Well, the time spent with Gospel Ministries International was a little over 3 months. It has now been 10 days since i was told to vacate the place, and as there seems to be no more news forthcoming about this, i guess this will be a wrap-up, at least from my perspective.
David Gates kindly asked me to join GMI at the General Conference Session last June, and i went to volunteer my service there in July. I helped with odds and ends, and learned video editing, went on a couple of trips to run a video camera, and spent most of the time with media.
A little over 2 weeks ago now, i received a email from one of the leaders “J” with a very angry tone about what i had written concerning Br. Gates’ sermon “Converging Crises” in March of 2009. I had emailed the review of that sermon to Br. Gates before posting it, and am glad to say that several people have seen this review on my blog, and were benefited by it. But this leader did not know about it (as he was not even involved with GMI then i don’t think).
It seems like probably that email went to several other people at GMI, and one person talked to me about the mocking tone in my post. While not agreeing to having done anything wrong, i did see after our talk that i had used two words that were wrong, and repented, and deleted them the next morning.
Then on Sunday evening, exactly 10 days ago, the manager of personnel (J) talked with me. About 3 or 4 minutes into his talk, he said that if i write anything slanderous on my blog concerning him, that he would sue me. I could hardly believe my ears, and asked if this was the spirit of Christ. After that, not much else even registered, as the spirit of the dragon was abundantly evident. Near the end of his 45-minute talk, he asked me if i know what happened to “tattlers” in his elementary school. I told him i didn’t, and he said they got beat up. Of all the people who have threatened me with bodily harm in the last 20 years, why is it that they are ALL fellow-believers???
He asked if i had followed Matthew 18 in pursuing problems i have with Br. Gates’ sermon. I told him i did follow the first part, but not the second part. I did mention during his talk that we should rebuke public sins publicly, but i did not push that point. That was my mistake. When error is propagated publicly, Matthew 18 does not apply, as it is not between “he and you alone”. Of course it is best not to show dissension among God’s remnant people, so we should try to settle differences without going public, but as the response from Br. Gates in March 2009 was showed no sign of even discussing the problems in his sermon, i published the review, hoping it would help others of God’s flock who have questions regarding the message.
I’m thankful that i did not raise my voice during the “talk”, something which i no doubt would have been eager to do if this had occured 25 years ago. So i thank God for working on my emotions. I mean, how can we get too excited about ourselves when we think of what our dear Saviour went thru – and at the hands of his own people?!
One of the strange things is, is that Br. Gates, the man who originally asked me to join, has not contacted me at all on this…. Two of the other leaders had a problem with what i had written, and i’m cast out. Is this the way a Christ-centered, Faith-based ministry should be run? The personnel director gave me two days to find a new place to stay, and i’m very thankful that a couple did take me in quickly.
My brother is glad that i’ve left a “cult” (in his estimation) (altho i agree “yes” men are the most welcome there), but i can definitely see the hand of God in leading me to GMI, and also in leading me out of GMI. The experience of living closely with like-minded believers is something that my growth in the graces of Christ needed. I hope i was able to be of benefit to them also. My prayer goes out for the leaders that are mixing error with truth, and more so for the torn sheep there who, like me, are desperately wanting to know the will of God for their lives. Praise God there are some who will follow the Lamb wherever he goes