Over the years since this website was open, I have received mail about the various articles, teachings, and even prophecies posted on HarvestNET website. After five years of receiving mail and answering each and every one personally, I found I was keeping a few of them. Eventually I decided that there were a few pieces of mail back and forth that wouldl be of benefit for others to read. In most cases I have heavily deleted names and personal sharing by those who wrote. Mind you, these are only a few that I believe represents the whole, and they represent the type of responses I have gotten about each particular article I am addressing here. The vast majority of my e-mail back and forth to people is not posted here at all because these e-mails can be quite extensive and personal.
Some American Christians from the Pacific Northwest were very blessed when they accessed our very first web page, Blazing Trails, put up in 1997. Below is one those letters/testimonies:
Disclaimer: Although I have briefly met Greg Austin after his correspondence to me, posting this does not mean I know his ministry in-depth, or know or endorse his current ministry practices, prophecies, etc.Date sent: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 17:54 From: Greg Austin <GAustin@kalama.com> Subject: HarvestNET prophesies
We've not met, but I believe that Dave Bodine has been in touch with you concerning the "wagon wheel" prophecies, of which there are several, including visions of the Lord which have included the wagon wheel.
I am the recently called pastor of Lake Boren Christian Center, which is 1/3 of Seattle Revival Center in Seattle, WA. During a time of prayer, the Lord allowed me to see the wagon wheel, and an axle extending from it. I was able to see only a portion of the axle, since a thick mist prevented any further observation. I asked the Lord what was on the other end of the axle, and He said, "another wheel." At those words, the mist cleared and I saw a complete covered wagon, of the general type depicted on your "New Wine Skins" page (footnote, Greg Austin is referring to the prairie schooner graphic which has now been colored in and has always been on the Blazing Trails page).... Dave and I were very much surprised to read your New Wine Skins page. We believe that God is creating a New Pioneer spirit which will eventually re-create the very structure of the church in a more primitive, biblical-historical pattern. In May of 1996 the Lord said to me, "The current structure of the church will not accomodate what I am about to do, change it." Since then, I have been on a journey to discover and implement true, biblical government. Your article, "Living Stones" is completely parallel to the teaching the Spirit of God has given me in the last year.
....Blessings on you as you continue to assist the growing number of believers in America who are flowing into God's last-day move!
In 1996 Greg resigned his pastorate and founded the Northwest Revival Network and then Genesis 2K Current ministry e-mail at that site is: G2kemerge@aol.com See, The Emerging Church, by Greg Austin, as a "welcome" message on his site. Beginning quote from this message:
believe this: In this critical hour in earth's history, the Holy Spirit
of God is leading those "who have an ear" into a new dimension of
revelation and glory. Any return to the status quo, business-as-usual
church experience will sound the death-knell to the full desire of the
Spirit of God."
See above for introduction to this page
We received the following mail about the article, On Becoming a Team Player :
Subject: Team Play
Date sent: Mon, 1 Nov 1999
I am an MBA student at (snip). I was searching the Web for articles or other information on the topic "Turning Individuals Into Team Players" for an Organizational Behavior class when I came across your piece entitled Team Play. Your analogies are super! I believe, as do you, that Jesus is a great coach (thankfully, a patient one too, in my case).
My purpose in writing is to learn more about why you wrote this piece, and whether you've written any more...
Dear Paul (copied is my husband Bob),
Glad you enjoyed it! (http://www.harvestnet.org/teamplay.htm)
I wrote this piece after several months of frustration with a couple we were trying to work in ministry with. The 'relationship' had already disintegrated, and I did not write the piece as a round-about way of communicating, yet it was a piece written or inspired by that experience.
To be frank, we decided we had made an error in assuming that other people do know how to relate on a Christian, workable basis. The relationship in our opinion, had been marred with a sense of power struggle over communication. Rather than be willing to even discuss changes that could be made so all parties could be pleased with the dynamics of the 'team' and with the work, this couple had held it a higher importance to 'prove' that they did not have to 'play' (or work) when they didn't want to, with no explanation and with no notice. They were not committed to the goals enough to work through any relationship or communication difficulties.
We had already confronted this couple about their refusal to communicate with us in a timely fashion, and had already requested more open communication, and there was no response (silent treatment), and that signaled the end of the relationship with no available recourse for improvement.
This incident caused us to re-evaluate how quickly we should assume that others know how to relate to others on a 'team' basis. Because of our naivity, we literally wasted many months in trying to work with people who said they wanted to work with us, and then were left with real consequences to our lives and also with practical difficulties in the ministry (broken promises, etc., for which we had already asked them to let us know if they couldn't do something).
