Tag Archives: clergy abuse

Esther Combs Story – Part 1

Courtesy Of ABC News.
Joe and Evangeline Combs were Independent Fundamental Baptist. They perpetrated the most heinous crimes against a child. They are now serving 179 years in prison for their crimes against Esther.

Here’s Esther Combs story of abuse as told by ABC News – Part ONE.

Character Assassination – Part 3

CAThroughout this three part series, we have discovered that there are many tactics that can be used to silence and discredit those that expose abuse and lies, or, question the dogmas, doctrines and rules of the church. History is fraught with the use of these tactics against God’s people who would not bow to the authority of the Church of Rome or its leaders. The religious crowd has become very proficient in Character Assassination because they have had centuries of practice to really get good at it.

Throughout history and today, Character Assassination is the tool of Evil men and women. It is not a tool of God. Those that use it to spread hate and slander against others, are not God’s people. During Tyndale’s era, it always led to death. Today, in many countries, it still leads to death. This tactic, we must realize, is a tool of Evil and always lends itself to such. But let’s look at the final tactics of Character Assassination as it pertained to William Tyndale.

The Martyrdom of William Tyndale (1536)william tyndale

       The New Foxes Book of Martyrs,

                    Pages 129 – 133

When Tyndale had translated the Book of Deuteronomy, he wanted to print it in Hamburg, Germany, and so started by ship in that direction. But his ship was wrecked on the coast of Holland, and he lost all his books, writings and copies, money and time, and had to start over again. He continued to Hamburg on another ship, and with the help of a Master Coverdale, re-translated all five books of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — from Easter until December of 1529, in the house of a pious widow, Mistress Margaret Van Emmerson. After finishing, he returned to Antwerp.

At the end of his English New Testament, Tyndale inserted a letter asking any who read the translation to inform him if they found the least error in it, or if there was any of the translation that they thought was wrong and should be corrected. But the papist clergy, not wanting the book to succeed, cried out against it and said there were a thousand heresies in it, and that it was not to be corrected, but totally done away with.

Tactic # 10: LIE, LIE, LIE – while continuing to perpetrate tactics #7, #8 and #9!

Some of the clergy said it wasn’t possible to translate the Scriptures into English. Some said it wasn’t lawful for the lay people to have a New Testament in their common language. Some said it would make all the lay people heretics. And to persuade secular rulers like Sir Thomas More to be on their side, which he already was since he was an unswerving Roman Catholic, they said it would make the people rebel against the king.

These English clergymen, who should have been guides of light to the people, would not translate the Bible themselves or allow anyone else to translate it. All they wanted was to keep the people in darkness and manipulate their consciences with foolish superstitions and false doctrines. In that way they could satisfy their personal ambitions and greedy covetousness, and exalt their own honor above that of any king or emperor — even above Christ Himself.

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Ok, it’s time for me to interject some thoughts here. WOW! I have been shouting this truth for over a year now in my books, Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse and, The Truth About Tithing. I have also been shouting this truth on this blog at every opportunity in my articles! NOW, we see the root causes once again, that are the reason for all of this garbage the clergy have been dishing out to Tyndale; and they are the same root causes that exist today! They are the reason for the Character Assassination of those that speak out against the lies of the religious system and the abuses they hide. The root causes are: GREED, POWER and PRESTIGE. If you have not read the Balaam Phenomenon that I have on my blog, I would suggest doing so as it covers this topic in today’s terms. Now that we know what drives the church “system” and its leaders, let’s continue the story.

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The bishops and other church officials never rested until the king agreed with them.

Tactic #11: Get the secular authorities involved! Believe it or not, but religious leaders have connections within government. When they need to use them, they do. Lawsuits are one of the many favorite tactics religious leaders use against those that speak out or expose abuse. Religious leaders also use the legal system to separate and destroy family units.

And so in 1537, a proclamation was hastily written and published under secular authority prohibiting Tyndale’s New Testament translation anywhere in England. Not satisfied with that, however, the clergy proceeded to make plans to entangle Tyndale in their nets and take his life from him.

