Out of a legalistic Pentecostal Church--Barbara Butler's Story

I am writing to you because I think that we Pentecostals need to be warned and beware. The church that I attended is under the leadership of a prophet/apostle. That alone should sound off warning bells in your spirit. The church began to teach things that were not in the Bible and to operate in a way that seemed contrary to Scripture. I knew that, but I rationalized the things that were going on because I was convinced that the prophet was "anointed" of God. Then I began to read the literature on your site and began to have Bible study at work with an Adventist. I was trying to show her the error of the SDA doctrine, and in doing so I saw my church ("And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye...")

Recently I stumbled across (thank you Holy Ghost) a website with a book entitled "I was a Flaky Preacher" by Ted Brooks at www.testingthespirits.com and there was no denying it. Me and my co-worker have since left our churches. I would like to give you a copy of the letter that I wrote to the prophet upon leaving. I was one of the most devout members of the church and I still love the members and leaders very much. I knew however, that if I disagreed with the teachings of the church that I was by default "controlled by the enemy". The letter reads as follows:

August 11, 1999

Dear Prophet and Members,

Regrettably, I am writing to give my reasons for withdrawing my membership.  I have struggled with this for months, and I have come to this decision by the leading of the Holy Spirit. These are my concerns:

  1. No accountability at the top (I Corinthians 14:29) - We are all accountable to God, but God also places checks and balances so that there is no abuse of power. We do not have this balance in our ministry.
  2. Less emphasis on the Gospel and more on Signs and Wonders (Luke 10:17-20) - These signs shall follow those that believe, but they also may follow those who do not do the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23). The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Healing, Salvation, and Deliverance must come as a result of the Gospel. Otherwise, it is not Christian.
  3. Testing the flock by allowing "Wolves" to preach to the fold -- This is definitely contrary to Scripture (1 and 2 Timothy, Rev.2:20 ).
  4. Extra-biblical Doctrine - "Satan controls the first and second heaven" can not be proven by study of Scripture. The doctrine that "everyone speaking in tongues confuses the enemy" also cannot be found in Scripture. I Corinthians 14 shows that "tongues" confuses non-believers, but never mentions the enemy.
  5. Emphasis on the natural - Clothes do tell a lot about us. We should carry ourselves in a godly manner. However, the Cross did away with worrying about what to eat and wear including anklets (Colossians 2:14-15). A Christian who worries about these things does not understand the implications of the Death on the Cross.
  6. Is faithfulness to Jesus and faithfulness to the Church the same? - Those that are faithful to Jesus will faithfully support His Church. However, the Church is a Body of Believers whose main purpose is to spread the Gospel. Our homes must first be in order before we can concentrate on the business of the Church (I Timothy 3:4-5). Taking care of our homes is just as much God's business as showing up at a specified place to fellowship.
  7. Does Who Baptize you make a difference? - This goes into direct conflict with I Corinthians 14:10-17. As long as the person being Baptized understands the purpose of the Baptism (that they are dead to the world and alive in Christ based on their faith in Jesus Christ) then God honors the Baptism with or without a supernatural sign. The vessel who Baptizes is only important in that they are being obedient to God's call to Baptize His people (I Corinthians 3:5 - 7).

This is just as much a reflection on me as it is on the Church. I rationalized these issues, but Jesus would not let me ignore them and still be in right standing with Him. Jesus made me take a good look at my motives for supporting the Church, and I found that they were based more on fear of man than on fear of God. I would be a hypocrite if I remained in the Church. I love everybody and I hope that you will respect my convictions.

I gave him the letter in person and I told him that he could call me so that we could discuss it. Instead, it was read in front of the church (he didn't say who wrote it, but people knew based on my recent absences) and from what my mom told me (yes, my mother and my brother attend also) it wasn't read the way that I wrote it. I was pretty much condemned. I'm counting it all joy and I would definitely like for you to pray for me. I've since had to apologize to my husband for my behavior, but also let him know that Jesus is still the center of my life. Thanks for your listening ear.

It's always appreciated.

Sister Barbara


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.