Judson's 'Mixed Church' Experience
The following is a letter that Judson sent to his former church. It has been slightly edited & these areas are noted. According to Judson, his former church used Watchman Nee as a base for it's "authority" teaching and also drew from Hobart Freeman, an Indiana based "faith" teacher. Their "apostle" was connected to the Fort Lauderdale five, and therefore drew from the discipleship movement, although they taught against it. Their "prophet" was trained by the "apostle" and read a lot of early New Wine magazines which the "apostle" kept in his briefcase.
We need to figure out what went wrong. I call it spiritual abuse, really spiritual rape. We became a cult. A cult is a "group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the groups leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community" (West & Langone, 1986).
We were discouraged from questioning "apostolic authority" and "prophetic understanding". We were told if "we do not understand it, put it on the shelf until we do". Later we were told "that we do not need to understand, just to obey". These teachings are wrong doctrine. Paul praised the Berean Church for studying what was taught to see if it was truth. Paul did not have to justify his teachings simply by claiming his apostleship or prophetship.
We were taught that we were to leave "kindred, country, and fathers house". Higher education was considered wrong. The Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, and all of the secular institutions were considered Gods enemies. Our families of origin were to be guarded against because "familiars will enter in". Elders were mocked for spending time with non-church friends.
Elders were rebuked for participation in little league and other community functions. Women were criticized for participating in school functions. Voting was trivialized since "God will elect who he wants in politics". Medicine was seen as an answer for those weak in the faith.
When we received these teachings we chose not to be part of these "Babylonish systems" (families, businesses, school, religion). We did not choose to be in a cult, we were forced to choose not to be part of these "systems". As we accepted these "apostolic" and "prophetic" doctrines we chose not to become part of "the world". We were eventually only left with "apostolic" doctrine, or "Prophetic utterance". Anything that differed was "antichrist", "worldly", "babylonish", "demonic", or "a familiar". We who wanted to serve God instead were turned from the true faith to believing "the foundation". We became full fledged cult members. We accepted error after error because we believed it was divinely inspired and was keeping us from becoming "polluted" by the "world".
In our group:
The God of love became the God of judgment and burning. He became the all powerful punisher. The cosmic enforcer. The brutal God of retaliation. God was reduced to an angry wrathful task master. If you didnt tithe, God would not bless you, your family, or your business. If you didnt receive the prophet you risked lack of understanding, demon possession, shunning, public humiliation, continued gossip, character assassination, and ultimately death.
If you "went out from under the covering" you faced certain divine wrath. Forget about Jesus words "if they are not against us they are for us"; we did not tolerate diversity.
If you sinned, judgment followed. You might even get "marked", (basically, cursed by the apostle), or "turned over to Satan for the destruction of your flesh".
Those who dared to disagree were considered haughty, rebellious, unsubmissive, and antichrist.
The Apostolic influence became a life sentence, escape from which was punishable by spiritual death.
The Apostolic covering became greater than God. Scripture was twisted to mean "it is better to obey man than God". If the Authority was wrong somehow God would change circumstances to make him right. Elders were accused of having "lying spirits" because they dared to question. They were considered "satanic" because they spoke against "authority". God was to judge them.
Hidden sins were not forgiven on the cross but caused sickness, disease, birth defects, and any other lustful thought that came into the authorities minds. The need for glasses was considered a weakness and a need for deeper deliverance.
Deliverance from demons took years and had multiple layers. Actually, it became the greatest means of control ever known to mankind. I dont like you, you sit in the front row, again, again, again. Finally after years of such deliverance, we "needed to cast something into the person". After years of verbal abuse there was no self esteem left, no personality, only fear of man. Sad. When Jesus was around he cast out demons and brought about a real change. Today, people must be worse somehow, because it takes years of "deeper deliverance". Or is it that we lacked Jesus authority, compassion, and purpose?
Finally, we invented an answer: we cast out "higher ups"! We one-upped Jesus on this one - he never cast them out. (I bet he never even heard of doing it). What next? Cast out strongholds, powers and principalities?
Authorities were exempt from deliverance after deliverance; somehow they never had "higher ups", either.
The man in adultery in the new gospel has to do penance, i.e. paint the church. The woman in adultery goes through years of deliverance after "deeper deliverance", public humiliation, and gossip. She became an example to the church of the great Jezebel. Again we turned away from the truth of the gospel: "He who is without sin cast the first stone". We overlooked the harlot Rahab and Jesus friend Mary Magdalene. Instead, we shunned the "whore" so that her "perversion wouldnt spread in the church".
A church was created in which there was no sin because the "first stone" was thrown over and over and over by all. We all became Pharisees! Scripture was twisted so that grown women were beaten for not losing weight, for adultery, for not pleasing their father and for whatever whim the Authority deemed punishable by corporal punishment with a wooden rod!
Men were beaten for adultery, "for being silly", because his wife had committed adultery, or obviously for whatever whim the authority deemed necessary. Sadly these abusive punishments are "not all remembered" by those who administered them. Wake up! This is physical abuse and is a criminal act in whatever state it was administered. This practice is not permissible, correct or remotely Christian.
The whole book of Galatians was twisted. We who are to be saved by grace spent years "earning" the next level of truth. The truth of "30, 60, 100 fold" was somehow twisted into a merit system for performance.
The doctrine of Christ was turned into a social club for the spiritual elite. He who was to be the servant became the served. A new verse for a sick church: "the shepherd is my lord".
A man who had his rebellious son sleep in the garage was encouraged to do so, and praised. This is physical abuse and parental neglect. A women whose daughter was promiscuous and learning disabled was told that she should drop her off at the town square. She actually allowed the cult to dictate that one of its "great" elders do the dropping off, which he did, handing her daughter a pack of condoms and saying goodbye. A prophet who said, "I think all women have Jezebel spirits," still stands in the pulpit as the pastor and "voice of God".