Because we were re-evaluating, I began to pray for wisdom from above (James 1:5) We decided that in order to head off these type of difficulties, perhaps we should engage ourselves in a writing or any other way to make it clear how we believe 'teams' should work. That way, no one would be surprised later and dynamics could be established more immediately, with the understanding that it is okay to negotiate toward a better working team within reasonable expectations. We thought maybe we would include Scriptures about communication, etc. Yet, we did not want to approach people from a lofty and condescending position: as if we automatically assumed they were immature and untrustworthy.
One morning I woke up, and the title "How To be A Team Player," plus the analogies and humor, were strongly on my mind. Now, I am not even a 'sports' oriented person, and was not at all thinking or attempting to work on a clever way to humourously portray it. So, I really can take no credit as though I burned the midnight oil and came up with this. Except for the trial before hand :-), it was not even hard at all. I just prayed, and was inspired one morning and sat down and wrote it out and edited it in less than an hour.
That's the true story of how this came about!
Yes, you are free to use the piece in your classes. The only thing I ask is that it be printed in full if possible or quoted, and the name of the author be on it like this:
by Teri Lee Earl c Copyright 1997 All Rights Reserved
HarvestNET ministries http://www.harvestnet.org
And, depending on your freedom or opportunity in sharing about
this piece, please feel free to tell them that the author is a
Christian and was 'inspired' to write this after prayer.
Thank you for sharing your experience in such depth. That level of detail does help one to understand exactly from "where" the piece originated! As I read through the account of your experience, I could not help but think about how my wife (name deleted) and I deal with the very same issues on an all-too-regular basis. Actually, we are not in any way involved in active ministry, beyond trying to simply live the lives that we feel God intends for us to lead. We dream, we struggle....
See TOP for introduction to this "Mail To Author" page
We received the following question about the New Wine Skins pronouncement.
On 10 Mar 00, at 11:34, "JB" (name deleted):
Thanks for sending me your observations about women ministries.
I have a question about the unstructured church. First let me give a little background.
My personal belief is that all churches that are of God have characteristics that are aligned primarily with one of the seven churches of Revelation. I'm wondering if God has given you any indication which Revelation church the unstructured church might be.
Teri Lee Earl <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: The Unstructured Church
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 11:57:33 -0500
(a sentence inserted to make it more readable)
You ask a good question and sorry it has taken me so long to answer. That's because I wasn't sure how to answer it at first and was also knee- deep in a conversation with someone else.
Restoration theology, or dispensationalism, are both ways of looking at the church as if it is developing -- some use Revelations as a way to say that the 'last days' church will be like the last church in Revelations, which is the Laodecian church. I know you are not saying that because you say each church of God would probably align with one of the churches in Revelations. I believe you are correct and this is a good way to look at it.
However, what we need to keep in mind is that these messages were given to individual churches or fellowships. This fact blows away any idea that some have that the whole Church in a time-period would be like one of these churches. Again you are not saying that, but I bring it up because the fact that these are individual churches represents something back then that we see little of today. Today, we don't see largely independent churches who loosely relate to one another and exchange news etc. only because there are people from one church visiting the other (traveling ministers). Back in the early church it only got so organized as necessary in order to have, for instance, the apostle Paul taking up collections for another church who is in famine-- to provide relief from one church to another.
Today we most often have individual churches who are in one form or another, and on various scales of a continuem, controlled by a head 'church', organization, denomination, or even a blatant cult. I have myself had the Lord tell me his pronouncement on a denomination-- although I only took it to the individual church and I did not say it was the whole denomination. This was because I was not speaking to the whole denomination or head of the denomination.
Nevertheless, the Word of the Lord was similar to what you say your friend gave-- Except it was based on the Ephesians church. I did not even give any indication that candlestick would be removed because the Lord did not tell me to say that. Furthermore, what I said to only some people, was confirmed by a PUBLIC pronouncement at a Sunday service by one of their elders, who essentially gave the same prophecy. And then another woman also gave another word the next Sunday, based on one of the other churches in Revelations (you say you are alive but you are dead). All three of us did not plan this. Nevertheless, we were all three ejected from the church in various ways-- secretly excommunicated--perhaps in a similar manner as your ministry partner, I don't know. And since then, I have found that the pronouncement and dreams of the Lord gave me upon the denomination have been verified.
The reason all the individual churches are similar and so all can share in this prophetic pronouncement or revelation, is because they are all tightly controlled from the central local. Therefore, they all end up being copy- cats of one another, and anyone who does not follow the agenda is cut off. In fact, this denomination is now suffering from many many ex- members reporting that they are essentially a cult.
Okay-- So I say all this to say the UnStructured church is not even close to a denomination. Therefore you cannot at this time state they or anyone involved in it is like a particular church in Revelations. That analogy only has a chance of fitting if like in the case of that denomination that is so controlled that it is essentially a cult, with zero freedom amongst the individual churches to vary not only in doctrine, but in spirit.
