~a newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere~
- Spring, 2002 -
Affiliated with " Ex-Apostolics: The Association of Former Pentecostals "
Volume 1, Issue 1
Table of contents
2. Pentecostals in the news
A. God Save the General Superintendent! - Changes in the UPCI
B. "Mr. Gospel Music" Dies
C. Under the Influence
3. Famous Pentecostals (Profile of Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft)
5. Spotlight on "Ex-Apostolics"
A. Messages of the Month
7. A Final Word
8. A Prayer - A Prayer of St. Francis
(February 15, 2002) Welcome to the premiere issue of Delivered!, a newsletter
for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere (Assemblies of God, United
Pentecostal Church, Int., "Charismatic" churches, similar organizations and
independent congregations); regardless of your current life or spiritual
circumstance! In our quarterly newsletter, we hope to keep you informed of
events occurring with the world of Pentecost and the Charismatic Movement, share
experiences of those spiritually (or otherwise) abused within these
congregations, and give resources for those still struggling with doctrinal
issues while emerging from such congregations.
Our newsletter does not seek to condemn Pentecostalism or the Charismatic
movement in general, but to air the differences and complaints from the many
who've left such congregations. We as former Pentecostals believe that most who
have left this faith have not done so from being "lured into a life of sin," but
from having major disagreements in matters of doctrine. Others who have left
site specific occurrences or abuses that drove them out of church doors. While
there is no lack of abuse within any Christian denomination, we believe that
their are some that are particular to Pentecostalism; most of all having to do
with their emphasis on spiritual gifts (and the spiritual superiority that
sometimes goes with it), and in many sects the arrogant opinion of possessing
the only "truths," or the true knowledge of salvation (the inference here is
that everyone else - including other Christians - are excluded from eternal
In an attempt to disassociate ourselves from our past, we will not present
ourselves with the same spiritual superiority that often comes from these
churches, and will attempt to present all stories and opinions with balance and
It is not the opinion of the editor and our contributors that Pentecostalism is
evil, or that the Pentecostal faith or any particular sect is an organized cult,
but that there are many false ideas within this rapidly expanding faith, many
which cause anguish, despair, and feelings of abuse with many who have aligned
with this faith.
The intended audience for this newsletter is former Pentecostals, so a word of
warning to any current ones that may be reading! You may be offended, but
hopefully you'll be challenged, and seek the advice of St. Paul in his letter to
the Philippians, ". . .work out your own salvation. . .!"(Phil. 2:12 - KJV)
The Association of Former Pentecostals
by an Anon Contributing Editor
~~ Pentecostals in the News ~~
each news item is compiled from several media sources
God Save the General Superintendent!
Changes in the UPCI Leadership
© 2002.The Association of Former Pentecostals. All Rights Reserved.
On January 17, 2002, at Life Christian Church in St. Louis, Missouri, the Rev'd.
Kenneth F. Haney was officially installed as the 6th General Superintendent of
the United Pentecostal Church International. This ends the 24 year reign at the
helm of this organization by longtime General Superintendent, the Rev'd.
Nathaniel Urshan, who announced his retirement last year. This reflects the
election results of the General Convention this faith held last October in
Kentucky. A new Director of Foreign Missions, and a new Assistant General
Superintendent (West) were also elected for this organization which only counts
its licensed ministers as members. The church -- which forbids viewing of
television programs or motion pictures -- has compiled a video presentation of
the Installation service at its website: http://www.upci.org (RealPlayer
It is not clear whether Mr. Urshan retired for personal reasons, or because
there was doubt he could master the new term-limit rule which went into effect
this year. Created in 1993, this rule states that an incumbent with eight years
service as General Superintendent must receive a two-thirds majority victory in
the nominating ballots in order to be eligible as a candidate for reelection to
Mr. Haney was the Assistant General Superintendent (West) of the UPCI before
being promoted to this office. While serving in that capacity, he also served
as pastor of Christian Life Center in Stockton, California. CLC claims a
membership of 10,000, and is building a new sanctuary that will seat 6,000,
which the church claims will be the largest existing traditional church
structure in the state of California. The largest assembly within the United
Pentecostal Church, this church demonstrates the capacity for Apostolic churches
to join the ranks of the "mega-church" phenomenon in America. He has resigned
his pastoral duties and moved to the organizational headquarters in Missouri to
assume his new responsibilities.
