Monday, 9 December 2013

Bruce D Hales, you've got mail !

Letter to BDH from Lindy Simmons “Lindy’s List”

This letter was written to BDH in 2008 and voices Lindy’s concerns about the course of the EB, now called Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and run by Bruce Hales.
Lindy Simmons – Summary Letter 21 August 2008
The aim of this letter is to summarise my questions and issues about the E.B. It is an appeal for increased understanding and answers in regard to these things.
Obviously, I will have to go over them in greater detail before my current thinking could be changed, if I was to be thoroughly settled and convinced about them.
Where I am currently at is that I have such questions and issues about foundational EB beliefs, principles and practises that I feel I can no longer belong to the EB church.
However if they can be answered, their reason for existence explained, or if I become convinced some other way that before God I must remain an EB, then I may do so, as I believe the Word of God is law and obedience to Him is highest priority.
Brief summary of my questions/issues about the Exclusive Brethren:
• I don’t understand or agree with the EB application of ‘separation from evil’. I don’t understand why we must be so extreme in our separation, especially
 Why do we separate so totally from other believers?
 Why do we separate ourselves so totally that we restrict our capacity to evangelise/do outreach to unbelievers? Or even just to get more involved with ‘doing good’?
 Why do we separate from ‘out’ family members to the point it is like a death and its a complete cold severance? (Especially how can this be Scripturally justified when they are not wicked and haven’t given up the faith?)
 Why can’t we belong to associations/memberships etc?
 I don’t understand the EB application and interpretation of 2 Timothy 2.
• I don’t understand the EB teaching that they are the ‘one divinely accredited position’ or the ‘best position’.
 I don’t know what the ‘light of the assembly is’ and cannot see that we have a more special position or more special light than some other assemblies I have come across.
 I don’t understand the teaching that the EB will have some special part in the ‘end times’ – or that they are the only ones who are Christ’s Bride, or that they can claim to be holding some special ground.
 I don’t understand the ‘we are exclusive’ or ‘special’ mindset.
 I don’t understand the teaching that the EB assembly as a whole will one day be perfect and sinless while still on earth.
• I don’t understand the concept of one elect vessel, one man who leads the entire assembly.
 I don’t understand how his one ministry is all that we should follow.
 I don’t understand why he can be called ‘Paul of our day’, I struggle to believe every word that comes out of his mouth is from heaven, I struggle to believe he is infallible and that he is God’s only representative here on earth.
 He does a lot of good, yet I still see far too many people totally out of his reach and falling through the gaps. It is impossible for one man however great to adequately serve a flock as big as the EB. There is something wrong with this system.
 I don’t understand the teaching about how any human can reach a sinless state, such as is claimed about the ‘great men.’
 How can it be right that the ‘great men’ and their ministries are quoted and spoken of far more in the EB meetings than Jesus or the Bible is?
• I don’t understand why the EB do not support or do any missionary work.
 I don’t understand why the only form of evangelising/outreach is the street preaching.
 I don’t understand why we don’t advocate Jesus, and the EB position, far more to ‘all men’ or do more to ‘put our light on a hill’.
• I don’t understand why the EB cannot have jobs other than working for EB businesses. Especially why not service-type jobs (eg. fire-fighter, nurse) and jobs that are essentially doing humankind (and therefore God) good.
• I don’t understand how the teaching in regard to the Lord’s Supper can be right – that the Lord only attends the EB communion. I’m struggling to understand the teaching about our social boundaries being set by those with who we have the EB Lords Supper.
• Other things that I cant understand – again, that I cannot see the moral or logical reason for:
 I don’t understand why there is this extremely strong and yet unable-to-be-pinned-down concept among the EB that it is forbidden and immoral to marry anyone who is your 5th cousin or 4th cousin.
 I don’t understand why there is also this extremely strong concept that marriage between persons who have different skin-colouring is forbidden and immoral.
 Why we cannot donate blood or organs
 Why we do not vote
 Why we cannot adopt or foster children
 Why if I have a non-Statcom phone, camera or computer I am immoral.
 Why we cannot have pets
Perhaps it will help you to understand also, if I describe to you a little of what I have found in ‘Christendom’ out there in comparison to the EB.