Tactic 12: Kill the “heretic.” Unfortunately, I know personally, religious abuse survivors that have had numerous death threats because they exposed lies and abuses within their respective churches. Yes, it still takes place even today. These death threats came from “Christians.” 

They did it this way.

Tactic 13: KNOW your heretic well. This helps in entrapping them.

From examining the records of London, it is obvious that the bishops and Sir Thomas More had in their custody several who had been with Tyndale in Antwerp, and they carefully questioned them to find out all they could about Tyndale, what belonged to him, in whose house he stayed, where the house was, what he looked like, how he dressed when he went out, where he usually went, and where he met with others. When they had learned all these things, they set about to work their ungodly deed.

Tactic 14: Find someone who will pretend to be the “heretics” friend and then betray him, or, bribe and existing friend to betray him. In Tyndale’s case, they did both.

In Antwerp, William Tyndale had lived about a year in the house of Thomas Pointz, an Englishman who kept a boarding house for English merchants. A Henry Philips, whose father was a merchant and did business in Antwerp, came to the city seemingly on business for his father. He had a servant with him and seemed to be a trustworthy gentleman. Tyndale often ate dinner in a place frequented by merchants, and there he met Philips, who somehow quickly gained Tyndale’s confidence and friendship. So much so, that Tyndale had him over to Pointz’s house to visit and once or twice to dinner. He even obtained temporary lodgings for Philips at the house, and so trusted him that he showed him his books and other secret things in his study.

Thomas Pointz, however, had no such confidence in Philips and asked Tyndale how he became acquainted with him. Tyndale replied that he was an honest man, well educated, and quite in agreement with his plans. Seeing that Philips had such favor with Tyndale, Pointz said no more, thinking that they probably became acquainted through some mutual friend.

After some time in the city, Philips asked Pointz to show him around the commercial area where he might make some purchases. During their walk they talked about various things, including affairs of the king of England, but nothing was said that made Pointz suspect anything. After awhile, however, Pointz began to understand that Philips was trying to determine whether for money he would help him in a plan he had. Pointz knew that Philips had plenty of money, for several times Philips had asked him for help in obtaining certain things, always of the best, and Philips always said, “I have enough money.” The plan and money were eventually discussed, and Pointz agreed to what Philips wanted him to do.

The next day Philips went to Brussels, about twenty-four miles from Antwerp, and brought back with him the procurator-general, who was the emperor’s attorney, and several officers of the law. About three days later Pointz went to Barrois, eighteen miles from Antwerp, where he said he had business that would keep him away from his house for four to six weeks.

A few days after Pointz left, Henry Philips came to Pointz’s house about midmorning and asked his wife if Master Tyndale was there. When told that he was, he left and positioned the officers he brought from Brussels in the street and around the front door. About noon he came back and went to Tyndale’s rooms and asked him to lend him forty shillings, “for,” he said, “I lost my wallet this morning on the trip from Mechelen.” So Master Tyndale gave him forty shillings, which was easy to get from him if he had it, for he was a trusting man and inexperienced in the deceptive ways of the world. Then Philip said, “Master Tyndale, you shall by my dinner guest here today.”

Tyndale replied, “No, I’m going out today to dinner, and you are welcome to come with me and be my guest.”

So when it was dinner time, they left Tyndale’s rooms to go out. At the front of Pointz’s house was a narrow entryway that only one could go through at a time. Tyndale courteously offered to let Philips go first, but Philips made a show of it and insisted that Tyndale go first. Master Tyndale was a short man, and Philips was quie a bit taller. When they got to the door where Philips had positioned the officers in such a way that they could see who came out, he pointed downward toward Tyndale from behind him to let the officers know that he was the one they should arrest. After they put Tyndale into prison, the officers told Thomas Pointz that they felt sorry for Tyndale when they saw how simple and trusting he was.

After Tyndale’s arrest, the procurator-general and some officers went to Tyndale’s rooms and took away everything that belonged to him, including all his writings and books. They then took Tyndale to the castle of Vilvorde, eighteen miles from Antwerp.

