I am sorry I took so long to answer your email. I have done my best to carefully and prayerfully answer your questions and to be honest and up front with you as to where I stand. I wrote this reply on May 12th (a week after I received your email) and I spent the last 2 months meditating about what I wrote and if I should change anything or add anything.
I took the day off today from work to fast and prayerfully consider what I wrote and have made a few changes and added the list of things that I would respectively disagree with that the Restoration teaches. While I think we need to be careful to not be rash in what we say, I feel it is best for all to be upfront and honest about how we see things, and where we stand on issues. I have always tried my best before the Lord to do this – even when it has been to my own hurt. Honesty and openness with the brethren is truly the best policy.
I have responded to your questions with my many faults, failings, lacks and weaknesses before me. I lay no claim to a deeper revelation than any one else, and for some of the things I disagree with I have no answers. I have no axe to grind, no hobby to ride, and little interest in anything that doesn’t directly relate to personal holiness and my increasing in the grace of God. While I have answered your questions clearly, directly and perhaps in some cases forwardly, I want you to know I shy away from confrontation and take no pleasure in disagreeing with you. I trust you will receive this response in the spirit in which it has been written.
>>>Do you feel that it is possible to be in perfect unity with us and yet at the same time disagree on a mayor doctrine?
I am taking you here to mean unity of the Spirit – as if you were meaning unity of teaching or doctrine the question would be rhetorical. It would depend on what you are calling a major doctrine. I presume you are referring to the standard taught concerning what Restoration members are permitted to go to the doctor for. I wouldn’t consider rules that dictate which members are allowed to seek medical care and what they are allowed to seek medical care for to be a major doctrine.
If you consider this a major doctrine, then the Restoration just changed a major doctrine when you started requiring all children and young people under the age of 18 in Canada and U.S. to go to the doctor for all medical needs that the law would require them to.
So, to answer your question, I do believe there can be perfect unity of the Spirit with other Christians that have a difference in standard for what they believe the Lord has lead them to hold – as to what is allowable or not allowable concerning going to the doctor.
I would not break fellowship with someone that believes that they should not go to the doctor to get their teeth fixed, or for getting a broken bone fixed or if they hold they shouldn’t take medication that will deaden the nerves so that there is no pain. Nor would I break fellowship with those that believe it is ok to go to the doctor to save a child or mother during birth, or with someone that believes it is ok to take insulin to control their blood sugar level, or for someone that takes medicine for their bi-polar condition, or with someone that goes to the doctor for an appendectomy.
Further, I won’t consider people inherently less spiritual for doing the above. Nor for believing that it is ok before the Lord to do these things. I feel that to break fellowship with brethren over things like this would be the fruit of a sectarian spirit.
When it comes to teachings that the Bible does not give us clear instructions either in precept or by principle – we cannot break fellowship with another believer and remain clear with the Lord. When people start cutting off other believers over the standards they have setup that have no support in the Bible – by precept or principle – they will need to stop professing to be anti-sectarian as they have just become more sectarian than the sectarians.
Since I advised you in Feb of 2007 of my position concerning your teaching the congregation to refuse medical help – even if it means dying – you have told me I am not spiritual, implied that I am not sanctified, made me a visitor, asked me to act like a visitor, implied that I shouldn’t call songs in meetings or to pray out in meeting, and not long ago you asked me to not share during Sunday school. Further, you have told me that I should only testify in meetings where you are present in and when doing so to be short and just to thank God for the one true church.
You have asked me not to pass out literature and you have asked me not to reach out and visit people in the community with the aim of helping them spiritually. And I should note that it is my understanding that these above actions you took are not because I am or have received medical care or am taking medicine (as I am not), but because I hold that it is okay to take medical care in areas where the Restoration teaches a person shouldn’t.
