness (clay) amidst the verbal contempt (spit) of the religious leaders, Jesus is sending us on to our pool of Siloam where He opens our eyes to see who He is!

What treatment can you expect from Pharisee type leaders if Jesus has opened your spiritual eyes?   Pharisees are quick to judge you as a sinner for breaking their rules.  They are self-proclaimed champions of Sabbath keeping.  But they blindly accused  the Creator and Lord of the Sabbath  as being a law breaker of it!  “Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, ‘This man [Jesus] is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath…we know that this man is a sinner.'” (verses 16, 24).  As they judged Jesus, so they wrongly judged His disciple:  “You were born entirely in sins” (verse 34).

The Pharisees love to rule by fear.  In addition to their police-like attentiveness to rule breaking, they motivate compliance by severe penalties.  “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue” (verse 22).  “You’d better obey us or we’ll kick you out!”  Don’t fear excommunication; the best is yet to come!  Watch what the blind man loses compared to what he gains in the end.

“They reviled him” (verse 28).  Pharisaical leaders are trained experts in public vilification.  Be prepared for this heaping abuse on you from Calvary Temple.  And the more influence you have there, the greater the reviling to discredit you to the group.  All this railing is achieved by adorning it with spiritually high-sounding words.  “Give glory to God” (verse 24).  “We are disciples of Moses” (verse 28).

While presenting their biblically based arguments to the congregation, they boldly assert themselves as expert sin identifiers. “You were born entirely in sins.”  Pharisaical leaders will brand you a sinner, even though Jesus says the opposite.  “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (verse 3).

What really rankles a Pharisee, though, is a nobody teaching them.  “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us! (verse 34, NIV)”  Here a blind beggar , a bottom rung untouchable, speaks the truth of God’s word.  Pride in their religious training, degrees, experience, and elevation in the people’s eyes deafened them to listen to anyone they deemed beneath them.

Now for the good news!  Was all that maligning of reputation and being expelled from the community worth it all?

“Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’  Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’  And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him” (verses 35-38).  The religious authorities may expel you, but that’s when Jesus seeks you out and finds you.  How tender.  How comforting.  Christ gives further revelation of Himself to the outcast.  This ex-synagogue member receives greater Christ-centered faith and enters into a new realm of worship.  Don’t fear Pharisaical leadership.  The fear of man brings a snare.  Jesus is waiting outside the “synagogue” to welcome you to Himself.   You may lose your reputation and your community, but you have Him.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8 ESV).

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Wartburg Watch & The Great Shepherd

In recent weeks, Calvary Temple’s abuse has been spotlighted on a notable Christian blog called, The Wartburg Watch. Brandon wrote a few introductory posts. If you are looking for a history of Calvary Temple and the allegations of spiritual, mental, physical and sexual abuse, you can read his essay, “Calvary Temple: In a Nutshell.” Though it is long, the content makes it well worth the effort of reading. Woven throughout Calvary Temple’s history is the thread of Brandon’s personal story.

 

“I’m sorry, Joe. Dad sent me out here. You have to get out of my car.” My younger brother peered at me through tired eyes from the back seat of my 1998 Toyota Corolla where he had been sleeping. He nodded in resignation like a man who had just heard that he was going to have to sleep under a bridge that night and there was nothing he could do about it. He closed the car door behind him, walked down my parent’s gravel driveway, and disappeared into the lonely darkness. It was almost Christmas and it was snowing gently. He was fourteen. … Read more here.


The Wartburg Watch has also published a few stories of ex-CT members, like Michelle, Patty and Molly. Theirs are the stories of brave souls with lives torn apart by shepherds who devour sheep. Even I, who knew parts of these stories already, find it heartbreaking to read them. And for each of these stories, there are many more just like them. For being just one (or two) church(es), Calvary Temple is prolific in its destruction of families, marriages and lives. Note: To other Calvary Temple survivors, The Wartburg Watch is willing to publish more stories if you are willing to share.

Reading these stories is strong motivation in the fight to expose Calvary Temple, when one realizes that real shepherds don’t act like this. 

In choosing the axe instead of the shepherd’s staff, CT pastors have chosen to become devouring wolves. Instead of caring for their sheep, they beat, manipulate, abuse and destroy. They are shepherds in name only, displaying characteristics of satan and certainly NOT the Great Shepherd who loves His sheep with a great love.