The "holy" Apostle preached about dental floss bikinis, and another Apostle preached that Noahs son committed a homosexual act to Noah. Still we didnt question the teachings. In 1 Thess. 4:4 , your "vessel" was considered your sex organ by Apostle and Prophet alike.
Concerning blacks: "everybody ought to own one", and "after forty days in the wilderness even a black women would look good," (spoken by Apostle). "If I had a black man in a deliverance I would have to cast out the spirit of Ham (the servant) out of him," (spoken by the prophet).
Authorities abused the labor offered by workers in the church. Homes were fixed up with free labor and then sold, for great profit to the authority. (Some were sold to congregation members with no discount).
Prophets judged all things, but were to be judged of no man: new interpretation (ignorant and unlearned version).
Disagreeing with an authority was deemed antichrist. The rebellious person was publicly shunned, mocked, his character assassinated, his wife disgraced, his kids were avoided. Any fellowship with him was considered "rebellion to authority," and subject to the same treatment. "If you are my friend you will not spend time with him". "I dont spend time with those who dislike my God ordained authority".
Those who had the courage to leave were mocked, discredited, and some were "marked". (Even though later it was said that the "apostle has never marked anyone". He did in fact "mark" a pastor for fellowshiping with a "marked woman", and he did in fact "mark" three "authorities" when they left).
The authority was to be consulted concerning any major purchase or any trip. Rebukes were given for missing a meeting (opting for a family vacation instead), buying certain cars, engines, tires, phones, houses, neighborhoods, even hairstyles! Even friends were open for scrutiny by the authority. We who didnt believe in shepherdship practiced it daily, in fact perfecting the error.
A sure way to be well-received by the authority was to find revealing personal information about a person on the pastors current (expletive deleted) list: a new version of Jer. 20, "report say they and we will report it".
Apostolic revelation was the justification when none other could be found. God no longer needed his church to decide matters of doctrine; who would question the almighty Apostle? It was a new version of the catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope.
Authority became the primary mark of a true Christian: how well do they submit? Dont make waves, dont question. If Watchman Nees theology is true, Paul should never have rebuked Peter because he was an older Apostle. God was to have straightened out Peter according to Nees logic. If God really did set up a hierarchy in the church Jesus was wrong in his answer to the disciples as to which was greater! He should have answered "Peter" because he was the Primary Apostle! An older apostle.
Kind men were considered weak. Rude men were considered effective rulers. Strong women were Jezebels, too intelligent. We believed women were second-rate often referred to by every level of "authority" as "witches", "(expletive deleted)", "whores" and "Jezs". This verbal abuse reflects the degrading view of women found throughout this abusive "church".
The way our "church" thought about women: Aquilla and Priscilla really shouldnt have taken Apollos aside; Mary really shouldnt have been the first to the tomb; the woman in Prov. 31 really should not consider that field because "women know nothing of business"; neither should she plant that vineyard because "women are not to work"; she should not stretch out her hands to the poor but care for her household as it is a "womans job"; she need not open her mouth with wisdom because she is "equal only in value not in function".
According to Apostolic revelation, women needed to wear headcoverings for the angels to be able to see they were submitted. Many an angel must have been deceived! Actually, are angels so blind?
Men were to rule. Women were to blindly submit. In the body of Christ there is to be neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female (Gal 3 vs28). Yet we decided women were of lesser function, second rate, and are to become men in heaven. We must not have expected to come into Christ, just into more manhood. Again we ignored Scripture !
We who did not believe in the "pulpit- pew ministry" chucked "body ministry" a long time ago. We were believing that demons would not really come out unless the prophet was involved.
Jesus came to take away the sins of the world. We brought them back to life. Jesus had compassion. We had none. Forgiveness? Maybe. Restoration? When the prophet said so, or perhaps never. One prophet boldly proclaimed, "You will be restored when I say you are restored!" (This is heresy!)
"Open rebuke is better than secret love." We had so much rebuke that we had no love.
Husbands were to always win the argument. "Never admit you were wrong". What pitiful insecurity.
"If you do not use your gift, God will take it and give it to the Authority." What self-centered, Narcissistic thinking!
A common tactic was to pit a woman against her husband. She would be encouraged to offer information about him. The Pastor would use then this to control him. Then, in the end, she would be relegated back to "just another meddlesome woman". Sex lives were discussed openly with all across the dinner table: voyeurism in its most spiritual disguise.
Not one personal matter was ever held in confidence, but discussed openly and used as a means of control.
Verbal abuse was so bad it was off any scale of measure. Fear was brought to all in the guise of love. Psychological abuse was prevalent. Emotional abuse was common.
Some rationalize that the "good that was done outweighs the bad". In reality, the wake of devastation in peoples lives is vast and demands repentance.
Scripturally, we judge a tree by its fruit, and this tree has rotten fruit. It should be cut down and destroyed. Some want to hold onto the doctrine, but it was the doctrine, the leadership, and the bystanding membership of this group that fostered abuse, deceit, and destruction of personal experience with God.
I call for (names deleted) all elders, deacons, deaconesses and all members to repent. I have repented to God of my association with this cult. I am sorry that I ever helped to propagate this error as an "authority" of this cult. I am sorry for the hurt I have caused to any individual while I was involved with this abusive cult. Please forgive me for my sin of accepting this erroneous doctrine and its practices. Please remove my name from any "church" documents. I have broken all fellowship and association spiritually, socially, and economically with this group and its members.
(Resources are deleted as the same can be found elsewhere in this web site.)
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness .That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness ..all experience hath shown, that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably he same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
---The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence as adopted by Congress July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.
Posted December 6, 1997
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August 23, 1997
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