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Why I Left Spirit of Truth Church

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not given to rash actions.  I left Spirit of Truth Church nearly five years ago, I had only been there four years when I left.  I have had a long time to think and to consider. I have refrained from writing about why I left for a number of reasons, none of which will profit for me to write of more than to say I waited for the sake of patience.

On March 20th, 2005 I was brought one hundred miles from my home to a church in Lyons, Wisconsin, where I heard the Gospel preached.  I was so moved by this preaching that I went away in deep thought. I had long felt I lacked something in Christ, and I had long suspected that the Spirit of God had never been given me.  There is no scriptural basis for believing that the spirit comes imperceptibly.  "The Spirit breaths where he wills, and you hear His voice, but you cannot tell whence he comes and whither he goes."  I had never heard the voice of God, nor had an experience similar to that of the Apostles and other disciples in Acts. Pastor Mark N. had provided me with a document containing their doctrine. That night I read over their doctrine, because no matter how moving the sermon was, I was not about to ask a man with all kinds of false doctrine to pray over me. I found his doctrine acceptable enough and, really, as I read it I felt like it was just affirming things I knew were true, but had been stolen from me by the teachings of others.  But I did not believe in tongues.  That was the point I was stuck on, but I was embroiled in sin and iniquity, and I was not worried that I was going to start faking tongues, I would seek God and the prayer of men that preached righteousness and see what He would do.   I was mostly worried that nothing would happen.  I returned the following day, asking that men supposedly filled with the Spirit would lay their hands on me that I might receive the Holy Spirit of God.  As I have described many other places, I received that Holy Spirit, with power, and I spoke with tongues and prophesied.  That was my introduction to Spirit of Truth Church.

That was a day that changed my life forever.  As one may suppose, I continued at that Church after having received the Spirit there, making the 200 mile round trip as often as practicable.  I was well received by many in the church, but not by all.  That was not much of a concern though, because for the first time in my life, I was being received among the elders and within the ministry.  For me that was a big change, pastors had usually looked at me with unease. Pastor Mark became my friend instantly.  He called me nearly every night and we talked for many hours.  I was invited to sing every time I was at Church,  I was asked to fill in for the minister of music whenever he was unable to perform his duties.  I tried to conduct a bible study, but I just could not get people interested, I suppose having it right after church was a bit of a problem.  Church did not end at any set time.  The point is that I was free to do this, one of the few people who actually came to my study was Pastor Mark N,  not to spy on me or to check up on me, but to support what I was trying to do.  I was put in charge of the church website and given the freedom to write on it and develop content.   As far as traditional style church, it was about as good as I could ask.  There were problems, but nothing one would not expect in a mixed group of people.  I was webmaster of the church, I was given great liberty to write, and to post my bible studies on the church website. 

So why would I leave? 

Soon after coming to Spirit of Truth Church, I began to hear things which I had not read in the foundation of doctrine.  "Jesus did not have long hair, the ministry of Christ was only one year long, and not three,  the earth was created 6000 years ago, etc."  In my mind, at the time, all this was eclipsed by the good things of the Gospel which were being preached, so I did not give them much heed, but like leaven, these things have their work, and they worked on me (and they work on people in church also, and they do not even know it).

I have long had an interest in the Shroud of Turin, one of the objections to that object was the idea that long hair was not "in style" in the days of Christ.  But I had read from scholarly sources a different story.  Nevertheless, I was not about to argue that point, it was far too trivial.  Yet it did bother me that it kept creeping into the preaching.  What has what we believe about the length of Christ's hair got to do with the Gospel?

The age of the Earth.  As many of you know, I was once a student of Arnold Murray and the Shepherd's Chapel, so I always have the Gap Theory creeping around in the back of my mind.  Not that I am bound to that idea.  I can accept a 6000 year old earth, by accepting that God made the earth to look much older than that to men.  If the earth is 6000 years old, God planted a lot of  misleading evidence in the earth for men to stumble over. I can accept a 6000 year old earth or a 6 billion year old earth,  but I'm not writing this to get into the truth or fiction of either position.  I believe the whole argument is folly.

I was able to take these issues and shelf them because they were all coming from the mouth of my beloved friend Mark N.  Nevertheless, on the matter of the length of Christ's ministry I decided I would go to the scripture.  I had never confirmed to myself that Christ's ministry was 3 years, I had just repeated the information.  I wanted to confirm what Mark N was saying about the ministry of Christ being one year so that I could speak the same things he and others in the church were speaking.  So I went to the bible and did primary research, as I always do.  And I found that Mark was wrong, and clearly wrong.  So what did I do?  I wrote him a letter containing all the information I had found in the Gospel of John regarding the length of Christ's ministry.  The paper was entitled Chronological Factors and Time In the Book of John and you can read it by clicking on that link.