I am meditating often on the pastoral words of Psalm 23, as I rest in the love and care of The Great Shepherd. It is God’s character that is the greatest indictment against Calvary Temple’s actions.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the L ord forever.

Psalm 23

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Search for Justice

 

 

By Naomi01_012

Story after story of broken families, broken marriages, broken lives. That is what I heard on Sunday at the Peaceful Protest. I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with folks that had endured shunning, brokenness, and abuse of all kinds and the worst part? All in the name of obeying the Bible.

When we started this website nearly three years ago, we had no idea of the magnitude of Calvary Temple’s sins. We knew that they preached false doctrine, and perhaps we should have known that false doctrine is the swampy, disgusting mud-hole of a breeding ground for all kinds of abuse. False doctrine creates the perfect circumstances for people to control others, and that’s when horrible things happen. God gave people free will for a reason, and when anyone (including so-called spiritual leadership) exerts their own will over another, they have crossed the line from devoted shepherd to devouring wolf.

So where do we go from here?

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”
-Margaret Mead

Because of the recent publicity, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has reopened their investigation. These allegations of physical and sexual abuse are very serious, but at this point, they are only allegations. We need you to speak out.

If you are a victim, and eye witness or someone with evidence, please call the police at the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office so they can collect enough information to turn these allegations into charges. The number to call for abuse not of a sexual nature is 703-777-1021 and the number for the juvenile sexual crimes unit is 703-777-0475.

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
Romans 13:1-2 NASB

God Himself gives authority to the government. When so-called Christians commit criminal acts, justice is God’s will. There have been many scandals over the years of churches trying to cover up crime or take care of it “in-house” and that is thoroughly unScriptural. It is the government’s job to execute justice on perpetrators.

However, justice cannot be served when we stay silent. It takes courage and great inner strength to speak out. Dear victims and witnesses, have no fear. You have done no wrong. Those who have done you wrong deserve to be punished.

“…But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
Romans 13:4 NASB

If you are a local citizen, you can also take action. Contact your elected officials to express your concerns and the importance of justice being served.

  • Loudoun County Sheriff. Contact information here
  • Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Contact information here
  • Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney. Contact information here
  • Governor of Virginia. Contact information here
  • Attorney General of Virginia. Contact information here
  • Your Elected Congressional District Member. Find the right person to contact here

 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Taking Action Through Peaceful Protest

by Brandon

 

The Loudoun Times article has become the tipping point in the Against Calvary Temple movement. It is no longer just about religion, or Star Scott, or your particular interpretation of the Bible. It has become a community issue about sexual and physical abuse: with some covering up, others standing up, and a steadily increasing voice raising up a protest that these things shouldn’t be. The local media has helped, and we are thankful. And now, a peaceful protest is being organized for this Sunday, March 29th, at 9:15 a.m. across the street from the Calvary Temple property. Naomi and I will be attending, and we hope that you will come as well.

Of those who will attend, each has his or her own reasons for making it out. Some protesters will be ex-CT members who finally have a chance to stand against the evil they were dealt. Others will attend because they have friends or family affected by CT. Others see the direness of the situation and have decided that something must be done. None of us can stand by idly while children are repeatedly and systematically abused, maligned, and dealt lifelong damage by a leadership team who has demonstrated time and time again that their interests are preserving their own visions of grandeur, their positions of power, and their terribly ineffective racing ministry.

Why am I taking my wife and four month child four hours south for a protest in another state? There are several reasons. First, I have been directly affected by Calvary Temple. I grew up there and I was eventually kicked out, much to my own surprise. I was given a list of reasons why it was happening, all of which seemed like petty reasons to kick someone out of a church. I found out a year later that the actual reason was that they were afraid that I would influence people away from the church if the IRS investigation turned up criminal charges against Star Scott. I suppose that they were probably on to something there, as I had decided that the IRS investigation could not be persecution according to 1 Peter 4:15, which says that if you suffer because you are a thief, then do not consider it persecution.