Nathaniel Urshan, prior to his ascendency to the helm of the UPCI, was pastor
for thirty years at Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the son
of Pentecostal pioneer, pastor, and missionary Andrew Urshan. A new UPCI
theology graduate school is named in their honor for their work in that church.
The UPCI is the largest Oneness Pentecostal denomination in North America. They
claim 3,900 churches with an estimated US constituency of 600,000, 2.6 million
worldwide. The organization was created in 1945 by the merger of the
Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ and the Pentecostal Church, Inc. Besides
Haney and Urshan, prior General Superintendents include Howard A. Goss, A. T.
Morgan, Oliver Fauss, and Stanley W. Chambers.
"Mr. Gospel Music" Dies
©2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals All Rights Reserved.
Less than two weeks ago, legendary gospel singer James Blackwood died at a
Memphis hospital due to complications of a stroke. A life-long Assemblies of
God adherent, Mr. Blackwood was the last surviving vocalist among the founding
members of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet.
Besides being in the gospel quartet that placed that genre of music on the map,
James Blackwood was a nine time recipient of the Grammy Award, having been
nominated thirty-one times. The 82 year old singer is currently a nominee due
to the latest project he was involved with that included other gospel performers
and Ann-Margret. He was presented with the Gospel Music Association's Dove
Award for top male vocalist seven times throughout his career.
His gospel music career began in 1934 with the establishment of the family
quartet, which didn't reach national popularity until twenty years later when
they appeared on the CBS show, "The Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts." He retired
years later due to health problems, but resumed his musical career in The
Masters V Quartet, and the James Blackwood Quartet. He finally retired the name
of "The Blackwood Brothers Quartet" in 2000 after the death of his nephew, and
longtime "Blackwood" baritone, Cecil Blackwood. James has been most recently
involved with several of the popular Bill Gaither Homecoming Video projects.
He is survived by his wife, Mim, two children, and his grand and
Under the Influence
©2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals All Rights Reserved
Ms. Sophia Reitan recently sued Upper Room Tabernacle Ministries in Long Island
for four million dollars relating to injuries she received while attending a
women's meeting there. Apparently, she went forward to be prayed for, and fell
backwards, fracturing her arm. She claims that she fell while under the
influence of the Holy Spirit, but it was the church's responsibility to have
someone behind her to catch her should she fall. The ministry settled for
© 2001. Karen Blanton. Used by permission*
Not only did you steal but
You left a devastative seed…
You, as courageous as you are,
Took the painless way out…
Leaving your spineless victim
Haunted with no escape.
A Missourian in King George's Court
A Profile on John Ashcroft, US Attorney General
(Assemblies of God)
©2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals All Rights Reserved.
In early February 2001, John Ashcroft was confirmed by the Senate to be US
Attorney General; the first time any member of the Pentecostal faith has
attained such a high governmental office in the United States. Though many
current Pentecostals may enthusiastically liken this appointment to Pharaoh's
appointment of Joseph, many non-conservatives in this country view this choice
more cautiously. However, due to the aftermath of the events of September 11,
many of these fears by the liberal establishment have not come true. Though it
seemed Mr. Ashcroft would be a warrior for a more moral, Christian America, he's
spending most of his time and energy fighting terrorism on the home front.
Mr. Ashcroft, a Republican, is no newbie to politics. He was first elected as
Missouri State Auditor in 1973 and served until 1975. He held the office of
Missouri Assistant AG from 1975-1976 until attaining the state's AG job that
year, holding it until 1985. In that year, he was elected Governor of Missouri
and served until 1993. After a brief recess, he was elected for one term as US
Senator for the state of Missouri. He lost reelection in 2000 to a dead man,
Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan (D), who died in a plane crash during the
campaign. The late Governor's wife now holds that seat in Congress.
He received his B.A. from Yale University, and a law degree from the University
of Chicago. He is the son of an Assemblies of God minister, married with three
children and a grandchild.
The Assemblies of God is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the US. They
claim 12,000 affiliate churches and an estimated 2.5 million members in this
The Tongues of Men
The Chandra Levy Connection
©2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals All Rights Reserved.
