Thursday, June 15, 2006

Letter to my (old) church board...

(I've taken out my pastor's names and the church name - just because, I guess)

June 15, 2006

Dear Sirs:

This letter reflects the growing concerns I have about [ ] Community Church, particularly the ongoing relationship with Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries or New Orleans, Louisiana.

In January, [ ] hosted two teachers (Apostle Sherman and Prophet Corrine Shelton) who both preached and prophesied. The Sheltons are both licensed “network ministers” with Christian International Apostolic Network[1](CIAN), more commonly called “Christian International.” Both the CIAN registration and the Verizon phone book list their church as “Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries.”

In February Pastor [ ] assured me that [ ] Community Churchdoes not have an ongoing relationship” with Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries. He acknowledged that “there some problems” with their doctrine. In response to my concerns (and similar concerns expressed by others) Pastor [ ] also assures me that [ ] is not “going all Pentecostal … word faith … or five fold ministry.”

Yet church does have an ongoing relationship with Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries. [ ] church dedicated the Spring Break mission trip to rebuilding the Shelton’s church. The “June Prayer Letter” advertises that Pastor [ ] is “scheduled to be at Firehouse Ministries in New Orleans” on June 25, 2006.

Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries’ affiliation with Christian International Ministries Network is very real.

· CIMN’s goal is to “provide a place for both ministers and churches to be established in present-day truth and accountability” (emphasis mine)[2]

· Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries reflects this.[3]

· Christian International rejects the doctrine of the Trinity in favor of traditional “oneness” Pentecostal doctrine: “We believe in one God, eternal and self existent, self-revealed and manifested to man as Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” The use of the word “manifestation” is the standard reference to the nature of God in anti-Trinitarian “oneness” doctrinal statements.[4] Firehouse reflects this doctrinal position: “The triune Godhead is comprised of three (3) separate and distinct personalities… Jesus Christ, who is God manifested in the flesh…” (note the terms “manifested,” and “personalities” instead of “persons”)

· CIMN is a 5-fold ministry, apostolic organization, as is Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries.

· Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries is a Word of Faith church (promoting “Total Prosperity” in the spiritual, mental, physical, financial, and social aspects of life.)

The “prophesies” that Apostle and Prophet Shelton gave to [ ] Church are extremely troubling. That the leadership of [ ] Community Church allowed an “apostle” and “prophet” into the pulpit is more troubling and allowed them to “prophesy” is nearly unthinkable[5].

That [ ] Community Church witnessed – in its own pulpit – an Apostolic-Pentecostal “activation and impartation” ceremony, during which a “Prophet” laid hands on a woman and “imparted the empowerment of the Holy Spirit” and “called forth the prophetic anointing” is mind-boggling and appalling[6]. All of these prophesies play to the flesh. No mention was made self-denial, repentance, Scripture study, or even reaching the lost to find salvation in Christ. In fact, the entire prophetic message was devoid of any reference to: salvation, evangelism, scripture, or Jesus (save invoking His name to authenticate prophesy and apostolic impartation: “So in the name of Jesus, amen, I impart to you…”).

This is not [ ] Church’s only brush with “second work of grace” Pentecostalism.

October 4, 2005, Pastor Dave [ ] posted “River Dream” (posted to “Prayer Thoughts” – no longer on [ ] website, but it is cached at Google.)

In Pastor [ ] prophetic dream, it is clear that there are two groups of believers – those who are in the “river” of the Holy Spirit and those who are not. His companion in his dream could not enter the flow of the river (that is, in to the Holy Spirit) because of his “deformity.” It is only after a second work (the anointing of the Holy Spirit) that his deformities disappear and he is able to enter into the flow of the Holy Spirit. The implication is very clear and very Pentecostal: a believer who does not have the second work of the Holy Spirit is deformed and it is only after the second work of the Holy Spirit that a believer becomes “beautiful.”

In December 2005, Pastor [ ] added “Prayer Thoughts” from the book of Daniel, in which the implication was that to question leadership, is to be in rebellion of God.

His teaching was followed in January 2006 by “Apostle” Sherman who said in his sermon, “I have summed it up into something else. This is what God is saying to us. The love God is looking for is a love that chooses to keep its eye on the authority in your life.

Prophet Corrine’s prophecy to the church threatened, “God says, ‘Whoever does not cooperate with the unity that is between the two of you (Pastors [ ] and [ ]) God says if they do not obey by the Spirit He will have to deal with their flesh.”

[ ] Community Church is a member of the Christian Reformed Church. I need to be able to trust that the [ ] leadership has its eye on the authority of the denomination. My highest authority is God, after that, the denomination and after that, the church leadership. I chose [ ]Community Church because [ ] is part of the Christian Reformed Church denomination. I did not become a member of the Christian Reformed Church denomination because I wanted to attend [ ]. The distinction is vital. My cooperation lies with God first, then the CRC, and only after that, with these two men.