I can remember a meeting with Associate Pastor Jeff Heglund and two others in which I made the mistake of saying the word “cult.” To give you context, I was brought into a meeting that I did not call because they wanted me to tell them any concerns I had about the church so that they could “help” me. After much prodding, I reluctantly told them that, while I would never separate over these issues because I knew that God was in control and He would be faithful to His children, if they insisted that I share my concerns, then I was concerned that the IRS investigation was a result of our own wrong-doing, I was concerned over the way that we treated former members, I was concerned that we broke off from the Assemblies of God but we didn’t let people break off from us, and I was concerned that we may have been beginning to develop the characteristics of a cult. The meeting was fine until the c-word came out. I saw the postures of the three men in Jeff Heglund’s office change. My deacon told me that I was full of demons. Sins that I had openly confessed and repented of years beforehand were brought back to the table as proof that I could not be seeing clearly.

And then Jeff Heglund said something that I have never forgotten. He said “Brandon, if you really think that we are a cult, then if you love us, you will do everything in your power to get us out of here. You will plead with us, you will beg with us, you won’t rest until you’ve pulled every last one of us out of here and seen us freed from this place.” And that is my second reason for attending this protest on Sunday: because I love these people and I want to see them freed.

It is interesting to note that if you speak against Calvary Temple, they say that you must be bitter. But in that closed door meeting, Jeff said a Truth—a capital ‘t’ kind of Truth—that I’m not even sure he fully understands. It is love, not hate, that compels us to free our families from that wretched place. And it is love that brings us all to the sidewalk of Tripleseven Road on Sunday.

The final reason that I am attending is because I am a Christian, and I have a responsibility to God for those people and for the purity of His name. The world must see that we are not all like Star Scott. They must see that Calvary Temple is not the way of Christ. To be silent is to offer tacit approval, and that is something I cannot do.

I have a responsibility to God in my response to Star Scott. We must distinguish between a right and a responsibility. Paul had a right to financial support from his churches, but he chose to forgo his right. However, as Christians we have a responsibility to “not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead to expose them (Eph. 5:11).” The Bible doesn’t say “you have the right to test every spirit.” No, it says “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone into the world (1 John 4:1).” Jesus makes it clear how you differentiate between a true prophet and a false prophet: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-16).”

It has been pointed out that Star Scott claims four of the five-fold ministry gifts that are written in Ephesians 4. He is an Apostle-Prophet-Pastor-Teacher. Which means he is either the most extraordinary man in the world or he is just another con man. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that, by claiming these titles for himself, he opens himself up to the Christian’s responsibility to test if he is a false apostle (2 Cor. 11:13), false prophet (Matt 7:15), false pastor (Titus 1), and false teacher (2 Peter 2). Ultimately, all of these tests come down to bad fruit, made up stories, fake miracles, and a false gospel. In Star Scott’s case, he fails on all four counts—an exercise which will have to be shown more thoroughly at another time. How is the church supposed to respond to a False Apostle-False Prophet-False Pastor-False Teacher? The Bible makes it clear repeatedly that we are to look out for these men, we are to expose them for what they are, and we are to warn other Christians to stay away. That is our Christian responsibility in dealing with Star Scott.

Lastly, I want to reiterate some truths that must be remembered as we go about this exposing and protesting. It is important to remember that not everybody at Calvary Temple chose to be there. When I was four and my parents decided to join, I didn’t have a choice. There are about 80 children at Calvary Temple—most of whom were born there—that were not given a choice. They aren’t legally able to run away, they can’t support themselves financially, and they certainly can’t be expected to have the mental fortitude to deal with the ostracizing that they would experience if they chose to leave. In the highest meaning of the word, they are the victims of Calvary Temple.

Not only are the children victims, but in many ways a lot of the adults are as well. Yes, there is an inner circle, and there are those that seem to be beyond hope. But all of us ex-CTers used to be CTers, and for a time none of us saw the truth. In many cases, it took extraordinary measures for us to be willing to see it. In my own case, I had to be forced to leave before I was willing to leave. So as we move forward with our plans, let us remember that we were once like them. If this had occurred at an earlier time in history, we would be the ones in the church building while a crowd gathered outside in protest. These people are our family. They are our loved ones. They have been told for years that we hate them and are persecuting them. They must see the opposite on Sunday. There are a small handful of them that need to be arrested and thrown in jail. And there are far more that just need to be set free. If it takes extraordinary measures to free them, then extraordinary measures I will take.

Join us on Sunday. Help us set them free.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Horrified: About the Loudoun Times-Mirror Article

Written by Naomi

 

Today, the Loudoun Times-Mirror published an article detailing sexual abuse at Calvary Temple in Sterling, Virginia.

