Feb 15, 2012

Seeking a better country, that is, a heavenly one

"All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them."
-- Hebrews 11:13-16

"A number of former members the Observer spoke to said they believed Blair Adams sees himself as a messenger from God. Adam Alexander recalls how Adams used to scream and yell at his congregation in church, on one occasion slamming the pulpit and demanding: 'Never again shall you see my face until you can say: blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'

[...]

"Once he got too old for beatings, John said he had to endure being berated by the elders for two or three hours at a time. 'It's a process that never stops. My dad's in his 50s now and is still being disciplined.'

"John's comments echo those of Christina. 'When we were in Sunday meetings, the screaming and yelling and belittling of people was so atrocious,' she said. 'And at a moment's notice the elders would dis-fellowship you, and suddenly you were seen as an outsider among your brothers and sisters in the church. The psychological impact of this was terrible.'

Former members say Sunday meetings began at 10 a.m. and often lasted until after 3 p.m. Throughout, they would vacillate between positive and negative, and all meetings were conducted by the imposing Adams, standing behind the lectern with his booming voice. 'In the beginning, he’d shower you with love and praise,' John said. 'Then he'd berate somebody on the spot. It would go on and on like this.'

"It was, he said, an intense mix of 'Pentecostal preacher with fire-and-brimstone judgment.'"
-- Alex Hannaford, "Heritage of Abuse."