Dear Justyn Martyr,
First, thank you for your response to our summery of MSI (read it here). I will try to respond to your concerns.
I would like to say that first I am not an ex-MSI member, as some would assert. My concern with MSI, as I have indicated in tract, article, and various online posts, is squarely based on MSI leadership’s un-biblical teachings regarding (among other doctrines) discipleship and their view on Kingdom Now theology. Also, I would like to qualify any statement of MSI that I have made and will continue to make: In spite of a doctrinal tolerance that MSI has exhibits (such as considering T. D. Jakes to speak at conf.), so far, I do not see MSI as non-Christian, but do see them as sociologically cultic and tolerant of heresy as well as endorsing false teachers (e.g., Joyner, Wagner, Jakes, etc.).
Also, if you decide to post your response to our article on MSI posted on the DCD website, I would ask of you, as a matter of fairness, to post this response, which expands on what the DCD article did not include and the main issues of MSI as to why we view them as sociologically cultic and an unhealthy church.
Second, as you should know, experience shows that when there are literally hundreds of posts, websites, and University campus literature, which see MSI as cultic and holding to really bad theology, well, that normally is a fair indicator that there is merit for these claims.
Third, I am not merely some guy out there that one of many speaking against the un-biblical practices of MSI, but have been involved personally. I have spoken at the yearly MSI conference (Anaheim, for the youth), and have spoken at MSI churches such as MSI, Hawaii (Pastor Lloyd Manamtam), as well as MSI, San Diego (Pastor Greg Wark) and MSI, Kansas City, MO. I have been indirectly involved with MSI campus outreaches for over a decade (e.g., UH and USC). In fact Phil Bonasso has financially sponsored some of the campus events that I was part of. Further, I have communicated many times with Leo Lawson and provided him with literature concerning cults (e.g., LDS). I am very familiar with VLI and their curriculum and Leo’s influence, with false teacher Peter Wagner out of Fuller (as I will expand below).
Several of my close friends are still and were in MSI leadership (e.g., Tom Sirotnak, Al Manamtam, Denel Sparks [formally was in MSI Reno, now here in LA], Dave Pollus, the current MSI pastor in Studio City, CA).
Justin, you are in a ministry called The Bereans (and apologetic ministry), which I assume means that you value correct biblical teaching and speak out against false teachings, but how is it that you are inconstant when dealing with MSI? I understand hat you are in a MSI church (correct me if I am wrong) but, to whom is your allegiance? MSI or Scripture? I know that this can be an emotional subject being that you are a MSI member, but if we and numerous others (ministries, ex-MSI and current members) are right in our biblical assessment of the teachings of MSI, then you have a lot to think about. For many will not see your *apologetic* ministry as credible by your affiliation with MSI and everything that is attached to MSI (such as the support of false teachers).
It really seems to me, for through the years I have dealt with many MSI members and ex-members, that you have not investigated thoroughly MSI. Do you know why Bassano was removed from his church and position in MSI? or why Broocks was removed from (or changed his) position in MSI?
Where you aware of that in May of 2004, Greg Ball, member of the apostolic (governing) board of the ministry, founder and leader of Champions for Christ, and pastor of Morning Star’s church in Austin, Texas, was removed from his position as head due to financial impropriety, as well as continual problems with Morning Star’s authoritarian leadership style?
Where you aware that in August of 2005, Tony Fetchel, a leader of the Graduate School of Campus ministry in Los Angeles was found to be committing adultery over a long period with the adult daughter of the ministry’s number two leader, Phil Bonasso? As a result of this scandal other leaders were given the opportunity to examine Bonasso’s leadership style, and came to the conclusion that the Graduate School had an authoritarian environment. It was this environment which allowed the affair to continue for such an extended period un-confronted. As a result, the decision was made to move the Graduate School to Nashville.
Aside from all the moral corruption of MSI leaders (some of which call themselves *apostles*, a strictly biblical term), my main concern is the doctrinal issues. You had said:
It is unfortunate that you base your “facts” from the postings of many former Maranatha members.