Only individual fellowships can be pronounced as like any Revelation church.
You and your friend would probably benefit greatly from a scholarly work that is now back in print. It is called, "The Pilgrim Church" by E.H. Broadbent. You find a perspective on church history and church development that is not well known, because most church history had been lost. This book is revelant to today. It is available from Amazon.
See TOP for introduction to this "Mail To Author" page
We received the following mail about the article, Living Stones
on living stones
Date sent: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 13:18:23 -0000
From: Jan Fletcher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Teri Lee Earl" <email@example.com>
(permission obtained to post-- all letters posted were unedited)
Dear Teri Lee Earl,
I happened upon the website harvestnet.org, and so appreciated the encouragement and shared spiritual insights. My husband, who is a Jewish believer in Jesus, and I, have been believers for five years. God has helped us see the need to walk away from all the disingenuousness of the established churches in our small community of central Kentucky and, on faith, step out and begin to meet together with our five children and whoever else wants to join us in a "grace-oriented" messianic fellowship, which we are calling Kadesh Barnea. We are meeting at a storefront office on Friday evenings.
After studying your article on Living Stones, intensely, I would like permission to make a handful of copies to share with the few who may come to fellowship with us so we can discuss the incredibly insightful points you make. Please let me know if this is OK.
God has spoken to me in the past two years, and, particularly so in the last year, about buildings. From my journal:
Oct. 2, 2000: Woke up on Sunday with this verse in my mind: 1 Peter 2:7 - "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." The builders are the masons. Isaiah 28:14-18. They rejected Christ as the cornerstone and put Mystery Babylon instead on the cornerstones. The Masonic cult is all about dedication of buildings. That scripture in Isaiah 28 was aimed at the rulers, the builders of projects, the ruling class. That metaphor had special meaning to a group of people who had dedicated buildings by sacrificing their children on the cornerstones. Also Matt. 21:44: "He on whom it falls will be crushed." And Matt. 24:1: "to call his attention to its buildings." Jesus said, "not one stone will be left on another."
Jan: 17, 2001: I was reading about the passage in Lamentations of God purposing to destroy the temple and I thought of the body of Jesus, broken on the cross. There was a verse in chapter 2 that talked about the gates of the city going into the ground. As lovely as that temple was it was purposed to be destroyed for the salvation of the people because God was going to raise up an eternal temple. I've been thinking about buildings: the courthouse and its 666 symbol,(Our county courthouse in Adair County, Ky actually has three wrought iron large sixes on all four sides at the very top of the building!) the freemason's symbol on our library, the 1 Cor.3:12 verse about building on a solid foundation, the first city builder-Cain, the tower of Babel, the three temples that were built - one, Herod's, an elaborate addition to Ezra's. So much of it a temptation to glory in man's accomplishments and not God's, which is why God is in the business of building living, eternal temples and why, I believe God uses so many building metaphors in the scripture. It would seem to be the one thing that dooms so many churches to stagnation: when deacons turn from care of people into care of buildings, and the ediface becomes the idol. And the spiritual strongholds of a place are centered in the dedication of buildings.
May 29, 2001: Also this verse: Micah 3:9-11 - "Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. You are BUILDING Jerusalem on a FOUNDATION of murder and corruption. You rulers govern for the bribes you can get; you priests teach God's laws only for a price; you prophets won't prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim you are depending on the Lord. 'No harm can come to us,' you say, "for the Lord is here among us."
Don't mean to take up too much of your time. One last thing, and you've probably thought of it, I'm sure. Just a few days ago, the Lord spoke one word to me: Gerizim. After some research, I found the speech from Mt. Gerizim in Judges 9 by Gideon's only surviving legitimate son about the parable of the trees wanting to appoint a tree to hold sway over them. The olive tree didn't want to give up his oil (anointing?) to hold sway over men; the fig tree didn't want to give up his fruit (the fruit of the Holy Spirit) and the vine didn't want to give up his wine that brings cheer to men (sacrificial love?). The only plant willing to hold sway was the thorn bush. This is, I believe, the first parable in the Bible, and as such, has great significance for His body.
Many heartfelt thanks for such "salted" encouragement. It preserves the soul in this age of apostasy.
"Teri Lee Earl" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Jan Fletcher <email@example.com>
Date sent: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 21:17:12 -0400
Yes of course you can print it out and pass it around. The best URL to print it out from is this one below. If you click on it, it will take you to a "no frames" version. This URL also has the entire work altogether, instead of in sections:
Living Stones was the first thing we put up on our website. One of my friends complained that it is in too small of a font. He is correct-- I should make it in a larger font for easier readibility. We did not have a printer then, and so had little idea of how it would look once printed out. There also may still be minor editing mistakes and some parts that could be rewritten better, but I just have never gone through it again. ONE DAY I will get to it again and we will probably put it in a PDF file besides. One of the many things I have on my list of things to do!