In prison, Tyndale was offered the services of a procurator to represent him, and an advocator to speak for him, both of which he refused, saying he would speak for himself. During his imprisonment, Tyndale preached so much and well to his jailers and those who came to know him, that they reported that if Tyndale wasn’t a good Christian man they had no way of knowing who was.

Tactic 15: Use the legal system against the “heretic” to finish the job. Believe it or not, many abusive men and women have used the legal system to intimidate and destroy people’s lives. If you can destroy someone legally, you can utterly destroy them.

Although Tyndale answered the questions of his inquisitors truthfully and with good use of reason, no reason was enough to save him from their hate and determination to destroy him and his work. Although he did not deserve to die, he was condemned by reason of a decree made by holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, when the emperor and the Roman Catholics rejected the Protestant position that was presented to the assembly.

On October 6, 1536, in the town of Vilvorde in the Netherlands, William Tyndale, God’s first translator of the New Testament into English, was brought to a place of execution, tied to a stake, strangled by the hangman to the point of death, and then burned in fire for doing God’s work. As he met the Lord, Tyndale cried with a loud voice, “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes!”

So powerful was Tyndale’s doctrine and the godliness of his life, that during the year and a half of his imprisonment, it is said that he converted the jailer and his daughter and several others of his household.

Concerning his translation of the New Testament, because his enemies found so many faults in disagreeable ways and claimed it was full of heresy, William Tyndale wrote from prison to his friend, John Frith, “I call God to record against the day we shall appear before the Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would I do so this day if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches might be given to me.”

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Now, let me wrap up this story by bringing this subject of Character Assassination around to today. Injustice is always a tragedy. When those that try to expose corruption, abuse, lies and deception step forward, it automatically brings with it the possibility of Character Assassination. But, don’t let it stop you from coming forward because, if enough do, it can totally change the playing field for the better. There really is power in numbers!  If you see someone slandering another person and their work, think about William Tyndale and this tactic. If you see a blog that attacks others by name, and tries to discredit their works, think about William Tyndale.  REAL Christians should NOT do these things. They should have the genuine LOVE, GRACE and CHARACTER to reason, agree to disagree, and move on. There is a way to disagree with someone in love and, history also tells us how it is done. Read, Handling Opposing Beliefs, that I wrote back on July 12th. It will tell you how it’s done.

Anyone that cannot disagree with others while still being respectful and gracious toward them, has a problem. They are not concerned with treating those they oppose with respect, honor and dignity.

Any person whose main goal is to attack and discredit through any of the mentioned tactics of Character Assassination, those with opposing views or beliefs, those that expose lies in doctrine or dogma, or, those that expose  abuses, should be ignored. Don’t help them spread their hate toward others by sharing their articles expressly aimed at hurting, humiliating, discrediting and destroying someone else.

Also, did you know that you CAN disagree with someone while not naming them? Those who use names with the express intent to hurt the individual and publicly humiliate them are practicing Character Assassination. Let’s do our best not to participate in Character Assassination by spreading gossip and slander or, spreading hateful blogs and blog articles whose sole purpose is to publicly humiliate and destroy an individual’s credibility. Otherwise, this makes us complicit in this evil called, Character Assassination, and, speaks volumes of the type of character we are projecting to others.

It takes a conscious effort to “see” the effects of our actions toward others. Many participate without even realizing that they are! It’s time to be more aware of this tactic in our lives. It’s time to tell ourselves that we will not participate in it any more. It’s time to treat people with love, respect, honor and dignity while still being able to disagree.

Character Assassination – Part 2

CAIn part one of this article, I chose to cover the topic of Character Assassination by taking some early church history and dissecting it to see the tactics the church uses against those that have differing views or beliefs, question or oppose the church’s dogmas, doctrines or rules, question leadership, or expose lies and abuses. This tactic of Character Assassination shows itself throughout church history. It is not an isolated weapon used only a few times. Even today, this weapon of choice is used against those that oppose religious teachings, rules, doctrine, etc., or expose abuses.

