I think one of the keys that will unravel the OTVC teaching is to have it applied to you. To me, this was a big shock! I believed that I would never be put out of the Church of God Restoration, as I was a Christian – and they wouldn’t put Christians out.
When I was put out of the Restoration, they started slandering my Christian name with half-truths and twisted facts by telling people I was not saved. It was then that I realized that this is what they did to others. I clued in that the twisted rumors they were telling others about me were the same twisted rumors that were told to me about others they had put out while I was still with them.
Here is an example of what I mean by half-truth twisted rumors:
“We found John Doe to be an unteachable and proud person. We tried to help him the best we could. He was not living right in his home and his wife doesn’t feel like he was saved. There also were many people in the local congregation that knew his life and for a long time wondered if he was saved. He was divisional and causing problems in the congregation and we just had no choice but to ask him to leave.”
Let’s translate that.
“As we are the one and only way, any body that doesn’t believe our church is the one true visible church is proud and unteachable. So as John Doe doesn’t believe we are the one true visible church he is proud and unteachable. We have managed to convince John’s wife of the one true visible church teaching and how it is true humility for her to submit to our ministry and what ever we tell her even if she doesn’t understand.
So when we told her John had a proud and unteachable spirit because he doesn’t believe that most important teaching of the one true visible teaching it was easy for her to accept this. Also we have helped John’s wife to see that John is deceived as he is not accepting us as the one true visible church. All his praying, Bible reading, and tract work shows he has a religious spirit. As John’s wife has proven her humble by unquestionable obedience to the ministry, and John is proud, unteachable, and deceived, clearly the problems they are having in the home are all John’s doing.
We have told John’s wife in some cases it would be wisdom to let the people John is trying to influence away for the truth know that she feels John is proud and unteachable, has been the cause of many problems in the home, and that he seems to have a religious spirit. This way John’s wife can say that it is not all about one true visible church issue, but that John was not living right in the home.
We have taught the people in our movement to question a persons salvation if they don’t praise our church and our ministers, accept the one true visible church teaching, and believe what everything we teach them. Therefore, many of the brethren have been wondering whether John has been saved for a long time. Even if he doesn’t spread his differences to others, just the fact that he disagrees means he has a divisional spirit. People that are of a divisional spirit will put a damper on the meetings and hinder the working of God. Due to these reasons we asked John to leave.”
While the first paragraph is what they say, the second paragraph is what they mean. If you don’t have the key to what they are saying you would be mislead.
I can see clearly that many of the Restoration people are Christian bigots but especially the ministry. The people are also raising bigoted children and young people, and are producing bigoted converts. When I say they are bigots I mean they are intolerant with other Christians that believe different then them and if those that differ with them don’t change to their version of doctrine and standards they will not accept them as Christians.
Bigot: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
I think it is pretty intolerant to tell others they are not saved and going to hell because you don’t agree with them in non-essentials teachings and practices or you don’t agree that their small 10 to 15 congregations are the only true congregations and all other congregations are of the devil. (They only do this to those that have come among them and have had time to hear that they consider the truth. They don’t act this bigoted toward those who have not heard their version of the truth.)
In particular the Restoration ministers have have acted very bigoted toward me. When I let them know that I didn’t agree with their end times teaching that the body of Christ was restored in 1880 according to the books of Daniel and Revelation they promptly banned me from all meetings and made no attempt to show me my error. Further they told me I was not a Christian, prated against me with malicious words slandering my Christian experience to others by telling them I was a child of the devil. By this they show that they are under the influence of the same sectarian spirit that Diotrephes (3Joh 9-10) was effected by, forbid the brethren to fellowship me with the thread of being cast out of the church.
I have had one 8 year old and a 13 year old from different Restoration families tell me I am not saved (two different families that live close me my home). Some of their children now will not wave at me when I see them, rather they just stand there and look at me with a serious look.
Just 2 days ago, I had one of their backslidden young people abuse me verbally (used the F-word numerous times), and threatened to hurt me physically because I had left the Restoration. Of course I reproved him and told him that what he was told are lies and I had be put out but he didn’t believe me. He told me that he thought I was smarter than that to leave the church, and how much he was disappointed in me.
To be fair to the Restoration, this young man is no longer attending regularly at their meetings. He was raised in a troubled home and although he is smart he seems to be a bit socially dysfunctional.
I had one of the Restoration people ignore me completely (it could have been he didn’t see me, but his children waved to me), and another march away with his nose stuck in the air not willing to give me the “time of day” when I said hello to him.
Just to represent the Restoration fairly, I feel like many of the more spiritual ones have been very polite and kind to me and even honk their horn at me when they see me and I hadn’t seen them.
Anyways, you get the idea.
When I originally wrote the what became the One True Visible Church (OTVC) Teaching article, it was directed for the most part at the Holdeman group and not the Restoration. My inspiration to write the article was not gained from my experience with the Restoration, but from what I was seeing the Holdeman group was doing to their members. It was an MO there that was a clear pattern.
While most Holdeman members will not be able to see clearly what the Holdeman ministries are doing to the people they put out, they should be able to see clearly how I have been treated wrong.
This is human. I am still not able to see clearly all the wrong in the Restoration that people insist is there, but oh how clearly I can see it in the Holdemans. At times, I have clearly shouted “cult” when I have heard some of the things that they have been accused of doing.
More could be said, but that is enough for right now. I truly feel sorry for these dear Restoration people that are so deceived by the OTVC false teaching and I am horrified by the terrible fruit it is producing in them.
May God save this world from this abominational teaching!
Lest it be told that I don’t believe that the Bible teaches there is only one true visible church, I will answer that objection here.
I hold that OTVC is a Biblical teaching and worked in the New Testament time. What I hold is wrong with it is: for a sect today to hold this doctrine and claim to be the OTVC and to exclude others from fellowship and heaven because they will not forsake all other groups and come to theirs. As far as I can see, there are 100’s of groups of different sizes teaching this doctrine and are all doing the same thing.
Worse yet, OTVC groups are using fear tactics and spiritual abuse to force members into their doctrine and standards with the ultimate claim that they have the keys to the Body of Christ, and can take away people’s salvation and thereby damn them to hell if they don’t obey them and conform.
This conduct is wickedness and an abomination and I will cry aloud and spare not!
Dear Church of God Restoration Readers:
I know this is strong but it is the truth. While I can’t expect you to agree with my conclusions, I do want you to know that if any of the facts I have presented in this article don’t represent the Restoration factually, you can email me and I will offer the benefit of the doubt and make changes. I love you all dearly, and want you to know I have written this article prayerfully with tears. I exhort you to change, to repent, and to cast off the yoke of bigotry. I warn you in the name of Jesus that it is an abomination to condemn the just (Pro 17:15). May God have mercy on your souls.