We are taught to express in practical and outward ways our love for each other. It looks impressive and frankly, it is designed to. However, it will be gone in an hour. Every bit of it. If our pastor says so. No more greetings, smiles, hugs, phone calls, visits, babysitting, jobs, help, family ties, friendships, advice, assistance, encouragement, etc. The purpose being to shame you, break you, humble you, chasten you, purge you, discipline you, control you. You may be a loving and close member for thirty years or more, but will be blackballed in a day. No questions asked, per pastor’s orders.
But God says, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him” John 3:17.
(For other references see: 1 John 3:14-19, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 17:10)
“There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9b)
The Emperor’s New Clothes story: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type1620.html#andersen
But God says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:17-19)
(For other references see: Leviticus 19:15; Job 13:10; 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:4)
Elitism is a dangerous tactic. We have been taught that though we may not be the best church, we do offer the best chance of getting to heaven. We are told again and again that other churches teach a watered down gospel and do not require their members to do the word of God. The pastors say things like “where else can you find….” or “the average Christian believes…” In a subtle way (or maybe not so subtle), this creates a strong feeling of superiority among the members. This becomes an “us and them” attitude. As soon as someone feels superior, they become arrogant and can no longer receive from others or minister to others with a pure heart. Even more, we are now not able to hear from God for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). There is always a feeling of “I am so well taught” and “I DO the word unlike you.” We would never say this openly, but it is often in our thinking, and even more, has become part of who we are. Superiority creates a wall between us and others. We may be looking down on others with almost a haughty attitude. But scripture tells us “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3.
This superiority is a divisive spirit that affects all we believe and “justifies” our ungodly response to the body of Christ. This same spirit extends to the division of friends, family, marriages, or anyone who does not measure up to our “superior” walk with the Lord. And of course the outcome is we will never want to leave Calvary Temple because, after all, there are no other good churches out there. (i.e., just like ours). We will not even attend another church when out of town. But suppose God wants to send you out to serve Him elsewhere? 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
This elitism is sin, poison, and an abomination in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Those who control the information are usually in control of the people. In Calvary Temple, we are encouraged to only read Pastor Scott’s books, (or listen to his teachings), or read the books in the bookstore that have been “pre-approved” by leadership. Pastor Ron did a teaching many years ago in which he stated that we should only be studying Pastor Scott’s teachings in our own personal devotions. He said that God is leading him and we should follow that leading, therefore, we should concentrate on those scriptures and teachings. In other words, God speaks to the pastor, not us. And yet the Bible clearly shows that it is Scripture that speaks to us: “but when He, the spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13.
“If you leave here, you will fall away.” Everyone that turns down a promotion to move to another city, or turns down an opportunity to go on the mission field outside of Calvary Temple, or does not pursue a possible mate’s life outside of Calvary Temple, or any other opportunity, does so out of fear of losing their salvation. In addition, we have been told over and over again that other churches are not quite as good as Calvary and therefore, remaining at Calvary Temple will give you the best chance to get to heaven.
If you now believe that God might want to use you in another place, you are afraid to leave knowing that you can never find another church like Calvary Temple. But scripture says “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” John 10:28. Just because you leave Calvary Temple does not mean that you will be immediately plucked from God’s hand and fall into the abyss of sin that is often associated with “the outside”.
(For other Scripture references refuting this tactic see 1 John 2:25-27)
A very effective tactic in Calvary Temple is “fear based marriage“. I say fear based because parents are convinced that allowing children to marry someone outside of Calvary Temple is dangerous. According to our leadership, children should only marry those that have been in the congregation for an extended period of time so that leadership can know them, judge them and approve them. If they approve, then the children can marry. However, we can all think of exceptions to this rule, the times when someone has been at Calvary Temple just a short time and marries a member in record time. These marriages within families have the effect of keeping families locked together, making it so much harder for people to leave and attend another church.
If a young adult (or adult for that matter) meets another Christian at their work place or neighborhood and wishes to pursue a relationship, it is completely discouraged. This keeps everyone from hearing from God personally and from ever leaving Calvary Temple. However, Scripture instructs us concerning marriage: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). God does not say we must only marry within our local fellowship, He says we are to marry a believer.