Voice of the Martyrs..too Big to Fail?

I can only imagine the stories that are hidden from plain view concerning VOM….they make it a practice to hide the truth from the public, especially their donating public, guarding the vast coffers of money that comes rolling in on a daily basis, like a dog guards a bone. Nothing would surprise me anymore about this corrupt corporation operating under the banner of holy Christendom.  I came across the testimony of this man the other day who exposes more of the cankered underbelly of VOM. If you are a donor of VOM, you really should read this:

https://thouarttheman.org/2017/05/21/personal-testimony-regarding-volunteering-working-vom/

Janna Chan at the ThouArtTheMan blog stated that they would like to hear my story concerning the bizarre behavior of management at Voice of the Martyrs USA and how I was excommunicated for trying to simply do my job well. So here it is, I write it down almost 15 years after my relationship ended with them.

I have followed the controversy closely based on my experience.  I know who went to the police and who Tom White’s victim is.  The father I run into on a pretty regular basis.  So here it is in all the details.    To be honest I am an introvert who would, in my flesh, prefer to stay out of the limelight.  However, my conscience drives me to take a stand where I see evil inside the Church.

The story starts in the mid 90’s when my best friend introduces me to the “ministry” by giving me a fundraising mailer that he had received. I trust his judgment and my heartstrings are pulled by the heartbreaking stories I read about inside. I start donating to them regularly and generously as I request to be added to their mailing list. In 2001, my wife and I decide to make a big change in order to be able to help out a cause I believed in. We contact both VOM and Gospel for Asia (another fraudulent “ministry”) and we propose to move to one of these towns where the headquarters are at and have my wife volunteer for a six-month period of time after I find a job to support us. My heart was to try to serve God in a practical way. VOM bites on the offer and we plan a trip to Bartlesville, OK and we place our house on the market. So, we traveled there and met with some of staff and came to a mutual understanding. Houses in our neighborhood sold on a average of 45 days so we expected this to happen fairly quickly. That is not at all how it worked out. In hindsight that was, I believe, the hand of God trying to keep me from making a major mistake but I did not recognize that at the time.

During this time we saw the first red flag which we foolishly ignored. When we met with them they made it clear that they had an over-the-top no smoking policy. They did not want any employees or even volunteers to be caught outside the building smoking. They did not want any visitors thinking that any smokers were involved in any way with their enterprise, not even as volunteers. In hindsight, this priority of putting image over substance was a clear warning sign, as was redefining sin: not by what the scriptures plainly state as sin but by some other standard not found in the Bible. Smoking was talked about as a great sin, while other more insidious things were never mentioned.

At 90 days we switched realtors and lowered the price on our house, but still nothing. I got impatient thinking this was a hurdle to overcome instead of a stop sign from God. In early September 2001 we decided to jump the gun and went back to Bartlesville to find a house to buy. This was against the advice of the VOM contact who told us maybe this is not God’s plan. They were right, though not for the reason that they thought. We pushed past that because I thought we needed to have a change in our life. So we made the trip, found a house we liked very near where Tom White lived at the time, and signed a sales contract with an unusually long 90 days to close. We figured that our house would surely sell by then and everything would work out. We drove back staying in a motel on the way. We woke up in that motel the next morning and the date was 9/11/01. I started to wonder if I had made a big mistake as the economy sank. Our home still did not sell so we had to change realtors again and leave it vacant as we moved to Bartlesville.

Despite the problems we were having we were optimistic that everything would work out in the end. We got settled in and started looking for work. When we had done everything we could, we started doing some volunteering part-time at VOM. We started working with blankets and met a couple of volunteers who were using their vacation time to help out. They became important friends and contacts for things that happened later. My wife found a job and then we had enough income to get by. I became a regular volunteer spending four hours a day in the office. They eventually moved me into the IT department with my background and education. I became friends with another tech there who would become an important part of my story. He was on salary and had worked their for a few years. I was still looking for full time work but finding absolutely nothing. Eventually the IT manager said that “he had rearranged his budget” and that he had created a 90 day half-time contract job for me. I worked there in the afternoons for three months in the spring. The IT manager then told me he made a request to hire me on full time to the VOM board at their next meeting. They voted down that idea which was disappointing at the time, but later I became very thankful that it happened. I did not need to get more involved with what I later came to the judgment was and is a scam.

I went back to doing some volunteering in the afternoons when I did not have any interviews or job leads to pursue. It was during this time that I stumbled upon the second red flag. My tech friend was showing me the software that they were using to track the Internet websites all the employees in the building were accessing. The accounting manager, who was very geriatric, had numerous gay porn websites that he had just accessed according to the log. The tech went to report this to his manager which was their policy. Instead of dealing with the obvious, I overheard the manager chewing out the tech for allowing a volunteer to see what people in the building were actually doing. He was much more concerned with keeping up false appearances than dealing with the reality of internal sin and waste.

We managed to get by financially, even though our house had been on the market now for over a year without a buyer. But then things got worse when my wife told me that she had been having an affair the day before her birthday and 4 days before mine. Things went south that day and stayed that way. The affair started when she got angry at how things were working out. I believe she was angry at God and by extension me as well. She was not the type of personality that was easily tempted by this kind of sin. She was prone to depression and her mood and behavior became erratic. I met with my pastor for counsel and encouraged my wife to meet with our home fellowship leader’s wife. She did, but the help only appeared to last for one day.

The IT manager at VOM was nice enough to recommend me to another international ministry for some project work. This became the second charity that I would work for in the early 00’s. As soon as this project was started, my wife just disappeared. She left for work as normal one day but never arrived. She had taken nothing with her. All of her belongings and clothes were still in our house. It was now a full year since we had signed the papers to buy this house. I received a phone call a few days later stating that she was at her parents house and that she had changed her mind on her way to work to just drive 1,000 miles and run away from her problems. She never even bothered to call her employer and quit. She returned two months later to file for divorce. My hope for a better life while finding a way to better serve God in practical ways turned into a nightmare.

Some people at VOM were supportive and kind. One, when he learned that my wife was back in town, went to have a talk with her. He tried but it did not change anything. Another worker raised some cash for me at his home fellowship group and dropped it off in a paper bag. It was enough to pay bills I had for a few days. It was a dark time and I experienced the kind of grief people do not understand unless they themselves had been through it. Christmas time had come now in 2002 and the IT Manager called me to come to his office because he had a project for me to do.

One of the projects I had worked on during the 90 days was the conversion of the Pastor’s Support database. It was kept on a PC and the size of the database had outgrown the ability for the program to keep up with. They kept having issues with it and it needed to be moved onto an SQL server designed to reliably work with that much data. I completed that project without any issues. Now they had the big database to move for the same reasons: the overseas project database. This was the database that contained the names, places and amounts of all money supposedly spent overseas. They had not allowed me to see any of the data in the Pastors Support database, which is unusual. Normally a contractor would look carefully at all the data moved both before and after the conversion to make sure nothing was lost and that data integrity was maintained. They made it clear that I would never see any of the actual project data for this database as well. This project was different in that they needed some of the structure to be transformed as the way it was laid out was not the most efficient way of designing a database structure. That created a problem where I believe God stepped in.