There have been others who have had the Lord show them something and then later happened upon this writing, and were astounded at how much it resonated. I am sure this is one of the reasons why the Lord led us to put it up-- to bless others. Thanks so much for writing to me and telling me how much it blessed you!
And no, I am not familiar with Gerazim and had not thought of it. I look forward to looking this up in Judges 9 and studying it. Thanks for sharing that, too!
If I can have your permission, I'd like to post your letter on our website. I can edit out of it anything you'd like me to-- last name, place you live, or even a whole section if you think it is too personal. I've had quite a bit of mail over the years for Living Stones, but your letter is neat because you speak of stepping out in faith. The URL it would be posted, would be here:
Thanks again for writing me. Some things might slow you down, but don't let anything discourage you. Keep up the good work! God is with those who are with Him.
Love in Christ, Teri
Subject: Re: Article
on living stones
Date sent: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 15:34:04 -0000
From: Jan Fletcher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Teri Lee Earl" <email@example.com>
It's fine to publish my original email to you.(This one too if you want.) I really cannot thank you enough for listening to God's Holy Spirit. Such a joy to partake in your web site offerings! Thanks for permission to study Living Stones with a few others. We are truly blessed. The Lord has opened a door for us to do weekly Bible studies at Kentucky's New $10 million maximum security youth detention center just built in our little town. We have a dozen or so young men and women attending the devotionals and I delight in seeing the power of the gospel work in their hearts. Their faces are eager, their questions to the point. I praise God for this awesome opportunity.
I am reading your article now, on Mentoring and Accountibility, and I so delighted in reading about the issue of a power struggle over control of communications, because it was so validating for me. We have experienced this exact situation first hand. The first time, when my husband worked for a major evangelical homeless shelter. He left the job over this type of power struggle. Ironically, he was public affairs director. The second time it was this past year with a local charismatic congregation. Wow!
Have you heard of Turning Point Ministries? They produce training and materials for starting small group ministry on how to recognize and overcome life-controlling problems. I went through the training in May. Several of the people depicted on their video training were overcoming religious-type life-controlling problems. The training videos gave me a "Holy Spirit" insight and freed me from a situation I had gotten into with a local pastor control-type when we launched a local ministry here to drug addicts (This ministry effort failed, but God was honored throughout the process and His testimony went forth). It was a depiction of the roles played in a dysfunctional family and a father was arguing with the "scapegoat child," while the "hero" child was silently stuffing it all, and the "lost child" tuned it out with headphones in a back room. Suddenly I realized that those same dysfunctional roles play out in a church setting, with the same power dynamics. I was able to walk away from the power struggle and feel whole and at peace. Their web site is www.turningpointministries.org
Blessings in Christ,
See TOP for introduction to this "Mail To Author" page
We received the following mail about the Fourth Dimensional Forgiveness article:
"Scott & Denise Saylors"
Subject: 4th Dimensional Forgiveness
Date sent: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 18:22:34 -0400
I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU!!!
God had been helping us through a difficult family situation and had showed us the principle of Forgiveness vs. Reconciliation. I did an internet search on the subject and was directed to your site. It "confirmed" what God had already shown us and then expanded it.
Again, THANK YOU!! And God bless!
Scott & Denise Saylors
Real Life Christian Center
Powder Springs, GA
Wed, 21 Aug 2002 22:00:41 -0600
Subject: Fourth Dimensional Forgiveness
When I saw the title of this article, two thoughts crossed my mind:
1. The pastor/mathematician, Edward Abbott of the 19th century, wrote Flatland, and urged us to explore the 4th, 5th, and 6th dimensions. Thank you for going beyond our 3 dimensions.
2. Surely, forgiveness reflects the love
of God (Eph. 3:18)
Thanks for a wonderful article.
Regarding the articles, Trouble in Prophet Land and Prophetic Mandate-- Levels Of Integrity, Truthfulness, and Responsibility please access this page.
These open rebukes of Rick Joyner and Morningstar ministries, took up a great deal of time and effort over the span of a few years. We were eventually contacted by Charisma magazine for our part, who clearly used some of our research in an April 2001 edition of their magazine. This page about our mail regarding these articles is separated from this main "mail to author" page since we got alot of mail about it over those years. We have only posted some examples of this mail, but we post it for those who are interested, because our journey is instructive and worth reading about if you care to.