An excerpt from the article reads,

“Now 26, the Maryland woman, along with one other victim, have come forward, alleging rampant sexual assault within the church among members of its leadership, teachers and teacher’s aides.

The women paint a disturbing picture of an atmosphere where physical and sexual abuse were not only tolerated and encouraged, but “taken care of” within the church should a victim come forward.

But Thompson and the other woman, whose name is being withheld by the Times-Mirror because she fears for her safety, say they can’t stay silent anymore.”

Horrified. It is the only word that portrays my feelings with accuracy. I am horrified at the stories, horrified at the circumstances detailed in the article, horrified at the extent of Calvary Temple’s inability to act like a real Christian church, horrified that children endured these atrocities, horrified that any human being would respond in the way CT did, horrified that there are still several hundred followers there, horrified that some choose silence over warning, horrified that Calvary Temple exists and cloaks itself in the guise of spirituality.

Horrified. Filled with horror, to shock greatly. To make my blood run cold. To make my hair stand on end. To scare the living daylights out of me.

In 2012, my little hometown was engulfed in one of the greatest sexual abuse scandals in the nation. Penn State University’s former football assistant coach and defensive coordinator was accused of multiple years of sexually abusing young boys from a charity that he founded. I was surrounded by people of all walks of life with same normal human response to this scandal: they were horrified. They were not horrified because of the publicity or because of PSU football or anything like that. Over and over, people expressed their horror for the abuse that those poor boys endured. In my workplace, folks talked of little else. They shook their heads in shock. Grown men were grieving. Women who never met the victims cried tears of empathy. And when Jerry Sandusky was pronounced guilty by a jury of his peers, our tiny town erupted with rejoicing for justice that had been done.

It is normal as a human to empathize with the innocents. To be angry at injustice. To be horrified by evil. To fail at this normal human response is to become a monster.

As I write these words, my four month old son sleeps peacefully on my shoulder. Before he was born, I thought I understood what love was. Now I know without a doubt the intense love of a parent for their child. My actions are driven by the God-given responsibility of parenthood. My child is small, defenseless, innocent. Far be it from me to ever put him in danger or to stand silent while he was harmed.

As a parent, I am horrified at the stories of things happening at CT’s church and school. I am horrified that people would question a sexual abuse victim in front of her abuser. I could not raise my child at Calvary Temple. I could not allow him in a place where multiple accusations of sexual abuse have been raised. I could not entrust him to a church-esque community that has shown themself to be unworthy of trust. As a parent, I would run far, far away.

In a passage of Scripture so important that three of the four gospels repeat it nearly verbatim, it says,

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
Mark 9:42 NASB
 

The God that we serve hates those who hurt children. In the same way, we Christians (followers of Christ) are compelled to stand against such things. The oddity in this situation is that Calvary Temple routinely hurts children, by turning their parents against them, by counseling (i.e. forcing) them to abandon their children, to shun them, to ignore them for daily church events, to give them to the care of a school that has no oversight with teachers that are not certified and inept and according to the article, willing to overlook abuse.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back? Star R. Scott and his taped confession of sexually abusing minors. Calvary Temple’s revered leader, senior pastor and self-professed Apostle-Prophet-Pastor-Teacher who is accountable to no one, admitted that what he formerly stated was adultery and a one-time-thing, was actually sexual abuse. Of course, he offers spiritual-sounding excuses and justifications to disguise the truth, but they matter little. Star R. Scott ought to be behind bars, not leading a church. Forgiveness is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, and his repentance, if it were real, would have led to justice.

Star Scott’s actions make him unfit for ministry.

“Namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,”
Titus 1:6-8 NASB (underline added)
 

Star Scott deserves reproach by law enforcement, normal people, churches, Christians and the universal Church. He does not deserve respect or a position of church authority. When the email detailing those accusations against him was released in 2008, his response was essentially “it’s not true.” People believed him, but even loyal followers said to themselves, “if it is true, we would leave.” Fast-forward to seven years later and he admits the truth. What will the response be now?