The problem was that after the meeting I set down to try and figure out how I was going to transform the structure from what they had into what they wanted. I just could not see how to make that happen with the tools at my disposal. I had not run into a problem like that before. I think, in hindsight, that God was keeping me from seeing how to do what they asked for. That caused me to go to a friends house that evening.

He had become a close friend as he went to same church I did and was also going through a divorce. It just so happened that he also was a database programmer and that he knew the IT manager. In fact, he had even worked for him as the manager was once his boss at Phillips. I explained in general terms, without showing him any of the actual structure, what was there and what they wanted to do with it. He almost instantly saw the solution which he tried to explain to me, over and over for sometime. I was still not getting it. Finally I threw up my arms in surrender and told him that I would have to call them up tomorrow and give them the bad news that I did not know how to do what they wanted. My friend told me to hold off of that. He knew the manager and he decided he would call him in the morning and offer to do this himself for free! That was fine with me.

I was not feeling completely comfortable with this offer of work for two reasons: one was that the lady downstairs who kept the top secret information and the IT manager could not stand each other and basically refused to talk to each other unless absolutely necessary. The other was that the IT manager was a database specialist himself. He had originally been hired to help them develop their databases in the first place. He knew how to do the stuff he hired me to do. But I do not recall ever seeing this man doing any actual work, beyond playing with his budget, talking with other managers, giving out orders and taking an occasional phone call. It was the two techs that did all of the work of wiring, dealing with technical issues and keeping everyone’s computer working. I guess he came out of a corporate environment and was used to managers who behave like this. The ministry was small enough that it needed a working manager, which was not what it had. He was making $60K at the time, according to the public 990’s which was more than anyone else in the department, and was a lot in a town where houses are so very cheap. I was relieved to get out of this, even though I could have used the money because I was living in my expensive wife’s house she picked out that I was still paying a mortgage on and I was paying taxes and utilities for the other, vacant house. And so I went to bed.

The next day started out as usual until I got a phone call from the friend I had talked with the previous night. He was both upset and confused at the response he had gotten from the IT manager. His former boss had hung up on him and was so angry that he sounded unhinged at a simple offer of volunteer, free expert help. I was perplexed. At the end of the workday, I received another call, this time from the tech friend I had at VOM. He told me how this manager was yelling and screaming after he hung up on my friend. He ran upstairs and talked with Jim Dau, the CEO. He then ran down to the front desk and put my name onto a list not to buzz into the building. And so I was exiled for trying to do my job. I never heard anything directly from anyone in management. I never tried to get in the building after that. Nor did I ever hear once again from anyone there. The whole thing made no sense to me. VOM management did this in spite of the fact that they knew what was going on in my life. They kicked me when I was already at a very low time of my life. I saw nothing charitable or Christ-like in any of that.

In an attempt to better understand what happened, I sat down with my pastor who is friends with one of Tom White’s family members. He told me that I had been “thrown under the bus.” This was the end of 2002, years before Mark Driscoll made that phrase infamous in church circles. I also sat down and had a meal with the director of the other ministry that I was doing some work for at the time. He has remained a friend and so I explained at length, detail by detail, what had happened and he had no explanation for their actions. I saw it as extremely paranoid and I saw no grace in it. I wonder if the IT manager was merely pissed off that he would now have to do actually do work and talk with the dreaded lady downstairs. When Tom White killed himself almost a full decade later, I recognized that I had actually pierced the thin veneer of false spirituality and fake niceness and had touched on the actual evil substance of the place. Tom was paranoid because he was cheating donors and using those funds to commit a terrible, secret sin. VOM management is a white-washed tomb full of sickness, evil and disease.

This is not quite the end of the story. The IT tech lasted a couple of more years until at the same time of year he had a very bad experience with the same manager. It was a case of true Phariseeism, his boss had tied up a heavy and inappropriate burden on him and refused to lift a finger to help him with it. He could not stand it anymore. He left.

Also, remember those volunteers I had met early on on this journey? In between these two stories, one of them had gone on a trip to a closed country in Africa to see one of VOM’s projects up close. It was a building project that had gone astray. He arrived to find that the man VOM had hired to manage the project had no idea whatsoever what he was doing. He had spent a large amount of the total allocated funds just to build a foundation. And that foundation was several times bigger than the final building was supposed to be. My friend told me he had to improvise and figure out how to use part of the foundation and salvage the project so at least something could be built. He changed it to a now smaller building than originally planned and had to leave the project to be finished by the same construction manager. It was quite likely that the building was never finished and the project ended up being wasted donor money, but you will not see a word about that in their polished up and white-washed regular mailers.

Another story that I heard in between those first two, was the story of how Tom White’s personal secretary got fired. VOM had a policy where when really big checks came in, they were supposed to get special treatment. So instead of being handled like every other small check directly through the accounting department, they were sent upstairs to Tom’s personal secretary. At some point in time, the secretary stopped processing them at all and instead merely dropped them into a folder in the back of her filing cabinet to collect mold. One day a large stash of old checks totaling a very tidy sum was found by someone else. Most of the checks had gone way past the standard 6 month expiration date for checks so this had been going on for years, including the time I was there. They fired her, but I still wonder what transpired between Tom and this lady that would get her so pissed off that she would want to screw this “ministry” in this fashion?

Something else you will never read about is the saga of Pastor Joel who worked as a director at VOM and as a worship Pastor at a local Wesleyan Church. I found out about it shortly after my exile. It appears Pastor Joel started having an affair with his secretary at VOM. He ended up getting fired from both gigs and then divorced his wife so that he could marry the secretary. These events occurred not too long before I came to town. My friend who had so graciously offered to convert their database for nothing started dating Pastor Joel’s ex-wife. So I heard about it from her point of view and from the tech’s too. The tech told me that management had suspected that Pastor Joel had sex inside his office with his secretary. Their solution was to remove the regular doors off of all the offices and replace them with glass. If they had only chosen to do the same thing regarding transparency to their donors, I would not have to be writing this whole testimony down now. VOM buried this situation. I believe that charities owe it to those donors who pay the bills to let them know not just spin about what is going right for them, but also what is not. There should have been some transparency about this moral failure but obviously there never was about either this or anything else immoral that happened inside the organization. They could not hide Tom’s dead body, although they probably wished he had killed himself somewhere else.

One final story from inside the office. While I was in the office, one day two attractive, college age women showed up working inside. I found out that they had just been hired by the accounting department. They were there just a few months and then they both were suddenly gone having been hired and fired as a pair. The tech told me a story of what had happened. He said that the two were very loose, flirting with men in the office including him. One day the two made him a proposition that he responded to with basically a “if I entertained that thought for a second, my wife would kill me” response. He walked away. Soon after that, one of the ladies became pregnant out of wedlock and they both were promptly fired.