o Far better system of care for all ages, stages and needs:
 Pre-school care, Bible/Christian teaching and provision for help.
 Primary age kid Bible/Christian teaching and provision for help.
 Far better teen Bible/Christian teaching and provision for help.
 Far better Bible/Christian resource, help and care available for adults incl:
• For pre-marital help
• For young couples
• For marriage counselling
• For husbands,
• For wives,
• For at work,
• For at home,
• For fatherhood, motherhood – parenting
• Right through to far better care etc. for the elderly.
 There is much, much more resource available for young people/adults to help them in the Christian path. There are Bible study courses, groups, teaching and extensive work/resource there to ground, set forward and help Christians. Why is not available amongst us?
 There are people readily available whom the flock know they can turn to for help and advice – people who are trained counsellors and mentors whom anyone can turn to. This sort of person is seriously lacking among the EB.
 There are women, available to help women in many ways – priestly, spiritual, emotional, practical etc. This is nonexistent in the EB too.
 There is support and help ready for almost any type of mental/emotional trouble, either through their own counsellors and flock members, or if that’s not enough, then there are links in place to others who can help. For example;
• Marriage help
• Alcohol/drug abuse
• Depression
• Eating disorders
• Sexual problems, molestation, etc
• Other mental disorders
These are just some examples. It is very noticeable that a member of the flock has access to help for these sorts of problems through the church, or are under the umbrella of church care unlike in the EB where the individual has to battle on alone without that.
o I have found far more emphasis on practical Scripture teaching directly from the whole Bible including the OT, Jesus, and Paul’s ministry etc.
o and far more emphasis on our Saviour Jesus, which I was overjoyed to see as He is my Best Friend and daily Strength and Guide. I struggle in the EB as I only hear talk about Him at the Gospels.
o I found more emphasis on doing good works, putting your ‘light on a hill’, evangelising and being a Christian part of the community – which I totally agree with, and love to see, and crave to be part of.
Also I will include a few examples of things I want no part of that are among the EB:
- I’m frightened of, and never want to suffer religious abuse at the hands of people who rise into power in the EB, who then can have such a lot of control over your life and who can abuse this authority/power – and there is no way of stopping them.
- I can’t stand the idolisation of BDH
- I can’t stand the social pressure and the pressure to conform to norms of dress code, food, housing, high affluent standard of living &lifestyle etc.
- I want better Christian resource for myself and others whom I care for, than what is available in the EB.
- I want to be part of a fellowship that is more love-centred and demonstrates real practical Christianity, instead of one that claims great light but has not much fruit to show it, and is more concerned about law-keeping than love.
I hope from the above you can understand a little why I am at this fork in the Y.
I have long held that there are only two purposes for life:
1 – is to get closer to God and to become more like Him
2 – is to serve others with the aim of drawing them nearer to Him and to shine His light to those who don’t yet have it.
I have come to the conclusion that while I am in the EB I can’t fulfil these purposes as much as I could out of the EB.
I believe that God has given me the passion I have to serve others especially young people for Him, and that I should answer this. Also I want to be part of a Christian fellowship where I get better Christian/Biblical teaching, support and fellowship than I can foresee me ever getting in the EB.
Also, I cannot remain in the EB anymore until I believe in my own heart, the principles and practises they follow. I do not want to live a farce again – conforming to these things just to avoid getting into trouble, when I don’t actually understand or agree with them at all. I can’t consider getting married and taking those vows for life, I couldn’t raise children in the EB unless I really believe in it, and also I couldn’t even help other people/young people in the EB path as I would be being totally fake.
This letter is not all-conclusive and there will be more detail/offshoots to the above issues and questions that would need to be worked through before I could commit to the EB fellowship.
Thank you for taking the time to try to understand and help me, thank you for the love and perseverance shown; I do want to do what is right in the eyes of God and I pray desperately that we have the wisdom to see His will and to receive the light, the strength, and the faith to do it.
Kind Regards
Lindy Simmons

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