See TOP for introduction to this "Mail To Author" page
Date sent: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 15:57:48 -0500
(note: some of the names mentioned edited, and author's name changed for privacy sake and length)
I am one of those people whom the Lord has called out of the I.C. It has been extremely painful and I assure you this time I will not let my life be spent in vain by getting cast out, shunned, trash, injected with demons, etc. by what I know now for absolutely sure are a network of false apostles.
I stumbled upon your page this morning on a google search for a link between freemasonry and catholicism and Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God. I briefly read a few of your articles. From what I can tell you and stuff from Eric Weiss' pages seem to be on the level. A few questions I need to pose to you are:
Amos 3:3 "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" What hath light in common with darkness I ask. Well, you post articles by Art Katz. I hadn't the foggiest who Katz was until I started to do a VERY intensive investigation of the last Church I got booted from, (snip)... The key hardcore false doctrines that (snip) is built upon are the writings of Bill Britton, "Jesus: The Pattern Son" and George Warnock, "Feast of Tabernacles", where anybody with two cells working can see Manifest Sons of God/Latter Rain heresies.
Interestingly, Warnock is still alive and "manifesting". He made his rounds through Minnesota last year as a keynote speaker at Way of The Cross church in Blaine as well as Art Katz' "Ben Israel" "ministry in Cass Lake. Warnock is a deceived heretic and can't be currently born-again because he sees the "corporate christ", the "man-child", as being the current crop of false apostles and prophets such as Joyner, Cain, Jones et al and being "the christ" that we all MUST be subodinate to or be put to death by the invincible Joel's army. That's the link to the MSOG with Katz.
The other link is best shown by Katz' participation in a telling recent event called "Wisdom 2001" which I and a couple of other brothers witnessed. Attached is the list of keynote speakers. Please note Katz' name among the others. This represents the Roman Catholic link to Katz (snipped for privacy)... Angry and wanting to expose longterm covert activities that have horrendously destroys the spiritual, emotional, familial, and financial lives of perhaps 10's of 1000's of believers, I also have attached a "buried" document which your eyes need to see. Not pleasant, but then I have had over 20 years of being trashed out by these devils, I am in declaration of my own liberty in which the REAL JESUS CHRIST has indeed set me free with HIS TRUTH.
Can two walk together except they be agreed? I think not. I choose to agree with the Lord. I'd better. I hope you do to.
"Ed" (note: name changed for confidentiality)
Date sent: Sat, 23 Jun 2001 01:50:58
Subject: Re: apostlepage
From: Teri Lee Earl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear "Ed" (note: name changed for confidentiality),
I get letters like this every once in awhile, telling me this person is connected to that, the other person is a heretic, and did I know this about that person. I'm not sure it would be productive to answer for other people or to spend all of my time accepting or weighing other people's judgment of them, or tracing down whatever accusations are given to me about them. We are not the end-all or be-all, nor do we know everything, nor do we know all their teachings, nor can we judge people as "heretic" on the basis of anyone who says they are. I leave that to the I.C.'s, who do engage in a great deal of that, which is exactly how and why they often justify throwing you and me out of them, as you say.
I may not know or read the specific teachings you refer to as "heretical"
by these men, nor know which specifics you refer to. I assure you that
none of these men are my co-workers, nor do we have an organization or
nonorganization together (we don't even live out West!), nor do we even
know or are responsible for the content of their webpages, and so I guess
I don't consider us to be "walking" together in any covenential or business
arrangments to which Amos refers to. However, I/we do the best we can as
far as connecting to specific articles that are decent, and steward the
best we can regarding those articles, and so certainly point
out anything from any article we link to if there is a problem with it! But in the mean time, we hope to write more of our own teachings, so we may be 'measured' on that more than on anyone else's.
(snip: specifics on one of the attached files regarding a group from the 70's), Just so you know and perhaps this will bring some peace: (snip: fact of open repentence of a couple of the prominent teachers mentioned therein, since the 70's).. While I'm sure we all wish they had figured it out earlier ;-) --I'm glad for them that there was realization.... I hope for those you name the same. And I'm really sorry they have hurt you so much.
Love in Christ,
My note regarding this letter and others like it: Years ago, I have taken down a teaching by someone because of a report. Their teaching/link was not necessary to the website anyhow, but nevertheless the report was well-stated, less flimsy and unverifiable, and written quite differently than the letter above. As for this letter, I am not certain why "Ed" mentioned George Warnock at all, since as I recall we have no direct links to any of his teachings on our site. "Ed" did at least mention a specific teaching(s) of Warnock's. Giving such specifics is something that I have found to be unusual in letters like this. Most letters of this nature do not give me a clue as to specifics, nor direct me to any website or publication by those they vehemently complain of. Since this writer did not reference any publications or teachings of Warnock I may never have proof or confirmation that Warnock believes what he says he does. As for Katz, I have heard from another friend (whom I consider to be reliable) that he is not supportive at all of Rick Joyner. He did participate in "Wisdom 2001," which was a multi-denominational meeting of older charismatics, reportedly held for historic purposes.