It is possible for those at Calvary Temple to become immediately defensive at the Loudoun Times-Mirror article, but I strongly caution against the reaction to denigrate the victims brave enough to tell their stories (and those additional victims not featured in the article). It is extremely rare for a childhood sexual abuse victim to lie about what they have suffered. It often takes the courage that comes with adulthood for them to tell their stories. You may read more about childhood sexual abuse here to give understanding about the normalcy of their responses and the mountain of issues that they bravely work through to come to a point of sharing their stories publicly. Their stories are not to be taken lightly.

As a human, as a parent and as a Christian, I am horrified at these things, at Calvary Temple. If God had not already rescued my husband from their clutches four and a half years ago, I might be tempted to stage a hostage rescue attempt. Unfortunately, you cannot rescue those who do not wish to be rescued. So today, I make my appeal.

Dear CT congregants, please leave. Please, please leave. Before the horror escapes your heart and you become immune to evil, please leave.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Resources for Survivors

by Naomi

It has been quite awhile since we have had the opportunity to post on Against Calvary Temple. Our personal responsibilities of jobs, college, business and family are increasingly demanding, and unfortunately keep us from putting the time and energy into voicing our objections to Calvary Temple’s cultic practices.

Make no mistake, friends, we still firmly believe in the mission of AgainstCalvaryTemple.com.

We still fervently pray for freedom for current Calvary Temple members.
We still rejoice every time someone leaves Calvary Temple.
We still shudder at every story of brokenness that we hear, every tale of suffering and destruction and despicable conduct at the hands of so-called “spiritual leadership.”
We still support ex-members of Calvary Temple with our prayers, our hearts, our lives.We hope to be publishing a few articles in the coming months. If you have been checking back often for new content, you may want to check out our new facebook page:

Be sure to LIKE the page, and then follow the page. This will allow you to see links to new articles as they are posted.

 

Also, I would like to share a few resources for those who have survived Calvary Temple.

Please keep in mind the following disclaimers:

a) We are not formally affiliated with any of these websites. As such, we do not claim to have read every word or necessarily agree with everything that is written. In some cases, we do not even know the identity of the authors — but we heartily applaud the courage of those willing to give up time and energy to stand against the spiritually abusive, contraBiblical practices of Calvary Temple. We support their endeavors and pray that God continues to use these words to bring freedom to the captives.
b) We gain nothing by bringing these resources to your attention. In the case of recommended books, we do not use affiliate links. We do not make money from this website. Its costs come out of our own pockets, and we do not attempt to recoup those costs by recommending resources. All resources have simply been a blessing to us, and we want to bring them to your attention for this reason.

Helpful Books: 

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson & Jeff VanVondoren

Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton

Related Websites:
Leaving Calvary Temple  – http://leavingcalvarytemple.blogspot.com/
Tactics of Calvary Temple – http://tacticsofcalvarytemple.wordpress.com/
Dear Calvary Temple / Letters to My Children – http://dearcalvarytemple.blogspot.com/
Just Our Stories of Calvary Temple – http://justourstoriesofcalvarytemple.blogspot.com/

 

Tagged , , , ,

The Why & How of Personal Bible Study | Part 4

by Naomi

This is a four part series. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

We have talked about the attitude of Calvary Temple leadership on personal Bible study. We understand our personal and spiritual deficiencies when we exist without personal Bible study. The question remains; what shall we do now? Study the Bible! How do we study the Bible? Keep reading for a few recommendations on this vast subject.

Recommendations for Personal Bible Study:

* Get a new version of the Bible. At Calvary Temple, the King James Version is the preferred translation. Unfortunately, this version only serves to confuse most modern readers. There are a few peculiarities to the KJV that make it even more difficult for CT members to understand the meaning.

a) The King James Version is printed in verse form, with each verse being its own paragraph. This format causes readers to mistakenly believe that each verse is separate from the others, and instead of reading the author’s whole train of thought–they get “revelation” from one single verse and often, their application is skewed violently from the author’s original intent. This is in violation of basic laws of Bible interpretation. This concept is useful to Star Scott because he often quotes only one verse or one phrase from a verse and then indicates that the hearer should fill in the blanks. Because the hearers are conditioned by Star Scott’s ignorant Bible interpretation, they assume that the volume of Bible verses he quotes means he is teaching solid Bible truth.

b) The KJV’s antiquated language is a great barrier in understanding (and therefore, properly applying) Scripture. English words are used much differently now than they were in the 1600s or even the 1800s. It’s easy to assume you know the meaning of the text, and you might be entirely wrong. It is also easy for a not-very-educated pastor like Star Scott to proclaim the KJV says one thing (because of a particular word or turn of phrase) and for every Calvary Temple member to accept it as truth. Star Scott has very little knowledge in the original languages. By “very little,” I mean even less than I do. Add his propensity for dishonest Bible interpretation to his ignorance and you have a recipe for disaster.

c) The King James Version is translated word for word. The literal accuracy is great; but any language translator knows that there will be discrepancies because of differing syntax and idioms.

