CMInsider: A Conclusion

As most people who occasionally glance at this blog already know, I don’t write very often on here. There are many reasons for this, and I figure it’s best to write a final concluding piece.

I think CMInsider has run its course. I’m not going to delete the blog- I will leave it up for the world to see. However, I will not be making it a point to work on any more material in the future. There’s still many things that could be said about the divided-Charity Ministries movement at this particular point in time. As to the audience I’ve been attempting to reach- those people within the movement who are genuine Christians and who are looking to understand God’s Word in light of how the movement behaves, I think this blog has done its job. The worst problems with Charity Ministries has been brought into the light of public scrutiny, and that not only helps those within the movement, but warns curious Christians who are looking into this movement about what happens in there. If people simply type “Charity Min” into Google, one of the first auto-fill responses is the title of this blog. I thank God for using this site as a warning post to direct people away from Charity Ministries so that His people will seek spiritual brotherhood elsewhere.

Many things have happened that have served to undermine the movement of Charity Ministries since this blog began. The separation of Ephrata Christian Fellowship from Charity Christian Fellowship into separate ministries instead of the collaborative Charity Ministries (see here) demonstrated how unstable relationships can become amongst these people. Certainly, Denny Kenaston having left his pastoral ministry at some point in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s didn’t exactly help the movement which depended for its expansion in large part on his preaching. Nobody really filled his place. People within his own family recognized the errors of his preaching, but refused to publicly declare that realization (see here). Mose Stoltzfus himself has conceded that it’s possible that The Remnant movement is dying depending on how you look at it- and The Remnant magazine itself has been abandoned since August of last year. Charity Ministries has risen in infamy online (see here), and I think that infamous reputation will only continue to grow.

I may add more articles here and there overtime, but odds are I will simply leave this site online and let it remain as it is. I thank my readers for giving me motivation to persist as long as I did in this project. I thank my detractors for confirming how things work within the movement with their… Interesting commentary. I thank a few of them for actually providing an edifying correction from time to time (Thank you, Jonathan W. 😉 ). I especially thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for redeeming my soul and for using me to help his church learn from the errors of Charity Ministries. Without Christ saving me from my sins, none of this would matter, and I exhort anyone who has not repented of their sin and asked Christ’s forgiveness to do so immediately. He is a perfect savior, and he will grant you eternal life.

God Bless.

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Review of the “It’s Just War” – Should Christians Fight?” Debate – Part 3

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

All that aside, Peter Kreeft said that Dean’s death wouldn’t be responsible as far as the welfare of his children are concerned. David Bercot responded with (1:01:50),

Yeah, Y-You know, it’s it’s interesting I-I guess, we must live sheltered lives because somehow these things never happen to nonresistant Christians. It’s always the-the Catholics, the evangelicals, who seem to know about homicidal maniacs that break in their, their house.(…) Yeah, has this ever happened to to any of us? I-I’ve I’ve talked to Mennonite after Mennonite- has this ever happened to you? Do you know of anyone this has ever happened to? There is something about God being able to protect our families. We put our families under the protection of God and I would say we are victims of crime far less than Christians who rely on guns to protect them.

There are numerous problems with this answer as well.

First, David Bercot asserted that this stuff never happens (or happens far less) to nonresistant Christians. Let’s start just with Charity Ministries. Remember Dora Esh, that lady that informed us how incest is a problem in Charity churches (see here)?

Some time ago the brothers here had a meeting, and they asked for a raise of hands of all the brethren that were aware of incest. Does everybody know what incest means? Incest means anything sexual taking place within the immediate family, with a father, or with a brother. He asked all the brethren that are aware or know of a situation like that to raise their hands. Would you believe it, in our circles, fifty men raised their hands!? Almost fifty men!

Huh… Well, the Amish must have better luck, right (see here)?

Pennsylvania schoolhouse killer Charles Carl Roberts IV told his wife he molested young relatives 20 years ago and was dreaming about molesting children again, police said Tuesday.

Investigators talked to relatives and analyzed suicide notes as they tried to determine what made Roberts barricade himself inside the tiny Amish school, tying up girls and shooting them — five fatally — before killing himself Monday.