I am asking the elders of [ ] Community Church to:

  1. Evaluate, against Scripture, the things that I have written and the material provided.
  2. Provide a clear confirmation or refutation of the prophetic plans—declared in the name of the Lord during the Lord’s Day service—including the changes in name, missiology, and ministry directions coming to [ ].
  3. Explain, with Scriptural support, why a prophetess declared, these foundational changes to the membership, in the name of the Lord, apart from and prior to any consideration or approval of the Board of Elders.
  4. Explain why ministry resources were directed, apart from CRWRC, to rebuilding the church of a oneness Apostolic organization that heavily promotes unbiblical Word of Faith and five-fold ministry theology; serious theological errors tantamount to anything seen in Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witness doctrine.
  5. Continue in prayerful consideration the direction that this church is going, and reconsider any affiliation with Firehouse Full Gospel Ministries and/or Christian International.



This is a list of bullet points that highlight the "prophesies" made by the "apostle" and "prophet" at my church on January 30, 2006

Prophet Corrine’s “vision” on the way to Grand Rapids:

· Being on the platform at [ ] was a “fulfillment of prophesy” and they would be remiss if they didn’t “speak the word of the Lord.”

· The current building will not be the main campus. Rather, the soon-to-be-renamed church will be a mega-church on par with Saddleback or Willow Creek.

Prophet Corrine further prophesied that:

· “…by the word of the Lord I tell you that there’s a name change coming” to a name that is “indicative of your destiny, amen.” This new name will be given to Pastors[ ] and [ ], not to the Board of Elders. (Neither the elders nor denomination were acknowledged in any capacity.)

· The new mission of the re-named church will be to change other churches, to offer training and healing to ministers.[7]

· God will remake the church into “a place of healing”; implying that the current [ ] is not yet a place of healing (an assault on the sufficiency of the Word and its ability to work in lives).

· Those who do not cooperate will be dealt with by God “in the flesh”

· [Pastor's wives] would no longer be supports (i.e., helpmeets) for their husbands, but would “be beside them.”

· She also prophesied over [pastor's wife], that she would break the mold of what a pastor’s wife is supposed to be.

In what is commonly known as an Apostolic “impartation and activation” ceremony, prophetess Corrine laid hands on [pastor's wife] and “imparted the empowerment of the Holy Ghost and the gifting that is upon her life.” In doing so, the Sheltons acted out the Pentecostal doctrine of a second work of grace; a work that, in Apostolic circles, must be “imparted” and/or “activated” (in Apostolic parlance).

Apostle Sherman also prophesied:

· Other ministries (seemingly more prominent) will come

· The newly named mega-church will deliver unto them truth and light

· These people will go back in secrecy and “start something”

The Apostle and Prophet’s performance was no surprise. In fact, it was Pastor D- who extended this “prophetic ministry” beyond the service, “…but if the Lord is calling you to come down and enter into the prophetic ministry over your life and over your ministry during this song we invite you to come down come down to the front and we’ll continue ministry after church is over.”

Pastor B-, acknowledging that the service had run late, “I told you our drop dead time is 11:30. We’re [ ] and we’re always on time… (long pause)…but I guess we’re not [ ] anymore.”

[1] Christian International Ministries Network is a pseudo-denominational network that supports “Christian International” (

[2] This statement confirms that Christian International (through which the Sheltons are registered) promotes the doctrine of continuing revelation as practiced by the Apostolic/Five Fold Ministry movement. Christian International founder Bill Hamon writes, “the first century church…didn’t recognize evangelists, pastors and teachers. They understood apostles and prophets, but they didn’t really understand especially evangelists and pastors.” (“The 7-Fold Anointing of Christian International” at

[3] “We believe that in order for the Church to truly reach God’s expectations we must have the presence and influence of the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and the Teacher operating through us.”

[4] . For example, in “The Oneness of God,” the anti-trinitarian United Pentecostal Church states, “the Trinitarian concept of God…as inadequate and a departure from the consistent and emphatic biblical revelation of God being one…Thus God is manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.

[5] Attached is a page that highlights the prophesies of the apostle and prophetess. The sermon is posted on [ ] website as an MP3.

[6] Prophet Corrine’s prophecy over [].

[7] Note that given the lack of mention of evangelism seen in the “prophesy” that announced these changes, one can only conclude that this vision is more about changing churches than changing lives; reaching other (presumably non-Apostilic pastors) rather than reaching souls; promoting CIAN-style fire fold ministry rather than anything seen at [ ] before.