This simple forum was created to provide a place of OPEN DIALOGUE for the recovery of Sound Doctrine.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Welcome to Freedom

“It’s not just about an opposing theology, or conflicting viewpoint on Jesus –This is about YOUR LIFE!”

For those who are new…
If you are someone who has dealt with the effects of a Spiritually Abusive "church", ran by hyper-authoritarian leaders --you have found the right place!  By identifying with others in the same process, you have taken the first step toward a healthy journey of moving forward.  Take a minute to Thank God that He has opened your eyes and KNOW that God can restore the years, the disappointment, and the TRUST.  For this is my personal testimony... and that of countless others who have since contributed to this site. 

As you will see throughout the comments, many are experiencing freedom from years of “heavy-handed shepherding” and are beginning to taste the fullness of a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Like never before, there is such a need to restore SOUND Biblical Doctrine and God-Fearing leadership to the Church.  The days of the sensationalist charismatic “One Man Show” are over… for these leaders have usurped the role of Christ for far too long, setting themselves up as our “spiritual covering” and fleecing the Body of Christ by manipulative “seed-giving” doctrines to receive the Word of God.  They are nothing more than peddlers of the Gospel… hijacking the message of the Cross for their own personal gain.  Walking around as if they are "untouchable", much less accountable to those they have been entrusted to care for.  A far cry short of bearing the fruit of a True Shepherd, as modeled by our Lord and Savior –Jesus Christ. 

A little history on us…
About 9 mos. ago, we created this blog for the sole purpose of providing scripturally-based articles and dialogue to graciously support and encourage those who were subjected to the same Spiritual Abuse, as fellow members of a local church in Toledo, OH.  Many have left at various times over the years, but each have found themselves on the same path of processing the years spent in an unhealthy church structure, subjected to what became an abuse of power by the arrogance of a narcissistic leadership.  This atmosphere combined with years of covering up unscriptural behaviors, that increasingly became known to members as more of a lifestyle, contributed to the shipwreck of what God intended for this once vibrant ministry.  As members were able to wake up to these truths, they began to transition forward and so there became a need to dialogue with others in the same process.  In doing so, many have come to realize that their stories are quite the same:  It's not "just me"... And began the courageous journey of sorting through the teachings that were slowly fed to them over the years --learning to take the "good", while leaving the rest behind they have found LIFE after Cornerstone and that more abundantly! 

For those who have been following us…
Thanks again for sharing your testimonies!  As we said in the previous article, we have accomplished what God sent us to say in regard to identifying the characteristics of Spiritual Abuse and how to become free from it.
Please continue to check back from time to time... for further updates.  

Where to begin on the Blog?
We realize there are several articles and comments to sort through.  We wrote them to coincide with your journey, from beginning to end….they are listed in chronological order on the right side of the home page. 

Depending where you are in the process,  I recommend you start by reading these particular articles first:  

"It's Just Me" -Life after a Toledo Pitt Stop

Signs of a Spiritually Abusive Church

Walking away from a Spiritually Abusive Church

Characteristics of a Pastor

Coming out of Egypt -A Testimony of Transition

LIFE after the Stone is Rolled Away -Recovering your identity in transition
JESUS -The True Cornerstone

Friends, this is only the beginning of a great journey of FREEDOM 
that has been waiting for you... you'll see!

Thanks again for visiting! May God continue to bless you and strengthen your relationship with HIM, as you move forward in this new day! Keep trusting the Father... for without fail, He WILL make all things new!

-Speaking Truth in Love

Sunday, June 12, 2011

“The BEST is YET to come!”

Have we not heard this a thousand times or more?  If I had a dollar for every time I “turned to my neighbor” and said…. I’d be… well you know the rest.  We’ve seen everything from TV Preachers exposed on the 6 o’clock news to prayer lines longer than a football field.  We’ve never been MORE aware of the Nations, yet so oblivious to the silent struggles of those within our own walls.  We have never been more "informed" and pro$perous and yet lacking at the same time.  And these are the days of our lives in the ups and downs of our Charismatic “mega-church” experience.   

But “Why?” you might ask.  I know God brought me there and then out, so what exactly was all of “that” for?

Without revisiting previous articles written, allow me to simply exhort you with I Kings 19:13-18

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israelall whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Clearly the above scripture reveals God’s plans “within a plan”:

For throughout history, God always has a REMNANT… does he not? A group that refuses to bow a knee to the “Baal” of their day, nor allow themselves to simply ignore the ungodly practices and teachings that have crept into the lives of those within the camp. Remember, Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. The practice of Baal worship infiltrated Jewish religious life during the time of the Judges, became widespread in Israel during the reign of Ahab, and also affected Judah. The Bible tells us to “come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”

What’s more, REMNANT PEOPLE are those who have the ability to sense when yesterday has passed, yet wise enough to glean from it as they move toward tomorrow.