Well that statement (you should know this) is an ad hominine attack which ignores the issues. Whether or not they are ex-MSI or ex-Maranatha members do automatically falsify one’s testimony, that is a LDS assertion against Christian writers who are ex-Mormon, thus it does not follow.
The question is: is the information presented accurate or not. Are all these ex MSI or even Maranatha members merely lying? All of them? Are any of them truthful? I am not sure if you actually verified any of the posts (there are many) as to there truthfulness. Further, in the DCD article, I did not quote from any such online post, only facts, which, as presented below, I acquired throughout the years from (a) MSI *official* literature, (b) sermons from MSI leaders, and (c) statements from current and ex-MSI (not Maranatha) members. So, your assumption of my derivation of MSI information is incorrect.
But in saying that I found in your response to our MSI article, you did not really respond to any of the biblical issues or comment on MSI’s un-biblical discipleship teachings as I presented in our MSI article—you only deny it.
I have collected scores of personal emails to our ministry from current members (many would not give their name for fear of their MSI leaders) communicating to us their doctrinal concerns and spiritual abuse. And a double amounts of mail from ex-MSI (not Maranatha) members telling of their experiences of bad theology and spiritual abuse.
In spite of the reported spiritual abuse that many have claimed (ex and current) memebres, it is true that the churches that are under MSI are not all alike in terms of heavy sociological and church abuse. However, I would say that first, the MSI headship (i.e., to whom all the MSI churches submit) teach an unbiblical idea of discipleship, this is unquestionable (as indicated below). So, even is no abuse is in a particular MSI church is seen (which is questionable, for those in it normally do question authority, lest they be tagged as *rebellious*), they are under the spiritual submission of an unbiblical construct and teaching of Christian discipleship. Justin, when one is it the pot they cannot see the fire until they get out. Virtually every ex-member conveys on the same line—“I never saw it when I was in it, for I did not want to see it.”
Hence, the main problem: It is true that heavy church and sociological abuse exist in some MSI’s, but not in others, however, the question is, if MSI is teaching its members a false doctrine on issues such as discipleship, God’s will for one’s destiny, God’s providence, and other issues such as Kingdom Now theology, why on earth would a truth seeking Christian want to worship and hence be in and involved in a church who is under the spiritual authority of MSI?
As one website rightly put it:
>Every Nation reflects a blend of influences, much like its predecessor Maranatha Campus Ministries did. This includes Word of Faith, Reformed theology, Christian Reconstructionism, >and Charismatic theology (which itself was influenced by the Latter Rain Movement). Perhaps the closest analogue, however, is the Shepherding Movement. For example, one of the >key founders and shapers of the doctrine, Steve Murrell, essentially mentions on his blog  that he “cut his teeth” on New Wine magazine, the official publication of the Shepherding >Movement.
You had stated, Justin:
“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.”
First of all the purpose of the MSI article on our DCD website was not to provide and exhaustive study of all MSI teachings, just an overview. But the addresses are plenteous. Also not all MSI think and teach alike. But there are commonalties that all share. Note the below:
Leo Lawson’s false teachings
Leo Lawson is a former Maranatha pastor/leader who now heads the Morning Star/Every Nation “Graduate School for Campus Ministry.” ALL potential campus ministers attend this school and are exposed to these teachings. These notes outline a major tactic campus ministers (aka “counselors”) are taught in order to maintain spiritual and emotional control over their members’ thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, which are also very similar to Maranatha’s old “deliverance” practices. I have the original tapes/sound files from a series taught in Lafayette, Louisiana last year, and can burn them to CD if you are interested (furnished from a ministry friend of mine).
