Apr 29

QuestionnaireSomeone kindly forwarded a list of questions that an ex-Restoration member emailed to a number of people requesting answers for a documentary they are making concerning their “9th anniversary of our escape/change in life”.

I think they were very good questions, and they brought to my mind some of the positive things I learned from the Guthrie and Restoration groups.

In a number of the questions below, I refer to both the Guthrie and the Restoration Groups. In my view, there was not a lot of change in the Chilliwack congregation from when it was part of the Guthrie group and when Ron Walter left the Guthrie group and took the Chilliwack congregation with him.

Between 1989 (the year Chilliwack left Guthrie) and 2000 (the year Chilliwack left the Restoration) the Chilliwack congregation became progressively more rule-centric and Danny Layne’s control of Chilliwack and the associated congregations of the Restoration moved more toward the papal authority model.

The papal authority model (an elected pope with authority over all other ministers) that currently was developing in the Restoration became stronger with Ron Walter leaving the Restoration in 2000. It is currently to the point where Danny Layne is now openly considered the chief minister and the one and only Apostle of the Restoration movement.

Both the Guthrie group and the Restoration hold they are the one true visible church. For my view on the one true visible church teaching, you may want to read my articles One True Visible Church (OTVC) Teaching and One True Visible Church (OTVC) Fruit.

Here are the relevant questions:

2. To what extent do you think being in the Restoration has made you who you are today?
To a very large extent; the views, practices, and doctrines I hold today have been influenced by the Guthrie/Restoration groups.

3. What is your strongest memory from the Restoration?
The sin-free living, entire sanctification, separation from the world, the plain clothes teaching, and the freedom of worship in their meetings: Five wonderful teachings that I strongly hold to and love, and which I learned from the Guthrie/Restoration groups.

Also, I would have to say the Restoration’s children school program is completely amazing and very touching. I would encourage everyone that is near a Restoration congregation to at least go once to their school program. These are just a few of the good things. Perhaps I will do a post some time on all the good things there are in the Restoration group.

4. What do you think was the funniest rule of the Restoration?
I can’t think of any “funny” rules, but their rule on brothers’ meeting clothes must be black and white only, what appears to be a move toward making black vests mandatory, and strongly advocating black, plain suits are the 3 rules I most disagree with.

I believe the Bible teaches an outward standard that is based on modesty, not on distinction. The humble Christian desires to not be especially taken notice of. Those in clear light will not dress to be noticed, nor rejoice and boast and brag about how all the heads turned and they were seen when they went through such and such a town.

Christians should not follow the example of the scribes and Pharisees whose outward standard was based on distinction by making broad their phylacteries and the enlarging of the borders of their garments “to be seen of men” (Mat 23:5).

Francis Asbury warned that practicing singularity in dress can cause pride and that Christians should do as others in all things that are lawful. “If it be to go in a meaner garb than others, and as some, not to put off the hat; or, as others to go barefoot, or in a distinguishing habit, that all men may see, and say, This is a singular person in religion; it is easy to see how this gratifieth pride. Humility desireth not to be especially taken notice of; and in all things lawful to do as others do, doth gratify humility” (The Causes, Evils, And Cures, of Heart and Church Divisions, by Francis Asbury, p.200).

This issue is one of the 16 objections to COGR practices and doctrines that I listed in my email to Henry Hildebrandt, which directly caused me to be banned from attending the COGR meetings. My position was that “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” is unscriptural.

I am currently researching the dress issue to see what the Methodists and the Holiness movement taught concerning Biblical principles that should be used to form an outward standard of dress. I hope to write an article on my findings.

5. If you hadn’t been part of the Restoration, do you think your life would be different now? How so?
Disaster. If I hadn’t been a part of the Guthrie/Restoration groups, I might not have learned about the sin-free message. When I met the Guthrie group, I held to sin-you-must and eternal security.

6. If you had stayed in the Restoration, what do you think your life would be like now?
Just fine. I didn’t leave; I was put out and told I was not a Christian because I didn’t believe the Restoration was the one true visible church.