In our world today, it seems impossible to not be inundated by news coverage of
September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. Sometimes it seems that nothing else has
ever happened in the whole course of human history. However, there was one
particular issue that did dominate American media coverage prior to that
horrific event, one whose coverage was so media consuming it could have only
been eclipsed by the Election of November 2000, the Impeachment of Bill Clinton,
or that perilous day when religious militants crashed planes into two great
symbols of the American economy. This media event may not have been as
meritorious as those historic events, but it certainly competed in coverage. I'm
speaking of the disappearance of Chandra Levy, a former congressional aide to
Congressman Gary Condit of California, and the scandal that soon followed.
We all know the story of this scandal; Mr. Condit had an extramarital affair
with Ms. Levy while she worked as an intern in his office. She had since
disappeared and is presumed dead, and many fingers have pointed to Mr. Condit
accusing him of all sorts of things in order to protect his political career and
marriage. As of this writing, no criminal charges have ever been filed against
the Congressman, and he is currently seeking reelection in what promises to be
an interesting race.
What does this have to do with our community? There is an interesting connection
to this case that was mentioned in the news last summer. Apparently, a friend of
the Levy's, a Pentecostal minister, the Rev'd O. C. Thomas concocted a story to
comfort Chandra's mother. This story -- really a lie -- was that 7 years prior,
his eighteen year old daughter also had an affair with the Congressman, and was
threatened to not tell anyone. However, the tale couldn't and wouldn't stop
there. As investigations continued into the case, Minister Thomas further
"helped" the Levy's by reporting this "incident" to the FBI. After the story was
leaked to the news, the minister quickly confessed; admitting the whole thing
was a lie to help his friends.
This incident does highlight a frailty in the psyche of many Pentecostal
preachers in general, and makes you wonder how little Judeo-Christian ethics and
morals mean to many of them. In most Pentecostal/Charismatic ministries, the
emphasis is placed on "saving souls," building churches, maintaining a strict
discipline of outward conduct (in the Oneness sect), and possessing
psychological and spiritual control over their congregation. Not being a part
of religious tradition and succession, higher morals such as maintaining truth
and being compassionate aren't as important as they are to the ministries of
older, more mainstream religious groups. Bean-counting (of people and of money)
seems to be the main interest of the day, and not the ministry of love,
forgiveness and giving as Christ commanded us to undertake.
We don't have to look far to see what examples these new ministerial priorities
have produced; we are painfully aware of the ministries of
Pentecostal/Charismatic tele-evangelists Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Robert
Tilton, and many others. One can look at the new Christian networks, the largest
being run by Pentecostal-style ministers and see priorities of fund raising,
station building, and pocket-lining in full force. Technology -- it seems -- has
only improved upon the "taking of offering" at the local Pentecostal church.
So, considering his ministerial company, it probably wasn't an ethical stretch
for Mr.Thomas to tell a little, harmless, white lie. Hopefully, he's learned
that there is more to Christian morality than the illicit transgressions
Pentecostal preachers love to bang the pulpit on. If he hasn't, here's a lesson
(and this one's in the Ten Commandments): Do not bear false witness!
SPOTLIGHT ON. . .
Association of Former Pentecostals
As mentioned earlier, this newsletter is affiliated with an e-mail discussion
group for former Apostolic Pentecostals (see link above). Of course, this
newsletter is aimed at ALL former Pentecostals, so as our mailing list grows, we
hope to have greater representation of the other "P" under this "spotlight."
This section in this issue will highlight issues concerning this sector of the
faith, and will spotlight the e-mail group, Ex-Apostolics, The
Association of Former Pentecostals.
~Messages of the Month~
One Former Apostolic's Horrific "Worship" Experience
~"Some men hit their wives or children with these 'jawbones'"~
"Ex-Apostolics" is a very busy e-mail discussion group, mostly of people
describing their abusive Pentecostal experiences and relationships. It's very
therapeutic -- getting it all out -- and occasionally one member will write of
an experience that just blows the rest of us away, and makes us feel kind of
like the man-with-no-shoes who met the man-with-no-feet. One such experience
put most of the rest of ours in perspective; showing just how far and how
violent the "emotional" worship services can go in Pentecostal services.
Without further ado, I give you "G's experience" that she modestly entitled
"Just some odds and ends:" ("G" has requested to remain anonymous for the
purpose of this newsletter.)