In summary, the big lesson I have learned from all this is how much I should hate the worldly and devilish practice of corporate image polishing. The very root of deception in our world is the polished and skilled liar who knows how to spin facts and white-wash what is, in reality, a septic tank. People pretend the septic does not stink. The image is a lie. The reality is something very much uglier than a dozen or so employees and volunteers standing outside the building during break time smoking. I have no doubt that many more stories exist that I have never heard about. I no longer think that merely giving Mammon to organizations is true charitable work. I see being a donor now as a two-edge sword that has blessing on the top side and cursing on the bottom. Give the Mammon to a good person and it still may end up doing great harm without excessive caution and care be exercised from start to finish. Give it to someone evil and you have just funded Satan’s work on this planet. The love of money really is a root of every kind of evil.

Mr. Jesperson

Related Reading: Letter by Michael Wurmbrand exposing corruption in VOM

 

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Heavens Family-Ministry to Persecuted Christians

persecuted-christians

Persecuted Christians Ministry

http://www.heavensfamily.org/

Pastor Prabhudass was walking home after performing a wedding ceremony when he found himself surrounded by an anti-Christian Hindu mob who told him, “We don’t want your Jesus in our village.” They attacked and brutally beat him, leaving him for dead in a ditch along the road.

Thankfully, some people walking along the road heard the sound of his groaning and called the police. He was rushed to the hospital and his life was saved. But he suffered serious head concussions and both of his hands were broken. At the time of this writing he is waiting for further tests regarding internal injuries.

This was the second time pastor Prabhudass had been attacked by a mob. Many Hindu people hate him because he is a powerful preacher who has planted thirty house churches in twenty villages of his region of Andhra Pradesh. He has personally baptized over one-thousand new believers, most of whom were former Hindus.

Like most pastors in India, Prabhudass has no medical insurance, and his current bill had run up to about $2,000, a huge sum to him. Heaven’s Family (that’s you!) was honored to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and pay his bill.

It has been estimated that 200 million Christians in the world live with the reality of severe persecution, such as threat of imprisonment or violence for following Jesus, while another 400 million believers face non-trivial deprivations of liberty. Your gifts will help us assist members of our spiritual family who are suffering because of persecution for their faith, like pastor Prabhudass.

Note from Scarlett: There are other ministries such as this one, Heaven’s Family, that are totally devoted to  serving the Lord Jesus Christ that are truly evangelical, who have no eccumenical agenda written into their newsletters and service.

Please check out this worthy cause and pray about your stewardship. And may the Lord Jesus Christ increase you and prosper you as your soul prospers.  I LOVE that name, “Heaven’s Family”, don’t you? Cos, that’s what The LORD wants us to be. Amen!

https://www.heavensfamily.org/special_reports/2016-04

 

 

persecution

 

Voice of the Martyrs: a Servant’s Heart or Whitewashed Tomb?

This is only a partial view of VOM’s United States Headquarters, a massive and very extravagant layout to say the least, to act as “Servants of the Persecuted Church”.

New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US

New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US

Let’s take a closer look at where the donations of the faithful are going:

Voice of the Martyrs Inc. is a Christian Religious Organization in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 2015, it received its exempt organization status from the IRS and now brings in $43.8M in annual income, primarily through contributions. With $53.4M in assets, the organization is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
The average Christian Religious Organization brought in 2.875% less income in 2013 than they did in 2012. This organization however, saw a 2.11% increase in income in 2013.
The organization paid out only $17.6M in grants in 2013. All of the money went to organizations or individuals outside the United States.
In 2013, Voice of the Martyrs Inc.’s expenses remained flat from the previous year.
In 2013, this organization filed a Form 990 with the IRS, reporting $39,884,890 in total expenses. Note that this expense amount differs from the $37,473,139 in functional expenses reported on Part I, Line 18 on the Form 990 return, as non-functional expenses are added back in.
The same Form 990 filed with the IRS, reporting $43,837,958 in income. Note that this income amount differs from the $41,426,207 in revenue reported on Part I, Line 12 of the Form 990 return, as non-functional expenses are added back in.
The organization was not required to file a Form 990 for the most recent tax year.
Like most Christian Religious Organizations in its peer group, Voice of the Martyrs Inc. is funded primarily through contributions. The organization is highly dependent on this type of funding, as it accounts for 95% of total income.
On the Form 990 filed with the IRS in 2013, The Voice of the Martyrs Inc. paid $111,588 to Web Direct, an advertising company, with the business address of P.O. Box 141078 Dallas, TX 75214.
On the Form 990 filed with the IRS in 2013, The Voice of the Martyrs Inc. paid $470,017 to The Jordan Group, an advertising company, with the business address of P.O. Box 141078 Dallas, TX 75214.
On the Form 990 filed with the IRS in 2013, The Voice of the Martyrs Inc. paid $686,353 to Maestro Technologies, Inc., a technical support company, with the business address of P.O. Box 141078 Dallas, TX 75214.
On the Form 990 filed with the IRS in 2013, The Voice of the Martyrs Inc. paid $1,427,041 to Jordan Media, an advertising agency, with the business address of P.O. Box 141078 Dallas, TX 75Each of these companies is linked to a common owner and consultant at the time, Steve Cleary. As a consultant, Mr. Cleary directed the decisions of the VOM Executives to use his companies for the newsletter design, content, and the technology to process donor funds. Steve is now an employee of VOM and still profiting from VOM’s use of his companies. VOM is no longer required to file Form 990, so 2013 is the last year this level of detail is available. However, $2,694,999 of donor funds paid in a single fiscal year to a consultant with influence to direct funds to his personal companies is a giant red flag.

Richard Wurmbrand-Orthodox or Evangelical?

RichardWurmbrand

An early picture of Richard Wurmbrand, his wife Sabrina, and their son.

Most Christians familiar with Richard Wurmbrand know that he founded the “Voice of the Martyrs, Servants of the Persecuted Church”, which has been widely purported to be a Christian organization. Richard Wurmbrand himself is reverenced in nearly saintly regard by those who support his work, “VOM”, which has grown to a massive worldwide organization with branches in all free countries.  The US and main headquarters of VOM is in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US

New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US

It has been generally assumed by most Christians who support Voice of the Martyrs that Richard Wurmbrand was Prostestant, due to his title pastor, and designation as a Lutheran preacher.  However, very little is generally known about what his personal beliefs were, although many of them are clearly contained in the books and articles he wrote over the years.  We will examine some of his beliefs in this and following posts.

There has been a never ending debate about what constitutes a Christian. Evangelical Christians, at least most of them, maintain that Catholics are not Christians.  Catholics and Orthodox Catholics, on the other hand,  maintain they are most certainly Christians…and so, there is a divergence of opinions on the matter. 