Ouch. Strike two. Well, maybe it’s not all bad. Surely all those Mennonites David Bercot was talking about are living in bliss. All they get are the occasional criminals who might toilet paper their houses on Halloween, right? They’re victims of far less violent crime than people who use guns to protect them…. Right?

A prosecutor described a former assistant principal at Lancaster Mennonite High School as “akin to a sex trafficker” during his sentencing on Wednesday.

A Lancaster County judge subsequently ordered Steven J. Geyer, who admitted molesting three foreign exchange students, to spend 3 to 9 years in state prison.

Geyer forced the Korean students to perform sex acts at his East Lampeter township home in 2009-11 and threatened to have them sent back home if they didn’t comply, according to testimony. (Source)

Well, what do you know. It’s almost as if what David Bercot just said is blatantly untrue. Well, except for his statement that, “I guess, we must live sheltered lives.” I admit to finding that statement rather ironic, and it would be funny were it not for the fact that David Bercot is an attorney. I expect an attorney to be even more familiar than I am with how violent crime is taking place in nonresistant circles.

At 1:37:21, David Bercot said the following to Peter Kreeft:

You talk about the, uh, in your books about the thundering legion. And I think each of the books I’ve read y-you talk about it, you say “What is of interest in this story, regardless of its embellishments in varied accounts, is the information that Christians were already serving in the army.” And you say, “Tertullian mentions this incident on two separate occasions without a hint of suggestion that these believers were wrong in joining the Roman legion.” Now, how do you know they were believers when they joined the Roman legion?

To which Peter Kreeft replied:

Yeah, and that’s speculation.

Ordinarily I might say that this question is irrelevant as many of the questions asked in this debate were, but in this situation I think David Bercot made a smart move in asking this question because the implication made by Peter Kreeft was that Christians were okay with serving in an army (and thereby inevitably using violence), and that may militate against David Bercot’s claim that the early Christians held to nonresistance. David didn’t get to elaborate on his question very much, but he pointed out that the bare fact that there were new Christian converts serving in the army says nothing insofar as whether those same converts were okay with remaining in the army and thereby having to commit various forms of violence and killing. I am reading into Bercot a bit here, but I think that’s a fair assessment of the point he tried to make before the moderator cut off that discussion so that another question from the audience might be put to the participants.

There was one final point of contention to be made in David Bercot’s closing statement. He declares that Christians have been waging just war for years, and referred to- get this- the POPE and his endorsement of certain wars as proof of that statement (starting at 1:45:38-1:46:22):

As was mentioned, every war in the middle ages was a just war. And the pope himself- the crusades, he told everybody if you got killed in the crusade, you would go straight into heaven. He called the invasion of England by the Normans a just war. He encouraged them to-to do that, this is when Christians WERE in charge of things. And we look at a mess they made of the entire Europe! I mean, we’ve had more peace in the last seventy years in Europe, when people have largely given up on Christianity during all of those centuries when Christians were the ones in charge in Christian government, you had war after war after war!

There I think we get to see how it is that David Bercot can make such a sweeping declaration that war is never just because we had a leader of one of the most evil religious organizations in the world endorsing unjust wars. How is that at all a fair assessment of the positive results of believing in just-war theory? We may as take any pagan religious person who happens to claim to be a Christian, see how they screwed up, and then just reject Nonresistance as a whole because of them.

The closing statements had to be the most painful part of the debate to watch. The Just War side’s closing statements were all over the map, unclear, and died a slow death. David Bercot’s closing statement was a little better were it not for his blatant caricature of Christians who endorse just war, but Dean Taylor’s closing statement was incredible. I almost felt like clapping since his closing points were clear, easy to understand, he revealed his feelings when he spoke, and was again the most inspirational participant of the debate. I may not agree with Dean’s position, but I’d be embarrassed to say I was on the side of the Just War proponents that night. I bet a few nominal believers in Just War changed their position after this debate, and so once again, this debate was abysmal. I grudgingly declare the Nonresistant side to be the victor’s of the “It’s Just War – Should Christians Fight?” debate.

Posted in Dean Taylor, Dialogs with Charityites, Family Issues, Nonresistance | 4 Comments

Are There Limits to Loving My Enemies?

