Established August 23, 1997 © 1997 - present by Lois E. Gibson
Contents of this website and all original works are copyright - All rights reserved. The material on this site may not be reproduced
elsewhere except with the prior written permission of the owner. We are not affiliated with any other website.
Shop at our Amazon store! This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Dedicated to the memory of Michelle H. Fox.
OPEN LETTER TO UPC MEMBERS
This letter is addressed to current United Pentecostal Church International members who find us here in cyberspace.
Having been a UPCI member, supporter and minister, I certainly understand any current member's dismay at finding this website. I probably would have reacted similarly. Please know I am not a UPC member hater, nor am I against members of any UPC church. It is the spiritual abuse that occurs in some churches as well as doctrinal issues that concern me.
The main purpose of this site is to bring attention to the subject of spiritual abuse in *any* Bible-based church. Spiritual abuse can occur in all types of churches as well as groups that are not biblically based. Unfortunately, because people are human, leadership always has the potential to become abusive and self-serving. There is space on the site dedicated solely to this purpose, without drawing attention to any one particular group. I am by no means conveying that the UPC has a monopoly in this area, that all their churches are abusive, or that they are the worst offenders.
The secondary emphasis placed on the United Pentecostal Church is there because this is where I experienced and witnessed abuse and error. Had my experience been in any other organization, the secondary focus would have been on them instead. It is that simple. I am not an outsider looking into the organization, but was a long-term, deeply committed member.
This emphasis is not the result of bitterness, anger or not letting go of past hurts. I left the UPC in December 1993 and did not start this site until mid 1997. Had this been out of bitterness, so much more would have been included about my former church and would have begun sooner than almost four years after leaving. It wasn't until I became more aware of the widespread abuse and twisting of Scripture (not just within the UPC) that this site was created.
I endeavor to present the issues in a fair manner. A great many links are made available to sites run by the UPC or other apostolics, its members, or its churches. Visitors to the site are encouraged to send links of other articles as well as to submit a writing of their own. A special area is set aside for current UPC members to address any issue covered by the site. I have even made changes in the past based on correspondence from current UPC members. I know of no other website that addresses the UPC and provides the extensive links or opportunity to submit writings in rebuttal as is done here.
Please keep in mind that links to many other sites are provided. If you take issue with something there, you need to contact that site owner. In addition, the views expressed by those who share in the experience and members speak sections, as well as any other writings originating on this site, reflect the views of the individual authors and are not necessarily representative of my views. I cannot address questions concerning contributions made by others. If a link is supplied to their e-mail address, you may write them directly.
There are some that assume that since we write about error in the UPC outward "holiness standards," that we are not at all concerned with what people do or wear. The Bible teaches modesty as well as other principles concerning how to live. Where no specifics are mentioned, we believe Christians should be led by these principles through the Holy Spirit and not a list of man-made rules which often come with a proclamation that their salvation is in jeopardy should they not obey.
In addition, we are not concerned if anyone voluntarily chooses to follow any or all of these standards. A believers needs to follow his/her conscience and not do things contrary to what they believe. We are against anyone attempting to push a person to make changes while they believe these are biblical mandates or personal beliefs. However, we do take a stand against the thought that these are mandates made by God, with the punishment of eternal damnation should they not be followed.
This site is not endorsing an "anything goes" mentality. Rather, we are attempting to show the error of some specific UPC teachings concerning standards, which we believe to be legalistic and in error. While some take an attitude that God is not at all concerned with our appearance, this site does not.
A few have inquired as to why there is not a place for positive church experiences. The site is about spiritual abuse. There are no 'positive' examples of any form of abuse. Were the focus of the site on battered wives, for example, would one also expect there to be a section for good examples? Each church group has their own opportunity for people to express any good that occurs in their organization. The UPC, for instance, has an official website as well as numerous others operated by either individual UPC churches or members. These places are where one should send such testimonies.
There are some that believe the UPCI is not a Christian group. To this we do not agree. While there is error in UPC teachings, they do believe that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. They are not worshipping another God, though some of the teachings do distort how many view God. The church at Corinth was carnal and in error on a number of matters, conducting themselves inappropriately in services and allowing blatant sin in their midst, and yet Paul didn’t proclaim them to not be Christians.
I would like to thank the majority of current UPC members who have written through the years and done so in a civil manner. The site receives little negative feedback and I believe this is due to the manner in which issues are presented. I would like to mention that should you write and wish to debate issues, I will not engage in such debates.
My hope is that this letter will better explain our purpose and possibly alleviate some concerns which current members might have. You’ll find we don’t report all the latest negative news and gossip concerning UPC ministers and members as can be found elsewhere, surprisingly on apostolic discussion boards. For any that are yet upset with the site, I suggest you simply not visit it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. You may also wish to read the one explaining the reasons for the site.
Lois E. Gibson - site founder
|Reasons For The Site|
|What Is Spiritual Abuse?|
|My Background & Beliefs|
|Letter to UPCI Members|
|UPCI Articles of Faith|
|UPCI Position Papers|
|UPCI Ministerial Affirmation|
|The Apostolic Congress|
|UPCI, Apostolic & Pentecostal History|
|Helpful Books & DVDs|
|Apostolic & Pentecostal Issues|
|Jim Ross Devotionals|
|Experiences of Former Members|
|Current UPCI Members Speak|
|You Can Help|