In part one, we discovered five tactics thus far, used against William Tyndale that are currently used today in religious institutions. When I left off with Tyndale’s story, he had just moved to Germany in order to flee the persecution from religious leaders in England. Because of the nature of some of the truths expounded in his story, I would like to also take the time to extract them for the reader to see. So, not only will I continue to highlight tactics as we get to them in his story but, I will also highlight certain truths that are important for every religious person to understand and realize. Why? Because what Tyndale dealt with is the same stuff that we deal with today in TODAY’s churches with religious leaders of all walks of faith.  There is a reason for deception in teaching – that reason is control, as we shall soon see.

Let’s look at the rest of his story.

The Martyrdom of William Tyndale (1536)william tyndale

The New Foxes Book of Martyrs,

Pages 125 – 129

After meeting with John Frith, Martin Luther, and other colleagues, Tyndale decided that the only way he could obtain the benefits he wanted from his translation, was to put it in the language spoken by the common people, so that they could read and see the simple plain Word of God. Undoubtedly he was influenced in this decision by seeing Luther’s translation and the effect it was having on the German people.

Tyndale knew it wasn’t possible to establish the lay people in any truth unless the Scriptures were so plainly laid out before their eyes in their own language that they could understand the meaning of the text. Otherwise, the enemies of the truth would destroy it by using likely but misleading arguments, traditions of their own making that were without scriptural foundations, and by juggling the text and expounding on it in such a way that it was impossible to determine if what they said was the right meaning or not.

Tactic #6: Keep the lay people ignorant of the TRUTH of God’s Word by manipulating and twisting scripture and meaning.

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Okay, let me stop here and interject some thoughts. The truth that is brought to light here is very important for everyone to digest and consider. The enemies of the TRUTH were the religious leaders of the church! They were not the heathen/pagan people.  They were not even other religious sects!  How could that be? Think about it. Tyndale knew that the religious leaders of the church had SKILL. What was that skill? Deception“Using misleading arguments, traditions of their own making that were without scriptural foundations, and by juggling the text and expounding on it in such a way that it was impossible to determine if what they said was the right meaning or not.” Does the reader realize how exceptional a skill this is? To be able to twist scripture and expound it in such a way as to gain follow-ship and keep them blind to the REAL TRUTH, is a great skill! Does the reader also realize that the clergy KNEW Tyndale was telling the truth and this incited them further to silence him?  They were not interested in TRUTH, they were interested in control. Why? Because he who CONTROLS has power to generate wealth.  Could it be that the power, prestige and money afforded them by the Church was not something they wanted anyone to mess with?  If people knew the truth, it would affect their position and income.  Another thought to consider is that these religious leaders had the ability to be able to incite to violence those same followers against someone trying their hardest to get the truth to them! Using deception to gain control is a tactic of many religious leaders and, they hone those skills with practice.

Now, back to the story.

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He was certain that the chief cause of all the trouble in the Church was because the Word of God was kept hidden from the people, and so for a long time the abominations and idolatries of the hypocritical and self-righteous clergy could not be seen. For this reason, the clergy did all they could to keep the Scriptures hidden so that they could not be read at all. And even if someone COULD read them, the clergy so twisted their meaning that the unlearned lay people who despised their abominations could not solve the riddles in their doctrines, even though they knew in their hearts that what the clergy taught them was false.

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Herein lies another great TRUTH that resonates with me in a big way. One of the biggest frustrations that I had for many years was that my study of scripture showed me things that were being taught that were not true. BUT, like these people in Tyndale’s day, the word acrobatics and twisting by clergy was so good from the pulpit that it caused me to dismiss the truths that I was seeing. My thought was, “they are more educated than me, so surely THEY must be right.” In my heart and mind, the conflict raged within me for years. Every Bible study I did was revealing truths that contradicted doctrines. Every time I came across truths, it made me angrier and angrier because, I was SEEING truth in scripture and angry that what I was taught contradicted it! It became such a mental battle that I had a sleep disorder for years. I also knew that to question clergy about doctrine would bring me under ridicule and attack from the pulpit.

What was happening to me can happen to anyone. I was interpreting scripture based on what THEY told me it meant, not on the truths that God was revealing to me through his Word! When we dismiss truth to continue to believe the lies we are told, we become pawns to be used to suit the whims of clergy. Sadly, we will even be the ones incited to hatred and violence against those that oppose us or believe differently. We will be incited to violence against those that expose the lies or abuses. We will fight against the ones that try to point out the truth with vigor and continue to believe the lies we are told.