Gary Demar has written a short and succinct article on whether there are limits to loving your enemies.

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Review of the “It’s Just War” – Should Christians Fight?” Debate – Part 2

Just War Debate 2(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

At 54:30, David Bercot said he would intervene with force to prevent one of his children from bullying another child. I say again what I said in part 1, and that is that the question of David Bercot’s own personal consistency in applying his beliefs is irrelevant as to whether or not his beliefs are biblically consistent- however, he made the following statement at 54:30:

The Bible, the same Bible that that teaches to turn the other cheek also teaches a father is supposed to take the rod to his child.

I’m assuming David was referring to Proverbs 13:24 which reads (HCSB),

24 The one who will not use the rod hates his son,but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently.

I know many people have argued that this verse isn’t mandating physical discipline, but that a father who doesn’t use his rod is merely refusing to enforce his authority through means which are not necessarily violent. I don’t accept that because it doesn’t fit what the verse actually says. I think the rod being spoken of is a rod used to strike the son- how and whether to apply that today is a question I haven’t taken a die-on-this-hill position as of yet- however, there are at least two problems with David Bercot’s appeal to this verse.

In the first place, this is an Old Testament verse. Dean and David Bercot have certainly acknowledged that Christians were mandated to use violence in the Old Testament, but that’s no longer mandated since we are in a new covenant era where we’re required to love our enemies. That sword cuts in both directions though. This verse in Proverbs is in that same part of the Bible where God ruled over his people in a different covenant era, and hence is to be replaced by the current covenant era (again, according to Dean Taylor and David Bercot). Appealing to this verse contradicts their denial that OT morals ought to govern their behavior.

Leaving the first point aside, we must ask now how David Bercot’s appeal to Proverbs 13:24 actually answers the question. The question has to do with intervening with violence when one of your children is bullying one of your other children. David Bercot appealed to Proverbs 13:24 which justifies physical discipline, but not physical intervention. Obviously a father is expected to punish his bullying child for what he has done, but such punishment happens after the fact. Before that happens, this bullying sibling is a violent interlocutor like anyone else, and is just as much out-of-bounds for violent treatment by his father as any other person. David didn’t actually justify his implicit position that a parent may employ violence to intervene and stop one of his children from bullying another by this appeal to Proverbs 13:24. He may have justified physical discipline, but not physical (violent) intervention.

Later on David followed up his reference to Proverbs with a response to an assertion made by Daryl Charles that the Nonresistant person can’t do anything when one person is hurting/attempting to hurt another person. David Bercot talked about how a Nonresistant person doesn’t stand by and do nothing if, for example, someone attacks his family- he can physically place himself between the attacker and the victim, or he can use physical restraint to stop an attacker since Christians restrained Paul from entering the stadium at Ephesus.

Let’s deal with the strategy of placing yourself between the victim and the attacker first. I’d like to draw attention to the story of the Pennsylvania schoolhouse shooter Charles Carl Roberts IV (see here). One of the children there, Marian Fisher, asked to be shot first. She took a bullet, according to this article, to buy time. Did it help? Well, she was shot first, but did she buy time? Did she save any lives? Not as far as any article I’ve read on this account. Her siblings (and other students) were still shot, and they both died. She took the strategy advocated by Dean Taylor and David Bercot, and she saved no one. Did she do nothing? No. She did the best she could. Did it ultimately mean anything in the end?*

As far as using physical restraint like the disciples used against Paul, the verse for this is Acts 19:30 (HCSB):

30 And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him.

i) Notice that Acts 19:30 never says that the disciples restrained Paul. It simply says they didn’t let him enter. They could have stopped him by word-of-mouth command. They could have done what David said earlier and simply stood in the way and discouraged Paul from utilizing physical violence to get past them to enter the stadium. This verse can’t be used to justify physically (violently?) restraining a bullying child in the midst of his bullying, protecting your family from an attacker, or anything along those lines.