In any case, I personally find it unethical or unwise to jump to fast and hard conclusions based on very little evidence. It is difficult for me to make firm connections of like teachings and personal beliefs of one person to another based on a visit to a church or a meeting as "Ed" mentions. Sometimes we do discover facts that were previously unknown. Many of us have found ourselves leaving abusive churches, organizations, or even relationships, after we discovered what we did not know before. I myself have briefly connected with people and then discovered what I considered unethical and nonChristian behavior, which for me is clearly a sign of the false apostle or prophet regardless of how "pristine" their doctrine or teachings might seem, or how much they may seem to work for the Lord (Matt. 7:15-23). Therefore, I believe that while we should not be easily led astray, we should also extend ourselves and others a reasonable bit of grace in the matter (1 Tim. 5:22).
3 John 1:11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
See TOP for introduction to this "Mail To Author" page
"Harvest NETwork Webmaster List" <email@example.com>
Date sent: Sun, 1 Jul 2001 20:49:19 -0400
(permission obtained to post)
I'm sitting here with tears welling up in my eyes as God has confirmed and expounded on what I have sensed regarding the costs for conferences. I have been one of those who usually didn't have the money to attend these "conferences" but, praise be to God, He supplied when He wanted me to go. I was one of those who recently attended a $125 conference. I thought the price was too much but I knew the Lord was sending me. He blessed me .... blessed me indeed. I honor each of those who were a part of it. They are all annointed men and women of God. But I fully agree with you. I've sat here and read the different articles about "conferences" and saw something that was in my spirit that I had not fully "seen" with my understanding.
Funny, God's timing! Just a few weeks ago He "called me". He called me to organize a conference in my county. He told me who to invite to minister (most are very well known). I am waiting for their acceptance of the Lord's invitation. The other thing the Lord told me was this: "You are not to charge for the conferences." (snip)... I will take offerings at the conference for my ministry, the hosting church, and each one ministering at the conference. But you can also be sure that I will emphasize that people SHOULD NOT give into the offerings unless the Holy Spirit tells them to and only what HE says to give. We put ourselves in a bad place with the Lord if we do not give when God tells us to and just as bad of a place if we give when He is NOT telling us to. (snip)
I am trusting God that He is going to supply everything we need... (snip)
Please, please pray for me that I will not do anything in my own strength. That I will not take one step without His leading. That I will never rear off the course He has set before me. That I would shun "good ideas" and only use "HIS ideas."
We need to pray for these ministries that have fallen into a "mammon trap" that the enemy has set before them. There by the grace of God go any of us. We must keep ourselves from judging lest we fall into the same thing. Oh God - help our brothers and sisters to see your truth -- to only do what you say. Give them ears to hear what the Spirit is saying in this area, Lord.
Thank you for your honesty and for all the information and understanding. May the Love of the Father flow through you as you seek to sound the alarm on His Holy mountain!
"Teri Lee Earl" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date sent: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 11:56:26 -0400
Diane (copied is my husband), I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to write and what you had to say. When I started constructing that part of the website, and as that section had more and more things to say, I wondered if I was spending too much time on it and if it would help anyone.
I'll be happy to pray for you as you step out in faith. Please keep in touch and tell me how you are doing later. (snip- personal)
p.s. For your edification: I know people personally who have and do step out in faith like this and the Lord supplies. I admire their courage and obedience to Him very much. All of us have to be ready for any way He wants us to serve Him.
Date sent: Wed, 31 Dec 2003
I just finished reading "Mentoring and Accountability." I was brought to tears as I have relived the pain of this sort of relationship for the last 8 years. My question is, what can be done about this sort of thing? My "mentor" finally attempted to end my marriage and "prophesied" that I would take my own life, claiming that God had given her a dream and in the dream God told her that my husband was to leave me and take everything (including my 4 children) and then I would take my life within 2 months. For years she was free to share anything about my life with whomever she felt she wanted to. For years she accused me of having Lesbian relationships/feelings about women I would get close to and then would insist that I had to end the relationships. In the end she told me that I was never abused as a child and that I had "made-up" the abuse in my sick mind. I am very confused about this relationship. As I said it went on for 8 years. This woman called herself a counselor yet was never trained. Does any of this matter? Is she still free to do this to someone else? I just don't understand what happened here and I looked all over the Internet and came across your article. Which was very helpful in opening my eyes but I feel that nothing is being done about these people? She is done with me now and who will she go to next? I don't know if you or anyone else really can answer that question. But thank you for reading this e-mail and most of all thank you for your article.