Now, let’s get back to the story.

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For this and other reasons, God stirred up this good man to translate the Scriptures into English for the benefit of the simple people of his country. Tyndale began printing his New Testament translation in 1525 in Cologne, Germany, but was interrupted by a legal injunction and completed the printing in Worms in 1526. Soon after, his translation appeared in England. When Cuthbeth Tonstal, bishop of London, and Sir Thomas More, speaker of the House of Commons, saw the translation they were much offended and began to devise ways in which they could destroy what they called “that false, erroneous, translation.”

Tactic #7: Any works written that show TRUTH must be labeled and shown to be FALSE. This is done by twisting scripture and meaning to reinforce that the truth is a lie and then, to LABEL the work so that people will be more likely to dismiss it as such. Works can be labeled the same way that clergy label people. It works the same in both areas. However, to label the work also transfers the label onto its author.

As it happened, Augustine Packington, a textiles merchant, was at Antwerp in the Netherlands on business, and there met bishop Tonstal, who was there because Tyndale had moved there from Worms.

Tactic #8: Follow the heretic everywhere you can. Enlist the aid of others in other areas to help in your cause to destroy the heretic and his works that expose truth.

Packington liked Tyndale but told the bishop he did not. Tonstal and Thomas More had devised a plan whereby they would buy all of Tyndale’s books before they reached England, and he told this to Packington. Packington replied, “My Lord! I can do more to help you in this matter than most of the merchants here, if it would so please you. I know the Dutch men and strangers that have bought Tyndale’s books from him to resell them, so if you will give me the money I need, I will buy every book from them that has been printed and is still not sold.”

The bishop, thinking he had God “by the toe” and in his control, said, “Do your best, gentle Master Packington. Get them for me and I will pay whatever the cost, for I intend to burn and destroy them all at Paul’s Cross church in London.”

Upon receiving the bishop’s money, Packington went immediately to Tyndale and told him the whole plan, and an agreement was made between them to sell the bishop all the books he could be sold. So the bishop of London had the books, Packington had the thanks, and Tyndale now had ample money to print more books.

After this took place, Tyndale revised and corrected his New Testament and increased its printing so that three times as many books were sent to England. When the bishop learned that more books were appearing in England, he sent for Packington, who was in London on business, and said to him, “How can it be that there are so many New Testaments here? You promised me that you would buy them all.”

Packington answered, “I bought all of them that were available, but obviously they have printed more since then. It will probably get no better so long as they have stamps with which to ship the books, so you had better buy the stamps also if you want to be sure.” At this answer the bishop smiled, realizing that he had been hoodwinked, and so the matter ended.

A short time after, a George Constantine, who was suspected of certain heresies, was taken into custody by Sir Thomas More, who was now lord chancellor of England. More said to him, “Constantine, I want you to be frank with me about what I’m going to ask you. If you are, I promise you I will show favor to you in all the other things that you are accused of. Across the sea is Tyndale, Joye, and a great many like you. I know they cannot live without help. There are some that help them with money, and since you are one of them and you know where their money comes from. I urge you to tell me who is helping them.”

“My lord,” Constantine said, “I will tell you the truth. It’s the bishop of London who has helped us, for he has given us a great deal of money for New Testaments so he may burn them. He has been and is our only help and comfort.”

“I’ll keep my pledge,” said More, “for I thought that’s what it was, and so I told the bishop before he went about doing it.”

Soon after, Tyndale translated the Old Testament, and wrote introductions to each chapter that were well worth being read over and again by all who saw them. These books were taken into England by various means, and it cannot be told what a door of light they opened to the eyes of the whole English nation, which before had been shut up in darkness. Tyndale’s books, especially the New Testament translation, were of great spiritual benefit to the godly lay people, but of great harm to the ungodly clergy, who were afraid that by the shining beams of truth their deeds of darkness would be clearly seen. So they began to rouse themselves and plan how they might stop Tyndale.

Tactic #9: Spare no means to destroy the truth and those that bring it!

