Monday, November 24, 2008

Jay Cameron Talks About "The Church Mafia"

I belonged to a toxic, spiritually abusive church several years ago. I then joined a wonderful, loving church which was anything but abusive but I wasn't growing there spiritually and neither was Mini-me. I now belong to a large predominately white church (yes, I miss the music from my previous church) but there are so many opportunities for ministry and fellowship that it isn't possible not to grow as a disciple of Christ in this assembly.

While I have a broken heart for the loss, I don't have much compassion for those following after false prophets because I believe that if you are in tune with the Spirit of the Living God then there is no way you could sit in a ministry like that for an extended period of time. But anyway, Jay Cameron talks about his stage play entitled "Church Mafia" and shares his experiences having been a part of such an establishment.

Part I

Part II

Part III

It is vitally important that we study the Word of God for ourselves and pray for directions and guidance because there are many so-called ministries that operate as a for-profit machine and they prey on the itching ears of down-trodden people.


Pamela said...

These videos really touched me. I sent you an email with my comments. There were many:)

Thanks for posting these.

Pamela said...

My response to this is really long but I wanted to include comments about the videos and my testimony.

I plan on sending the link to this blog post to friends and ministers at the church I attend and another one that is in fellowship with us. They fight really hard to combat what was clearly described in these videos.

I held back tears watching these videos. I have much empathy for people that have gone through this. I was one of them. The videos for the time allotted gave a really good overview of what happens to people. In some cases I also have empathy for those in leadership doing this madness. NOT ALL because some know what they are doing and are using it to their benefit, usually through financial gain or their own harems. Those that are leaders in this madness but are sincere will break free because deep down they love God more than themselves.

I think the one piece that could have been made clearer is that we expect leaders to know more than we do. Anyone that follows a person that they know is more ignorant than they are is crazy. When you go to school, job or participate in anything you are supposed to be a part of you are not given the option to do things the way you want to. You do it the way the leader tells you to do it or leave. It is not a hostile thing but it is expected. They train you on what is expected.

This carries over into church life. You see a preacher in the pulpit. They are 'the leader' and is supposed to know what they are talking about. In most of these churches you are not told about how to read and study the Bible. I was not taught this growing up. I expected the preachers to know what they were taking about. When your parents take you to church you expect your parents to know more than you also. In normal families you expect your parents to do things that are the best for you. For those they start in toxic religious settings as children it is really a satanic setup because from the jump in many cases they learn lies about God and the nature of Christ. People know nothing else. They more than likely do not trust the inner witness of God at that point because they probably think 'What do they know? They are not like the preacher that is supposed to know about God. Of course a pulpit pimp is not going to tell you to study your Bible and listen to the inner witness. Many preachers that are sincere may not even know about that stuff.

Eph 4 says that the five-fold ministry is supposed to train us for works of service. There is a reasonable expectation that they know for those that do not understand about studying the word for themselves. This is where the toxic dynamic is right there. You will hear this verse pounded more than any other, along with verses from the OT talking about curses and punishment, the law, etc.

The kicker is that the Bible says way more about wrong doctrine, how leaders should lead, how to run from false teachers, etc. that even sin and righteousness issues. BUT if the people do not know how to study the Bible and find this stuff they will not really know without outside supernatural intervention of some kind. The Lord will get to them eventually. When that happens may be different for each person. It may not be in a week. It took me years to clearly see where I missed things. It slowly unraveled. I thank God often that through my experience I never questioned my walk with Him. I knew He loved me beyond measure. The unfortunate thing is that stuff like this destroys the faith of many. The sad thing is that what they rejected was not the true and living God but a serious perversion. This is what I grieve for people over. When the nature of God is truly known people are able to better recognize when they hear madness in the pulpit and run like a bat out of hell from there.