ii) However, lets’ roll with that for a minute. Let’s assume that David was right and that physical restraint is permitted in restraining other people. What does that entail? Physical restraint can mean anything from standing in someone’s path to body-slamming him to the ground. Between those two would involve anything from wrestling to slapping to punching to kicking to arm-twisting to anything you can name that can fall under the umbrella term of “restraint” or “not letting someone do x”. You can even restrain someone with a weapon, but that would violate the simplistic interpretation of Matthew 5:43 taken by David and Dean Taylor. Keep in mind that it is David and Dean who think Matthew 5:43 forbids committing any form of violence. I don’t accept that, but even assuming that it were true, the appeal to Acts 19:30 contradicts their interpretation of Matthew 5:43. (EDIT: I’ve struck through the previous sentences since Bercot’s appeal to Acts 19:30, flawed though it may be, is not necessarily contradictory with his interpretation of Matthew 5:43.)

iii) Let’s also assume David Bercot can justify his application of restrain with your children and other Christians on the grounds that since they aren’t YOUR enemy, then you’re not sinning by using violence against them. I would agree that they aren’t MY enemy per say, but that in and of itself doesn’t justify using violence against them. If violence is okay so long as it’s committed against someone who isn’t specifically my own enemy, then all Christians would need to do would be to delegate the task of their protection to other Christians who aren’t being directly victimized themselves- in which case, Nonresistance, I.E. never commit violence of any kind against another human, isn’t a necessary position to adopt. Christians would be free to fight and/or kill in the protection of others, and of course, that’s contradictory to Dean and David’s nonresistance.

Later on Peter Kreeft said (1:00:55),

You still haven’t explained what you would do during the Rwandan massacre. You still haven’t explained what you would do with the homicidal maniac. So, you don’t have a rifle on the wall. So, let’s say your wife has just died, and you’re the father, and you have six kids, and they’re totally dependent on you, and if you die, they’re in a terrible situation. Uh, do you have a right to give up your life then?

Dean Taylor said,

Absolutely. Did Jesus, did Jesus have a right when he had such an incredible responsibility of of fathering the entire beginning of the church to give his life? It’s that suffering love that changes the world.

Evidently Dean Taylor thinks that any Christian who dies whilst practicing nonresistance changes the world. There are several problems with this:

i) For one, it’s a martyr’s death that changes the world. A homicidal maniac isn’t persecuting Dean Taylor for his Christian faith. He’s just a murderous mad man. Dean Taylor may be a Christian who would die in that situation, but that wouldn’t make him a martyr.

ii) Christ’s death is guaranteed to save his people and thereby change the world. Our death does not, even if we are Christians. Christ’s death is unique in that regard. His death is guaranteed to save other people’s souls, not ours. To compare the potential benefits of Dean Taylor’s death to the guarantee of the effectual salvific grace of Christ’s death makes no sense.

iii) Christ wasn’t abdicating the protection of the life of his loved ones in his death. He was procuring their eternal destiny. He, in his death, was saving our souls for eternity. Dean Taylor’s death would not. His death would be an exercise in futility because of his own refusal to take violent measures to attack his family’s would-be murderer. What if his family isn’t saved? Dean would die, his death would save no one, and his children would pass into an eternity in hell. That’s the complete and total opposite of what happens with the death of Christ. Christ’s death saves, whilst Dean’s death would damn.

iv) Why is it that changing this one maniac’s soul matters more than the souls of Dean’s children? Their souls matter just as much if not more to Dean Taylor, so why is it that his family’s unchanged souls are put on the chopping block whilst the homicidal mad man’s soul receives deferential treatment? The homicidal maniac changed the world- he killed eight peaceful people. How did Dean’s death change the world?

v) Assuming Dean’s children were unsaved in this scenario, how will their suffering change the world? They’re not saved, and so it’s impossible for them to be martyred in any circumstance. Presumably we’re only saying Dean Taylor’s (and his wife’s) death would change the world, but in this case, his changing of the world requires not only the murder of himself and his wife, but the passing of six unsaved souls into an eternity in hell. Is that really the kind of change Dean wants to happen? Isn’t the changing of the world supposed to occur by saving more souls? If so, then his non-violent protective actions are means-end irrational.

I will continue in Part 3.