7. Do you think you have integrated into mainstream society or do you still feel a little different than others?
I have not integrated into mainstream society, nor do I have any desire to.

8. What do you think is your biggest setback/hangup from the Restoration?
I have not setbacks from being part of either the Guthrie or Restoration groups nor do I have any hangups from either group.

9. Did being in the restoration have any good effects? What would they be?
Many. All the good doctrines — salvation from sin, entire sanctification, plain clothes, separation from the world, etc.

10. What do you think is your biggest accomplishment in the past 10 years?
To become established in my Christian walk on a level of practical Christianity.

11. Do you have any contact with people still in the Restoration? What is that contact like?
Besides the fact that my wife (Susan Mutch) is a member of the Restoration group, very little, other than seeing a few Restoration members from time to time. The contact is very brief.

12. What advice would you give to someone leaving an organization like the Restoration?
Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Hold on to all the good doctrines and practices they taught you. Don’t react against all the good conservative teachings from the Restoration and become liberal. I have been out of the Restoration 9 months, and other than dropping some teachings like their black and white meeting uniform that is based on sect distinction instead of modesty, playing chess online at the library and at the chess club, buying and driving a red bicycle, and watching youtube videos, I have not changed anything in my life.

13. Would you call the Restoration a cult? Why?
Of course not. They are just one of the many Christian groups that have an authoritarian ministry, are rule-centric, and think they are the one true visible church. While I hold they are bigoted and sectarian, use mind control techniques that are used by cults — like peer pressure and spiritual abuse to influence members to obey the rules, and macro-manage the members’ lives — they certainly are not a cult in my opinion.

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15 Responses to “‘Since You Left the Restoration’ Questionnaire”

  1. 1. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Greetings, bro. Bob:
    I think you have given some good answers to these questions. Some people jump into a group and swallow everything “hook, line, and sinker”, and then jump out complaining that the group is a cult. But whose fault is it if I jump into something and just swallow everything without being balanced? It is my fault, of course.
    May God give us discernment.

  2. 2. jen Says:

    So are you still married since you were asked to leave the restoration? is that a “allowable” excuse to divorce? I’ve heard that if a spouse is asked to leave then divorce is encouraged.

  3. 3. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Hello, Bob:
    I am not following your thinking completely or something. Could you explain the difference. You wrote:
    “In Chilliwack when Ron Walter took the congregation out of the Restoration conference and went independent one of the women moved to another congregation and her husband didn’t go with her… if the husband really loved his wife he would give in and at least move with her to the same area even if he didn’t attend meeting with her. This man didn’t and I thing that was wrong.”
    Then you wrote:
    “There have been other cases where husbands have left their wives because their wife refused to move where there was on Restoration congregation. For those all I can say is that if a husband really loved his wife and sees that it is God’s will for a marriage to stay together he would not leave his wife because she refuses to move some where with him.”
    Ok, to me it seems that you are saying that if the woman leaves to join a Restoration congregation, the man should follow. Then you say that if a man wants to leave to join a congregation, but his wife doesnt want to go, the man should stay.
    It seems that you are saying that the woman calls the shots!
    Well, before I comment on that, maybe you could clarify if I am understanding you.

  4. 4. Don Crosby Says:

    Hi Bob,
    From what I know, I would assert that the Restoration does advocate breaking up marriages in certain situations. If a family (a father, mother, and children) were to come among them, and the Restoration found out that at some point in the distant past the father had been married once before and the previous spouse still lived, they would REQUIRE that the current “marriage” be broken up if the family wished to remain a part of the Restoration. Of course, when faced with that requirement, 90+% of the families refuse and walk away, since breaking up their family goes against the very fabric of their spiritual experience. Whether this practice would be right or wrong, it would happen this way in the Restoration. So they don’t break up very many marriages, but they would if they could.