I’m not saying that the King James Version is bad. I keep several KJV Bibles for my own personal study. I am simply stating that you should be aware of the KJV’s weaknesses, complexities and variances. Then, you can more easily understand how Calvary Temple and Star Scott can use the Bible for their own gain.

There are many great translations that may be more helpful to you in your personal study of the Bible. I prefer the New American Standard. My husband reads the New International Version. We often borrow each other’s Bibles for cross-references and use additional versions of the Bible for clarity (a great way to avoid taking things out of context). Be informed.

Find a Bible that you can understand. It makes reading and applying God’s Word so much easier.

* Get understanding in basic Bible interpretation.

I highly, highly recommend “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart. It’s a short, relatively easy read. This book is incredibly helpful on learning how to interpret the Bible yourself. When you have spent most of your life listening to a pastor make the Bible say whatever he thinks it should, you need a complete brain overhaul on how to interpret the Bible. You need a good dose of real common sense and real hermeneutics. Star Scott uses the word “hermeneutics” and then completely does the opposite of proper hermeneutics. This would be funny, if it wasn’t so alarming.

Here’s a few simple rules for understanding the Bible:

1. Context is key. Don’t just read one verse and then, build a doctrine out of it. Read a few verses before and after, read the whole chapter, read the whole book. For real understanding and a good overview, read the whole Bible. You will have a much better understanding of what God is saying through His Word when you have seen what He says in the whole thing. As a vociferous reader of many kinds of literature, I rarely read a book that I don’t finish. It amazes me that so many people (who claim Christianity as their reason for existence) have not read the entire Bible cover to cover. To truly understand the meaning of Scripture, you must read ALL of the Bible for yourself.

2. It cannot mean to you what it did not mean to them (the original audience). You need to understand the author’s original intent to be able to understand its meaning. A text cannot mean what it never meant. You will never be able to have a proper application of a verse if you do not comprehend its original meaning.

* Get honest.

Many people get uncomfortable when they come across a Scripture verse that contradicts or challenges their previously-held beliefs. It is dishonest to twist God’s Word to fit your own ideas. We must be able to submit our preferences to what God is or is not saying in Scripture. Commit yourself to personal honesty, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Be diligent-absolutely bulldog stubborn–in your pursuit of truth.

*Get serious about personal Bible study.

Many people have a mental block about reading the Bible in its entirety. Book, chapter and verse dividers have made it easy for us to pick up a few verses here and there and consider ourselves great scholars of the Word, or at least good Christians. If you have not read the Bible completely, cover-to-cover, beginning to end, that you should make it a top priority to do that. Right now.

Here’s some food for thought:

The Bible contains about 789,000 words, give or take depending on your translation. The Harry Potter series contains approx. 1,084,000 words. The Twilight Series contains approx. 520,000 words. In the time it takes to read these two series of garbage, someone could read the Bible through cover to cover twice. If the overwhelming majority of pre-teen girls can devour those series over and over again, why do we shudder at the thought of devouring the Word of God once? Much less three to four times a year? If you truly believe that the Bible is inspired by God and is beneficial to your spiritual life, then treat it as such. READ. Jump over that mental block. Read so that you become spiritually mature, strengthened and able to handle anything that comes your way.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Conclusion

My intent is not to condemn or guilt you into reading the Bible more. My desire is to challenge you to be studious in your personal pursuit of Christ, to plow into the depths of Him, to find truth for yourself instead of being that little helpless child that believes everyone and everything. I want you to know the tremendous value of Scripture. We have been given the most precious gift in having the ability to study God’s words for ourselves. Don’t surrender that gift to anybody else.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Resource: Self-Elevated Little Popes

by Naomi

We have not given up on writing for this blog. While Brandon is wading through his various responsibilities of work and engineering studies, I will be taking on the majority of writing responsibilities of this blog. My personal notes have become more abundant than ever before. They are nearly book-length. I am attempting to bring them into more palatable length for future articles.