"Date: Sun Jan 6, 2002 1:14 PM
Subject: Just some odds and ends
Been reading the posts. Brings up so many questions and just "stuff." Like one
post that talked about the actions of those people trying to pray you through to
the Holy Ghost. For several years I attended an Apostolic church that was very
hands on. Felt they owed it to God to bring as many souls to the altar to get
them filled up. It was almost "magical" watching these people lay hands on
I, too, remember some bizarre things that happened in that church. For
example: a visiting minister (one very well known to us) and the pastor brought
a bag of large rawhide dog bones to church. During the first half of what was to
be a mini-sermon, we found out that God "wanted" these large dogbones to become
"the jaw bone of the ass" so that we might slay the Philistines in our lives.
What this meant was that each of us would be required to take a turn handling
the "jawbone" and with it we would slay our "Philistines"(demons in our lives).
The men went first (women and men were separated since men had the preeminence
in all church activities). These men started shouting, yelling, dancing,
whacking the walls so hard as to leave cracks and holes in them. These men
ran outside the church crying and yelling all the way down the road and back
around the church -- chasing out the demons. Some men hit their wives or
children with these "jawbones" (a.k.a. rawhide dog bones). The bones got
passed to the women who were for the most part weeping and wailing and speaking
in tongues or dancing to the ecstatic music supplied by the Pastor's daughter on
the piano. When the women got the bones, the men continued the weeping and
wailing and dancing and the women went around clobbering things and people
with the bones. These actions by both the men and women were considered
"spiritual warfare." Casting out demons was the venue of the evening. I
refused to take part and totally shut down emotionally. I was so horrified
that I just couldn't move or think -- pure dissociation. I was one of three
that night that did not participate in the "killing of the Philistines." I was
reprimanded by the pastor as being too proud and rebellious and was forced to
the altar to be prayed over for my sin.
Well, anyway, these are just a few odds and ends from the memory file coming
back to life. Unlike most of you here, I did not walk away. I was
disfellowshipped when my pastor had a "revelation" from God during his prayer
time. On that day I thought my world and life was over.
Today, I realize God did me a favor. Sometimes I want to go back to UPC, but for
my own mental health's sake I will not. Still, I have to admit that there were
times in church when the world seemed far away and I was safe in the arms of
Jesus, secure in my knowledge of him and his love for me. Reality is a far, far
cry from that delusion, so for me it is no wonder that every once in a while I
feel a little tug to go back. G."
(Edited for form, grammar and punctuation only. Some emphasis added by editor)
When G wrote this to us, we simply couldn't believe it, but knew it to be true.
I've heard of similar cases before, one in which a man sued a local Assemblies
of God minister (and that particular church) for medical damages after he had
sustained several bone fractures after he had been surrounded by several
"brethren" in the church and they attempted to "cast out demons" from him. The
fractures weren't from anything the victim was doing, but what was being done by
those seeking to "set him free."
Ministered to by Whom?*
A Former Apostolic is Shown God's Love by an Unlikely Person
~"He told me he was Islamic and that he was a priest."~
Another e-mail I wish to share with you is one of enlightenment, an experience
of an individual so emotionally abused by her local church leadership that she
couldn't even consider attending church or seeking God at all. To her, God was
mean, jealous, and abusive, and this was shown to her by actions of her pastor,
her local church and her husband at the time. That is . . . until she met
someone of an entirely different faith, who offered her a perspective of God she
had forgotten about. . . a God of Love. I nearly cried as I read this message:
"Date: Tue Jan 1, 2002 6:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Ex-Apostolics] Want to share something
I just had the most wonderful conversation with an Islamic priest. . . I was
taking my son to his friends to spend the night, as I was leaving I noticed the
man and his daughter -- who live up stairs -- were cleaning their car. The
daughter wears the thing wrapped around her head, but wears regular clothes
underneath. I asked my son if he knew what religion they were. He didn't know.
I thought while driving that one day I was going to ask him what religion he was
in and if he could tell me about it. When I came back, he was still outside. I
introduced myself to him because I had never done so before, although I had
opportunities. Then asked him what was his religion. He told me he was Islamic
and that he was a priest. I told him that I was on a spiritual quest and was
open to learning about the different religions of the world and asked if he
would tell me about his. We talked for 45 minutes and tears welled up in my eyes
a few times. He started telling me about how loving God was and that he loves
all of us. That God wants a relationship with us in our heart. God wants us to
be conscious of him and treat our neighbors with love. If I forgive someone, God
will forgive me. He talked about humanity. He asked me why a few months ago I
scared car thieves away from stealing his son's car? I told him "because I
cared. I didn't want someone to take from someone else." He said that "it
wasn't my business; why did I do it?" I said, "because I cared." He asked
"why?" I said, "because I did." He said , "That is humanity!"