I never received a response.  This was basically the beginning of the end.  By failing to respond to in nay way to my paper on time in John, my leaving became inevitable.  I gave Mark N, Chronological Factors and Time In the Book of John in November, 2008.  I did receive confirmation that he received the document, but I received no response to its contents, ever.

Six months later one of the Elders was preaching (Jim C) and declaring, once again, that Christ's ministry was only one year long.

Just before that, either on April 12th or 8th,  a message had been preached, by the same elder, which dealt with the question, "On what day of the week was Jesus crucified."  I wrote a letter to Elder Jim, but I never gave it to him, Letter to Jim C I felt it was too harsh especially considering that he was not the only one preaching things that I saw as unsound.

Then followed Jim's message on the Feasts and on Math, which stopped me from performing my duties as webmaster.  On my 12, 2009, submitted my resignation and announced that I was leaving Spirit of Truth Church.   Resignation

Mark N asked me to explain why I was leaving.  On the phone,  I spoke of the feasts message and also of  the math message, but when I sat down to write, I could not bring myself to single out that brother.   There were "lesser," but similar, things coming from the pulpit out of the mouth of my beloved friend.  Mark N had never responded to my "Time in John" paper.  There were other issues too. All along a similar vein.  As I saw it, these doctrines were leaven polluting the Gospel. And  I believed that leaven ought to be purged from the message of the Gospel.

How could I single out Jim C's leaven, when I had come to believe the leadership of the Ministry was also harboring doctrines which had no bearing on the truth of the Gospel?  Doctrines which, true or false, add nothing to our faith but puff us up with knowledge, falsely so-called.  "We know that Jesus ministry was only one year long!"  I heard this coming from a young person in the church, testifying, that is what they were telling people about my church.  And it is not even true.

I actually talked about this subject in my teaching in 1 Corinthians 8 There is a form of knowledge which does not profit the Gospel, and when it is discovered, it ought to be purged.  That was my message.  I try to practice that,  I try to be right, but I'm glad that when I was recently tested, God gave me the humility to admit a fault in my words. Here is a link to that example:  I listen to pastor (Murray) and love his teachings but I heard him say that someone on drugs couldn't go to heaven. (I made a mistake here and I took correction from a brother who is not my elder, but whom God gave the wisdom to see I was in error.)

 So instead of going to Jim C, as Mark N had suggested, I went to Mark N directly and tried to explain the problem I was having with some of the things which were also sprinkled into his preaching.  He did not agree with my assessment that these things were leaven.  We exchanged emails and could not make peace.  I also included Mark M (our minister of music) in our exchanges, because I had already gone to Mark N myself in the matter of the question of the length of Jesus Ministry and I wanted someone to witness my departure.

That was why I left.  I brought my concerns to the ministry.  They were ignored at first.  And when I pressed the issue, my concerns were rejected so I departed.

I have not spoken publicly of it until now, (not directly) because I wanted to give the ministry time and because I did not want anything I wrote to be seen as the result of vindictiveness.  I'm doing this because I owe it to people to tell them why I left.  I do not know whether the ministry of Spirit of Truth Church told them what happened, but I have certainly given them sufficient time to do whatever they thought was right in regard to this.  Now I do what I think is right.

In the Fall of 2011 (or 2012?) I spoke with Mark N. on the phone.  We still have a lot in common, so we got along as well as ever.  He was apologetic about things he had said against me personally (I assume in our email exchanges, I do not know if anything else was said), and I certainly accept that apology, though I was not looking for any apology at all, I bear him no personal grudge.  This was never about me being personally offended, I did not leave because I was offended by something said against my person.  I was the one doing the offending.

So I asked him about the doctrinal dispute we had had.  And he told me that he could not remember what that was all about.  That was disappointing.   I did not press him while we were on the phone.  I confess, I have a particular fault, I like being liked by people whom I like, and sometimes it is hard for me to tell them hard things, because I want them to like me.  So I could not say everything that was in my heart.   Aside from any fault on my part, it is sometimes good to be slow to speak but sometimes I really can't stand myself.

After the conversation, it bothered me that he said he could not remember what I had left about in the first place.  To me that was everything.  That was what provoked him to rebuke me in the first place.  I wanted to know if we were in agreement now.  I did not care about the tone of his rebuke, we sometimes say things in the heat of the moment we regret.  I certainly have.  But the fact that he said he could not even remember what I was leaving over made me feel like it was a case of "your sins and iniquities will I remember no more."  And I was not interested in that at all.  I'm not interested in being forgiven or forgotten for bringing an important matter to the attention of the ministry. 

 I still have no answer to Chronological Factors and Time In the Book of John, not that I think that the length of the Lord's ministry is an important issue.  What is important is that we ought not mingle in with our Gospel things which do not profit the Gospel.  Whether it was a one year ministry or more, I do not want my Church defined by our belief in  he length of the Lord's ministry, the length of the Lord's hair, the age of the Earth, or any other thing contrary to profitable doctrine.