Notes—Leo Lawson/Inner Healing & Deliverance
April 13-15, 2004:
Inner healing=repenting for each sin
Jesus performed inner healing and deliverance as a means of discipling Peter
IHD=is based on our being comprised of body/soul/spirit. Demons can inhabit our souls even though the Holy Spirit inhabits our spirits
“it” [demon] took him [Peter] out fishing in John 21
Legal rights of demons
Spirits of [lust, pornography, etc.] rather than sin
Must uproot legal rights of demons to inhabit believers
“roots” [my notes—this sounds similar to Cleansing Stream “hooks”—deliverance ministry w/very similar theology] =choices made in past that give legal rights to demons to inhabit you
Demons try to get legal rights through temptation
If you sin, demons have legal rights to inhabit you
We must “bind thoughts”
“suppressed” sins—You need to go back and deal with them so that demons don’t have legal rights
“I’m slower about casting out demons” – do inner healing before deliverance from demons
“Getting the demon out”—not called possession but “demonization”—still means that a demon can be inside you (a believer)
The process of our making good choices (and exercising our will) makes us more like Christ. [my note–Where is Holy Spirit?]
“In the soul there can be demons”
We can have demon issues, character issues, and sin-loving nature issues
The power of your character can affect demons
“Everyone is demonized… everyone needs deliverance” (this includes born again Christians)
First time people were “slain in the spirit” -> when Jesus said “I AM”
Being pushed by demons
Comparisons w/Braveheart (the movie) – >[my notes–see Apologetics Index—this is common among those in Kingdom Now/Spiritual Warfare movement who see this movie as a metaphor for spiritual warriors]
Reversal of previously made bad decisions—the soul (not spirit) needs to be cleansed and healed
You are being transformed in his image—Inner Healing and Deliverance takes you back to that place in your soul and reverses it [my notes–what about forgiveness in Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection??]
The Holy Spirit was “pushing” Peter on the day of Pentecost, not demons as in John 21
John 21 (event) and Acts 2 (evidence) shows that Jesus performed inner healing and deliverance on Peter
–Then plant the word – let the word save that part of your soul
–then cast the spirits out
The evidence in Acts 2 that demons left Peter (as opposed to John 21) is that the spirits of pride, etc. were no longer there
There can be no discipleship without inner healing and deliverance, and there can be no inner healing and deliverance w/o discipleship
[Deliverance can only be done by others, not by yourself. Pastor Lawson strongly implies that you need your own personal discipler/counselor to conduct this]
Deliverance=releasing a believer from the influence of a specific demon or demonic force
Demons are named by the destiny it distributes (demon of lust, demon of pornography, demon of divination, etc.)
Demons are given assignments under Satan
We can judge angels—Adam had authority over the serpent but did not exercise his authority. Demons are fallen angels so we have authority over them
How to discern if there’s a demon—if there is a spiritual “push” toward pornography, lust, etc.
[my note–Check Ephesians 6:10-18—how does this fit in w/NT model of spiritual warfare?]
Compulsion=caused by a fetish spirit; e.g., checking for dirt under fingernails subconsciously; unnatural push by a demon
Sins give demons legal rights to enter your soul
Avenues of demonization:
Personal sins—gives demons legal rights to inhabit your soul
Adopted people don’t know what they’re cursed with—need the Holy Spirit to tell discipler/counselor what spirit it is so that it can be told to leave
Curses get stronger over time
Your human will keeps you from being demonized—true of believers and unbelievers
Don’t deliver people from demons unless they’re already saved
Proof of demonization—Ephesians 4 and John 20-21
Oppression—demon can be on outside or inside
“Demons on the inside won’t flee until you deal w/garbage”
Heart=is where your soul and spirit meet [my question–is the heart part of neither one?]
Jesus defeated the devil for us in the desert
>Biblical bases for IHD/demonization of believers: 2 Cor 11; 1 Cor 5:1-15; Gal 3:1 & 4:9; Acts 8:13-24
Justyn, If you need me to explain to you as to why exegetically these various teachings above esp. the notion of demonization of believers are biblically incorrect, let me know.
Any one with a decree of knowledge of basics hermeneutics will see that the above assertions regarding demonization is simply biblically wrong.
Again, Justyn if you would like me to explain biblically as to what biblical sonship is (which is solely given by God. not by works, e.g., John 1:12-13) and the issue of sickness, I would be delighted to do that.