I want you to know that I strongly disagree with all these steps you have taken and I consider them the fruit of the same sectarian spirit that got ahold of Diotrephes – that in its full manifestation caused him to not receive some brethren and to cast others out of the church and slander their Christian experience by claiming they were not spiritual or saved. I say this carefully, prayerfully and not in haste. I believe the Restoration is at risk of being so rule centric that they will become more sectarian than the sectarians by cutting people off and casting them out of the assembly for not keeping rules that we find nothing of in the Bible – by way of injunction or principle- and the hero’s of the Christian faith knew nothing of.
You have no problem going to the doctor for teeth, for getting your bones set, or to take medication to deaden your nerves for these things. You have no problem sending the children and young people from the congregation to the doctor for all things. Yet, you hold that someone that thinks it is ok for adults to seek medical care for things you don’t allow are not spiritual.
I am not sure how far you are going to take this. Will you soon tell me not to say “amen”, or “praise the Lord?” Will you tell me not to talk to visitors or new Christians? Will you tell me to stop coming to meetings until I change my position? Will you cut me off and tell me I am not saved? How far do you plan on taking this Bro Henry? (These questions are asked in all honesty and are not meant to be sarcastic or disrespectful.)
>>>If the whole body is wrong then you have an obligation to show us by the Bible where it is.
I don’t think the whole body of the Restoration is wrong. The Restoration members are just following what the Restoration ministry teaches them. Five years ago in most cases, it would have been considered sinful and wrong to provide medical attention for your children under 18. And if you did, you risked being told you had sinned and needed to be saved and for the most part members followed this even to the point of a number of children dieing. Then the ministry changed the rules and told members in US and Canada that they must provide their children with medical attention required by the authorities and the Restoration members now follow that. So my disagreement is not with the Restoration members but with the ministry.
I expect down the road there will be further changes in the Restoration rules’ concerning what is allowed medically and what is not allowed. Personally, I think it is only a matter of time before some Restoration parents will be charged with voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child for “recklessly manifesting extreme indifference to the life of their unborn child” (that is how the charge is worded legally). At that point I expect the Restoration medical allowance rules will change. I would strongly suggest you act proactively and make this change in the rules before that comes about by requiring all expecting mothers to use the option of medical intervention where the life of the child is at risk and to employ experienced midwives (overseen 100’s of births) for all births.
If the police had known all the facts in the failure of our home birth which caused the death of our son Levi, Susan and I could have been easily charged with voluntary manslaughter and I shamefully admit I feel like at least I would have been guilty. I have had to repent before the Lord for what the Restoration rules influenced me to do in that situation and Susan is still suffering emotionally and physically from that ordeal which is now 8 years ago.
As far as me having an obligation to show you where you are wrong by the Bible, I think that is very easy to do.
The Restoration teaches those that receive most medical procedures and take most medicines are showing a lack of spirituality and faith in God and are either living below the Bible standard or for those who have been in the Restoration long enough to know and accept what the Restoration teaches for divine healing have committed sin.
If the Bible teaches that it is wrong and sinful to have medical procedures or to take medicine, then you can’t make exceptions unless the Bible gives them by direct injunction or by principle. An example of a Biblical principle that forbids a medical procedure is where alcoholic wine is subscribed for thinning the blood of those that are in risk of blood clotting. Proverbs 20:1 says wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.
If you maintain that there are scriptural principles in the Bible that will help people decide what procedures are allowed and which ones are not, I would ask you where the principle is in the Bible that would leave a person with the conclusion that the removal a deep rooted wisdom tooth with minor surgery is allowed by God, but the removing a child from the womb with minor surgery is sinful.
When an exception is made for some people for all medical procedures and for all people for some medical procedures, you have to provide clear injunctions or principles from the Word of God to deem the exceptions Biblically based. If you can’t show support in the Bible for the exceptions you make – either by clear injunction or by principle – the teaching is weighted and found wanting.
In fact, when we weigh this teaching by the Word, we will find principles that stand against this teaching. The Restoration teaches that all children under 18 are to be given all the medical procedures that are required by law in the U.S. and Canada.