That was a big step for me to ask someone of another religion what they
believed. Although I am sure his beliefs go deeper than what he revealed to me
in 45 minutes, what I found is that his basic beliefs about God are not
different from mine. It was wonderful. God is much bigger and broader than we
imagine. We try to put Him in this box or that box . . . that Islamic priest
loves God and is loving to his neighbor. Anyway, just wanted to share with you
what God has shared with me.
(Edited for form, grammar and punctuation only.)
In a time of Muslim extremism, Karen was witnessed to about God's love through a
mainstream, moderate Muslim cleric. He does work in mysterious ways!
If you are a former Apostolic, or are simply interested in our discussion,
please consider joining us! Please visit our website and learn more how you can
be a part of our community. Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ex-apostolics
Do you know of websites or discussion groups formed by former constituents of
other Pentecostal sects or denominations? Please drop us a line using the
guidelines at the bottom of this letter.
for all religions and spiritual abuse
- Rick Ross: Expert Consultant and Intervention
- Analyyses of Cults and Religions by
- ExCharisma (an e-mail
for former Oneness Pentecostals
- Ex-Apostolics, The
Association of Former Pentecostals (an e-mail discussion group)
- Spiiritual Abuse in Bible Based Churches
- Yahoo! Groups :
Christian-Koinonia (an e-mail discussion group)
- Yahoo! Groups : ex-UPCIsupport (an e-mail discussion group)
~A Final Thought~
for joining us for our first newsletter; I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. I
depend on your opinions for the future of this newsletter, so please read the
instructions below, and let me have it! Some comments may be featured later in
a section called, "Letters to the Editor."
We plan for our next issue to be out May 15, so if you want to submit something,
please keep that in mind. In the next issue, we will explore stories coming
from around the world of Pentecostal/Charismatic growth, including the strange
Apostolic explosion in third world countries, plus we will delve into the many
different "gifts" presenting themselves in churches today. These and other
stories from around the world of Pentecost will be highlighted.
If you have personal experiences from your past in a Pentecostal or Charismatic
church, you are welcome to share them with us: they may be presented in future
edition of this newsletter. Tell us of the trials you went through, and how you
If you enjoyed our newletter, please consider sharing it with others! Forward
it to your friends of a similar background, or share it with your e-mail or
Thanks again, and God Bless
The Association of Former Pentecostals
A Prayer of St. Francis
submitted by Jason C.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not seek so much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Delivered! is a FREE quarterly newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics
everwhere, distributed by e-mail only. It is affiliated with an e-mail group
called "Ex-Apostolics: The Association of Former Pentecostals." The next
publication date is August 15, 2002. To subscribe to Delivered! or to join
Ex-Apostolics, please use the links below.
Do you have a news story, poem, essay, critical review, song lyrics, short short
story, original prayer, factoid or any other literary item that you wish to
share with the subscribers of this newsletter? All contributions from former
Pentecostals are welcome for consideration! There are a few rules and
guidelines for submission:
1) all submissions must be of the interest of former Pentecostals,
2) submissions must be less than 400 words, and
3) must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the planned publication date.
All submissions will be considered volunteered; the only "payment" will be the
act of being published, and sharing your work with like-minded individuals. All
writers will retain ownership of their work, and that work will be considered
used by permission for the purposes of this newsletter, if submitted. Some
submissions may be edited for form, grammar, and punctuation prior to
publication, and not necessarily with the author's prior knowledge or approval.
Anonymous submissions are acceptable as long as the editor is aware of your
All submissions must be submitted by e-mail (text documents only, no files) to:
email@example.com. Write NEWSLETTER SUBMISSION in the title space.
All other submissions (Letters to the Editor, complaints, compliments, other
comments) must be sent to the same e-mail address with: COMMENTS in the title
space. The editor reserves the right to publish any comments in future issues
of this newsletter ~Anon Editor
*contributions and experiences by former Pentecostals do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of the editor of this newsletter.
**contents of linked websites may contain material that does not coincide with
the opinion of this newsletter or it's editor. Browse at your own risk. We are
not responsible for broken or misdirected links.
©2001-2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals All rights reserved. All stories, opinions, and other text in
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