Part 2: How I Left

This section I include with much reservation,  but there is nothing done in darkness that is not going to be brought to the light.  I can't imagine making this page WITHOUT including the following.  I'm going to include some maroon comments and notes, these comments were not part of the original communication.

So I Began My Explanation:

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark N; Mark M
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:46 PM
Subject: The Focus
Mark,
 
I objected to many of the things said in this message. You will doubtless notice things which you know I would not particularly like.  But the summary wraps it all up for me, in track 9 beginning at 2:20 he says this:
 
(Note: The bold text here is a transcription of part of the message "God's Time Calendar by Jim C.)
So to conclude everything what I'm really trying to say to you is: if you know (sic), if you know that Christ literally came and fulfilled every aspect of the spring feast, to a "T," how much more does that give you the confidence to know and believe he's going to do it at the fall feast at the second coming.
 
So you need to know what that feast is about so you can be ready.  And he's gonna share it to us (sic) he's going to show it to us.  But if I don't know (sic), if you didn't know how the others worked, you can't understand the other one. Even the book of... what is it? "You know the end from the beginning." If you wanna know Revelations you need to understand Genesis (He should have said Leviticus) and if you want to know Genesis, you can find a lot out in Revelation.
 
So, basically, hang on to these if you want 'em, if you don't, give 'em back to me.

But all I want you to understand and see is, "Oh!" I do have something. "Hmmm!"
 
That last line says a lot, what is the focus of this teaching?  I don't have to wonder.
 
Mark, these are direct links to the messages, considering that the messages always follow the same formula, if you know the message name and date you are able to get the message, the code "%20" near the end of each link is the result of Scott's use of the "space" instead of the underscore "_" if he would use the underscore and put no spaces in the message titles on the files ie "God's_time_calendar_01.mp3" instead of "God's_time_calendar  01.mp3" it would make it possible for people in church to download any message.  I say this because I'm not trying to prevent anyone in church from hearing the messages, I just refuse to help put the messages on the web (in the midst of writing this, I just actually talked with Scott, he didn't see my announcement yet , I mentioned this problem and will help this much, at least so people in church can download the messages the hard way)

(Note: The links I provided no longer work)
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2001.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2002.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2003.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2004.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2005.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2006.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2007.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2008.mp3
http://spiritoftruthchurch.org/sermons_2009/090429_God's_Time_Calendar/090429_God's_Time_Calendar%2009.mp3

Comment: I was refusing to upload a message to the church website, "God's Time Calendar," after this I talked with Mark about the issue and was encouraged to go to Jim with my concerns. I did write a letter but my conscience was pricked. Instead of writing Jim, I ended up writing the following to Pastor Mark.

My Complaint

---- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark N ; Mark M
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:36 AM
Subject: Why
 
I cannot log on to mychurch, so I give this to you, Mark, Mark, and Scott, (Note: I did not actually include the third elder in this), do with this as you please,  this is what is in my heart:
I was asked to clarify why Iím going, this was written in haste, and is not what I was going to say, but now I have said what is in my heart. (Note: It was not what I was going to say about the teachings of the Elder Jim)

I did what I did not to cause strife, but to avoid it. But wherever things are not right, there is strife:

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."  (Comment: Quoting scripture in this context was a mistake, when you quote scriptures like this against a brother, it creates tension)

There are Truths (so called, I know not whether they be true or not) which will not make anyone free, but just the opposite, in the minds of the weak, there is a sort of knowledge that puffs up, and will not lead to righteousness, but rather to the subverting of the hearers.

Iím not creating strife. Iím would rather avoid questions that create strife, doctrines that minister questions, but they keep staring me in the face.

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

That advice is for the ministry. But what if the questions that ought to be avoided are coming from the ministry? What then am I to do? Not only am I young, but I live far away, I always feel like an outsider.

I feel like Iím cornered, I do not control what is preached, that is the Holy Ghostís realm. But I am supposed to post the messages to the website, yet I find myself unable to proceed any further for conscience sake of what the Holy Ghost has taught me.

I have talked to several elders, and I must confess, I have not been able to speak completely openly with them. I think it is because of my lack, I lack love, I love being loved more than loving others and saying what ought to be said. I still hold with the same Gospel, the same faith, anyone who listens to my bible studies will see that.

I have seen God allow me to wallow in folly until he sent his rebuke, sometimes it came as a revelation, sometimes it came by the mouth of a man. Iím supposed to look to my elders for answers, but they are the ones creating the questions. If I remain with the church I will have to sit under a ministry that is speaking things that strive with me and teach me nothing.

I have not felt free to speak, my heart is constrained, I want to be accepted, I would rather reject myself than be rejected by you all. This has been set off by recent events, but speaking frankly, there are things that have bothered me since the first days I came to church but which I overlooked for the joy of the gospel which was delivered to me and in which I stand.