My story is a little different than Pastor Jay's. I was attending a really strict Pentecostal church where your name could be erased from the book of life for just about anything. There was a wrong fear of God. People were 'getting saved' every other week because they sinned. My Mom and I started attending this church when I was 12. As I observed this I decided that I was not going to do this unless I knew it would be for life. THANK GOD I understand what I saw was madness. I was 14 years old when I accepted Christ and never looked back all these years. The problem was that I was never trained on how to hear the Holy Spirit, how to study my Bible or anything like that. I was fortunate to attend a Christian college where the founder said that God was good. God was presented as a friend, so unlike what I heard growing up. In my mid-20s I had an encounter with the Lord that began the mind renewal process about how God was and how much he loved me. Mind renewal is never instant. It is a process that is clearly explained in Romans 12:1-3.

I went to two different churches from the time of the encounter with the Lord before I started attending the church I have attended for almost four years. In both churches the leader was right on target, preaching from the word, seeking the Lord, etc. The first period of time was where I really saw great progress in the Lord. At this point my walk with the Lord had developed enough where I learned a little on how to depend on His leading and have a walk with Him for myself. No one was going to tell me how God thought. The kicker for me was a little different. I really cared for these leaders and wanted to see God move. I sincerely believe that prayer changes situations. I really do. The enemy used this desire to pray against me. As one of the videos stated you really care for the people. I clearly saw when things began to change in both these churches. I started having a lot of trouble because I did not fit. Questioning was out of the question. In one of the churches the pastors said that if you are having questions about what you are hearing and seeing dismiss them because you are being attacked by the spirit of religion. Of course the Bible says to run from false teachers and prophets. When you do that you have made a judgment according to scripture. I started praying for the leaders without leaving the congregations. Somehow I did not connect the verses about not sitting under false doctrine with me staying to pray. I could have prayed out of that setting. I did not see this until June of this year when a guest minister mentioned these verses during a mid-week service.

Deception deceives. Unraveling wrong thinking and wrong believing takes time. The first thing that most people need to unravel is the idea that you have to have the preachers to have a walk with God for yourself. At least I had that understanding. I was never in a place where I connected my walk with the leaders. I so thank God that I began to have a revelation of His love for me. My problem came with the fact that I felt I had to be somewhere in order to be walking right before God. The leaders using the scripture in error where it says do not forsake yourselves in assembling.....made it sound like if you were not in church you were not right with God. After I left the second mess in September 2003 I stayed away from a local assembly with no plans on attending elsewhere. I came to the conclusion that I knew that God was not in this madness and no preacher was going to scare me into thinking that I had to be there. That was the best time of my life. I was able to quickly unravel most of what I had walked through during those years. I ended up visiting the place that I now attend through a web site of one of the ministers. I thought if the minister is preaching like this the pastor must feel the same way pretty much. After a few weeks I scraped up enough nerve to visit. After visiting off and on I started attending on a regular basis in May 2005. They were debunking just about everything you hear in churches. They absolutely DO NOT pressure the people to give money. There are no chains around the necks of the people. if there is anything they 'demand' they demand that people grow up, hear the Lord for themselves, get their instructions from the Lord about their lives and obey what He says. It took a while for me to figure out their MO. When I did I said that I can do this.

To me the point is not the right congregation just for being in a congregation. The point is to be with like-minded believers where they are going in the same direction you are. For Christians that direction is ultimately spiritual maturity. The one thing I found out months after I started attending where I am now is that the pastor was told by the Lord that he would be getting many people that were burned by religion. Believe me when i say that I will NEVER go to another church like most that are out there. They promote the church as the lifeblood of a Christian's life. Jesus paid for each person to individually be reconciled with the Father and to walk as His sons and daughters in the earth. The only thing that does that is a being changed from the inside out from being spiritual dead in sin to a new creation in Christ with a new inner man inside. No congregation, church leader or another human being can do that. Each person must develop that relationship for themselves. As you so well stated the starting place is God's word. I will scream that to my dying day. I will also scream JUDGE WHAT YOU ARE HEARING by the word. FORGET THE FACT that they are church leaders. If they are not teaching things in the book run for your life. It may get that drastic depending on how maniacal the leader becomes. Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones and David Koresh come to mind.