– – – – –

*I’m not scorning the brave sacrifice made by Marian Fisher. That was the best she could have done under the circumstances, but look at the result of her sacrifice: She and her siblings all still wound up dead- just in a different chronological order. Had Marian Fisher or one of the teachers been armed and ready to use violence to protect their students, the story may have been quite different. Indeed, the shooting may never have taken place- not at that school, at least. Dean Taylor and David Bercot advocated placing yourself between the victim and the attacker, even in situations where their family was under fire. Marian Fisher adopted that strategy, and she saved no one. Dean Taylor and David Bercot want to fall back on this form of pointless self-sacrifice as a means of showing that they won’t sit by and do nothing if their family is attacked, but it’s void of any meaningful resulting protection.

Posted in Dean Taylor, Dialogs with Charityites, Nonresistance | 7 Comments

1-Year Anniversary of The Remnant’s Discontinuation

Ever since the July/August 2013 issue of The Remnant was published, no further issues have been created. Today marks a full year since production of The Remnant released its last issue. I find that this marks one of the more obvious signs of Charity Ministries (excuse me, EPHRATA ministries) losing its popularity. It’s bad enough that they and Charity Christian Fellowship had to split into separate ministries (see here), but I’m thinking there isn’t enough people who can work with each other very well within Ephrata Ministries to keep producing the magazine. That’s my speculation, but Ephrata Ministries themselves have revealed that one of the reasons it’s on hold is because they no longer have an editor.

Here from the Charity-cough cough* Ephrata Ministries subscription page for The Remnant:

Publication of The Heartbeat of the Remnant is currently on hold. We hope to find an editor and begin publishing it again in the near future. We are still accepting subscriptions, but it may be a while before you receive your first issue.

EDIT: This message has been present on this page since at least February of this year according to the Internet Archive (see here).

It seems Dean Taylor really has made his departure as editor of The Remnant. If anyone knows why that is, feel free to let me know in the comment box below.

I’ve criticized The Remnant a few times in the past (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and so I find this discontinuation to be a great blessing. The fewer ways Charity Ministries influence is spread, the less they’re going to poison other peoples’ lives. So, here’s to a full year since the last issue of The Remnant. May it grow into two, five, and however many years are left until the apocalypse. 😉

Posted in Ephrata Ministries, The Remnant | 1 Comment

Review of the “It’s Just War” – Should Christians Fight?” Debate – Part 1

Just War Debate

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

Find the debate here.

I was thoroughly disappointed with this debate, and not just for the poor video quality of the debate DVD, or the fact that the participants couldn’t hear each other properly during the Q&A session. It’s like the Ham VS. Nye debate- it proved little one way or the other. The participants were horribly boring speakers (Dean Taylor being the exception), the proponents of just war Theory asked irrelevant questions during the Q&A session, and there was no thorough exegesis on either side. I expect that from proponents of Nonresistance, but not proponents of just war theory. Ultimately, I think the Nonresistance side won this debate- not very well, mind you. It wasn’t a land-slide, but it was ultimately a win for the Nonresistant side.

One of the most disappointing aspects of this debate was that none of the participants seemed to have studied what their opponents had written or preached on this subject (David Bercot being a possible exception). I must be too addicted to James White, but I don’t find it very helpful when the participants of a debate bumble about when asking questions just to figure out what their opponents believe as if that isn’t already a matter of public record and that could have been properly investigated beforehand. That wastes the audiences time, and the time you have to challenge the biblical justification for their position. I can’t remember a single time when any participant quoted from their opponents, nor do I remember a single time any participant challenged their opponents on any specific verse they’d interpreted.

Dean Taylor was clearly the best speaker of the bunch. In fact, as much as I was hoping his position would be publicly refuted and shown for the unbiblical doctrine that it is, he still was the shining star of the debate. He spoke clearly, with emotion and conviction, and asked the most relevant questions during the Q&A. This is a man whose big claim to fame in this debate stems from his being a former soldier who forsook his belief in using violence in any form and at any time whatsoever. He has no credentials of any kind from any seminary and has a single book to his name. And yet he trumped both Peter Kreeft and Daryl Charles, both of whom are credentialed trained theologians and thus have far less of an excuse to lose to an untrained opponent who comes from an anti-intellectual movement like Charity Ministries.