"Come out come out, where ever you are..." 

To get right to the point, this is a time of REPOSITIONING in the Body of Christ.  For those who have an ear to hear... You can no longer knowingly afford to remain hidden in the "Cave" of your Comfort, convincing yourself  “there is nowhere else to go" and so I shall remain here instead.  Elijah went on to say to the people in I Kings 18:21 "How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow him."  It is in trusting the Lord and not your own understanding, that you WILL find the courage to face the unknown that awaits you.  Until then, cave dwellers have nothing else to look at BUT the way out.... as the KEYS are already in the door.  Just find your strength and Peace will sustain you every step of the way.  Deliverance comes when we can march forward without having all of our questions answered at the same time. 

And to those who have already left...
He brought you there for a purpose and when that purpose was fulfilled, it became time to move on.  But NOT to permanently remain sheltered in "Caves" of Obscurity, but to REPOSITION you to be apart of what He is doing in your today.  He draws you out, to bring you back in.  So be encouraged, this shaking is due to the "changing of the guards" that is taking place right in front of you!  And PREPARATION is always needed in the meantime... the "wilderness" of transition is for your good, but it was never intended to be permanent.  Remember, Saul may have continued to hold the crown for a minute, but David had the anointing.  It would just be a matter of time before Saul became more obsessed with protecting his position, than he was with his duties as a servant of the Lord.  David ultimately became king because Saul began to believe he could live anyway he wanted; he believed he had indemnity because of his title.  He forgot the value of the priceless anointing that did not belong to him indefinitely, but was given to him for a greater purpose.  May we learn never to take for granted the precious Anointing or misuse our influence for our own purposes.
And so we all know that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  But the KEY is discerning when a season has fulfilled its purpose and obeying when the Holy Spirit begins prompting you toward something new.  At the end of the day, yes I absolutely KNOW and STILL BELIEVE... The best IS yet to come!  You just have to come out of your "CAVE" in order to embrace it!      

With that being said, this concludes what God sent me to tell you.  I feel that through all of our articles and comments, Life after Cornerstone has fulfilled its purpose in saying what needed to be said.  And to those who are in the process of leaving a Spiritually Abusive church, you will get through this.  It will hit you in waves as you begin to come to terms with the reality of the situation… but you will be better for it.  You’ll have a lot of “connecting the dots” and “ahhh” moments that will help you make sense of things, yet pierce your heart in the process.  Therefore, allow me to recommend you read our articles from beginning to end.  We wrote them to coincide with your journey of transition, depending on where you are in the process of moving forward.  It still amazes me how things get clearer, the further you become separated from it….  

I also want to take the time to personally thank each and every one of you who have contributed scriptural insight and words of encouragement over the last 9 months.  I know there was a lot of temptation to go on various "bunny trails", so thank you for understanding the importance of keeping the focus on the purpose of the blog.  And a special thanks to those who were willing to put themselves out there by sharing their name.  I thank all of you for taking the time to reach back in love to your brothers and sisters in Christ! 

On a personal note, many have asked me if it was hard to write this blog.  Yes and No.  At times, it is still sad to think of what has become of all that could have beenAnd even though your spirit no longer bears witness with those God once entrusted to watch over you, the heart doesn't stop loving them any less in the process.  Like David, who would have thought?  Certainly we would have never chosen to be put in this place and yet here we are.  Nevertheless, I refuse to minimize all that God did for me through my years at the former ministry of Cornerstone.  Some may agree or disagree with that statement, and certainly I cannot speak for everyone.  Remember, Cornerstone meant different things to different people... for different reasons.  And I will forever remember the faces of those I prayed with, believed with, and journeyed with for many years of my life.  This “circle” includes Michael Pitts and I am thankful for the person I became, just as I am thankful for the person I have become in the process thereafter.  I suppose it boils down to this... there came a fork in the road, and I took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference.  I will keep my Lessons Learned in my right pocket and follow this path, wherever He leads me.    

With that being said, “With the Word and the Spirit, Our Best is Yet to Come”…. Believe that.  Take the prophesies you have received and NEVER let go!  Forgive and then Trust again.  And when the time comes, don't be afraid to come out of your cave, REPOSITIONING is a sign of greater things to come - God will prove himself to you just as he did Elijah!  