  5. 5. Steve Says:

    Bro. Mutch,
    A question to add:
    What was it that drew you to the Guthrie and Restoration groups? I have been researching cults for years, as I have ties with some of these brethren, as well as another group that holds similar control over it’s followers. I have researched the characteristics of a cult. I will not disagree with you on your assertion that these groups are not cults, but I pray that you would google “Characteristics of a Cult”. I struggle with the label of cult, because it is usually used in a derogatory manner, but the controlling, mind altering nature of these groups is dangerous. You are right, they have some very sound doctrine, but salvation is liberating, not confining. It is not something that causes fear!

    I would be interested to know what drew you to the Faith and Victory group, and why I haven’t heard mention of you in their circles? I attended one of their churches as a teenager, and visited many camp meetings. I would have to say that the teachings I sat under are still with me today, but reflecting on the experiences leaves a lot to be desired.

  6. 6. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Here is a list of the things that drew me to the Church of God Guthie, OK group.

    1. Free-from-sin teaching (committed and inherited).
    2. Strong emphasis on growing in grace and increasing in the fruit of the Spirit.
    3. Burden for not only the lost but to help our Christian brothers and sisters that are under false doctrine or weak in the faith.
    4. Strong teaching in modesty in dress.
    5. Emphasis on practical Christianity versus an emphasis of intellectual dogma that doesn’t really have a practical side to it.
    6. The desire for unity and purity in doctrine.
    7. Strong fellowship between believers in the local congregation and between the associated congregations.

    The first 5 have remained the cord of what I hold dear today. Unity in doctrine is very difficult to get without starting a sect and enforcing your written or unwritten statement of doctrine.

    As far as the Restoration group there was not really any changed in the congregation I attended when it left the Church of God Guthie, OK conference and became part of the Church of God Restoration conference. The changes came slowly as Danny Layne assumed a pope like position with the Restoration, and under Layne’s leadership the congregations became more intolerance of any dissenting views and started to macro mange the members lives.

    Layne’s pope like position was strongly increased after Ron Walter from the Chilliwack, BC congregation left the Restoration movement in 2001. It was at this time that Layne was held to be an Apostle and became the leading minister in the Restoration without any rival.

    I remember when Danny Layne preached his 1980 7th trumpet message at Charis campground in Chilliwack, BC. This system was a repackaged version of W. S. Goodnight’s message which is referred to as the 7th seal message. Layne told us he was just putting it out for consideration and we could take or leave it. What a different story it is now where the Layne and the Restoration ministry will disfellowship long term members that disagree with their 7th Trumpet message.

    As far as the Restoration group being a cult I am very clear that they are not. There are lots of denominations that use peer pressure and spiritual abuse to get there members to obey the written or unwritten rules. They would be better called a Christian sect but not a Christian cult. The term Christian cults should be reserved for groups like Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, and other groups like them.

    I am familiar with the characteristics of a cult and personally I think those characteristics match to a good degree New Testament Christianity almost as much as any current OTVC group.

    As far as salvation being liberating and not confining I agree. Salvation liberates us from sin but not from the dos and don’t of the New Testament. Christians are not lawless or without rules. Even McDonalds has rules — no shirt, no shoes, no service.

    The problem with some OTVC (one true visible church) groups is that if you won’t keep rules they will ban, disfellowship, excommunicate, and condemn you to hell. That kind of conduct is anti-Christ and sinful in my opinion.

    If they want to remove your rights as a member from their no-sect sect that is one thing. But to unsave you and influence others to not accept you as a Christian because you will not consider them the one true visible church and all others church groups to be of the devil, is bigoted and sectarian.

    You are not going to hear me mentioned in the circles of the Faith and Victory group because I am not an important person. I am just another peon of little importance in the big scheme of things.

    Over all my experience with F&V was better than with the R but they both hold to the sect OTVC (one true visible church) teaching that tends to cause people to be sectarian and bigoted.