My note: This person was personally ministered to and counseled in regards to the relationships she destroyed under the direction of her false prophetess. Last I heard, she had been able to re-establish some of those relationships and was doing well.
My husband and I once attended a Vineyard
Since then (about 1996), over the years I have privately talked to a
of people who have reported spiritual abuse from either their local
churches or a large Vineyard run 'renewal' e-mail list at the
time. Often, at first they did not know I was ex-Vineyard nor did
I know they were going
to a Vineyard at the time. However, the pattern and tactics of
abuse were specific enough for me to
recognize it as Vineyard-related. Once I asked if they were going
to a Vineyard, they would confirm, astonished I could tell. The people
I have spoken
to since have not only included 'regular' churchgoers but
also ex-Vineyard pastors, worship leaders, board members, and others
from the Vineyard
staff. Eventually, I carefully wrote a
gentle expose' in 2001 called On
Vineyard And the Renewal. This helped to cut down most of my
e-mail. However in year 2005 I received another urgent e-mail from a Vineyard
staffer who requested help. Below is one of the long
letters I wrote to this person, which I include here because
it is a 'teaching' letter. Of course, there is no clue left in the letter as
to the person's identity. Please see my final comments after the letter.
From: "Teri Lee Earl" <email@example.com>
Subject: Some facts about Paul's ministry
Date sent: Mon, 7 Mar 2005
I mentioned some scriptures written by the Apostle Paul in our last phone conversation. Really, when Jesus said we should not lord it over one another like the Gentiles, that should be enough. But in addition to that, there are many, many, other scriptures that preach against abuse of authority, or spiritual abuse, in a Christian community. In the churches where they do lord it over one another, their pick of the scriptures is selective and often misapplied. Therefore we have thousands of Americans who only know some of the scriptures but have never been introduced to others in their context.
Although you may not have been aware of it, in the last several years many people have been called to right these wrongs. The Lord did tell me directly back in 1996 that this would occur, and it has. Now there is more available on the internet than there used to be, and I've been in touch with quite a few of the developments so that's how I am able to send you some materials on the matter from either myself or other people.
I've actually had more ministry then ever once we struck out according to the Lord's instructions. Our whole family has. What I am going to share with you is from some of the of the realizations that the Lord gave me as I explored life in Him and listened to him just after I left the Vineyard.
You probably should read this along with your Bible because I'll be making references rather than quoting everything. I'll outline the facts of Paul's ministry and then provide proof.
#1 Paul thought it was foolish to put up with abusive leadership.
When most teachers preach from 1 and 2 Corinthians, they do not consider all that was said and then give an overview. The big picture was that this was an immature church, plain and simple. You'll notice if you study it, that he had to work on many 'basic' things for these Christians as far as their attitudes and practices. Their pride was evident, as well as their propensity to follow leaders and divide over them in the beginning chapters. The running themes continue about pride, and there is the problem of sin in the camp that is being winked at (should sound familiar). The cresendo though of a very important realization by Paul though, is in chapters 10-12 of 2 Corinthians. Here we find that Paul is putting the finger on the fact that there are false leaders there- false apostles, taking advantage of them.
Now, when we read Paul in these letters we must keep in mind that he is using sarcasm to the hilt. These immature Christians are puffed up and he is mocking them in many places. Apparently the false apostles boasted and lifted themselves up a whole lot while also cutting down Paul's apostleship, so he has been addressing that over and over again. (anti-Christ mention in the Gospels actually equals "replacement of 'anointed one'") Paul is clearly fed up and he is angry.
Now most quote the fact that Paul says false apostles disguise themselves
as angels of light in Chapt. 11. That's well and good but they kind of
end it there, and usually talk about what they teach. There's much more
than that. The long and the short of it are:
a) character counts (you'll see that all through the Bible too in many
b) bad leaders are manipulative and abusive in many ways and take
advantage of people in many ways
c) it is foolish to put up with it.
Usually in abusive churches or immature churches they will make much of doctrine and little of character, and they will teach the opposite of what Paul said. They will say to their hearers that they are wise and special, and they are righteous to put up with bad leadership.