I let these things go, considering, maybe there was something new I had to learn. Over time, for a few of these things, I have written or spoken to the ministry making my views plain, but not all, Iím weary with the whole matter. I am to blame. I lack.

In my conversation with Mark I only spoke of another brother, and that is certainly what has sparked my departure. But this is not just about one brother. And Iím not going to speak against that brother, because he gets it enough as it is. For all the things that I object to in that brother fall into the same category.

How does "The Earth is only six thousand years old" fit in to a message entitled "Defining God?" Is that how we define God? By how old the earth is? I understand the reasoning behind this brand of "truth" because I grew up reading books on young earth creationism.

Later I was part of a church that taught what is called the "gap theory" Which is essentially "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And it became without form and void" (at a later date). Iím not giving it much space here, but there is stuff in the bible that could be used to make it persuasive. I studied the other doctrines too, like the "day is as a thousand years" doctrines and such like. Of course there are all kinds of oppositions of science. I can accept that the earth is 6000 years old, but only on the basis that God created the heavens and earth in such a way so as to deceive men into thinking it was older. I could honestly argue all sides, Lord knows, Iíve wasted labor over all sides. But I refuse to do that anymore I reject it all because it is science falsely so called. But what do I do when this knowledge is exalting itself in my church? There is no profit here. Just puff.

Is truth important just because it is true? (Or we think it is) If someone weak, who believes in science came in, we will make them stumble, not at the Gospel, but at our math. I happen to think there are pretty good arguments for all sides of this and other "foolish questions" If the ministry disagrees, what can I do? Iím the one who has wasted his time examining all sides. Whenever I have tried to speak of this I get cut off somehow (I do not think intentionally) and I hold my peace, and for what? I donít want to argue, I just want to avoid these questions, but they are being created in the pulpit. Are we so perfect in what we have already attained that we do not recognize that the leaven is doing its work? I am the evidence.

There is leaven in our church, and it ought to be purged out. Doctrines of men, mostly of this sort. How long was Jesus Ministry? How long was Jesus hair? Do you think you know the truth? What is so true about it? Iím probably guilty of similar things, and I am willing to submit myself to that judgment, Lord, purge out the leaven in me, I will seek it out, help me find it.

I do not wish to strive over these questions. I do not care about the answers to them. I have waited patiently when they are stated from the pulpit as truth. I have spoken of my opinion on such things and been agreed with, in principle, yet it still keeps coming, what is left for me to do? Talk to them privately? I cannot, oddly because these are the men I love, and when I speak to them I melt, I cannot do it, maybe because I have loved being loved, more than loving. I was so used to being rejected that I desired to be loved more than anything. I have prayed that my love be made perfect, I trust even this will teach me.

I Then Added This the Following Evening

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark M ; Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:42 AM
Subject: That is not all
 
To Mark, and Mark, ( I decided to skip another brother, share this with whom you will at your discretion),

I donít want to cause strife, I donít want to argue, I refuse to argue. But lest you should think I am talking only of one thing or two...

I jotted down some notes from "Defining God." This is some of the other leaven I found:

1.) When it is said that John never spoke to Christ in the book of Revelation, I have never understood how one could come to such a conclusion. When John falls down to worship angels in the book of Revelation, they always forbid him, this one does not, so it is definitely Christ.

Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

And that is not Jesus? I think the following must be where this misunderstanding comes from.

22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.

The misunderstanding comes from a failure to keep track of who is being referred to. One has to follow the text back, and see that this refers to the one of the seven angels which had the seven vials (Rev21:9)who showed John all the stuff in Chapter 21 - 22. That was the angel that showed him those things and forbid him to worship him. It is not the same person as from chapter one, I read Chapter 1 and it sure sounds like Christ talking. Sure, It says "one like unto the Son of man" but that does not mean it was not Jesus, it looked like Jesus, but his appearance was also very different from when he was on earth, when the description is examined that much is obvious.

Iíve memorized this book, the idea that the one described in Chapter one is not Jesus is definitely wrong, it is leaven. Ask yourself. Why is denying that this is the Lord important? Is that the sort of "truth" you want those who hear you to speak to those who know not the truth? This is taught but I donít see the point, and it is definitely wrong. Puff.

2)."Abba" is the Hebrew word for Father, that is what it means.

This is not so much leaven as it is ignorance, but every time this point comes up it is said that this word (and it is a word) just means the expression of some unutterable emotion. While that idea may be in the bible; It is still the Hebrew word for father. I donít know what else to say. To say that all it means is "AAArrrrrggggggh.!" Is just ignorance.