Should the religious beliefs of Richard Wurmbrand be scrutinized for the purpose that the supporters of VOM might know what the religious views of Richard Wurmbrand and  the general tone of Voice of the Martyrs have been, both in Wurmbrand’s own writings and the articles, and newsletters of VOM? I think so!  The reason for this being, that when support and money is being poured into any organization, it is critically important to examine the roots of that organization, who the founder was, what he or she believed and stood for, what he or she taught, and what the financial support of donors would be used for.  Or, of much more importance, whether by supporting VOM, one is aiding and abetting heresy and ecumenism, thereby giving consent to it in disobedience to the commandments of Christ. This is the crux of the issue and not to be taken lightly by any means.

That said, I am posting the following rather obscure article, in it’s entirety, found on the Internet which had been published in the Orthodox magazine, “Again“,  for the examination and discernment of all, which I hope will shed some light on the personal religious views of Richard Wurmbrand.  Comments from readers will be welcomed.

Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Personal ExperiencesAtheism
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand: Finishing the Race

by Hieromonk Damascene

Source:  http://ancientfaith.com/files/uploads/wurmbrand_again.doc

Our St. Herman Brotherhood and Monastery has for a long time had great respect and appreciation for the life, testimony and work of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a Jewish convert to Christianity who suffered for fourteen years in Communist prisons in Romania due to his unrelenting Christian activity. Back in 1979, our co-founder Fr. Seraphim Rose spoke about Pastor Wurmbrand to seminarians and pilgrims at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York. In succeeding years we corresponded with Pastor Wurmbrand himself, sent him Orthodox materials, and met with him at some of his speaking engagements.

In 1996 our Brotherhood made personal contact with a man who had been in Communist prisons in Romania at the same time as Pastor Wurmbrand, and for the same reason: the Romanian Orthodox priest, Fr. George Calciu. Fr. Seraphim Rose had also spoken at great length about Fr. George and his courageous preaching of Christ in Romania. We were overjoyed to get to know him here in America, learn from his faith, and benefit from his wisdom and experience.

It soon became known to us that Pastor Wurmbrand and Fr. George were friends. Fr. George told us that Pastor Wurmbrand had confessed to him many times in the United States—not as a sacrament, since Pastor Wurmbrand was a Lutheran—but as before an Orthodox priest and friend. Before these talks, in which he disclosed his struggles, Pastor Wurmbrand would always cross himself.

Pastor Wurmbrand had also confessed to an Orthodox priest many years prior to coming to America, when he was in Communist prison. He told Fr. George about this when he met him in Pennsylvania in 1989. In a recent letter Fr. George informed us about what Pastor Wurmbrand had told him:

Pastor Wurmbrand was in a prison hospital for terminal illness. The majority of the people from this prison had to die.

One day, a new transport of prisoners came to the jail. Among them was a very humble Orthodox priest from a village. He seemed so simple that the guards made all kinds of jokes about him. The prisoners were in the courtyard—a special place surrounded by a fence—and the guard brought in the newcomers, all in rags.

The guard said to them, “Look, guys, this is a priest. He was sent here by the prison administration to hear your last confession—all of you.” He was alluding that they all had to die, including the priest.

Pastor Wurmbrand said, “He [the guard] prophesied: in less than six months, everyone came to this priest and confessed. I was among the first.”

In 1998 Pastor Wurmbrand was in critical condition in a hospital in southern California. He had not eaten for ten days, and it looked like he was dying. He was asked which pastor should be called, and he asked for Fr. George Calciu. Fr. George was telephoned and was prepared to come, but the danger passed and Pastor Wurmbrand got better. Still, Pastor Wurmbrand was in such a condition that he had to be kept in a nursing home—a Catholic nursing home in Torrance, California.

In July of 1998 Fr. George went to see Pastor Wurmbrand. Shortly after this visit, he sent us the following message:

Pastor Wurmbrand was very excited to see me. He is in a nursing home, very weak; he cannot swallow anything, even his own saliva. I found him sleeping, because he wanted not to be tired and to be able to talk longer with me. After half an hour he awoke and was pushed in his wheelchair to a small yard, where there was a statue of the Mother of God. We talked a few minutes all together: his wife Sabina, two Romanian ladies, Nicolae Popa and a young man.

Afterwards, everybody left Richard and me alone. We started by remembering the time in prisons, and he remembered something very touching. He said: ‘I was in prison with different people: Orthodox, Catholic, Romanian, Hungarian, German, etc. And I noticed that the Hymn to the Mother of God existed in all the languages, except Hebrew. And I decided to compose this hymn in Hebrew, because Mary is a Jew and Hebrew was her language.” He started to sing, with his weak and trembling voice, the hymn in Hebrew. The melody was very Jewish, composed by him. I was deeply impressed. The statue of the Mother of God was there, watching and blessing us.  . . . He told me that, in his heart, he loved Orthodoxy, but considered he was not worthy of it, and because of this he did not succeed in becoming fully Orthodox.

If you go to Richard and talk to him, ask him to sing “Ave Maria.” And be prepared to tape the song. He loves very much the Mother of God, and I am sure he will be happy in his heart to let this song be a testimony of his secret Orthodoxy. I was not prepared and failed the occasion.

Thinking that this might be our last opportunity to meet and talk with Pastor Wurmbrand, we set off to see him almost immediately after receiving Fr. George’s letter.

Hieromonk Gerasim, Mother Nina (who had spent two years in a monastery in Romania) and I arrived at the nursing home in the morning of July 28. Pastor Wurmbrand greeted us with love and was happy to see us. We went with him in his wheelchair to the same courtyard in which Fr. George had spoken with him.

His first concern was what he could do for us. We were moved by how he, so weak and enfeebled himself, was so desirous to give to others.

I asked him how to face persecution, if and when it comes. He told us not to be fearful of persecution. “Persecution must come to all Christians,” he said, “but do not be afraid.”

Mother Nina asked him how to bear suffering. He said that he had always been afraid of suffering, but then he began to be joyful in suffering. “Be joyful!” he exclaimed, “leap for joy!” As Mother Nina remarked later, as he said this his eyes seemed like a sea of light opening into eternity.

Mother Nina asked him about the song he had composed to the Mother of God in Hebrew. Immediately he sang it for us, and we recorded it on tape (audible from min,7 of recording) as Fr. George had urged us to do. Mother Nina wept. When he finished singing Pastor Wurmbrand said that Mary was the closest one to Jesus, and was the only one to change His will. (Evidently he was speaking about Christ’s miracle of changing water into wine. According to the commentary of St. Cyril of Alexandria, at that time the Mother of God did indeed persuade her Son to do something He did not desire; He did it out of obedience to her.) We could see, as Fr. George had told us, that Pastor Wurmbrand had great love for the Theotokos.

Soon we were joined by friends of Pastor Wurmbrand: a Romanian woman, her two sisters, and her American husband. Pastor Wurmbrand’s legs began to hurt him; he was wincing from the pain, and asked to be taken back inside to his bed. (As we later learned, the pain was due to severely advancing leg neuropathy contracted during his three years of solitary confinement, when he was obliged to stand interminable hours, being kept on a starvation diet.)