This is clearly the same line that the Corinth church was given. You can tell because of how Paul 'spanked' them with his severe sarcasm by the time he gets to 2 Corinth, as he addressed the fact that they are actually listening and following these false leaders. [As a side-note though, the Holy Spirit also showed me something else while reading these epistles and that is that Paul came to this point after dealing with their immaturity very thoroughly in other ways (he also made 3 visits to the church, in between the letters). In other words I am saying that they were so ignorant about some 'basics' in Paul's mind that he spent much time educating them before he then finally got angry with them and in so many words, called them foolish] In chapter 11, verses 18-21, notice exactly the words, "take advantage of you... hit you (in some versions, slap you in the face" Then Paul launches into another set of "boasting" because he says that they are so foolish that he has to come down to their level and boast. He's already said he shouldn't have to give his own commendations (see earlier in 2 Corinth 3:1 "letters of commendation") and by Chapt. 12:11 when he mentions "super apostles" and beyond (when he talks there and earlier about how he was not a burden to them like others are monetarily, and how he chose to do that even though he had a 'right' to take money from them he did not, as an example to them) we really get the full picture of what Paul was dealing with: A bunch of prideful, boastful, false apostles who made themselves sound just 'super' and probably really did call themselves "super apostles", who cut down Paul because after all, he didn't see Jesus while Jesus was alive, etc. etc., who took money from people and/or took advantage of them in other ways, and even physically hit them (abusive)!
#2 In the beginning of Paul's ministry (and really throughout), Paul was confrontative and passionate. He debated along with others, and engaged in open confrontation over public teachings and public practices.
Lots of people like to give some hierarchy chain of command as if nothing can be done brother to brother. Not so. This is just one of the proofs. Cephas (Peter) was an elder and an established apostle in comparison to Paul. Notice that Saul, or Paul, is listed among the prophets and teachers in Acts 13:1, just before his challenge to the apostle Peter. Here we have a mere 'prophet' or mere 'teacher' at the time, challenging an apostle who was discipled by Jesus Himself---and publicly at that. This brother to brother confrontation if often thought of as an unthinkable act in many churches today.
There are examples of it in our Christian history but we don't talk about that either. For instance, prior to the Civil War, Frederick Douglas (and his band of a white woman, a white man, and another black man.. scandalous!) preached on the front steps of certain churches in the North and even stormed into their meetings or preachings, rebuking preachers in the middle of their sermons about how Northern churches taught (yes this is true) that slavery was OKAY and DESIRABLE, using scripture to do it! The Lord had me study this as He showed me that by His Spirit, things can and do get a little 'impolite' again for certain preachers. [It was actually the Christians and Christian women who were the Abolitionist movement to end slavery, inspired by Frederick Douglas. (He did not imagine or want war, and grieved over the Civil War but that was about more than slavery anyhow)]
Anyhow, although Paul did not name the false apostles the letter in 1 and 2 Corinthinans, (we don't know what he did in person, though he threatened to come do something in 2 Corinth. 13), Paul was open about controversy in front of the whole church, in regards to the Gentile/Law controversy (Galatians 2:11-21: When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong... Cross reference to Acts 15:1-2) This was while he was a 'mere' teacher or prophet, or evangelist.
#3 Paul received revelation as we know (about the Gentiles receiving the gospel, and most of the revelation is written out in Romans) but he kept it to himself for a long time, did not need to consult others because he knew it was from God, and was one of those who had no mentors and no support from those who were of like-calibre or 'above' him in 'level' if we think of it that way. (This I discovered because the Holy Spirit was comforting me over this fact in my life, or most of my life) Read Galatians 1:11- all of chapter 2
All of this contrary to what so many people are teaching and assume today. Namely, that everyone has to have the equivalent of 'letters of commendation' (or in your case, letters of DIScommendation when others were told you were "dangerous"), that everyone has to have denominational support, and worse, that no one can do anything or act on anything without approval of man. God just doesn't always operate neatly, or according to our cultural biases. He doesn't much care about the religious edicts, and as we saw in Jesus and his disciples, God will do the opposite to show that He is God and His ways are higher than anyone's.
By the way I am in no way against mentorship or accountability. There needs to be more of it. Just in the right way. Mentoring is not always official nor does such a thing have to be standardized or made into a formula or 'tradition'. We Christians do alot of it just by sharing with one another (learning from one another). The Lord also has had me unofficially help out many people, and this had included young people in a 'mentoring' capacity in various ways (besides my own children, we've 'adopted' others too for short or longer periods of time). (snipped)
I'll send some URL's now and put them under the appropriate subjects.
Final note: This person reported that the "covering" heresy is now taught in Vineyard churches. This is new (and worse as far as doctrinal problems) since I was last in a Vineyard. Therefore, I sent this person materials about "covering" teachings. Also, this person reported many dreams from God that were helpful as far as understanding and identifying spiritual abuse. It is my firm recommendation that no one stay in a fellowship or stay on staff at a church while that church is engaged in frank spiritual abuse. We need to do whatever we can to undermine and take a stand against the unBiblical heresies that are used to justify or support spiritual abuse-- heresies such as the "covering" doctrine. See the following outside article: Covering and Authority by Dr. Klaune Spake
New resource for the Vineyard : Stop The Blight
FINAL NOTE: This "Mail To Author" page is now closed. Teri Lee Earl has participated on the HarvestNet forum since its opening on Feb 1, 2006