My heart is to grab anyone I can that is trapped in prison and see them set free. The spirit of religion is the meanest and most devious one there is. It lies, steals and destroys the lives of people. It lies to people about God and His nature. That spirit burned people to death at the stake during the Dark Ages just for not taking communion (because it was spoken that the communion elements were literally the blood and body of Christ( and reading the Bible. To me the Dark Ages show what the spirit of religion does and what it hates. It hates any focus on Christ and the Holy Spirt but wants it on the local church and its leadership. That spirit also absolutely hates the truth from God's word. There is so much hatred of God that it will destroy either the psyche or the literal physical lives of those that dare to stand against it. I will stand against it if I die. I will never knowingly submit to it ever again.

I probably will not purchase the pastor's video. Just watching these YouTube videos made its point very well. Thanks so much for posting them.

Conservative Black Woman said...

Pamela~I'm glad the videos resonated with you. I have several friends in the ministry and while I know that they love the Lord I really posted this for them to see because it is easy to get "caught up" in the machine that is "church ministry".

I absolutely agree with you that legalism and "spirit of religion" is a great enemy of our souls.

In the second church I mentioned in the blog, the congregation was very caring and loving but it was a warm and fuzzy social club. They would always have all of these stupid "programs" and I got the feeling to raise money for this or that auxillary but the messages just a bunch of hoopin' and trying to illicit the people to "shout". It was so empty. I began to wonder how the "holy ghost" could slay people in the spirit in the sanctuary but couldn't deliver them from smoking, drinking, shacking up, and every or manner of continued willful sin. I know we all sin but these same people filled with the "holy ghost" and running around the church snotting and crying weren't changing. They were not bearing any fruit. I knew something was wrong. I knew it was God or His Word. So after much trepidation I left that church and I am in a bible believing, bible teaching church. I am under no compulsion to tithe or sow seeds to get a blessing. I give as the Lord leads it could be 10%, 20%, or $2.00 or nothing at all that week. We are compelled to impact our secular friends with the message of Jesus Christ not just by bible but by service and being Christ-like. We are trained to always have an answer for the hope that lies within and taught how to answer skeptics and cynics with gentleness and kindness. If the reject the Word of God then the blood is not on our hands.

It's a white church and I have come to appreciate the music because it's God centered not man centered. We sing songs of worship and praise. There isn't one person entertaining us with their above average vocal (sometimes the music can rock you so good in a black church that it's almost hypnotic).

Anyway, I'm glad that you have broken free from those churches that were toxic and in error. Bless you and thanks for sharing your testimony. I think God may have us experiences these things in order to grow from them and help others overcome.

Pamela said...

These videos reveal many facets of this. You have the non-leader, the leader that knowingly takes advantage and the leader that slid into it and wants out but is afraid. It was a well rounded presentation. I'm sure the stage play is awesome. I think it would be too painful for me to watch right now. Even though it has been years I still hurt at times thinking about those years.

The pastor at the first church is teaching heresy right now. He recently gave up his church. The other pastors are still in their delusion as well. Some friends were told that others they know went to that church in recent days and was asked if they disagreed with what was going on. They told the person that they were questioning something. They told my friends that they were asked to leave the building. That was not going on when I quit attending in 2003. However I was not surprised because control and witchcraft will escalate if left unchecked.

