Return to: Sociological Cults: Morning Star International (now called Every Nation)

 

Edward Dalcour's Response to this article: Read it Here 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A RESPONSE TO EDWARD DALCOUR’S ACCUSATION REGARDING

THE MORNING STAR INTERNATIONAL

(NOW CALLED, EVERY NATION)

 

 

 

I praise God for your passion to serve him in the area of apologetics and I believe your articles exposing the errors of “Oneness” theology are very enlightening. In fact, I would like to thank you for sending me that book, A Definitive Look At Oneness Theology. It reinforced my theology concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

I wrote because one of my church friends referred me to your article concerning the Morning Star International (MSI) now called Every Nation (EN). You mentioned in your article that you have “have personally interfaced with the so-called Apostles (viz. Broocks and Bonasso) and many members of MSI,” and “evaluat[e] official MSI literature, shown to [you] by former MSI leaders and carefully listening to MSI sermons throughout the years.” Nevertheless, one continues to wonder why despite the preface, literatures and taped sermons, you have not even bothered to quote even one statement from the Every Nation leaders to support your allegations. After all, you claimed that you have been “carefully listening to MSI sermons throughout the years.”

 

I am very much familiar with Bob Weiner’s extreme authoritarian practice in the case of the former Maranatha Campus Ministries (MCM) because they established a church here in Metro Manila in the midst of the university-belt. A number of apologetics ministries in the west had no other recourse but to expose Maranatha’s aberrant and abusive practices. One Christian sociologist namely, Dr. Ronald Enroth even wrote a book entitled Churches That Abuse (Zondervan Publishing House, Copyright © 1992) which he included a few number of interviews from disgruntled MCM members. Because of this legalism, some MCM leaders severed their ties with Maranatha during the 80s and eventually formed their own groups. It was during 1984 that Rice Broocks and Steve went to the Philippines along with their wives and kids to plant a church in the Philippines. Many of the former MCM missionaries including Rice and Steve were not hindered from spreading the good news of Christ in the Philippines despite the MCM church schisms. After all, our God is a God of second chances. Many of those first converts to Christianity by Steve eventually became full-time ministers. Because of what happened in the past Rice and Steve are now very much discerning in handling people to avoid the same mistakes of legalism and authoritarianism made by their previous leaders years ago. Although, there may be some traces of legalism in some few churches, but upon learning of it they immediately address the issue. They are serious in driving this controlling spirit away from Every Nation and the whole Victory Christian Fellowship movement. Unfortunately, a few disgruntled Maranatha and MSI members are giving EN leaders a hard time to recover. This is no longer new since during the transition period of the Worldwide Church of God to Christianity, some Christians tend to be skeptical also. Fortunately, there are still some Christian leaders who are willing to assist and hold them by the hand as they usher them into the body of Christ slowly. My request is for you to assess the teachings and practices of present-day Every Nation in an objective manner and not just from disgruntled people. If you are willing to give the EN leaders the chance to recover then please leave the past behind and lets move on. Didn’t Jesus give Peter another chance after the latter denied Him three times?

 

You even associated the Apostolic Board of Every Nation with that of the Mormon’s “Quorum of the Apostles.” It will be unfair for the EN leaders to be place along the line of cult groups like the Mormons just because they utilize the word “apostle.” Traditionally, many conservative Christians have no qualms with such titles as “pastor,” “teacher,” and “evangelist.” However, it seemed grating to their ears if they hear words like “prophet” and “apostle” being use by some churches today.

 

The English word “apostle” in the Greek came from the word “apostolos” which also means “one sent forth with orders”[1] or “an envoy, missionary.”[2] Technically, a person can be called an apostle if he was sent as a missionary. To avoid complicating things, the EN leaders knew for a fact that they cannot just run around and attach this title to their names because they might send some churches a wrong signal. The word Apostolic Board suggests the function of overseeing the rest of the local churches of which the some leaders are directly responsible. They patterned this from the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 where the original apostles had their panel to deal with certain issues and decisions. Rice Broocks, one of the founders of Every Nation clearly drew the line of difference between the original apostles and the modern-day apostles by stating,

 

“At the same time, let us remember that today’s apostles have no authority whatsoever to speak or write ex cathedra (infallibly). They are under authority of Scripture just like any other believer. Every word they preach and everything they do is to echo the cry of both the Bereans in Acts 17:11-14 and the leaders of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura—that is, ‘Scripture alone.’ As the apostolic gift help build local churches, it is the plumb line of the Bible that ensures that their walls are straight.”[3]    

 

I believe it is still possible to use the term “apostle” or even “prophet” as long as it is defined clearly as to what the church leaders mean by this. In using the term “prophet” the EN leaders do not mean that those people among their ranks who are gifted with prophecy can lay their hands on anybody and prophecy whatever they want. They believe their prophecy is still subject to the authority of God’s word and must be in agreement with the Scripture.[4]

 

It is unfortunate that you base your “facts” from the postings of many former Maranatha members from the internet forums who continually attack the Every Nation leaders despite the positive changes they had in relation to discipleship. I hope that you will reconsider making a balance article about the present-day Every Nation and not just pose an article and pretend to know something about this particular group. There is a saying that goes like this, “In essentials unity. In non-essentials liberty. In everything charity.” I hope that we will leave freedom for other churches to arrive on their own proper conviction especially in the area of church government, as long as, they do not border on doctrinal heresy. I am in the opinion therefore to say that after the Maranatha ordeal, Morning Star International, now called Every Nation does not fall under the category of your own definition as a “sociological cult” due to your lack of objective evidence concerning abuse and elitism. They are just a church that loves to fulfill the divine mandate of Jesus Christ in discipling the whole nations through training leaders, planting churches, and world missions.      


 

[1] Joseph Thayer, “Thayers Greek Definition,” e-Sword® version 7.7.7, Copyright © 2000-2005.

[2] See, “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, gen. ed. James Orr, e-Sword. 

[3] Rice Broocks, “Every Nation In Our Generation: Recovering the Apostolic Mandate,” (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House Press & Brentwood, TN: Every Nations Productions, 2002), 178.

[4] These concept concerning “apostles” and “prophets” are still the subject of debate even among many churches theologians today.