3). Holy Guest? Ghost =Spirit. It is the same word, every time. I just have no idea where this idea comes from (Guest???), it was repeated several times. Is that how we define God? By making things up? Guest, Trinity, Aspect, Person, Distinction, Substance, how did the Apostles ever get along without all these words we have added? We must be wiser and know more than they did.

The holy ghost could be considered to be in the OT. Ps 51:11, "take not your holy spirit from me." I know it was not like in the NT, but still there are "aspects" of it...

4). Band is "cohort" a military term. Ie. A band of men. It only came to refer to musical groups in modern times. I couldnít tell if he was kidding, but I thought to myself, "He must be kidding."

Baptists make good Baptists, Catholics make good Catholics, and Spirit of Truth has all kinds of "truth" can we settle on one? That is ultimately the deciding factor for me.

Iím torn, I want to give this to you, but will it die with you? If you disagree, then it ought to die with you. But of course I think Iím right and if the leaven in Spirit of truth persists, it will corrupt everything. And what should I do? Iím inclined to just walk away... but that would be hatred. We will see.

I consider all this part of my training, because if you will not take heed, I sure will. this scares me near to death. I could go into great detail on all this, but If no one is going to hear me why should I bother?

This Was the Response of the Ministry:

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:00 AM
Subject: Re: That is not all

I see this different. I will also go through your bible studies and show you your err.  But you took them off. You do fail to see how angels speak.  I don't see how Jesus could speak when it is clear 1:1 that He sent His angel, 

You make statements and say I don't want to argue, I can't speak to you and your pride.  You have leaven also just how you present yourself, you may have the head knowledge, but you present it out of pride.  You're right Paul and let no one tell you otherwise.
Mark

Note:  I took my bible studies off the Spirit of Truth Church Website when I left, that was where they first appeared.  They were simultaneously on my website though as well.

Note: "You make statements and say I don't want to argue," ironically, I felt that was also my problem with the ministry.

I Responded

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark M ; Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:33 AM
Subject: Re: That is not all

I'm not building myself anything in my studies, I'm learning, It is a small thing for me to make a mistake.  I frequently caution people about the things I say, I caution myself.  I want my gospel to be flawless and unleavened.  The bible studies are still on my webpage and also linked from my profile on mychurch, I took them down myself lest I should be ordered to take them down. I would be flattered to be scrutinized by you, I try to do it to myself constantly, I just hope I'm doing a good job of it. I would happily hear my errors that I might purge them out,  what do you think, I don't love you because I disagree? You sat with me in Church and  told me that I could speak to you the way I spoke to Jim in that letter I buried, now I have done so, and have I hurt you? I'd really rather not hurt you, but you have proved my point, Was it literally Jesus or an angel who spoke with John?  Is a foolish question, and the question genders strife, not me. How do angels speak?
 
19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire,
 
22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
 
I know prophets and angels speak, "Thus saith the lord" but If the person described in chapter one is also an angel then he is also dressing up like Jesus and speaking as God in a way I find no precedent for in scripture.  :
 
Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
 
This is how the  angels speak:
 
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
 
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God
 
These very personally identifying remarks which jesus makes and the description of him, have their answer in the next two chapters.
 
2:2 These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks
 
According to your doctrine , Jesus does not hold any stars or candlesticks, he doesn't walk in any candles sticks, that is actually one of his body-double-angels impersonating Jesus
 
2:8These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
 
This could be someone other than Jesus? These things are written not using the name of Jesus but these descriptions are supposed to indicate Jesus, otherwise we have no idea who the message is coming from.  Why insert the angel?
 
2:12 These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
 
Is it an angel that has the sharp sword or Christ?  If the character in chapter one is an Angel this is not the sole realm of Christ.
 
2:18 These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
 
All this stuff is said looking back at Chapter one, we are supposed to know who is speaking, we are supposed to know who this refers to.
 
3:1These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars
 
Who is it?
 
3:7 These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
 
Who? "I have the keys"
 
3:18 These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
 
Amen. Is there any other?
 
 Just because an angel sends and signifies the message does not mean that John did not encounter the lord in the verses that follow, there are some aspects in revelation which come directly from the Lord, and there are others that come at the hands of angels.  That is exactly how the book is presented.  It would be one thing if jesus said, " I send it by my angel only," or "This I spea not unto you, but by my angel."  Just because part of the message is delivered by angels is no reason do deny the Lord when he is plainly standing before you.  Testified over two chapters of JUST EXACTLY WHO THAT WAS THAT SPAKE AND JUST EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING.
 
From the standpoint of context, that first verse does not make your side of it right, it is a bad reading.    I would rather avoid the question,  and have (avoided it) for four years.   If I don't speak,  I only prove that I hate you.  So now I have spoken, and how do you feel?  I'm not spreading this abroad, keep it to yourself if that pleases you, if you think I'm wrong then I will go away a fool.  What else can I do?
 
Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

And This Was the Ministry's Reply

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:47 AM
Subject: Re: That is not all
Precedent? Ex 3:2 the angel of the Lord, vs.4  God God called; Re. 22:8-20 this is an angel speaking vs10 he saith, vs 13 I am the first and.....  I see you err in scripture and in the power of God.
So I disagree with you,  that means I have leaven.  Because you're right and no one can tell you are wrong.  It is your world and you are its god. We will see who is right or wrong for My God will shew it, this is my confidence, He has lead me for 30 years and He has used me to turn many to righteousness.
 
I wish you well and hope that God will do the same to you, I will no longer debate you, for that is sin to me. It is wisdom from earth and not from above.  I am not talking to a brother I am talking to pride.
 
Mark

My Next Reply to the Ministry

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark M ; Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
 
This is why when people leave they do not want to say why.  This is why I kept silence for so long.  You are not a safe person to express concerns to.  Instead of instructing me, you have accused me, I'm pride, I'm god, I'm not your brother.  Listen to yourself, I always speak respectfully towards you, but because I have been critical of an idea of yours that has no bearing on the gospel, you stand there accusing me of some pretty heavy stuff.  I remember sitting on the pew with you after you read my letter to Jim, "You can talk to me like this"  you said, you lied, that is one thing I'm sure of, because I have not spoken half as harshly to you as I did to Jim in that letter. And I'm still holding back.  Do you have anything left held back? You've shot at me will all your arrows.  You say, I've made myself God, I'm proud, I'm not your brother.  What have I accused you of?  All I said was that there was leaven.  Your response is more leaven.  I didn't write to you to bring you down, but even though you are without pride, patient, and meek, I hope you can be proud of the way you have dealt with me.
 
Why would you wish me well? 
 
II John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God...10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
 
Why not rather that I should be chastised?  Or deliver me to Satan? God was patient with you once, are you complete?  I still need God's patience, at least I recognize that.  You will not hear me, but another comes whom you will hear.

And I added this:

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark M ; Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:26 PM
Subject: Last
Last thing, and, by all means, don't strive with me.
 
 You always frame what you say (in regard to this matter) in the form of denial: "Jesus Christ never talked with John, it was the Angel that talked with him." (verbatim from "Defining God")  You always frame it like that, in the form of a denial. 
 
So you are saying that God never spoke to Moses our of the burning bush either. Even though it plainly says "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush,"  It says God spoke with him, would it be right to say that "God never talked to Moses out of the Burning Bush, it was the angel that talked with him?"
 
The angel of the Lord is God, I showed that in my document "On Jesus Christ and the Nature of God." I suppose you missed that.  I was shocked you never had anything critical to say about it. Because you told me once that the Holy Spirit and the Father were "one-and-the-same" I wondered if maybe we were at odds, that is why I showed it to you before I put it on mychurch.  Now I wonder why I even cared. 
 
He said:  
"Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
 
And he looked like this:
 
I saw seven golden candlesticks;  his eyes were as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
 
But you say "Jesus Christ never talked with John."  In revelation the angels always say, "I am of your brethren."  I don't have a problem with what the angel says in Chapter 22. 
 
Even if he was literally talking to "an angel" were are certainly being led to believe that it is God that is speaking with him.  Denying that John spoke to Jesus in Revelation is just being provocative and splitting hairs for no good reason. 
 
The description in Chapter one matches that in chapter 19 at several points, and chapter 1 is not the Lord?
 
19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,
 
To say "Jesus Christ never spoke to John" (In Revelation) is to put the limits of your understanding on God.
 
All I'm saying is that the Lord 1). appeared to John, and 2). spoke to him,  If you want to add denials to that, I'll just have to say I do not understand what you are on about.

The Ministry Replied

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
I never said you are not my brother but what I am debating is pride. I do wish you well for you are my brother, but I am not your God. as God has directed me I hope he will direct you. I just disagree with you and it doesn't set well with you. I don't believe I was harsh, but as you said faithful are the wounds of a friend.
 
I still say to you, you err, the words may be right, but the wisdom behind it is not, because you are in your world and you are its god. Which doesn't leave room for people to disagree with you because your right.
 
I wish you well, because you must be made and I am not the creator.
 
mark
 

My Response

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
I want to understand then, what wisdom it is that I missed, you are wrong about me, I can be instructed, but give me instruction then. 
 
The whole point I'm making is that these questions do not minister grace.  Is that the wisdom that you are saying is wrong?
 
Is it the way in which I framed my complaint? If so then how ought I to have framed it. 
 
What if you are blind and it is you that is proud? Your 30 years, you have lead many souls to righteousness, who am I to question you?
 