Where I attend there are a lot of people that were almost destroyed because of religion. All the leaders were set free from some kind of religious trap. Because of that and the revelation of God's love there is a lot of grace to walk through hell with people watching them be set free from whatever. I also agree about the music. They are songs about the Lord and mostly to the Lord. Because of the teachings I heard the first year or so I was able to explain the previous 20 years of my life. I agree with Pastor Jay. There is still hurt but I can say all anger and bitterness is completely gone. The hurt I feel are for those that are still stuck and in some cases scared to tip away. The leaders where I attend can probably predict when I will run to them after a service:) It does not happen as often these days because of His spirit and His word helping me to renew my mind and pull down the mental strongholds as described in 2 Cor 10. It is really sad to me but in my entire life this is the first time that I feel like I fit with a group of Christians in a local congregation. It is not the perfect place because we are all in transformation. However the pursuit for most of them is the same, that is, spiritual maturity and transformation. The maturing will help with the sin issues. BTW I grew up in a church like the second one you described except many of them were not very loving, especially the pastor. He was so mean that even one of his grandsons said he was too mean to die. That's pretty bad when your grandchildren don't have nice things to say about a grandparent. Of course no one is that mean. He did die and answered for all the mess he did to people.

The one thing that made me begin to have mercy on the leaders was gaining an understanding of how deception paints its deceptive picture. It can happen to anyone. I watched this happen in the two churches I referred to. When I saw that for a time I was afraid because I was not sure at the time how to guarantee that I would not fall like that. One thing that brought me comfort was that the Bible says in several places that we do not have to be deceived, don't be deceived, etc. That tells me that I do not have to be deceived if I take the proper steps in my walk with the Lord. I guarantee you in every case where a minister falls the process was a very long one, one that included plenty of opportunities for them to get back on course. The Bible says in James that we are pulled away and enticed by our own lusts. The more that we are able to lay those things down through maturing in Christ the shorter the chain that satan has to yank us around with. The quicker we repent of sin the less our faith is hindered in our lives. The same goes for the hearers of the madness. However the leaders are not following us. This is where the difference comes in for me. However the issues are the same as you mentioned. Each of us is responsible for our walk with Christ. We will answer BY OURSELVES when we meet our maker on that day.

The older I get the more grateful I am to know that God's word is really His word. When we trust the word we see that it works more and more as our faith builds. We never have to be a sucker for any pulpit pimp. Knowledge and intimacy with Christ are the keys, not a church system with never-ending programs and lust-filled, money-grubbing power-seeking preachers:)

maidintheus said...

Gone should be the day where those who (on purpose or otherwise) set themselves above the Word have a following.

Incessantly preaching part of the Gospel while ignoring other parts should be rejected, too. If God is God of the church, giving to the church must be balanced with taking care of one's family so as not to be worse then an infidel.

Anonymous said...

I definitely will watch the videos but I just wanted to say that the one thing I love about my church is that people are not paid to work at the church. Therefore, all ministry is done through the members helping one another out. Our bishop has a full time job running the church-and that is in addition to his own paying full time job-and yet he receives no compensation for it. You know he is doing it because he sincerely wants to do it. That makes the church experience that much more special and gratifying. God bless you CBW and keep up the good work. We need more voices like yours.

Anonymous said...

I am so disappointed I came back to hear the videos and I couldn't. Come to think about it I couldn't hear my IMs last night either. Must be something wrong with my computer. I will be back though.

Pamela said...

blacknright, check your volume controls and see if they are muted. If you selected mute in Windows Media Player it will mute your entire computer sound. If you check the volume controls and none of them are muted you may need to get a new sound card. I do not know how old your computer is. I know the last time I got a computer the sound card was separate from your system board. Hopefully you set mute somewhere. That could fix your problem for free:)

morena said...

Very powerful video & testimony.

One of the main reasons why I left that mess. I urge true believers get into their bible & stop going to these "choyches". Go to a bible-believing, bible teaching & bible-obedient congregation.

Don't feel obligated to stay in a place where you know leadership is not lining up to God's word.

Pamela said...

morena, you are so right. The Bible clearly says the type of leaders we are to follow. They are to be examples of Christ.

We are to build our own relationship with Christ ourselves. If any leader tells you that you cannot have one without them in some form RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. The Bible says that Christ paid that horrible price so that each one of us can be reconciled with God the Father. It does NOT say that we along with our bishop, pastor, etc. At the same time we cannot blame the faults of the preachers for what we do not complete here on the earth. We can experience as much of the Lord as we want to. I'm so glad for that.