Once he was settled into his bed, he sang for us once again his song to the Mother of God: first in English, and then in Hebrew. He explained to us the circumstances under which he composed it (this, too, we recorded on tape). “I was in a very bad situation in prison,” he said. “Prison was not always very bad. Sometimes there are better times, sometimes worse times. It was a very bad time. And I prayed that the times would change, and they did not change. Then I promised that if it [the situation] changed for the good of the prisoners, I would translate this song into Hebrew. In five minutes the situation changed.”

We began to sing Orthodox hymns with Pastor Wurmbrand: “Christ is Risen” and “Holy God” in Romanian. Even though it was hard for him to sing and he would choke and cough, he sang the hymns with his whole heart.

I asked him if he would like to be anointed with holy oil, and he gladly consented. Anointing three times his head, hands and feet with oil from the reliquary of St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, I said aloud the prayer of blessing to our Lord Jesus Christ, asking for St. John’s intercessions. After this anointing Pastor Wurmbrand looked more peaceful and ceased to show obvious signs of being in pain.

We were there for almost three hours. We returned in the evening and were met by Sabina Wurmbrand, who beamed with the same joy as did her husband. She too was very glad to see us, especially Mother Nina. Sabina had been in Communist prison for three years together with Orthodox nuns.

During our second visit Pastor Wurmbrand asked us to gather close to him, and he kept asking us for a “word.” He was extremely interested to hear about the missionary work of our Brotherhood.

I was impressed with his humility. When, for example, I mentioned Fr. George Calciu to him, he said, “Fr. George is a great man. He loves sinners. That’s why he loves me.”

He asked Sabina for their checkbook, because he wanted to give a donation toward Mother Nina’s upcoming trip to Romania. We assured him that it was not necessary for him to go to the trouble, but he said emphatically, “We have to show our Christian love through concrete acts.” (Sabina did not have the checkbook at the time, but soon thereafter she sent Mother Nina a letter with a sizable donation, which was then given to an Orthodox publishing house in Romania.)

After a while Sabina began to be concerned that her husband was becoming too tired, and said she thought everyone should leave and let him rest. But Pastor Wurmbrand did not want us to leave, and tried to postpone our departure as long as possible. Finally we did go when visiting hours ended. He expressed his gratitude to us, and as we walked out of the room he looked at us with longing.

We ourselves were truly grateful for this meeting. We were able to experience firsthand Pastor Wurmbrand’s love for God and neighbor, which had been tested and tried in the crucible of suffering for our Lord Jesus Christ. We were witnesses, too, of his love for God’s Most Pure Mother, and of the respect and esteem in which he held the Orthodox Church and her tradition.

 {{{{{{

 
Hieromonk Damascene Christensen is from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California.
From left to right: Hieromonk Gerasim, abbot of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery; Pastor Wurmbrand; Hieromonk Damascene; and Mother Nina.

Intro to Pastor Wurbrand’s own article:

Throughout the era of the Communist domination of Eastern Europe, there were many heroes who suffered and died in prison for trying to help Christians behind the Iron Curtain. One of the most well-known of these heroes is Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran minister who started an underground ministry in Romania in 1945. Of the next twenty years, he spent fourteen in prison. Finally ransomed out of Romania in 1965, he established a ministry to smuggle Bibles and practical aid to the families of Romanian martyrs. He died in February of this year, suffering to the end from the maltreatment he had received at the hands of the Communists.

AGAIN Magazine featured an article by Richard Wurmbrand in its September, 1987 issue. As this article, reprinted here, clearly shows, Pastor Wurmbrand was deeply impressed by the faith and dedication of the Orthodox Christians he met in Romania. Fr. Damascene Christensen recently spent time with Pastor Wurmbrand near the end of his life. Fr. Damascene’s reminiscences of those meetings show how Wurmbrand’s attachment to the Orthodox Faith persisted and deepened into his dying days.

Pastor Wurmbrand himself and those whose stories he relates are shining examples of how faithful Christians can not only survive, but be illuminated through the dreadful sufferings of imprisonment.

With My Own Eyes
A Lutheran Pastor’s Firsthand Account of Prison Life

by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

I am a Christian from an Orthodox country—the country of Romania. Having been in prison for fourteen years for my faith, it is now my missionary work to help persecuted Christians in Communist countries. I would like to tell you the stories of several Orthodox Christians with whom I was privileged to come into contact during my time in prison. Their examples and their deeds have been a constant source of encouragement to me throughout the years.

“Always Rejoice”

The first man was a priest who was put in jail at the age of seventy. His name was Surioanu. When he was brought in with his big white beard and white pate, some officers at the gate of the jail mocked him. One asked, “Why did they bring this old priest here?” And another replied with a jeer, “Probably to take the confessions of everybody.” Those were his exact words.

This priest had a son who had died in a Soviet jail. His daughter was sentenced to twenty years. Two of his sons-in-law were with him in jail—one with him in the same cell. His grandchildren had no food, they were forced to eat from the garbage. His whole family was destroyed. He had lost his church. But this man had such a shining face—there was always a beautiful smile on his lips. He never greeted anyone with “Good morning” or “Good evening,” but instead with the words, “Always rejoice.”

One day we asked him, “Father, how can you say ‘always rejoice’—you who passed through such a terrible tragedy?”

He said, “Rejoicing is very easy. If we fulfill at least one word from the Bible, it is written, ‘Rejoice with all those who rejoice.’ Now if one rejoices with all those who rejoice, he always has plenty of motivation for rejoicing. I sit in jail, and I rejoice that so many are free. I don’t go to church, but I rejoice with all those who are in church. I can’t take Holy Communion, but I rejoice about all those who take. I can’t read the Bible or any other holy book, but I rejoice with those who do. I can’t see flowers [we never saw a tree or a flower during those years. We were under the earth, in a subterranean prison. We never saw the sun, the moon, stars—many times we forgot that these things existed. We never saw a color, only the gray walls of the cell and our gray uniforms. But we knew that such a world existed, a world with multicolored butterflies and with rainbows], but I can rejoice with those who see the rainbows and who see the multicolored butterflies.”

In prison, the smell was not very good. But the priest said, “Others have the perfume of flowers around them, and girls wearing perfume. And others have picnics and others have their families of children around them. I cannot see my children but others have children. And he who can rejoice with all those who rejoice can always rejoice. I can always be glad.” That is why he had such a beautiful expression on his face.

“Heaven’s Smile”

Let me interrupt to tell you about another Orthodox Christian. He was not a priest, but a simple farmer. In our country, farmers are almost always illiterate, or nearly so. He had read his Bible well, but other than that he had never read a book. Now he was in the same cell with professors, academicians, and other men of high culture who had been put in jail by the Communists. And this poor farmer tried to bring to Christ a member of the Academy of Science. But in return, he received only mockery.

“Sir, I can’t explain much to you, but I walk with Jesus, I talk with Him, I see Him.”