The Bible teaches in principle that we are to train up a child in the way they should go. If taking medical care and medicine is sinful, then this Bible principle teaches that no matter what we should not do this. It is human reasoning that teaches that we do the lesser of two evils. It is evil to take medicine but it is more evil to lose you children to the government’s control so the Restoration chooses the lesser of the two evils. This is a good example of basing a teaching by human reasoning and not by Biblical injunction and principle. The very thing the Restoration claims they don’t do.
Also, I will point out that when the Restoration taught that it was wrong and sinful to give medical attention to children and children died because of that practice, I was in disagreement and I voiced my objections to Bro. Layne. I rejoiced when that rule was changed and I consider the changing of that rule to be an admission of the Restoration being wrong and my position being right. As God never makes any exceptions with sin, it is clear that the Restorations non-medical rule with its’ numerous exceptions is a man made set of rules that finds no support in the Bible at all.
Now let me ask you a question Bro Henry – and I do this with all respect – how can you feel clear in your soul making and enforcing rules that are not Bible based and tell people if they don’t keep them they are sinning?
I shared my amazement with you about one and a half years ago when I was working on your computer in your home office and you asked me what I would do with members that were disobeying the ministry’s counsel to not go on the Internet. At that time I told you I don’t see how you can tell a person they are sinning for going on the Internet when you yourself are going on the Internet on regular basis yourself. How can you charge a person with sin for doing the very same thing you are doing?
I again voice my amazement on how a rational thinking person can go to the doctor and get teeth work done and take medication (local anesthetic) , hold that it is ok to go to the doctor to get broken bones set and take medication (local anesthetic), hold that it is ok for children and young people under 18 to go to the doctor for any medical need and then turn around and tell a mother giving birth that has complications that it is sinful and wrong for her to go to the doctor. I have voiced my strong objection to this teaching to you before and will voice it again. Such a teaching is ludicrous.
If you claim that the Bible teaches that doctors and medication are sinful, then you need to practice it. Since you make many exceptions, let me ask you this. Can you show me in the Bible where it teaches not to take any medical care and if you can do that can you show me support in the Bible for so many exceptions? I think not.
Keep in mind Brother Henry I have watched this play itself out over 20 plus years. While I think it is fine if people don’t want to take medication or visit the doctor but I strongly disagree that the ministry should be teaching it is wrong and sinful to do so and then try to pressure members into this position.
>>>Remember, the unity is what Jesus prayed for in Joh.17.
Dear brother that is unity with what the Bible teaches, not in unity with unwritten rules as is the case of the Restorations anti-medical teaching.
>>>I wish you could hear some of Bro. John’s exhortations.
With all due respect Brother Henry what carries weight with me is what the Word of God teaches. Not a man’s testimony for manmade rules and I say that with all due respect with reference to your deceased brother. You will find no where in the New Testament where it teaches not to take medical care. It is just not there. And if it did fine it then you would need to obey it and not take any medical care instead of following the many exceptions the Restoration has made.
>>>Brother, please consider this email very seriously and DO NOT override the urgency of it.
Brother Henry we had a conversation back in Feb of 2007 and at that time I told you clearly where I stood and how I came to that position after prayer, fasting, and searching the Word of God. I let you know that I believed that teaching mothers-to-be to consecrate to die in childbearing before accepting medical help in the case of complications was a ludicrous position to hold.
To your suggestion that I pray for more faith and that I admit to lacking faith in divine healing I was very up front and honest with you. I told you I was not seeking further understanding on that point, as I felt like the Lord had clearly showed me that what the Restoration was teaching for divine healing was not Biblical. This has not changed.
>>>Most of the time I have found that when a person is in disagreement with the body on a mayor point, there are usually other areas that need attention.
