New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry


NYC Northern New Jersey Open Forum

March 12, 2003


(An editorial by Timothy Greeson. Side notes appear in [ ])

The North New Jersey Sector of the NYC church held an open forum last night (March 12) to discuss what has been occurring in the church. Some came all the way from the West Sector. All came in anticipation of hearing the elders speak and getting their questions answered. Many had obtained baby sitters in order to attend.

Upon arriving they were dismayed to find out that only Sherwin Mackintosh and his wife had come to speak for the Elders. It seems that the other two Elders had somehow been "double booked" and were speaking at a forum in the Metro Sector. It came to light that Tommy Beene received a call from the Elders explaining the conflict. So Tommy made a decision to have Sherwin attend so that things could at least "get started".

People were clearly upset by the fact that Tommy thought it all right to speak for the entire sector and the fact that there had not been any announcements explaining this. People had made special arrangements in order to attend and had been disappointed. It appears that the members are continuing to be let down by those in leadership roles.

Sherwin got up and gave the same speech pretty much that he and the other elders have been giving throughout the church in NYC. He read from a list of points which the church (meaning the leadership) had been guilty of. This included:

- practicing un-Biblical doctrine
- un-Biblical practice of discipling "discipling Tree"
- the "studies" are to be a guide, no longer expected to use them
- the Kingdom study is un-Biblical
- Dating relationships had been controlled
- Advice is not a command
- OTC is un-Biblical

He spoke as well about how "ineffective" [not a strong enough word to suit me] the Elders had been in dealing with the Evangelists. [One of the other Elders had stated at a midweek service I attended in Manhattan that the role of Elder had been "a joke" in this church.] Sherwin explained that Elders had been told that if they didn't get behind the Evangelist they could go to another sector or be terminated. He professed to being a coward all this many years and not standing up or speaking out for what he knew to be true.

[In other words, he put his own needs and comfort above those who he had been entrusted to over see and protect. He sat idle, in comfort, while hundreds and hundreds of members struggled over the years against the oppressive, cruel, and at time tyrannical treatment. He, and the other elders, sat idle in their comfortable lifestyles watching members succumb to the psychological brutality of a regime which grew stronger with every minute of their silence. They watched from the security of their jobs and the comfort of their homes as the flickering faith of so many was shaken or expunged. They regarded their pay checks of more value than the spiritual well being of those in their care. Manna and job security meant more than did the eternal security of their "brothers" and "sisters".]

According to one member attending,

"Some of the women had comments, the strongest being from a married sister who said right from the start that it was 'disrespectful' of the leaders to not bring the full contingent of Elders for the evening.

That comment definitely sent a spike through the eye of Sherwin Mackintosh...he clenched his jaw and said he did not permit women to speak in the assembly. And he didn't. He wouldn't take questions from the women. He said it was his personal conviction and he would not address nor look at the women who had their hands raised. So where did that leave the single women and single mothers? One of the men asked, but Sherwin did not address the question."

Another member attending described it this way:

"Last night was a fiasco, an embarrassment, horribly disappointing, and a complete waste of time. It was shameful, humiliating to the women especially, and downright insulting to the intelligence of everyone present.

I'm just sick of the whole mess. BUT not remotely ready to give up or be silenced.

The symptoms of the disease in the church are being quasi-addressed: no more discipling hierarchy, elder's role restored (but this is not even remotely possible until we get real shepherds in place, shepherds after God's own heart), the WML title gone, no more compulsory giving, etc, etc... But all of that along with the rest of the "system" is NOT THE BOTTOM LINE PROBLEM!!!! These are simply symptoms...symptoms of a church that is dying because it's been cut off from Christ. The heart of Jesus has been lost, or ignored, or thrown out....I don't know what has become of his heart but it is GONE from most, if not all of the leaders of this church! That is the problem as I see it. We can "deconstruct" the system until we're blue in the face and sitting in the dust ...but if we don't find Jesus' heart, we are still dying. We have got to find Jesus.

Jesus....the man who had his mind changed by a woman considered less than a dog (The Syro-Phoenician woman)

Jesus...who let a sinful woman cry on his feet and kiss them and wipe them with her hair

Jesus...whose ONLY anger ever was directed at legalistic Pharisees and the "system" they created
Jesus...who wept with the people who hurt -- the harassed, helpless, and suffering

Jesus...who touched the lepers and hugged the children

Jesus....who washed the feet of his betrayer

Jesus...who noticed the little man, Zaccheus, called him down from the tree he sat in, went to his home for lunch, and changed his life

Jesus...who laid down his life every day of his life, and finally literally and willingly on the cross, where even there in his agony he listened to and loved the two undeserving thieves hanging on crosses next to him

Jesus...who had no place to lay his head
Can we please find this Jesus again?????"


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