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I would like to offer up some more thoughts here. The clergy had done their best to keep the Word of God out of the hands of the people. By doing so, it afforded them an opportunity to manipulate and control the common people. Once the truth came to light and began to spread, people realized that they had been deceived and began to fall away from the Church of Rome. This affected the church leaders because it also affect their pocketbooks. Stomping out the root cause – the reading of scripture by the common people – was the only way they could regain control of the masses and secure their livelihoods. Church leaders wanted to maintain control of people. Control brings wealth and power. What church history tells us is that eventually, the printing of scriptures had to be banned under penalty of death because masses of people were finally being freed from the bondage to the church, and leaving it.

. . . Click Here to Continue to Part 3

Character Assassination – Part 1

CA I would like to cover a tactic that religion uses in order to stifle opposing or differing views. This tactic is called Character Assassination. Character assassination is one of the many weapons used against differing beliefs. It is also  used against those who expose lies or abuses in any given institution. All throughout church history, I have read countless examples of this taking place. Not only this, but religious leaders have used this weapon in the “name of God.” Early Church History not only shows us this tactic, but, it also attaches the death penalty to it. It was nothing for the church to not only shame and slander those who disagreed with their doctrinal beliefs, but it was necessary for the church to completely SILENCE those who disagreed. This is why murder was the number one weapon used on “heretics.”  Anyone that disagreed with the church and its leaders, it’s doctrines, methods and rules, were labeled as such and, put to death.

But, history also tells us that murder was not enough for these religious leaders of the early centuries. They didn’t just murder their opposition, they tortured them, sexually abused and mutilated them, they buried them alive, and did all manner of evil to them BEFORE they killed them. History shows us vividly that those that said they loved God and were his followers, committed some of the most heinous crimes against humanity the world has ever known. Many of these crimes I have cited in my book, Religion’s Cell. And, all of these crimes were done “in the name of God.”

The end result of this tactic is to get people to not believe the person that these religious leaders wish to silence.  To show the extent to which some people will go in silencing opposition in doctrine or belief or, silence a victim of abuse in the church, or silencing the TRUTH, I would like to talk about William Tyndale (1536). Everyone should know who this person is since he translated the Bible into English.

Here’s what happened to this Martyr. Let’s see if the same tactics of the church are alive and well today against God’s people who dare to disagree or expose lies and abuses. Here’s Tyndale’s story. Throughout, I will expose tactics of the clergy.

The Martyrdom of William Tyndale (1536)william tyndale

The New Foxes Book of Martyrs,

Pages 121 – 125

We now come to the story of God’s martyr, William Tyndale, who was surely chosen by God to dig up the roots and foundation of the pope’s government. Consequently, the great prince of darkness, having malice against Tyndale, left no stones unturned in his efforts to trap Tyndale, betray him, and take his life.

Tyndale was born near the border of Wales in 1494. He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and soon after began his life work of translating the Bible into English. when he left Cambridge, he became schoolmaster to the children of a Master Welch, a knight of Gloucestershire in England.

Master Welch served outstanding dinners, and so was often visited by the educated and high-ranking officials of the church. Being a member of the household, Tyndale ate dinner with them and joined in their discussions about such people as Martin Luther, the German theologian, and Desiderious Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance scholar and Roman Catholic theologian — and took a hardy part in their discussions about church controversies and questions about the Scriptures.

Since Tyndale was well educated and had devoted himself to studying God’s Word, he never hesitated to give them his judgment about scriptural matters in plain and simple words. When they disagreed with him, he showed them in the Bible what the Scriptures said and how they were wrong in their beliefs and doctrines. This happened frequently at the Welch’s home, and the local clergy soon grew weary of Tyndale’s constant references to the Scriptures and criticism of their doctrines, and began to bear a secret grudge against him in their hearts.

It wasn’t too long before the clergy invited Master and Lady Welch to a banquet without Tyndale, and immediately began to expound their erroneous doctrines freely and without resistance. Undoubtedly they planned this in an attempt to turn Master Welch and his wife against Tyndale and back to their doctrines.