In the meantime, I wanted to pass along an article that a friend passed along to me. It is strikingly, impressively, dangerously applicable to Star Scott and his following at Calvary Temple. Keep in mind, this article was written more than 60 years ago. We are not fighting a new battle against “little popes.” These power-hungry souls have been in operation throughout the years of Christian history. Just as this danger is not new, our response is not new. We are compelled to dig deeper into the Word, to cling closer to Christ and be more desperate for the Spirit as our Teacher and Guide. 


(Arthur Pink, “Private Judgment” 1950)

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.” Matthew 23:8

In every generation, there are those of an officious spirit who aspire to leadership, demanding deference from their fellows. Such men insist upon unqualified subjection from their followers. Their interpretation of the Scriptures must not be challenged, their dictates are final. Everyone must believe precisely what they teach, and order all the details of his life by the rules of conduct which they prescribe–or else be branded as a heretic.

There have been, and still are, many such self-elevated little popes in Christendom, who deem themselves to be entitled to implicit credence and obedience, whose decisions must be accepted without question. They are nothing but arrogant usurpers, for Christ alone is the Master of Christians; and since all of His disciples are “brethren,” they possess equal rights and privileges.

“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father–He who is in Heaven.” Matthew 23:9. This dehortation has ever been needed by God’s people, for they are the most part simple and unsophisticatedtrustful and easily imposed upon. In those verses, the Lord Jesus was enforcing the duty of private judgment, bidding believers to allow none to be the dictators of their faith, or lords of their lives.

No man is to be heeded in spiritual matters, any further than he can produce a plain and decisive, “Thus says the LORD” as the foundation of his appeal. To be in subjection to any ecclesiastical authority which is not warranted by Holy Writ, or to comply with thewhims of men–is to renounce your Christian freedom. Allow none to have dominion over your mind and conscience. Be regulated only by the teaching of God’s Word, and firmly refuse to be brought into bondage to “the commandments and doctrines of men.” Instead, “Stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made us free,” yielding unreservedly to His authority alone.

God does not require the minds and consciences of His children to be enslaved by any ecclesiastical dominion. Each one has the right to exercise his own judgment.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care . . . not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:2-3. Instead of lording it over God’s heritage, preachers are to be “examples to the flock”–personal patterns of good works, holiness, and self-sacrifice;models of piety, humility, and charity.

Love of power has been as common a sin in the pulpit, as love of money, and many of the worst evils which have befallen Christendom, have issued from a lusting after dominion and ecclesiastical honors. Such is poor human nature, that good men find it hard to keep from being puffed up and misusing any measure of authority when it is committed unto them, and from not doing more harm than good with the same. Pastors are to make self-abnegation, and not self-exaltation, their constant aim.

The right of private judgment does not mean that each Christian may be a law unto himself, and still less lord over himself. We must beware of allowing liberty to degenerate into license! No, it means the right to form our own views from Scriptures, to be in bondage to no ecclesiastical authority, and to be subject unto God alone. Two extremes are to be guarded against:
1. slavery to human authority and tradition, and
2. the spirit of self-will and pride.

Private judgment does not mean private imagination, but a deliberate conviction based on Holy Writ! Though I must not resign my mind and conscience to others, or deliver my reason and faith over blindfold to any church–yet I ought to be very slow in rejecting the approved judgment of God’s true servants. Self-conceit is to be rigidly restrained. Private judgment is to be exercised humbly, soberly, and impartially, with a willingness to receive light from any quarter.

Ponder the Word for yourself; but mortify the spirit of haughty self-sufficiency, and be ready to avail yourself of anything likely to afford you a better understanding of God’s truth. Above all, daily beg the Holy Spirit to be your teacher! And always accord your brethren the same right and privilege, which you claim for yourself.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~
This article is re-posted from Grace Gems.

You might want to read the whole of Pink’s very helpful 5 page article, “Private Judgment“.

Tagged , , , , ,

Resource: The Purpose & Limits of Authority by Carter Conlon

We have been extremely blessed over the years by the ministry of David Wilkerson. Through his tireless devotion in starting Teen Challenge and also founding Times Square Church in New York City, authoring countless books that have edified the Church and preaching truth accurately over the course of his lifetime, he has proven himself as a humble man of God. Eventually, Carter Conlon became the senior pastor of Times Square Church and continues in the same spirit of simple, honest and careful Bible preaching.