Friends, THE BEST YEARS are really right ahead of us… 
waiting for us to embrace them.

-Speaking Truth in Love

Friday, May 6, 2011

"O BROTHER, where art thou?"

After discussing the larger scale “problems” that have eroded the power and witness of our modern-day Charismatic churches, I thought it would be appropriate to begin dialoguing and provoking thoughts on SOLUTIONS.  As I am sure many of you have already been spending time on the very subject.  I would love to hear your thoughts as well. 
The Church... ONE Body of the redeemed in Christ,
assembled throughout the world, testified in countless voices.
 As powerful and glorious as it all sounds (and it is), yet finding UNITY within this supernatural body of people has increasingly become such a difficult piece of the puzzle.  Why?  We know that other religions have various “branches” of the same faith, but shouldn’t more be expected from those who are sealed and filled with the very Spirit of the Living God?  If we have the power to lay hands on the sick and cast out devils, surely it should be a “piece of cake” for modern day Christians to simply unify… to come together as one voice, right??  Well, I think we all know the answer to that one... history answers this question with a resounding no.  In fact it seems the further we are from our humble roots, the further we get away from UNITY -even with modern day technology at our side.  But should this really be the case?

Before we go any further, allow me to preface:  
In no way is this article meant to diminish or dilute in anyway what the Church has accomplished over the years.. for many lives have been changed and transformed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Overall, I believe that the Church has certainly progressed, but unity within the Body has remained stagnant at best.  Some would even argue that it has increasingly declined.  So what’s the problem?  We have bigger buildings, more programs, nicer platforms, but no more UNITY than the local VFW!  Lots of talk about “moving forward”, but really going no where as far as making a lasting impact on the culture of a generation OUTSIDE the church walls.  In fact, it even seems at times that the very “idea of unity” itself is nothing more than a desert mirage, being chased by the young minds of every passing generation.   

But should this "news flash" really come as a surprise? 
If you keep pushing the same button, how are you going to expect a different result?  Or rather if you keep pushing the wrong button, how do you expect to produce the right result?  
A majority of our problem in the Body of Christ is that most leaders are more committed to their PET DOCTRINES and CULTURAL TRADITIONS than they are to the overall spiritual condition of the Church!  Not to mention those who have gotten "lost" seeking after that first "high" they hit on the pipe of Charismania Stardom...  How do you go from preaching against the religious practices of Catholicism, to dressing just like them?  Does your “title”, "collar" and "ring"... make you more holy?  Perhaps producing "material appearances" of spiritual fruit is easier than producing transformed hearts.  "O BROTHER, where art thou?" 
Today's average believer will typically find themselves following one or the other:
Leadership A)
Believes unity in the Body of Christ simply cannot be accomplished until Jesus returns.
Leadership B)
Decrees it will be accomplished as we progressively “take dominion” over the systems of the world… delivering the Kingdom to Christ when he returns. 
I am firmly persuaded that NONE of the above are correct.    

Imagine the Church as a Building:
Christ laying the foundation as the Cornerstone and the Apostles beginning with the Acts of the New Testament building upon that and so on and so forth until today.  If each generation does not effectively finish their portion of the "wall", the next generation will have to pick up where they left off.  Not to mention those who have erected a faulty wall and left it behind as an inheritance for their children to correct.  God forbid we continue to wander in the same section of the wilderness for 40 years!!  How frustrating is it to be stuck and "indefinitely stopped" on the job with no movement and no power in solving the source for the delay?!  Could it be the problem lies with the LABORERS?? and possibly their ability to COMMUNICATE the same "MESSAGE"... hmmm... Tower of Babel anyone?  What is it that we are REALLY trying to build here?? 

 Those who SEE the spiritual condition of the walls of the Church and are moved enough to DO something about it...

I submit to you that Unity is possible, but it will never manifest in a "Tower" of our own fleshly agendas.  And certainly NOT when all groups come together under the guise of fleshly leadership, seed-faith prosperity gospel, revival, or any other latest fade “movements”.  In fact why would God want to “revive” anything that is not working??

Matt. 9: 37, 38 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to SEND OUT workers INTO his harvest field [world].”

"O BROTHER, where art thou?"