My harshest criticism has to do with the attempt by Peter Kreeft and Daryl Charles to make Dean Taylor and David Bercot look like bad guys by asking a bunch of emotional questions that have nothing to do with actually undermining their position on scriptural grounds. I agree that nonresistance leads to a horribly skewed form of morality in its practical application, but whether I like it or not is irrelevant as to whether or not its true. Any Calvinist ought to appreciate that fact- arminians find Calvinism to be morally repugnant, and yet we as Calvinists implore arminians to examine Calvinism carefully and see that it’s rooted in what the scripture teaches. We need to encourage that attitude in ourselves toward our Nonresistant opponents and not behave like arminians in letting our emotions dictate what we will and will not believe.

So I hate to say it, but this debate was clearly a victory for the proponents of nonresistance. It wasn’t a knock-down drag-out victory- many things were said that were never challenged by either side in this debate, and hence I’d say the victory was more like a 55/45 win, and such a score leaves the debate with little use for either side. I can point to a debate like the debate between James White and Dan Barker on Jesus As Myth, and say that was a bombastic victory for Orthodox Christianity. I don’t think anyone on either side of this controversy can say the same for The Just War debate. I say to anyone who seeks to engage in formal public moderated debate with proponents of Nonresistance: Nonresistance must be refuted on the basis of its alleged biblical justification, and not on the basis of whether or not we find the men who believe in it to be morally reprobate.

All that being said, there are some statements made by Dean Taylor and David Bercot that warrant a critical response. That will come in part 2.

Posted in Dean Taylor, Dialogs with Charityites, Nonresistance | 1 Comment

Ephrata Youth Bible School: The Experience Recounted (Part 2.5)

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 2.5)

Here’s a follow-up to the second article recounting one of my sibling’s experience at YBS at Charity Ministries- you know, back before they changed it to Ephrata Ministries. This isn’t part 3, and that is explained towards the end of this article. Check out part 2 to see the various comments that are quoted here. Enjoy!

– – – – –

Well, it’s finally here. After much nagging from my sibling, I’m finishing this series. First, as always, I’d like to address some of the comments that were left on part 2 of the series.

I spent 2 nights at someone’s house and the father of the home took everyone’s cell phones each night before we all went to bed and would give it back to us the next day. He even asked me to surrender my iPod. Guess this is an example of how they do not trust young people including folks in their mid to late 20s.

Like Mormons who send their young people on missions that socially isolate them from their families, Bible School is meant to be cocooned from the outside world. The entire experience is meant to be this kind of emotional hazing, a heavy induction of guilt to be followed by a spiritual high of forgiveness. Anything from the outside world might mess with that, including ideas that maybe God doesn’t hate me because I like Lord of the Rings.

My friend, you totally missed the point. You won’t get any more out of it than you put into it. If you would have gone with the right attitude, you would have a completely different picture. All I can say is, you had better enjoy your “happiness” and “freedom” now because some day we will all bow speechless before our God.

Aw, man, this is just classic Charity right here. It’s bringing me back to the bad old days. Charity never ever blames or seeks to correct errors committed by the leaders or the movement. The fact that I have problems with YBS is because of my inward sin and inability to soak in the blessings and grace they bestow. My reader assumes that I never got sucked into the whole repent-spiritual high cycle; I did. I responded to altar calls, wept and repented of my sins, and returned home with a euphoric high. The only problem is that this emotional high has no depth. YBS doesn’t teach actual skills to live a good life, they simply create impossible standards that someone will inevitably violate, because they need their audience to constantly feel guilty.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Gal. 5:13

Oh crap, someone quoted the Bible? Obviously, I am ignorant of the Bible because I disagree with Charity Ministries. Let me tell you a secret. I’ve read the entire Bible, and most of it multiple times. I also understand more of it. See, the dirty secret of the Amish is that most of them don’t own English bibles, and very few understand standard ‘high’ German that their printed Bibles are in. They actually don’t know a lot about the Bible, and their 8th grade education doesn’t help them understand King James English when they convert to Charityism. So if anything, I’m at a great advantage when it comes to knowing the Bible than your average Charity member who cherrypicks quotes to fling at people like out-of-context lawn darts.