Leo Lawson—partial transcript of Victory sermon (4-14-2004):
>The Father said, ok angels, step back now, let my son step into the arena. How many of you saw the movie Hoosiers? Do you remember when the father gets up off of that bed and said, son, go out there and kick their butt. That’s what I believe the Father did there in the wilderness. The Father said, son, I want you to get into the arena with that devil and I want you to show him what the power of the Holy Spirit can do inside of a man of God. And you know what young people? That’s what God wants to do. He wants to give you your chance at that area in your life, so you can learn to win over sin. You’re not a victim, you’re a victor in Christ Jesus. Jesus got that victory for us in the wilderness, and what he did at the cross was just a triumph, a celebration of the victory that he had already gotten. He walked in that victory for three and a half years, and you, my friend, can walk in that same victory that he, as a human being, empowered by the same Holy Spirit that lives in you, you too as a human being can live in the same victory that he lived for three and a half years. (emphasis added).
As one online poster said reading the VLI class:
>One of the key pastors in the Morning Star movement taught my VLI class. In printed VLI materials and in his statement in this class… he said (almost verbatim) “Morning Star embraces the Latter Rain belief.” He went on to expound the individual stories and subsequent demise of the 1940s Latter Rain members. He said that these men/women were too human to handle God’s anointing. That was the cause of their failure of the movement. But his response to that was, ‘where these men/women failed. We will succeed.’” (direct quote).
Peter Wagner and VLI
Peter Wagner is bad as Rick Joyner where false teachers are concern, you should know this. But yet he is instrumental in the VLI program. Why have you not spoke out against VLI? The Bereans? Did you test Wagner, Justin? For C. Peter Wagner, in his book, Engaging the Enemy, attributes much of his information on “Territorial Spirits” to practicing itch doctors and former Satanists, rather than God’s Word, check it out. Wagner is Kingdom Now. One does not have to go far to read of the heretical teachings of Wagner, he has written much or just do a simple Google search (see for example: http://www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org/Tracts/fbcfalse.htm by M. H. Reynolds).
But what I found is that many do not want to know, or be confused with the facts.
Folks that have interest in going to VLI will find that DR. C. PETER WAGNER is listed as HONORARY DEAN on page 2 of 3 of the VLI brochure from Victory Leadership Institute.
Listen to what one ex-member said:
After listening to the NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION DVDS for the past 5 evenings, you can actually see for yourself what a false teacher C. PETER WAGNER really is. I recommend these DVDs to everyone who wants to know the truth.
Jim Laffoon is also listed as co-teachers with Rice Broocks, Jim Lafoon, Ray McCollum, and Paul Barker teaching a class called Apostolic Foundations. on page 1 of 5 at http://www.vlionline.com/classes.html
Since C. PETER WAGNER and JIM LAFFOON have not recanted and repented, and submitted to church discipline and correction, I can only assume they are still teaching heretical and false doctrines under the guise of a new name. (Every Nations)<
As Outlining the first year course of VLI (http://www.vlionline.com/classes.html):
Apostolic Foundations and The Art of Discipleship
Then, VLI course, “Spiritual Gifts”
–that Christ was a “man of God” who became perfectly indwelled with the Holy Spirit at the time of His baptism, and that we too can live as Christ did for the last three and a half years of his life (otherwise known as *Dynamic Monarchianism*).
Leo Lawson teaching, 4/04
–that Christ got us victory over sin not at the cross but in the wilderness
Leo Lawson teaching, 4/04
–that we along with the rest of the New Apostolic Reformation are opening up portals to the second realm–that of angels and demons
VLI, “Spiritual Gifts” (chart)
–that we are tripartate beings–body, soul, spirit–allowing us to be indwelled by demons after salvation (this is actually a much more widespread teaching than just within MSI, but the roots of this teaching comes from Plato and Zoroastrianism rather than Christianity)
Taught multiple times in my church. Described in detail in Leo Lawson teaching on inner healing and deliverance, 4/04.