“Go away. Don’t tell me fairy tales that you see Jesus. How do you see Jesus?”

“Well, I cannot tell you how I see Him. I just see Him. There are many kinds of seeing. In dreams, for instance, you see many things. It’s enough for me to close my eyes. Now I see my son before me, now I see my daughter-in-law, now I see my granddaughter. Everybody can see. There is another sight. I see Jesus.”

“You see Jesus?”

“Yes, I see Jesus.”

“What does He look like? How does He look to you? Does He look restful, angry, bored, annoyed, happy to see you? Does He smile sometimes?”

He said, “You guessed it! He smiles at me.”

“Gentlemen, come hear what this man says to us. He mocks us. He says Jesus smiles at him. Show me, how does He smile?”

That was one of the grandest moments of my life. The farmer became very, very earnest. His face began to shine. In the Church today there are pastors and theologians who can’t believe the whole Bible. They believe half of it, a quarter of it. Somehow they can’t believe the miracles. I can believe the whole of it because I have seen miracles. I have seen transfigurations—not like that of Jesus, but something apart. I have seen faces shining.

A smile appeared on the face of that farmer. I would like to be a painter to be able to paint that smile. There was a streak of sadness in it because of the lost soul of the scientist. But there was so much hope in that smile. And there was so much love and so much compassion, and a yearning that this soul should be saved. The whole beauty of heaven was in the smile on that face. The face was dirty and unwashed, but it held the beautiful smile of heaven.

The professor bowed his head and said, “Sir, you are right. You have seen Jesus. He has smiled at you.”

“Pure Orthodoxy”

Now, to come back to this priest, Surioanu. He was always such a happy being. When we were taken out for walks, in a yard where there was never a flower, a piece of herb, or grass, he would put his hand on the shoulder of some Christian and ask, “Tell me your story.”

Usually the men would talk about how bad the Communists were. “They’ve beaten me and they’ve tortured me and they’ve done terrible things.”

He would listen attentively; then he would say, “You’ve said plenty about the Communists; now tell me about yourself. When did you confess last?”

“Well, some forty years ago.”

“Let us sit down and forget the Communists and forget the Nazis. For you are also a sinner. And tell me your sins.”

Everybody confessed to him—I confessed to him, too, and I remember that as I confessed to him, and the more I told him sins, the more beautiful and loving became his face. I feared in the beginning that when he heard about such things he would loathe me. But the more I said bad things about myself, the more he sat near to me. And in the end he said, “Son, you really have committed plenty of sins, but I can tell you one thing. Despite all of these sins, God still loves you and forgives you. Remember that He has given His Son to die for you, and try one day a little bit, and another day a little bit, just to improve your character so it should be pleasant to God.”

My experiences with this priest were among the most beautiful encounters of my life. He is no longer on this earth. He was an example of what real Orthodoxy is all about. There exists such Orthodoxy. I don’t see much point in becoming an Orthodox from a Lutheran background or from a Baptist background or from any other background unless one desires that kind of Orthodoxy. His was an excellent Orthodoxy, a pure Orthodoxy. May God help us all to be truly Orthodox, after the example of so many saints who are depicted on the icons, and after the example of so many saints alive today.

“A Good Confession”

There was a brigade in Romania which was only for priests, bishops, pastors, rabbis, and laymen—whoever was in prison for his faith. One day a political officer came to inspect that brigade. Everybody stood at attention, and at random he called out a young man (whose name was Coceanga) and asked him, “What have you been in your civilian life?”

And he replied, “Sir, what I have been in my civilian life, I will be forever. I am a priest of God.”

“Aha, a priest! And do you still love Christ?”

The priest was silent for a few seconds—seconds as long as eternity, because he knew that his eternal destiny would be decided in those seconds. The Lord said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33).

And then after a little meditation, his face began to shine—I have seen so many shining faces—and with a very humble but very decided voice he said, “Captain, when I became a priest, I knew that during Church history thousands had been killed for their faith. And as often as I ascended to the altar dressed in those beautiful, ornate robes, surrounded by the respect and love of the congregation, I promised to God that if ever I had to suffer, if ever I wore the uniform of the prisoner, I would still love Christ.”

“Captain,” he went on to say, “I so pity you. We have the truth, and you have whips. We have love, and you have iron bars on prison cells. Violence and hatred is a very poor argument against truth and love. If you were to hang all the professors of mathematics, if all the mathematicians were hanged, how much would four plus four be then? It would still be eight. And eight plus eight would still be sixteen.

“You can’t change the truth by hanging those who speak the truth. If all the Christians were hanged, it would still remain so that there is a God, and He is love. And there is a Savior; His name is Jesus Christ, and by confessing Him a man can be saved. And there exists a Holy Spirit, and a host of angels around the earth. And there exists a beautiful paradise—you can’t change the truth.”

I wish there was a way to convey the tone with which he said those words. We, the others, were ashamed because we believed in Christ, we hoped in Christ, but this man loved Christ as Juliet loved Romeo and as the bride loves the bridegroom.

“An Undying Love”

When I was in jail I fell very, very ill. I had tuberculosis of the whole surface of both lungs, and four vertebrae were attacked by tuberculosis. I also had intestinal tuberculosis, diabetes, heart failure, jaundice, and other sicknesses I can’t even remember. I was near to death.

At my right hand was a priest by the name of Iscu. He was abbot of a monastery. This man, perhaps in his forties, had been so tortured he was near to death. But his face was serene. He spoke about his hope of heaven, about his love of Christ, about his faith. He radiated joy.

On my left side was the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest almost to death. He had been arrested by his own comrades. Don’t believe the newspapers when they say that the Communists only hate Christians or Jews—it’s not true. They simply hate. They hate everybody. They hate Jews, they hate Christians, they hate anti-Semites, they hate anti-Christians, they hate everybody. One Communist hates the other Communist. They quarrel among themselves, and when they quarrel one Communist with the other, they put the other one in jail and torture him just like a Christian, and they beat him.

And so it happened that the Communist torturer who had tortured this priest nearly to death had been tortured nearly to death by his comrades. And he was dying near me. His soul was in agony.

During the night he would awaken me, saying, “Pastor, please pray for me. I can’t die, I have committed such terrible crimes.”

Then I saw a miracle. I saw the agonized priest calling two other prisoners. And leaning on their shoulders, slowly, slowly he walked past my bed, sat on the bedside of this murderer, and caressed his head—I will never forget this gesture. I watched a murdered man caressing his murderer! That is love—he found a caress for him.

The priest said to the man, “You are young; you did not know what you were doing. I love you with all my heart.” But he did not just say the words. You can say “love,” and it’s just a word of four letters. But he really loved. “I love you with all my heart.”

Then he went on, “If I who am a sinner can love you so much, imagine Christ, who is Love Incarnate, how much He loves you! And all the Christians whom you have tortured, know that they forgive you, they love you, and Christ loves you. He wishes you to be saved much more than you wish to be saved. You wonder if your sins can be forgiven. He wishes to forgive your sins more than you wish your sins to be forgiven. He desires for you to be with Him in heaven much more than you wish to be in heaven with Him. He is Love. You only need to turn to Him and repent.”