Have you ever wondered if your church (i.e. Calvary Temple) is misusing or abusing spiritual authority? This sermon may help you to answer that question.

Understanding Spiritual Authority (Part 2): The Purpose & Limits of Authority by Carter Conlon

 

As an aside: This teaching was brought to the attention of Star Scott and his response was, “David’s gotten ‘off’ in recent years.”  We submit that the fruit of David Wilkerson’s teaching and ministry is much more far-reaching and eternal than anything of Calvary Temple or Star Scott. David Wilkerson has been consistently accurate in his prophecies and blameless in his conduct throughout his seventy-nine years of life. We highly doubt that he had gotten “off.” And besides, this message was preached by Carter Conlon so it seems to be a moot point.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Resource: You Know You’re in a Cult When…

You know you are in a cult when…

1. You are told not to question what is being taught because the leaders know better than you and they want the best for you, so you must trust them.

2. The pages of your phone book are all filled up almost exclusively with other members of your group.

3. The only real vacation you’ve taken in 20 years is to the church sponsored retreat.

4. You are told not to ask questions why anyone left, you are to accept the answers the leaders give you such as: they fell into sin, they didn’t receive correction, they weren’t open or they had a bad heart and didn’t want to be disciples.

5. The only music that you own comes from your organization or its authorized list.

6. If you want to leave, you are being told that there is no other church where you could grow as well as here.

7. You can’t figure out why your leader doesn’t run for President or something really big.

8. You are made to feel your failures, that your performance is not up to the Bible’s standards.

9. You think that most people that aren’t in your group are alcoholics, drug addicts, or neurotic (unless of course, they’re friends with your leader).

10. Your leaders put down other churches and build themselves up.

11. The only things you can remember about your past are the painful parts.

12. You just sold your car so you can give it to a need in the church that’s REALLY BIG, like renovating the sanctuary or buying another corvette for the racing ministry.

13. You are seriously thinking about selling your house for the same reason.

14. They bring attention to what they do, and ignore others that may be doing the same things outside their church.

15. The only way you can really like people is when they are members of, or potential recruits for your group.

16. You do your two and half-hours of evening prayer and still wonder if that was enough and feel bad because you think you can never really do enough.

17. They put down others to make themselves look better, calling themselves “righteous’ and others “unrighteous.”

18. You think all the other groups just like yours are “cults,” but not yours.

19. They call those who leave “fall aways” and “enemies” and “heretics”, “dogs returning to their own vomit” and use the examples of Korah or Judas.

20. You think all the other groups just like yours don’t ask enough of their members, but yours is better– because you have to do even more than they do.

21. They stop you from reading anything negative about themselves calling it spiritual pornography or recommend you not to read it for your own spiritual protection.

22. A lot of stuff that you used to think was really weird, you are now doing.

23. They recommend for you to be around their people, expecting you to be at all the group activities. If you are not “faithful,” then your spirituality and dedication are questioned.

24. Even though you told yourself that you would never bow down to a human being–you just touched your teacher’s feet.

25. They defend all that they do, even though it can be harmful or wrong, even calling outside interference “persecution for righteousness’ sake.”

26. You don’t care anymore who understands and who doesn’t if they’re not in your group.

27. They are arrogant and demand you to obey if you are considering otherwise. Or is it done subtly by manipulating you into obeying by statements such as, “real Christians obey their leaders” or “if you were following Jesus, you would see what I’m saying is right. True disciples did not question Jesus.”

28. There is an instant bonding of friendship without you knowing who they are or they really knowing you, they act as your best friend (love bombing still works).

29. You ask questions about their history or the group, and they are vague in their answers or avoid answering them. (not answering or postponing it makes it go away)

30. Christ is the only way….and we’re the only way to the Way (and you cannot go directly)

31. You are required to attend studies, going through the program before you are allowed to be a Christian. (this will attach you to the group’s goals)

32. Cults will always divide the family unit instead of bringing them together. They will make you choose between God and their church. They use scriptures such as “Jesus came to bring a sword, not peace” or “one must give up brothers, sisters, wife, and house for the kingdom and be a true follower.”

Compiled from RickRoss.com, Letusreason.org and truthinheart.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,