–that the only way that we will follow our spiritual leaders and become totally unified as a church is to become “drunk in the spirit” through worship and lose our senses, just like the disciples became drunk in the spirit in the upper room in Acts. If we come to our senses and start questioning our leaders or what we are becoming involved in, the solution is to become drunk in the spirit again
Jim Laffoon, National School of the Prophets, 5/00. A variation of this teaching was given at BWOC in the spring of this year. I also just found out that a portion of this teaching (the part having to do with Jacob and Rachel/Leah) was taught by Maranatha and was part of the original 1982-1984 ad hoc committee’s criticism of Maranatha’s allegorizing Scripture to support hyperauthoritarianism.<<
Researching and personally observing VLI, my fellow researcher had said (3 Oct 9:31) that:
1) Leo Lawson preached on at least one occassion that we are literally Christ and therefore have dominion on earth as Christ. That Jesus was just a man who was perfectly indwelled by the Holy Spirit and that Jesus gained the victory in the wilderness, not on the cross. That your soul and body can still be indwelled by demons when your spirit is indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
2) Ulyankee’s former church preached that the authority and voice of spiritual leaders is equivalent to God’s authority and voice and that this is the Holy Spirit’s primary mode of communication to believers. Direct communication is secondary and subject to the primary.
3) The previous version of a VLI course stated that spiritual gifts could be received by unbelievers and had a chart indicating portals to the realm of angels and demons.
4) That Jim Laffoon preached that the Acts 2:46 kind of unity comes from the Acts 2 kind of infilling of the Holy Spirit.
So what do we have? One pastor with serious errors in doctrine. One church with abusive, over-controlling teachings (supported by other posters so probably at least 5 churches with this problem). An old version of a course which has been replaced. We on this board, don’t yet know the new version so this point is suspended until we know more.
Now I agree with ulyankee, if that was preached and practised in my church, I’d have left too, no question. What I don’t agree with is that one pastor’s teachings represent the doctrine of an entire organisation. If this were true, then my pastor’s Biblical teachings should be seen in the same light – as 100% representative of the organisational doctrine.
The reason that the argument collapses is that Leo Lawson isn’t on the apostolic leadership team and nor is my pastor. They don’t determine the fundamental doctrine. Both have a great deal of responsibility toward their congregations and both have the freedom to teach what they believe but neither one is in a position to dictate policy to other churches.
The fundamental beliefs of EN are set by the apostolic leadership team. They are explained in materials like the Biblical Foundations book so that everyone can look for themselves and decide whether or not they agree. If they do, they are free to join and be active members and if they do not, they are free to go to a church whose beliefs do coincide with their own. If they join an EN church and their church deviates from that Biblical foundation, they are free (actually compelled by God) to speak out and if that doesn’t work, to walk out.
So what I’m saying is that the written materials produced by EN for the entire network, contain the doctrine. If you point out errors there then that does involve my church and I have to act. The verbal and written materials produced by a church for that church do not necessarily represent the beliefs of every other church. If you point out errors there then I can make note of which churches to avoid if I ever move to the States and I can sympathise with people who sat under this teaching but further than that, it does not involve my church.
Everyone on this board – those who are in healthy EN churches and those who left unhealthy ones – agree that the points ulyankee posted are error. What more is there to say?
Does Rice Broocks, Bonasso, Murrell acknowledge the pope as sovereign as does NOLR Paul Crouch?
SEE HERE http://www.factnet.org/discus/messages/3/8123.html?1134738858
Check it out.
Ray W. McCollum
Ray accepted the appointment of the Apostolic Team of Every Nation to be Senior Pastor of the Christ Community Church in Austin, Texas.
Alarmingly, He brings New Age concepts to the church, from one who witnessed it (http://www.factnet.org/factnetcgi/discus/discus.cgi?pg=prev&topic=3&page=3702):
>In a sermon called, “The Power of the Purified Imagination” he points out that whatever the Christian desires . . . she or he is to physically place a picture of the desire object where she or he can view it on a daily basis. If we learn to visualize our desires: a certain brand of car, how we want our future spouse to look, a certain way that we want our future house to look. Then God, in time, will actually bring that object into reality as a gift for us.
He made the statements:
Everything is Created Twice
First – A desire or need is identified
Then: The 1st Creation
A mental image of what it should be or look like
Then: 2nd Creation
The imagination becomes reality
He then cites Genesis 11:6 and Mark 9:23
Pastor Ray then goes on to state that believing is:
Imagining what you want – what you desire and then Seeing it first in your heart and mind.