In this prison cell in which there was no possibility of privacy, I overheard the confession of the murderer to the murdered. Life is more thrilling than a novel—no novelist has ever written such a thing. The murdered—near to death—received the confession of the murderer. The murdered gave absolution to his murderer.

They prayed together, embraced each other, and the priest went back to his bed. Both men died that same night. It was a Christmas Eve. But it was not a Christmas Eve in which we simply remembered that two thousand years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It was a Christmas Eve during which Jesus was born in the heart of a Communist murderer.

These are things which I have seen with my own eyes.

Note: Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of Christian Missions to the Communist World, Middlebury, Indiana.

Article published in English on:  24-12-2012.

Last update:  24-12-2012.

Tom White of VOM-Activist-Pragmatist-Not an Icon or Great Christian Leader

In this video interview from 2008, Tom White describes himself, and “we”, (meaning apparently,  his associates  who were also activists before joining up with the Wurmbrands), as a “bunch of activists, and  pragmatists.”

It’s true that activists and pragmatists can do much good work for a cause. They can also be very good business heads running a large company if they are gifted in that ability. In Tom White’s case, apparently he was.  I personally don’t believe he was ever intended to be anything other than that, an ministry head. Certainly not an icon, idol or great religious leader, per se. Those placed on pedestals by others have this nasty habit of toppling over and falling. This should be a lesson to those who insist on placing mere men in such precarious positions. If you have done that with your pastor, spiritual shepherd, Tom White or anyone…please repent of it, and do not repeat such a sin. Mankind has a flaw in his character that seems to want to be led by other men, where as God rightly deserves and even demands that honor.

 

 http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx?story_ID=NTA0

Read the testimony…the need is real. The issue is, with VOM, there does need to be a corporate head to take the helm at this time. However, if VOM is indeed to continue as originally planned by Richard Wurmbrand, as a work of God, then does it not stand to reason that there should be a board of godly men to hold the corporate end accountable? And by that, I mean, not a board of men hand picked by the present leadership, but by a council. This may or may not happen. Hopefully, something similar should take place in the very near future.

Those who are in control of a situation are usually loath to relinquish even a small measure of power to a group of men, no matter how capable they may be. Mark Driscoll’s firing of his elders at Mars Hill Church is just such an example.

One can only hope the present leadership of VOM will see the need- and choose of their own accord, as was done in the Book of Acts, to provide oversight, to police, if you will, their own operation of the ministry, to keep it accountable before man, and most importantly, before God.

The Catholic Side of Billy Graham

“My beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Roman Catholics”

~Billy Graham



http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=7895

“To understand Billy Graham, his involvement in the Ecumenical Movement, and why he would accept something like the Templeton Award, we must understand his relationship with Rome. While the principles of ecumenism can be traced back for centuries (through the Gnostics, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, and of course the Parliament of World Religions) it was Rome’s Vatican II that “officially” launched the modern ecumenical movement. Vatican II opened the doors of Roman Catholicism (which the world largely views as the oldest form of Christianity) to all other religions of the world. This is why Vatican II is often referred to as “the ecumenical council.” As such, as the relationship of Billy Graham developed with the Vatican and the popes, his views became increasingly ecumenical. This has confused many people because they don’t make the Rome-connection. Graham, like many other Protestant Evangelicals, seems to be working to fulfill – not the Great Commission – but the mandate of Vatican II. Once this is understood, the rest of what Billy Graham has done begins to make sense.

 

The subject of Graham and Rome has been handled by many Christian writers, not the least of which is Ewin Wilson in his book, The Assimilation of Evangelist Billy Graham into the Roman Catholic Church. Wilson writes:

 

“For some unexplainable or even mysterious

reason, Billy Graham is unable to discern the

theological, moral, and spiritual soul of Roman

Catholicism. Likewise, he has failed to grasp,

or worse still, has chosen to ignore the historical

character of the entire Vatican system. Instead,

he has chosen to become attracted, impressed,

and finally to honor and follow the Holy See.

The result has been a tragic failure on his part

to understand the difference between the truth

of God’s Word and the utter blackness of

Roman Catholicism …” 5

 



 

Tom White and the Ecumenical Leadership of Voice of the Martyrs

New United States Voice of the Martyrs Headquarters
Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Is Voice of the Martyrs as iconic and flawless as we’ve come to believe?

To be sure, there is a need to help and pray for the persecuted brethren as commanded, but if we, as Christians are going to be honest before the LORD JESUS CHRIST, whom we profess to believe and serve, then we are going to have to examine the obvious facts and not be in denial, and/or be deceived. If we’ve been wrong, then we need to repent and turn.

The more I think about the shocking and tragic events of the last several weeks since Tom White’s apparent suicide on the heels of a pedophilia investigation focusing on him as the primary suspect,  the more apparent it becomes that indeed, VOM has been, if I may coin a word, “ecumenicalizing” VOM. It’s unmistakable. Those who have received Voice of the Martyrs newsletters, and  read their material online, have seen it,  whether recognized as such or not, in black and white…or…, with the typical VOM flare, shiny well scripted pages in beautiful color.

Most of us, eager to read the latest news about our persecuted brethren and the work VOM is apparently doing in so many places all over the globe, didn’t seem to notice what was hidden in plain view, VOM’s obvious ecumenical sympathies, or leanings. Whether this was done deliberately, or in just plain spiritual ignorance, is not quite clear at this point. What is clear, is that the truth is coming out about it and something needs to be changed.

This is going to make a lot of people very mad, and in fact already has, even in the evangelical camp, that anyone would have the audacity to suggest that VOM was promoting a group as “Christian” that was NOT Christian, and that is, Catholics and related branches of Catholicism.  To understand this dilemma better, please read the following article by Steve Rugg who has been kind enough to furnish us with this information about VOM, and how it has incorporated ecumenism into it’s work and public relations. If this is scripturally balanced and I believe it is, this constitutes nothing short of apostasy. 

Something else that may tend to make people angry is the question Steve dares to ask the reader…”Are You Saved?” Something to think about…I am. We are admonished in scripture to examine ourselves to see if we’re in the faith.  Let us then examine ourselves by scripture, and not by what some teacher, preacher, priest, or religious doctrine tells us.


“Are You Saved?”

by Steve Rugg

“It takes an event in a human institution such as the one we have witnessed in the last several weeks from the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) leadership that perks our attention to reassess what is important.

