What Is The Reason For This Site?
Why was this site started and why is there a secondary emphasis on one particular church organization? No matter how it is explained, there will be people who feel the site is wrong and that my motives are questionable. No one expects those currently associated with the United Pentecostal Church to be particularly pleased at finding a web site dealing with issues pertaining to abuses of the ministry or error in teachings.
Upon leaving my church in late 1993, I initially felt it was a local problem due to the manner in which the minister operated this particular church. However, when I purchased a computer two years later and ventured out in cyberspace, I encountered others coming from UPC churches that experienced similar circumstances. They were people from various walks of life and different areas of the country, even outside the United States. Some had been members a short time, while others stayed many years or had been raised in the church. There were people who held ministerial licenses, those who had various positions or duties in their churches, and some that simply attended and were not involved in a leadership position. It soon became evident that this abuse was not restricted to my local UPC church.
For years my former pastor had operated his church, being the sole authority figure. In other words, he made main changes, he ran everything, and he was accountable to no one in the church. There was a board of directors and trustees, which were often not voted on when they should have been, nor were business meetings always announced properly. The board and trustees had no real authority to question the pastor in any matters and the pastor could remove any of them at will. A church operated in this manner, no matter what organization it is associated with, is a church filled with opportunities for ministerial abuse.
I knew many others who had been hurt during the course of their membership, with more being hurt after my departure. The district had been aware of at least some of the situations at my former church and did not intervene though the church is affiliated. The organization attempts to portray itself as simply a ministerial one and not a denomination, however they count churches as well as church attendance and yearly publish a directory of UPC churches.
In 1997 I attended a gathering of former members of abusive groups and it was at this point I felt led to take an active role in exposing abuse in churches and to specifically help those who left a United Pentecostal Church. This web site was slowly established and through the years has evolved into what you see today. An online support group was founded in May of 2000 as a part of E-groups, who later was taken over by Yahoo! Groups. In August of 2003 the group became a direct part of this site.
So, why the focus on the United Pentecostal Church and not every Bible-based church? Simply put, I was a long time member in a UPC church and am most familiar with this group. To directly include abuses and concerns found in every Bible-based group is too much to handle. In order to address other abuses, links are made to concerns brought by people who have more knowledge of other church organizations or ministries.
The focus on one group does not imply that other church organizations do not have similar problems, or that every minister in the UPC is guilty of spiritual abuse.
Allow me to give an example from personal experience. My former pastor taught that a woman who cuts her hair is equated with a whore and will not be taken in the rapture unless she has repented. Another UPC minister in the same area does not believe that a person's salvation is at stake with regard to this doctrine. He will allow anyone who cuts their hair to attend his church, but will not use them in an official capacity. Unlike some, he will permit them to testify and participate in other church activities. These men from the same organization, with vastly different perspectives, show that the manner in which some doctrine is taught and applied will vary according to the individual minister.
With respect to spiritual abuse, I do feel that the organization itself should be held partly responsible in cases where it is aware of a problem at an individual church and does not investigate or intervene. These ministers hold licenses issued by the UPC, making them therefore representative of the organization, so the UPC has a duty to investigate allegations of abuse.
I once was a family day care provider. By law, the sponsoring agency (under DYFS) must investigate any allegation of misconduct against a provider, even if they feel the complaint is unfounded. That was made very clear when applying for state certification. Should not church organizations investigate allegations of misconduct or abuse by one of their licensed ministers? If they are aware of a possible problem, and do not take action, should they not be held partly accountable for permitting any abuse or misconduct to continue?
If a minister says or writes anything contrary to UPC doctrine from their Articles of Faith, they can be brought before the respective District Board, where any disciplinary action is decided. Could we then encounter a situation where a statement such as, "there's nothing wrong with television," would receive action and allegations such as we discuss here are swept under the rug or virtually ignored?
This site is my attempt to bring attention to the problem of spiritual abuse and the lack of oversight in UPC churches, as well as expose some unbiblical teachings. It is also a place for those who have been hurt or abused in any church to find help and support.
One will find this site is not against the people in the UPC as there are a great many sincere members and ministers who truly love God, nor do we take the stand that some do and not consider them Christians. However, we are against the spiritual abuse that is found in too many of these churches as well as their unbiblical teachings.
I have endeavored to present issues in a reasonable and fair manner. Opportunity is given to current UPC members to share and when doctrinal matters are presented, ample access is provided to UPC writings. I know of no other web site addressing the UPC that presents the issues in this manner.
CONTACT / HOW DO I
OLD FEEDBACK /
UPC MEMBERS SPEAK
LOIS' WRITINGS /
August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2012 by Lois E. Gibson
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