That is the gist of the sermon. He shares a personal example of many years ago, he had his heart set on this particular Cadillac car. He desired it…but he financially couldn’t afford it. He tore a picture of that Cadillac out of a magazine and placed it up on his board. He saw it every day – yet he normally began to ignore it. Yet it was continually up on his board. One day, he gets this phone call from a car salesman friend of his. The car salesman recalled that he had remembered that Pastor Ray had wanted this particular Cadillac – and there sat before the car salesman this Cadillac. Ray went down to the car lot and lo, behold – it was exactly the same model, color, year that was posted on his board. He bought the car.
Pastor Ray used this example to teach that whatever we as Christians want – we need to visualize – and it will become a reality. He gave some other examples… but that is the gist of the sermon.
Now mind you, my understanding is that Pastor Ray then visited several other MSI churches to preach the exact same message. I actually bought into this sermon.
Until recently when i began to deconstruct of few past teachings…
<<<Visualization: New Age practice of using one’s imagination allegedly to affect or manipulate reality. Meditating on, affirmation of, or “naming” of an object or goal, which supposedly creates the desired effect through “mind over matter.” See Maya.
BTW, Pastor Ray then goes on to reveal that this Cadillac he had his heart set on…that he had visualize for so long… that now he proudly owned… turned out to be a lemon.
Hmmmm… maybe the real moral behind the story is to allow God to control our desires and provide for us what He believes He sees fit. Prosperity is not about cars, money, homes…it is about the condition of your soul, your walk with Christ.<
To read sermon in its entirety, go to: http://www.pastorray.com/pastorraycom/pastrray.nsf/299D36C78EE5135A85256E83001CD865
In terms of addresses of reference, regarding MSI’s Kingdom Now theology I would encourage to see or read entire transcript of Jim Laffoon, which his teachings on Kingdom Now is most explicit, excerpt below:
Jim Laffoon (with Rice Broocks)
“To Reach and To Rule”
Morning Star International/Every Nation Churches and Ministries
2004 World Conference: Every Leader – Every Church – Every Nation
July 15, 2004
Conference audio and video available for sale from www.everynation.org; www.everynationstore.com
Note: original recording is © Every Nation Productions, 2004. This is a transcription from the original recording.
[Jim Laffoon]: I want to share a word with you tonight which I’m going to entitle, “To Reach and To Rule.” Who will possess the nations of the earth? The issue facing us tonight is not, “Will the nations of the earth be possessed?” For possessed they will be. There is only one issue facing us tonight, is “Who will possess them?” Who will possess the nations of the earth? What entity, what ideology, what force will possess the nations of the earth in such a way that they become the inheritance they give to their children?
Another MSI fellow researcher made these observations:
>The parent ministry changes its name
Morning Star International to Every Nations Churches
(What are they trying to hide?)
VLI course content is revamped. Even changes its name from VLI to ENLI.
(What are they trying to bury?)
Pastor Ray posts a quickly-composed e-newsletter that redefines the parameters of spiritual authority. This perspective is changed and opposes the years of past sermons and teachings.
(What are they trying to cover up?)
The individual MSI church(es) term for “cell groups” is being changed to “small groups”.
(What are they trying to avoid?)<
Even more disturbing was their Oneness friendly Statement of Faith:
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative
Word of God.
We believe there is one eternal, almighty and perfect God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
see it here http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:hrLI-O2NbA8J:everynation.org/default.asp%3Fnc%3D935%26id%3D186+%22every+nation+churches%22+%22statement+of+faith%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1
before MSI omits it.