The question I raise today and ask you to solemnly ponder in your heart in prayer is: why does today’s church in America bear no similarity to the first century church? All I ask of you is to set aside your personal prejudices for a moment or two. We will use the Word of God as the standard measure of the things written here. Bear in mind: “All scripture [not theology] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man [and woman] of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

Many professing Christians don’t think anything is wrong with VOM referring to non-Christian organizations as “Christian.” Tom White was Executive Director of VOM and recently, “allegedly” committed suicide. He and his leadership carefully crafted a public relations machine that pandered not only to the evangelical (denominational) church and I believe to the Roman Catholic Church. VOM does not differentiate between Biblical Christians, Roman Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah Witnesses. The problem VOM has and many, many professing Christians have is: Does the Word of God have something to say about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those who have turned to “another gospel” (Gal 1:6,8-10)?

Ecumenism has been in the works for many years, spearheaded by the likes of Chuck Colson, co-author with Roman Catholic Richard Nuehaus of ECT-1 (Evangelicals and Catholics Together, 1994) and ECT-2 (Evangelicals and Catholics Together, 1997). The so-called Christian pop star leadership signed on to ECT. In addition to a number of signatories from Roman Catholic leadership, Pat Robertson (700 Club), Bill Bright (Campus Crusade), Max Lucado (author), Charles Colson (Prison Fellowship), J.I. Packer (Regent College), etc., signed on as well. It should be no surprise that ECT-2 was published in the December 1997 issue of Christianity Today, a magazine founded by Dr. Billy Graham.

We have the likes of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller and countless other hirelings with multi-million dollar salaries and “ministries.” We had Promise Keepers (for those who could not keep a promise) and several other movements that helped to slowly and seductively move Christian churches away from their biblical moorings. Easy believism has intruded into virtually every church in America with the so-called altar call invitation (courtesy of Charles Finney in the 1830s) to the legitimization alien bible translations (which are not translations) like “The Message” and the gender neutral 2011 NIV “bible.”

We had worldly luminaries like Billy Graham chum around with popes, cardinals and presidents, preach a false gospel message for at least 50-60 years to countless millions on how to be saved instead of telling them that they are sinners in need of a Savior (like Peter did in Acts, chapter 2).

As tragic as it is that Billy Graham preached a false gospel at crusades across America, his assimilation into the Roman Catholic Church is well documented—he served his master well by handing over “decision cards” collected from his crusades to the Roman Catholic Church. This man has embraced every Roman Catholic idolatrous belief that has been taught by the Roman Catholic Church for 1700 years (with additions over time) since Constantine, the emperor who embraced idolatry with the symbol of the cross. This same Roman Catholic Church persecuted Christians during the Reformation period, the Vatican committed atrocities during World War II, and most recently the cover-up of large scale pedophilia, and wholesale ruin of young boys by Roman Catholic priests. (Note: open source documentation provided on request)

While ecumenism, or more properly the compromise of Biblical Christianity by Protestants, has gained broader appeal by biblically illiterate and largely complacent professing Christians, this ecumenism “movements” so-

called greatest evangelical of the 20th century was Billy Graham—the “preacher” America loves. That statement should make you wonder—what was Jesus talking about when He said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15: 18-21)?

I am not picking on Billy Graham. I am only using him as an example of the countless not born again (born from above) professing Christians who need to abandon their idols and their religious traditions (of men). Protestants today are able to hold and possess a Bible because of the blood of the martyrs who died for Jesus. That is God’s Grace.

Satan has done what he is only capable of doing–seducing, deceiving (counterfeiting) and enslaving the progeny of fallen Adam. Even an early edition of the New England Primer (for elementary school), for the letter “A” said: “In Adam’s Fall, We Sinned All.” Do your children have a clue what children were taught 200 years ago in New England? Do you live the life that bears the image of the risen Christ or do you just play a game with God in the false hope of impressing Him with your religiosity?

Your denominations are not going to help you; they are nothing more than institutions of indoctrination into their particular theological brand of religious philosophy that run for power and prestige. Biblical doctrine is not theology. Most leaders in churches are hirelings looking for their slice of pie. If they are not teaching outright lies, not supported by Scripture, like devotees to Calvinism (instead of having a Biblical understanding of God’s Sovereignty), and false doctrines, fear always works to get people’s attention: fear of hell, fear of government, etc.

To the unsaved, the Bible says: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both the soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28, Jesus speaking of fearing God). Do today’s peddlers of fear in some ministries preach the fear of God? To the saved, He says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7).

To those who seek the Truth, Satan works against tirelessly. The rest he generally leaves alone: to live and die as sinners who love their sin. The church in America has no likeness to the first century church. The persecuted sons and daughters do honor our risen Lord and Savior. Most professing Christians in America are a disgrace to our Lord (Matt 25:31-46; Matt 7:21-23, 25:11-12).

Why are they a disgrace to our Lord and Savior? Because they have not repented, been baptized (spiritually) for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. The primacy of repentance cannot be overlooked and anything less than repentance cannot produce Christians that can be born from above. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:10).

Paul the apostle warned of wolves (Acts 20:26-30) coming after his departure and indeed it did not take long–the judaizers, the gnostics, Constantine (the birthplace of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) and hundreds of other heretical teachings to our day.

The tragedy at VOM and Tom White is to serve as a wakeup call. The question to be asked among every professing Christian is: To whom do I serve? Does your heart and life reflect in activity (Faith) that “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6)? If it does not, it can, but you must take Jesus at His word. Jesus did what He was sent to do, at His word: provide a sacrifice to atone for your sins. He did not come to keep you out of hell (and He cannot do that because of one’s unbelief), He did not come because you deserve heaven (you do not). He came because His sacrifice was the only true expression of His Love and the Love of the Father which I believe happen to be the greatest among His attributes. If you are not willing to die to self, you cannot live the Christian life.

God’s Grace is bigger than the VOM, and if the VOM ceases to exist tomorrow, God would make a way where there seems to be no other way. An idolatrous pagan culture at VOM was built after the loss of Richard Wurmbrand and became the face of the persecuted Christian around the world. The Lord said: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matt 10:24). Why is it then that men, who profess godliness, strive to be like another master than Jesus?

Why do people follow these men and institutions of mass deception? The divinely inspired Word of God is the only place you will find the answer. Anything else is vanity.

The “great falling away”

has been in motion for some time. Those currently interested in knowing the rest of the story of VOM, I believe, fall into three groups: 1/ those who feel “vindicated” that God is not on the throne and Christianity is a fantasy; 2/ those who will form their own opinion based on emotional sentimentality and lastly, 3/ those children of God, born from above, who grieve in the Spirit, pray for the lost and those who need our prayers and know God’s plan is still the ONLY Plan. The VOM leadership, like the carnal nature of man, cannot be reformed. It must be regenerated or replaced by regenerated men and women of God.

If that does not take place, the Lord will take VOM down and provide another means to help those dear persecuted brothers and sisters in faraway lands who are doing His will, for His Name sake. We, who have been faithful in providing prayerful and financial support, have been deceived and saddened for those who need financial support and Living Bread—in my opinion, VOM is no longer a channel for God’s work.

The last question I ask you dear reader is more important than the first question I posed at the beginning of this letter:

Does the Lord Know You?

If you know the answer to this question affirmatively, you are a true child of God.