My question is:  Does a field of harvest, harvest itself?  Why then do the majority of churches WAIT for the lost to find their way into the building??  This “button” is not working.  Worse yet, some of us workers continue to passively sit in churches that we KNOW are filled with unrepented sin and fleshly agendas.  Can such FRUIT produce an atmosphere of holiness and truth that would even be able to SUSTAIN new believers?  If leadership is still bound to sexual sin and addiction themselves, how then are they able to free anyone else?  Not to mention, how quickly  new members are ordered to stand in the line of obedience and submission to the "spiritual covering" of a Man.  And we all know if you are without THEIR covering, "they are vessels without lids, bastards, unclean..."  Really?  No wonder the world doesn't take our message serious, we "sound" JUST like them.  Does our "Good News" really have the power to change or not? 

Church... it's PAST TIME to wake up and get BACK to the authentic message of the Cross.  THE HARVEST IS READY AND WAITING!  In fact the Church needs to stop saying "we are waiting on God for a move" –HE IS WAITING UPON US.

John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone [believers]. I pray also for those who will believe in me through THEIR MESSAGE,  that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are oneI in them and you in me— so that they may be brought to complete UNITY. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."    

We clearly see in the above scripture that  UNITY  is found when:
Our Core Message becomes UNIFIED.  Notice I did not say when our "cultural or denominational differences" become the same or "one".  But rather UNITY in the Body comes when we keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the HEARTBEAT of our cause.  THIS MISSION should be the driving force behind all that we do... our main purpose for assembling every week.  This will also safeguard us from placing too much emphasis on teachings that should remain in the "backseat" instead of front and center.

If we veer away from the Message of the Cross and the Power of the Resurrection, how will the world know that OUR MESSAGE is The ONLY Way?  Are we of the same GLORY as the Father gave the Son??  Are we of their UNITY in Purpose, Mind, and View??  Has such LOVE persuaded us to forsake all and pick up our cross?  Are we truly BUILDING THE BODY for ministry and MAKING DISCIPLES?? 

We repackage prosperity, redemption, grace, justification, sanctification, and atonement to the point that there is no distinct difference between our “message” and that of the "world." 

It seems to me that the modern-day American Church (at large) is increasingly emphasizing everything BUT the message of the Gospel.  Simply throwing the name "Jesus" on at the end of a sermon, doesn't fil the bill.  Almost like an after thought... Oh, here's a bone, come forward and give Jesus a try, He came to calm the storms and make it your best life now!  Then you've got the sensationalist gospel stars in the other corner... Be sure to sow that $eed covenant partners, you must "release" it in order to receive "this word".  Money, cometh!  Lord help us!  There is so much emphasis on everything else... no wonder the world is confused!  How can an unbeliever even distinguish what Our Message is, when there's 10 different "voices" pushing 10 different agendas?  Not to mention taking the confusion to a whole new level, by broadcasting it to the world as "Christian TV"... need I say more?  

There is NO distinct UNITY in our Churches, because we have lost
PASSION in UNIFYING for the heartbeat of our Cause.     

My brothers and sisters, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye.  Do you not perceive the spiritual condition of our generation?  Do you not notice the hour is getting later and later??  Are you too busy waiting for YOUR next breakthrough to notice that even our own are anemic and sick from a poor spiritual diet??  We must once again carry a “Nehemiah Burden” for the spiritual condition of the walls of the church.  What has become of our message?  Our pulpits must once again be filled with an aguish of burden for the lost and preaching the Gospel at any cost.  Let us return to building upon our FOUNDATION.  Is there not a cause?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Heartbreak Warfare

Article By: Leroy " The Guitar Player"

Experiencing hurt while proclaiming what's right according to the Word of God... is what I have termed “Heartbreak Warfare.” 

This psychological emotion is experienced when you speak the truth in love, in efforts to break a downward spiral or to avoid a fall altogether. Speaking the truth in love does not mean your words will be accepted, valued or appreciated, and this causes the heart break. Proclaiming truth, the gospel and the principles of the Word of God is where the warfare begins. This is warfare because any principality, power or spiritual wickedness in high places will be vehemently opposed to the proclamation of truth.

The Bible says in Eph 6:10-18
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..” KJV

(The portion of Scripture in bold print is the basis for my conviction.)

Caring for the prosperity of people is a major motivating force which causes me to speak.  I certainly have no ax to grind, I am not disgruntled because “I did not get my way” and I speak not to besmirch the reputation of anyone. The truth is what I love and the truth is what loves me.

Verse 12 of Ephesians 6 is where the warfare opposition resides, because it is the principalities, the powers, the rulers of darkness of this world and the spiritual wickedness in high places which determines what the man (who has submitted himself to these forces) may say and do.  For this reason, I am not at odds with flesh and blood, neither is it my battle, I simply proclaim that which the Bible says, all while having no agenda and desiring no reward from any man. It is guaranteed that the truth will be victorious, so I have determined to be on the winning side.

