Letter From David Wasmundt
The following e-mail was sent to me from David Wasmundt, former UPCI minister and author of two books, "Neo-Phariseeism" and "Pendulum Extremes." I am posting it in hopes of stopping any rumors that Pastor Wasmundt is returning to the UPCI, as well as setting the record straight in regard to his comments concerning the books he has authored.
February 20, 1999
It has come to my attention from several sources that a rumor is circulating saying that I have refuted my books, (Neo-Phariseeism & Pendulum Extremes) and am attempting to obtain a ministerial license from the UPCI. Please allow me to set the record straight.
In November, I sent a communiqué called Neo-Apostates to several ministers including an official of the UPCI. Based on some of the concerns that were stated in the article, I was told that there was an interest for me to meet the General Board and that I would be contacted. For reasons unknown I was never contacted. Instead, all I have heard are calls from various ministers questioning me about the above misleading rumors.
Let me review what was in the "Neo-Apostate" article. I first stated my concerns about some (not all) that have abandoned the apostolic doctrine as well as all holiness standards since leaving the UPCI. I stated and I quote," I have been troubled by those who have attempted to use "Neo-Phariseeism" as a justification for false grace; for the excision of true holiness and for immodesty in adornment. I regret if and where that these misuses have occurred." While I cautioned those who have been given a high level of holiness awareness of the dangers of "falling off the wagon of holiness sobriety," I never indicated that I regretted writing the books. Rather, I stated my original concern stemming from the evolution of the "resolution" that required pastors to sign a form saying that they would not only "pledge to practice, preach and teach the holiness standards of the UPCI as set forth in the articles of faith," but that they must "believe and embrace" them. It is one thing to acquiesce to certain non-salvaic codes for the sake of fellowship, but how can you sign that you actually "believe" them, if you do not? I stated, and I quote, "As things appeared to me, I felt morally compelled to respond to a real growing pharisaism that threatened the doctrine of true holiness in the church. I do not regret in any way this aspect of my endeavor."
I have stated in the past my hope that someday the UPCI would grant its pastors reasonable latitude on these issues, thereby allowing those who still preach the Apostolic message of Acts 2:38 to have access to the fellowship. I remain open to such fellowship. It is my belief that those who are extreme in their views would not want such fellowship under any circumstances. The reality is that my books are not a threat to the Apostolic message, but rather to sectarianism as well as liberal extremism. Briefly let me juxtapose the condensed message of my books with certain current realities in the United Pentecostal Church as I see them.
Summarized message of Neo-Phariseeism & Pendulum Extremes:
a. A repeated point of the legitimacy of churches and pastors setting standards as a protection for the church from extremism and worldliness.
b. A warning against standards being perceived as a form of sacraments to acquire salvation.
c. A warning against attitudes such as spiritual arrogance that can spring from observing traditional standards and personal convictions.
d. A warning against spiritual abuse that can accompany regimented personalities that cloak their "control needs" in spiritual robes.
e. A warning against organizational abuse i.e. crossing the line of legitimate oversight to imposing democratic processes as absolute spiritual mandates from God. (Example, prohibiting preaching or advertising on television)
f. A candid assessment of the history of cultural changes with regard to various standards that have indeed changed through the years.
g. A study of 1 Corinthians 11 and the cultural veiling of the head as it relates to women today thereby protecting the principles of submission, sex distinction and humility. My concluding statements in the book with regard to this subject are: "Women today must be distinctive in their femininity and should have their head covered with submission and modesty. But we must leave the subordination symbols regarding the eastern custom of veiling and uncut long hair as a matter of personal conscience and not an absolute church standard."
h. A study of other adornment issues that always required scriptural "modesty" as the overriding factor.
i. A study of spiritual "pendulum effects" in people that gravitate to the other extremism when leaving either side of the pendulum. Thus both legalism and liberalism are to be avoided and would be averted more successfully if legitimate leadership would allow reasonable latitude as today's leaders did when it came to previously held holiness positions of the 30's and 40's.
Present realities in the United Pentecostal Church:
a. 80% of young people backslide before 24 years old. (source: Rev. J.Jones, Atlanta Youth Convention, 12/29/98)
b. Large portions of the UPCI have televisions in their homes, including pastors.
c. Large portions of UPCI women trim their hair (even though they may then put it up) and wear moderate makeup.
d. A smaller portion of women wear ladies pants for appropriate functions such as work.
e. Large portions of members in the UPCI perceive a double standard is growing as more pastors circumvent present standards by tacitly not enforcing them in their churches.
Acting as if these issues do not exist and seeking to demonize legitimate warnings from within the organization will only serve to perpetuate an isolationist and even cultic perception from within and without the UPCI. The truth is that the only permanent thing in life is change and it takes courage and character to change in light of new realities that exist. Again, I am not talking about changing the Apostolic message or the principle of modesty with regard to holiness standards.
For those who may be unaware, I am presently pastoring "Christian Life Center" of Rex Georgia, (South Atlanta) and am involved in writing for Light and Truth Ministries of Atlanta. I remain personally committed to the preaching and teaching of the Apostolic doctrine and true godliness while remaining steadfast in my resistance of pharisaism, false grace and unholy life styles as described in both of my books. You can be concerned about the misuse and exploitation of your message without regretting or disaffirming your continued belief in the truthfulness of the message.
Finally, we have all seen in the Presidential crisis of late, the awesome ability of political mechanisms to destroy the reputations of innocent people in order to advance a perceived greater cause. Therefore let us all become more discerning (suspicious) when we hear negative rumors circulating about anyone who may be attempting to shine even a small light in this vast and spiritually dark cosmos.
David M. Wasmundt
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