 You keep saying of me that "its my world and I'm its God," but you couldn't be more wrong.  If you listened to my bible studies you would see the things that come out of me, and even as you say it, I reflect on it "am I god of my own world?"  I will consider well your words and use them to examine myself.  If you found things that I had said that were not correct I would gladly hear it that I might purge it from me.  It saddens me how little you know me.  I'm not the one who declares himself perfect.  I have nothing to lose.  And even that I have, I am not afraid to lose it.
 
You said, "You make statements and say I don't want to argue" that is how I look at you in your pulpit. The words you speak at me, what now is the wisdom of your accusations?  You are slandering my character, I'm proud, I think I'm God, that is about as slanderous as I can think of.  Do you think you see into my soul? Or am I really just your mirror? 
 
I've disagreed with a pointless doctrine.  You have slandered me.  Pride is to question your authority, that is what I'm being taught by you.

The Ministry Replied Again

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
"Your 30 years, you have lead many souls to righteousness, who am I to question you?"
 
That was not my intent, my intent is to show you the time that God has led my and how He as showed the fruit of it by leading people to righteousness. but out of your wisdom you hear it who am I.... This is how you hear the brethren out of  your world and not the intent of the word or how it is used.  Not one person in the church talked to me about the earth 6000 years that I said in passing, but rather spoke to me how thankful the were to see that God gave them His Spirit to make them His son's.
 
I never said you are God, but rather you are the god of your world.
 
You don't know us, and we don't know you, rather I don't know you, because you are alone in your world and you only hear you, not others or their gifts, places, callings, their struggles, mistakes and to see them grow, they grow  because they have others with their stuff and characters.  i.e. Mark M. told me you were frustrated with the worship when you played in the midst of the congregation, because they should worship from your world and if they don't they are wrong, because you are the god of your world.  you don't see beyond your world/life to see why they are that way, and then have compassion to minister in their spot.
 
you need a body of believers but i don't know if any can measure up to you world or are worthy to measure up to your standards.
 
I know the time we live and we are asleep and who can wake us but God, Mt25:1-5 I do desire to have but we lack in the ministry, Ep4:10-14, and this is God's time and it is beautiful to Him.
 
You say you don't want to argue or make a big deal out of it, yet you do or are thrown to do.  I am coming after those things that i see yet the issue appears to be something else, which can seem confusing to you.  but you do have pride that is the issue to me so i will minister to that and not to angels, math, ect.. I don't believe I can minister to you because I don't measure up to your world.
 
So I wish you well and I hope that you make it to the end.
 
mark
 

My Next Response to the Ministry

----- Original Message -----
From: Stringini
To: Mark M ; Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:57 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all

"ie Mark M. told me you were frustrated with the worship when you played in the midst of the congregation, because they should worship from your world and if they don't they are wrong, because you are the god of your world."
 
Neither of you get it.  That is not what I meant. I told him I was disappointed that my mother in law could not see our congregation worshipping God with any zeal.  I wasn't frustrated in worship.  I worshipped God just fine.  It is funny to hear you criticize me over this.  You complain about the altars and, when it suits you, you complain about the worship.  You didn't feel like entering "my world" as you call it, how did I respond? You wanted to retreat into your office, I saw no problem, I smiled at you and I had no problem with it.  I just expressed disappointment that my mother in law didn't get to see church the way my kids described it to her.  I never said anyone was wrong.  I was groping, because of my state.  Your mouth is full, but the words are empty. 
 
If you listened to my bible studies, you would see that I have taught that it is wrong for a brother who dances and rejoices in worship to look down on those who stand quietly.  You ought to consider the mental state of someone who says something, i.e., I'm in distress talking to a brother and I'm struggling to say things that I have not thought through.
 
You know so much about my state of mind, but you're wrong, and that is the most frustrating thing,  This is what happens when it goes from one ear to another.  Hearsay, he didn't get my meaning.  You read too much into it.
 
I asked to know what the wisdom was that I should have used.  I wasn't kidding, but you still just keep on making your assessments of me.  I've already examined myself, my opinion of me can't go lower.  You say that the way I hear things is wrong.  How should I have approached you?  I approached you in November and you did not respond.  And now I stand accused for questioning the importance of some doctrines and calling them leaven.  That is all I have done.
 
I'm your younger, I'm your weaker, and I have approached you with a problem and your response is that I should have used some superior wisdom to address you, a wisdom I asked for, but you have yet to tell me what it is, how am I supposed to address these issues to you? I obviously have no idea, but you just sit there judging me. I ask and you bring up hearsay to use against me to accuse me. 
 
You keep accusing me, telling me what you think of me, but you will not tell me how I should have addressed my concerns.
 
I've ignored the little issues with your preaching because I never gave it much care,  it was always for the greater joy of the gospel,  the only reason I'm even bringing it up (and I had not planned to, until after I talked to Mark M)  is because I thought, "How can I speak against what Jim C. preached when some of the things Mark M is saying fall into the same category?"  I realized I couldn't talk about Jim's pets and not yours.
 