This really isn’t at all what Youth Bible school is like! I’ve been, my siblings have been and its way different then you described.

Well, good for you? People have different experiences, but you’re not really clear what I didn’t get right. I mean, I know I’m factually correct on many things, such as the daily schedule, how mealtime occurs, the assignment of chores by gender, how host families work…I’d really like more detail here.

I really love this. It’s all so true!! thanks for posting.

Thanks for your feedback!

If you have come from a conservative background and should “know better” you will probably be being talked to and watched the entire week.

This is a HUGE point that many people have missed. Many people from non-conservative backgrounds or “worldly” backgrounds have commented and said how positive YBS was for them, and how loving everyone is. Let me be clear. YOU ARE BEING LOVED-IN LIKE A CULT. THEY ARE BEING POSITIVE BECAUSE THEY’RE STILL TRYING TO CONVERT YOU.

What, you said, I’m already a Christian, what do you mean they’re trying to convert me? They’re trying to convert you to Charityism. They are nice because you haven’t totally bought into their ideas, and you probably still have ways to escape if they’re too mean or critical of you. My experience is from the perspective of someone that they considered ‘safe’. They could be jerks because they knew I wasn’t going anywhere. Once you’re actually “in” the movement, it’s totally different. I don’t care how sweet everyone was, they still never considered you “one of them”…at all. You’re not one of them until you bow to every weird restriction and rule that they have.

What concerns me more, however, is the growing attitude among my generation (mid 20s) that looks with shameless contempt on the Charity movement because of experiences they had in it. I’m tempted with this attitude myself, but I know that simply reacting to negative experiences is a sure way of landing in another bad ditch on the other side of the road. Friends, reaction will never produce good fruit. Only a heart fixed on the beauty and wonder of Jesus will.

Look, I kinda get where you’re coming from here. Bitterness can be poison, and I still struggle with it myself. However, I am also experiencing righteous anger too, and I don’t want other innocent families to be sucked into a cult because of this Bible school. I lost too much of my life trying to please people who would never be pleased, trying desperately to meet meaningless standards instead of actually becoming a better person. How much energy do they waste on policing long vs short sleeves that they could have spent on, say, exegetical Bible study? The answer is a ton.

I came to Bible School partially because my best friend was coming for the second time, and she said I’d enjoy it. And also, I’d been going through some spiritual low points. I figured it would be a lot of fun, but I also thought that I wouldn’t find many nice people there, since they’d all be so conservative. I was so wrong, though, and I can’t say how much I loved YBS. The people were so great. I found a ton of really nice new friends. My host family (which was a friend of my friend) had two kids going along to Bible School, too, and we had a blast. The messages spoke to me so strongly… they encouraged me a LOT. And prayer group was amazing. Maybe it’s just that I’m so hungry for spiritual interaction, since my family doesn’t attend as members any church. But I just don’t understand where y’all are coming from, unless you’re just cynical and bitter towards all of Christianity.

Koala-chan, I want to stress this to you so badly. YOU are their target. You are spiritually hungry, and you want more. They seem to appear to also want to be spiritual and want to connect with God. You will meet some amazing nice people at YBS. But the problem is that you are hungry for spiritual meat, and they’re going to give you rocks and stones instead. They are false shepherds. They will give you positive emotions for the short-term, but no actual substance for the longterm. I really hurt for you because obviously, you need more support in your spiritual life. I’m not cynical and bitter towards all Christianity, I’m terrified that they will take someone like you, and potentially hurt your relationship with God by poisoning it with guilt and fear. You must understand, this was a week for you, a single week. For people in the movement, this is just a bootcamp that beats into their heads all the guilt and legalism they hear all year long.

I came to Bible School partially because my best friend was coming for the second time, and she said I’d enjoy it. And also, I’d been going through some spiritual low points. I figured it would be a lot of fun, but I also thought that I wouldn’t find many nice people there, since they’d all be so conservative. I was so wrong, though, and I can’t say how much I loved YBS. The people were so great. I found a ton of really nice new friends. My host family (which was a friend of my friend) had two kids going along to Bible School, too, and we had a blast. The messages spoke to me so strongly… they encouraged me a LOT. And prayer group was amazing. Maybe it’s just that I’m so hungry for spiritual interaction, since my family doesn’t attend as members any church. But I just don’t understand where y’all are coming from, unless you’re just cynical and bitter towards all of Christianity.