    Also it is my experience that there is a culture of deceit in the R. The leadership of the R seems to be willing to push over the line of what is truth when it comes to getting members by doctrine hiding and also in keeping out of trouble with the law concerning their non-medical teaching and the deaths it has caused.

  7. 7. Elizabeth Says:

    So do you attend anywhere now. If they are wrong, who is right? How do you find the right?

  8. 8. Elizabeth Says:

    So what is your purpose of putting this information out here. You said you would still attend the R if they let you, but, in some ways you are putting a warning to people to be fully aware of what they are getting into.

    So, would you recommend someone join this group? Why or why not?

    What would you recommend to those that are in there? To stay or go? Why or why not?

    I’m aware you need to be very careful with your words so you will not be excommunicated, but we are trying to understand where you’re coming from here.

  9. 9. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    My reason for putting this information out is three fold. To clear up a lot of the misinformation about the Restoration, to give people a heads up who are thinking of joining the Restoration, and to influence the Restoration ministry to make changes.

    Please point out to me where I have stated I would still attend the R if they would let me. That is not my position. Perhaps when I was put out or shortly afterward that was my position but certianly not now. I consider the Restoration for the most part to be bigoted and sectarian-spirited. I am done with them and they are done with me.

    Of course I wouldn’t recommend someone to join the Restoration. Why — to long a list to post here. Would I recommend people to leave. If they can see through the system yes of course. But only if they are clear in their mind that the Restoration is unscriptural and have found somewhere else to do.

    I am not careful with my word as far as worrying about getting excommunicated. While I don’t seek excommunicated I am not worried about being excommunicated.

  10. 10. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I attend as a visitor a Charity congregation here in Vienna, Ontario. It is the best that I can find.

    If the Restoration is wrong who is right? Any congregation or group of congregations that teaches holiness in life and is not bigoted and sectarian.

    How to you find a congregation that is right — pray and look.

  11. 11. Ben Scroggs Says:

    I was raised in the independent Church of God as a child and had a few friends that joined Danny Lane’s group. I actually spent time talking with one of the “followers” at an Anderson Campmeeting in the late 1990’s. I left the Church of God in 2001 because of so much hypocrisy I personally witnessed. They taught Holiness but were some of the meanest people I was ever around. I also think it’s funny that Danny Lane’s group teaches to “not be noticed,” but when they show up at a Camp Meeting or a Wal-Mart they stick out like a sore thumb.One person asked where they were “putting on the play” at. One brother said he was taught he shouldn’t wear any accessory but was to be plain. However, I tried to mention his vest was an accessory and he didn’t need it. Also, I remember telling Danny Lane at that time that his “no collar suit” was actually in style at the time, (He didn’t say anything to that.) Also, why do they choose the dress style of the late 1880’s? Is that more Godly than the dress style of the 1700’s or 1600’s? If they really want to be Biblical…Jesus dressed in the culture of His day (tunics). If they want to be plain then tell them to buy some brown dockers and a tan shirt. These people also have a divisional, sectarian, “spirit” about them. Jesus died for sinners. He’s coming back after people washed by his blood, not after people who demand you wear black in a service. Maybe Danny Lane likes Johnny Cash? Maybe that’s the reason for the black? (tongue-in-cheek of course) Come on people…Just love Jesus and quit being so legalistic and fanatical.

  12. 12. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Ben,

    I think Christians that dress modestly will stick out like a sore thumb and especially in the summer time. For the most part I agree with the R’s dress standard. The only areas that I have changed in is I don’t wear the black vest, don’t wear only back and white clothes to meeting, when I am running (I run a half marathon from time to time) I wear a long-sleeve running shirt without a t-shirt underneath, and I put my baseball hat on backward from time to time.

    The R teaches the black vest for distinction sake and I disagree with that. But having said that I agree that it is good for the the sisters to wear a vest so their figure is not accentuated and I found when I wore a vest I didn’t have problems with my shirt having to be tucked in from time to time.