I have gone on record with different ministers down through the years concerning a number of things that the Restoration and Faith & Victory teaches that I don’t think are supported by the Bible. I disagree with the following positions the Restoration takes:
Believe what ever the ministry teaches without questioning it;
follow counsel given by the ministry even if you don’t understand it;
that the Restoration will never compromise;
that no Christians will be left in any denominations and they will only be found in the Restoration before the Lord comes back;
the back dating of the fall of the church to 270 by holding that the three days and a half of Rev 11 are 350 years and that God purposely used the day symbol in this way so that many people would not accept the 270/1880 dates;
that not keeping Restoration rules is sin and causes you to lose your salvation;
ministers going on Internet while telling others it is sin to do the same;
being less that forthcoming and purposely leaving authorities with wrong impressions concerning deaths where members refused medical help;
that the Restoration is prophetic and therefore can do no wrong; the hiding of divorce/remarriage and the anti-medical teaching from visitors and new members;
teaching that when you praise the Restoration you are really praising Jesus as the Restoration is Jesus’ body;
attributing the accepting of the Restoration as the church, obeying the Restoration ministry, and keep all the Restoration rules as spirituality verses having a deep devotional life, an active burden for souls, a consistent increase in the fruit of the Spirit, and freedom from carnality;
teaching and encouraging members to praise the ministry verbally in meetings; teaching that we are to be married to the Restoration;
teaching a standard of dress that is not based on modesty only, but also based on distinction for the sake of being distinct and noticed;
a low standard of sanctification that allows for carnality in the sanctified;
and of course the anti-medical teaching.
There probably are a number more, but they have no practical implications and they are just minor nit picky issues that would serve no purpose at all in being raised.
I don’t consider any of these major points of Christian doctrine. Most of these issues are just part of having a radical end times teaching, an authoritarian ministry, being movement centric, and being non-conformist with a lot of unwritten rules. I am however concerned with what I have seen where members and ministers appear to have become loose with the truth and have purposely left authorities with incorrect impressions that I feel like in some cases could be seen by some as lying. Also I am equally concerned that we don’t fall into movement and ministry worship – as spiritual pride will destroy any movement. Then of course I disagree with the anti-medical teaching.
>>>I am very thankful every time I hear that you are drawing closer to the Lord! We will know that it is true when we see that it affects these areas that we are dealing with.
I would strongly disagree with this. I don’t think you can tie a person’s spirituality to keeping or not keeping manmade rules, written or unwritten. Statement likes these in my opinion show a lack of discernment of what real spirituality is.
>>>Let me close with this: If we, as the ministry, would ignore the need that is there, we would be no better than any Babylonian place out there.
It would be my position that those that make manmade rules and make them a test of fellowship are creating confusion and have become sectarian in spirit. The Bible teaches we are to offer our hand in fellowship to every person that is saved and that is living a holy consecrated life to God in all they know and understand. Not every person that is saved and living a holy consecrated life to God to all they know and understand and keeps all the Restoration’s unwritten rules.
Even with the above list of things I disagree with, all and all I am very happy to be whatever small part of the congregation here in Aylmer I am allowed to be.
Concerning the actions that have been taken against me, I strongly believe that everything is in the hands of Lord and I have no fear of what any man can do to me. I know all actions that have been or will be taken against me have been allowed by the Lord and the Lord will use them for my spiritual good.
It is always good for our humility to be considered less spiritual than we really are and I welcome every trial with joy that will build endurance in my Christian experience. When we do well and we suffer for it and we take this patiently with a good attitude and full joy then this is acceptable with God.
Christian love and prayers,
Note: This post is copyrighted 2008 by Bob Mutch and may not be duplicated or distributed in part or in whole in any media form. This post has been back dated as I am not wanting to expose my readership directly to this issue. While I am not in favor of making private letters or emails public my email was shown by Henry Hildebrandt to Danny Layne and Ray Timsman and forwarded to Susan Mutch. At the point that Henry Hildebrandt started showing my email to selected individuals ,I no longer considered it a private email.