I’ve been 5 times. Unlike most of you from my understanding who where raised this way, or something like it. I was not. Unlike most of you I begged to go. Begged to be allowed the chance. Saved money all summer so I could afford to fly out and pay to go. I have been shown more love and compassion in the five weeks I’ve spent among the charity churches then in my life. When I attended I answered ALL the questions honestly. I told them I wear pants and that I don’t always cover my hair and that I watch R movies and listen to country music. None of these things was EVER brought up to me! They simply loved me anyway.

Because you’re an outsider. They will always be nice to you, because they want to slowly get you to quit doing all of those things. If they weren’t nice, you could just leave. They only show their true colors to the sons and daughters of committed members who couldn’t leave. You think they consider you a real Christian? They don’t, not until you’re wearing a cape dress, veiled, and at least feel guilty for sneaking in that country music.

An while the prayer rooms may be a bit chilly its not like your freezing to death I say this coming from someone who is ALWAYS cold. I have to wonder where your hearts are in all this? Does mocking people who do there VERY BEST to fallow God make you feel better in some way? I honestly don’t get it. I mean even if you don’t agree that’s OK you don’t have to! That is for you and God to figure out.

I was being silly for comedic relief, but they ARE cold for people who are currently sick. Also, you say that it was “for you and God to figure out” if I wanted to follow standards…no, it wasn’t. I was raised in this environment. I didn’t get a choice about what music I listened to, what clothes I wore, what ideas I had. It wasn’t ‘ok’ for me to disagree. If I, coming from one of their churches, stated that I wore pants and watched R movies, they NEVER would allow me to attend. For you, you get slack because you’re from a ‘worldly’ background, and haven’t been properly educated. However, for someone raised on their ideas who rejected them? I’m anathema.

But do you really have to bash on people like this? I find it painful that people like you throw away gifts like this from God. An people like me wish they had been born in a plan family. I enjoy serving the tables and cleaning the dishes. Jesus actually said in the bible that if we bring a glass of water to someone it will be reworded. 😀 Even a glass of water! I cant tell you how happy that makes me to fill 200 cups knowing that God sees each one. I also get sick alot I catch something roughly every month that usually knocks me out cold. An I have only gotten sick at YBS once. to wrap this up. I would like to beg you to stop this slamming of people I love an care about. I don’t know where you all are in your lives or Christians walks. Ill be honest with you I am coming back form a time where I completely turned my back on God. So please don’t take this as a hollyer then tho thing, because trust me IM NOT!!! But this is painful and I do love this people dearly. You don’t have to agree, just don’t bash on them like this… and PS im by no means saying they have every little fact or rule right just that they do there best! We are all human the charity churches are no different.

I feel for you, I really do. You say you wish you were born into a plain family…you really don’t. All that love and acceptance and following Jesus becomes an emotional minefield, ESPECIALLY if you really are seeking God. Your relationship with God turns from love to one of constant guilt, constantly failing to measure up to man-made standards. I can’t tell you how many times I cried because I wanted so desperately to be closer to God, but felt like I was failing. Also, there is nothing wrong with serving tables, I did it myself. I’m saying it’s sexist to make the girls wash the trays and bus the tables (which is more work) and the boys set up the tables. It just is.

Finally, believe me when I say this, I still love many of the people I met back in Charity churches and YBS. I miss them. You will meet some of the most genuinely nice people ever there. That’s what makes it suck the most when you figure out that you’re trapped, and so are they, in a network of rules that are useless, senseless, and manmade.

So, I started responding to comments, thinking that I’d end up writing an article after this, but I’m not sure I can. Just responding to these comments, in and of itself, makes a story. The contrast between the experiences of ‘worldly’ people and ‘charity’ youth at YBS is clear…and that illustrates a problem. If someone is nice to you when they want something and beats you when you’re married to them, they’re abusive. If people have more comments or questions, post them and I’ll respond.

Posted in Bible School, Family Issues, Mock Piety, Pseudo-Revival, Youth | 3 Comments