    I think the R wears the no-collar-suit for distinction sake not for modesty sake. As far as the 1700, I think over all they dressed more conservative back then then they do now. So if you are going to dress modest you are going to look old fashion and I don’t have a problem with that.

    Overall the R has many good points and some bad points. I agree they are divisional and sectarian and I have found them to be loose with the truth. But you know Ben I don’t regret having been part of them. I learned many good things from them!



  13. 13. bob Says:

    Hi Jen,

    >>>So are you still married since you were asked to leave the restoration?


    >>>is that a “allowable” excuse to divorce?

    No, there is no excuse among the Restoration for divorce and I would agree with this position.

    >>>I’ve heard that if a spouse is asked to leave then divorce is encouraged.

    No that is a falsehood. There is no account of a Restoration member in good standing ever divorcing their spouse.



  14. 14. bob Says:

    Hi Don,

    >>>From what I know, I would assert that the Restoration does advocate breaking up marriages in certain situations.

    Yes that is correct. If you are in what they feel like is an unscriptural marriage that would advocate getting out of it.

    I would hold that same position.



  15. 15. Mike Says:

    Greetings Brother Bob,

    I have only recently become involved with the COGR. I view them, generally, as being sincere serious Christians. I am so sick of half-hearted, lukewarm fellowship, that you typically find in most churches, and my heart was warmed by their zeal and genuine commitment to Christ. I was not in full agreement in several of their views, but I did not regard these issues as anything worth dividing over. I liked very much what I saw, or rather, what I thought I saw-a real-life Christian church, a people who actually live by the Bible! I see godliness, holiness, in them, and I love that which I perceive is lovely.

    I was only regarded as a serious prospect, a visitor, but I wanted to be much more, for I thought that I had finally found my home, this side of heaven. My experience of fellowship has been very lacking, and I long to be in a church to love and to be loved, and to live the Christian life with other like-minded believers.

    I then began to see elements of what I perceived to be spiritual pride in some of them, and I wondered at its possible source. I then began to study their doctrines, and found the one doctrine that I simply could not abide,-their teaching that they are the only church that is acceptable to God, and that all other churches are spiritual Babylon, an evil empire, from which God commands all Christians to come out of, and join with them. I think this doctrine flies in the face of their doctrine that they should be charitable, because they un-Christianize real Christians, and call that unclean which God has called clean. I could see how this one doctrine must have the effect of dividing churches and causing great harm to the body of Christ. After I realized all this, I wept bitterly, because I very much wanted to join myself to them, for I loved much of what I saw. O, what a fallen world! This Garden of Eden that I found has subtle serpents within it. But I am with you-there is much that is good that is in the COGR. I was once a member of a church that unintentionally promoted licentiousness; that taught that a Christian cannot truly live a holy life; and that taught that holiness (an intention of obedience) is not necessary anyway, because once you are converted, there is no way to become unconverted, and to forfeit your salvation. I would much rather be a member of the COGR than to be a member of a church that teaches doctrines that invite me to partake of sin, for God will judge me by my heart. Please keep in mind that my experience with the COGR is very limited, but I believe that there are a great many that are saved in this church, people with holy hearts and lives (too bad that a judicious judgment does not always coincide with piety). But oh! the devastation that this church has surely caused, and shall continue to cause, due to their false OTVC doctrine, that unintentionally perpetuates self-worship. What scares me most about this church, is that because they are so devout (and they really are, from what I have seen), they make the most perfect deceivers, for they appear as angels of light in a world of darkness. They seem to be perfectly suited to do that which they affirm to be so against:-the dividing of the church, to the end that the world sees the resultant mess and mocks at it, mistakenly thinking that this is true Christianity.
    O good God, please, I beg You, be exceedingly merciful and gracious, for the sake of Your Church, and the sake of the lost.-Deliver the COGR from this malignant falsehood that further divides Your church, and makes these deceived ones so uncharitable, judgmental, and hurtful to their brothers and sisters, and which makes Christianity to appear so unattractive to the world!!!

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