I wrote you about the one year ministry thing, you said you would respond, but never did.  I brought it to you with fear and trembling, I couldn't even look at you, because I was afraid to disagree with you, because I loved being loved, and you saw with what carefulness I wrote, and how respectfully.  And I heard nothing. 
 
Now I have questioned a few things and you accused me of heavy sins, pride "god of my world" (whatever sin that is, I know not, but it appears to be a grievous one).  Where is your instruction. "You're wrong Paul."  That is not very instructive. "You are proud"  again, what does that have to do with what is preached?
 
"No one questions the 6000 year thing"? That does not phase me.  Good Baptists never question Baptist preachers, and Good Catholics never question Catholic preachers.  Your good people never question you, because they are your disciples, and people fear you, you do not respond well to criticism.  
 
I question myself, and if it is ok to question you, then why am I accused?  I can't just have feelings?  I can't be confused?  I can't be in tumult?  Talk about not understanding people's struggles. 
 
I've asked you these questions in private but I guess I hoped for too much from you, needless to say this is not the response I was hoping for.  i thought you might just consider whether these things were worth it.  I see where your priorities are.  For the sake of your pet doctrines, you will watch me go and accuse me to the brethren (as you already have accused me).  
 
And I am not alone in "my world," my wife, my brother, my father, my children and my friend are with me.  Not that I take much comfort in that, because I had hoped to do good, and I also trust that in the long run it will do good.
 
I'm a perfectionist and I'm very jealous over the gospel, I do not want to see anything hinder it, if you knew me, then you would know: That is my world.  And I will not tolerate your pet ideas or any  man's pet doctrines, least of all my own, to pollute the work that God has called me to.  That is why I am forced to separate. 
 
My actual separation was never a sure thing to me, I held out hope that I would be heard, but you have crushed any such hope. And still, I can't say it is completely extinguished, I don't know what I can do, I have made known my concerns and instead of addressing them, you have maligned me.  And you say you have not but when you say I am god of my world, and impute pride to me, you speak evil of
 
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
 
I spoke of doctrines, and ideas, and you speak of me, personally, my thoughts, my mindset, knowing nothing, and I know you are wrong.
 
God judge between me and you.
 
If you want the last word I'll try to give it to you, I can't take it anymore.

The Ministry Responded

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:38 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
"No one questions the 6000 year thing"? That does not phase me.  Good Baptists never question Baptist preachers, and Good Catholics never question Catholic preachers.  Your good people never question you, because they are your disciples, and people fear you, you do not respond well to criticism.  
 
This is how you see us. you prove my point.
 
you call it my pet ideas and I disagree with you, I have scripture also, but to what end?
 
I am trying to instruct you but you can't or won't receive it. You are right we don't know each other, but I do have some discernment.
 
Paul, I count you as a brother I see no reason on the contrary I just know you need to be in a fellowship of believers and I don't know if we are them.  I respect your music and that is what attracts me to you. I love your passion, but you have issues w/me that I can't receive from you your contrary view for me to say I repent of them. but I have from others. you have accused me also and I am not against you for it, but I will confess what I see and if you can't see my love in that, again it proves my point,
 
take care and when i hear your music it will make me mindful of you so I can call on God for your good.
 
mark
 

My Final Response

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Mark N
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:31 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
I wrote another  reply but put it away.  I wanted to say something else here but I deleted it. 
 
For better or worse, I'm glad at least that I said some of what was on my heart.  If I went away not telling you the things in which I thought there was error, then I believe I would have hated you, so at least remember, that in my own foolish way, I tried to love you according to my conscience.
 
You are still the only pastor I have ever respected.  That comes out a lot in my bible studies too.  I regret losing that.  The issues I disagree with you about?  I never really speak of them, I don't think they're worth it. That was my point. I wish you had understood what I was saying. I won't stand up for things that are arguable, unless they are the Truth that makes me free.  I want to be able to speak the same thing, I just can't say some of those things you say.
I pray for you and all them at Lyons always,
Paul
 

The Ministry's Final Word

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark N
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:59 PM
Subject: Re: That is not all
I love you Paul and that will not change
 
I will see and talk to you again, this I know, so keep me inform of your thoughts for I have peace with you.
 
I say this in truth God speed
 
love mark 

Final Remarks

And that is how I came to leave Spirit of Truth Christian Church, having to read all that over again and prepare it for this webpage has shown me why I delayed putting this up for so long.  It was too painful.  I hate revisiting this.  But I let this be a secret for long enough. It is time for it to come abroad.

Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

After I left I never listened to another message preached at that Church.  Ever since we talked on the phone I have had at the back of my mind the idea that I would visit Spirit of Truth again. A few weeks ago I decided to listen to what was being preached, thinking I might be moved to visit Spirit of Truth again.  And I was moved.  And this is the result.

Paul Stringini

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