Regarding their non-stance on the Trinity, as one ex-MSI member and researcher pointed out:
>Before last fall, Every Nation’s statement of faith was “Modalism friendly” – it was exactly the same as the NAE’s statement (which is about as “mere Christian” as one can get) except in its affirmation of the Godhead:
NAE version: We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
EN’s old version: We believe there is one eternal, almighty and perfect God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I discovered this discrepancy late last summer and this was discussed at length on FACTNet, and around the end of September or so, Every Nation’s official statement of faith was revised. Some local Every Nation churches have slowly come into compliance. Bethel World Outreach Center (their main headquarters, where Rice Broocks is based) just recently changed theirs, I think within the last day or so… it may have been because I brought up the issue again on FACTNet. They DO monitor and react to FACTNet posts. BTW, one of the other posters has registered a user-friendly URL redirecting to the EN related FACTNet discussion threads: www.EveryNationInfo.com.
“Every Nation churches that still do not affirm the Trinity include:
Morning Star NY/MSNY and Beacon City Church (a former Maranatha church that was characterized as a “church plant” in 2001): www.msny.org; www.beaconcity.org. Both these churches are “covered” by King’s Park International Church founded by (and defacto still run by) former Maranatha pastor Ron Lewis. Ron Lewis is currently the senior pastor of MSNY.
Ray McCollum’s church, Christian Community Church of Austin (formerly Greg Ball’s church, formerly named Morning Star Church of Austin) www.cccaustin.com
Grace Christian Fellowship, the former Maranatha church in Corvallis, OR: http://www.grace-cf.org/about/
University Family Fellowship, a former Vineyard church (!): http://www.uffm.org/beliefs.asp as well as its church plant in Reno: http://www.uffreno.org/
Every Nation Indianapolis – a “football” church planted out of a Champions for Christ chapter: http://www.everynationindy.com/OurValues.html
There are additional churches that have no statements of faith listed on their websites, including churches in Seattle, Tampa FL, Palos Verdes CA, Washington DC/NoVA, Albuquerque NM, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, etc. – some of these are either former Maranatha churches or are pastored by former Maranatha pastors.”
Why? The Trinity, as I know you believe, is the most important and most essential doctrine, but yet how does MSI see it? Shame on MSI or any professing Christian church that does not accurately define and exalt the tri-unity of God. And how dishonoring to God to have (a) Oneness implied statements (out of ignorance or not) on MSI’s Statement of Faith and (b) support Oneness advocates such as T. D. Jakes as well as other false teachers such as Rick Joyner and Peter Wagner.
In conclusion, I have provided much in terms of specific references and addresses by way of official MSI literature, sermons by MSI leaders, and the testimonies of those who were in it demonstrating that MSI is a doctrinally and hence spiritually un-healthy church. And I have much more that I can provide. Things you may not be aware of in terms of the private goings on in MSI leadership, doctrinally and legally (esp. all misappropriation of funds by the so-called MSI Apostles [viz. Phil Bassano], which is a matter of record). Most MSI members are not privy to such information. And most MSI members, as you have stated, see the statements of ex-memebres as non-creditable. But do you see the weakness in that position? For the ones that I know of personally that were in MSI and got out were making the same statements as you when they were members? But now they are speaking out against MSI. MSI members, while they are in, discount all who speak out (without of course, verifying facts), that is common. They do not see the fire while in the pot.
It disappoints me that MSI does not see the doctrine of Trinity as a doctrine that should be defended and affirmed (even though as of recently they changed their Statement of Faith). For they still support those who deny it has made Oneness statements. Justin, you are in a ministry of apologetics, thus, how can you, in all honesty, not even research the very church that you belong? Based on our previous conversations, I believe that you want to do the right thing and have a passion to defend the gospel and present truth. But, Justin, what of MSI? If what I presented is accurate (and please check all sources, before you merely disregard it), then, what you demand of others you cannot provide.
It is inconsistent, biblically, for you to hold the banner of Christian apologetics and then only to turn a deaf ear to MSI, which is currently filled with moral corruptions, misappropriation of funds by so-called MSI *Apostles,* false teachings, and false teachers who are abusing the flock. These issues are not from the far past, Justin, they are current.
Justin, you have a responsibility now, not before your pastor at MSI, or Rice Broocks, or Steve Murrell, but before God.
I will keep you in my prayers.
Edward Dalcour, Ph.D.
President: Director: Department of Christian Defense
“In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [pros] the God, and God was the Word [kai theos ēn ho logos]” (John 1:1).