Heartbreak Warfare is not for everyone but without it, the numbers of people who are victimized would be greater and the duration of oppression longer.

To my brothers and sisters who remain at Cornerstone and to anyone who finds themselves in the midst of spiritual abuse, Heartbreak Warfare involves asking questions. If you refrained from asking questions because you don't want to be mischaracterized as being a complainer or if you’ve convinced yourself to remain silent by saying “I won't complain”, you are actually saying I will suffer quietly and it is at that point the spiritual abuse continues.  And although the Word of God is ready to work for you, it will have been made null and void in your life. Why?  Because 100% of the levels you experience in God are directly related to your obedience to him.

There is no aspect of our lives which does not involve asking questions, why would a church be any different? As a child the first question we all ask our parents is why? Our adolescent years the question was how come…? And in our teen years most of the questions sought permission to explore…can I? Why then as an adult, would the ability to question leadership be removed altogether?, in a word CAPTIVITY.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Life after Cornerstone...

The Open Road after the
"One Man Show"

After coming to the “Heart of the Matter” over the last 6 mos., I hope you have been blessed and encouraged in your journey forward.  As I’ve said before, it’s “AS you move forward” that the Holy Spirit brings clarity and purpose to your season of transition.  And now the time has come for us to bring you to the final chapter… what I’m about to share with you IS the sobering truth behind Cornerstone.  It’s what all former members discover after leaving.  It’s the “Crux of the Matter”… that answers the question of What’s Next?”

With almost 7 billion people living on the planet, what is the value of… ONE LIFE?  How much is ONE PURPOSE worth?  The answer of course depends upon who you are asking.  To that ONE PERSON… the answer would be INVALUABLE.  And so to each man is given ONE life.  We must enjoy it, value it… because “this IS it”.  For the years of a man’s life are like grains of sand.  They pass through your fingers ever so quickly, no matter how hard you try to hold on.       

Acts 17: 26, 27 --“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and HE DETERMINED THE TIMES SET FOR THEM and the EXACT PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULD LIVE. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
What a powerful scripture that testifies to the brilliant plan of predetermining the “set times and places” of every man that is to step foot on the planet.  As believers in Christ, we know that each person is born with a divine purpose --a REASON for living in the “time” and “place” they were born into “for such a time as this”.  And with every life is also appointed a number of years in which to carry those purposes out.  To everything there is a season, and a TIME to every purpose under the heaven…

Along with PURPOSE and TIME, each man is also endowed with ABILITY -spiritual and natural GIFTS that were intended to be used to bring glory to God in the Earth.  The greatest demonstration of a person fulfilling their purpose is given to us in John 17:4 --I have brought you glory on Earth by completing the work you have given me to do.”  

I believe all of us would agree to this
As Christians, we have a personal responsibility to fulfill the Call of God upon our lives.  Each of us will stand before God and give an account for what we did with the TIME & TALENT we were given.  No one will be standing with you on that day.  Not your Pastor, your Parents, nor your Peers. 

Allow me to get right to the point.  As much as I hate to disappoint the critics, this is not going to be a final “explosive article” aimed to “blast” everyone away by finally revealing all the shocking “inside” information that we have.  Nor will this article be for the purpose of revealing the future “outcome” of the whole situation.  The truth of the matter is… the future “outcome” is fully realized by EVERYONE after they leave.  The “truth of the outcome” was there all the time… but often ignored, put off, or set aside.  And THAT TRUTH will do you far more “good” than the discovery of anything else.  What am I saying? 

Here is the CRUX: 
Contrary to sharia law of Cornerstone, Michael Pitts was never the Gatekeeper of your Calling.  Nor was he responsible for the fulfillment thereof.  But at some point, we bought into that system of thinking through very persuasive indoctrination.  We were apart of what became a cult in part, by the false teachings that stemmed mainly out of the "Shepherding Movement”. 
In a nut shell --we were taught that God calls us to serve a particular Pastor, where we are to submit to him indefinitely by coming into a “covenant relationship” and in return…. we are provided Spiritual “Covering” under the umbrella of his network.  It is through our submission to the “Bishop”, that we ultimately go on to fulfill our Calling, our Purpose.  And so it goes... one could never leave their “Covering” unless of course the anointing of "Proper Protocol” is followed -aka- “They release you”.  For all intents and purposes, we were REQUIRED to give the “Set Man” of the house…. complete and total submission without questionReminds me of the song “Hotel California” --you can “check out” anytime you like, but you can NEVER LEAVE…