Tactic #1. Try to influence those closest to the victim, against him. Plant the seeds of doubt regarding his character or opposing beliefs by twisting scripture to prove yours. Use God’s judgment as a tool to incite fear and bring friends and family under the control of the clergy, causing them to turn their backs on the victim. I cannot express how many times this has been used on victims of abuse in the churches I am familiar with. Whole families were divided by this tactic. This is not a testimony becoming of anyone that names the name of Christ or, claims to believe in a holy and merciful God.

In this they almost succeeded, for no sooner had Master and Lady Welch returned home, then they began to argue with Tyndale about the things the priests had talked about at the banquet. Tyndale used the Scriptures and began to reason with them how the things they had been told were wrong.

Then Lady Welch, somewhat indignantly, said to him, “One of the doctors [of divinity] who was there can afford to spend one-hundred pounds whenever he wishes; and another, two-hundred pounds; and another, three-hundred pounds. So for what reason should we believe you instead of them?”

Tyndale saw that it would do not good to answer her, so after that he talked very little about such matters. He was a that time, however, working on a translation of Erasmus’s book, The Manual of the Christian Knight, which had been published in 1509, and he gave his master and lady a copy of this translation and asked them to read it. They did, and from then on few of the clergymen were invited to their house for dinner, and when they were invited they were not given the opportunity to expound their papal doctrine freely.

As this continued and the clergy realized that Tyndale’s growing influence with the Welch’s was the reason for it, they began to gather together and talk against Tyndale in alehouses and other places, saying that what he was teaching was heresy. They also accused him of this to the bishop’s chancellor [secretary] and some of the bishop’s officers.

Tactic #2: Spread slander and gossip to everyone you know in order to rally others to your cause against the “heretic.” (Today, this would be done via the internet, through blogs and social media.)

As a result, the chancellor ordered the priests to appear before him, and ordered Tyndale to be there also.Tyndale had little doubt that the session was not called for the priests, but to make accusations and threats against him. So on the way he prayed hard and silently to God that He would give him the strength to stand fast in the truth of His Word.

When the time came to appear before the chancellor, he was threatened, reviled, and talked to as though he were a dog. Many things were charged against him, but no one came forth to prove the charges, even though all the priests from the area were there. So Tyndale escaped out of their grasp and went back to Master Welch.

Tactic #3:  Deceptively lure the heretic into a group meeting designed to attack and defame him. Treat and talk to him like he is of no value. Make him feel worthless and guilty. Accuse him of all manner of impropriety and sin. Do this in front of everyone so the group can gang up on him. (This is emotional abuse, by the way.)

Many of the leaders in the cult I came out of have pulled this stunt. They call a meeting with the person that is in opposition or, exposing abuse, and the person unsuspectingly shows up to a room full of people ready to attack and accuse.

Living near the Welchs was a doctor of divinity and former secretary to the bishop who had been friendly toward Tyndale for some time. Tyndale went to him and explained the many things he saw in the Scriptures that were contrary to papist doctrine and that had caused him his problems with the local clergy and the bishop, for he wasn’t afraid to open his heart to this man. Whereupon the doctor said to him, “Don’t you know that the pope is the very Antichrist that the Scriptures speak about? But be careful of what you say, for if anyone finds out that you are of that opinion, it will cost you your life.”

Not long after, Tyndale disputed with a certain theologian about the truth of the Scriptures until the man cried out in frustration these blasphemous words, “We would be better without God’s laws than without the pope.”

When Tyndale heard this, his godly zeal burst forth and he replied, “I defy the pope, and all his laws! If God spares my life, it will not be many years before I will cause every boy who works on a farm plowing fields to know more of the Scriptures than the pope does!”

As time passed, the priests increasingly railed against Tyndale and accused him of many things, saying that he was a heretic.

Tactic #4: Label the individual as a “heretic”. By placing a label on the individual, clergy is attempting to dehumanize him so that dismissing him or his opinions is much easier. Choosing not to address someone individually who challenges the toxic faith places a blanket negative label on all who would agree with that person. Those who disagree with what is taught are labeled as “detractors,” “malcontents” and “traitors”, who would destroy the ministry or organization. These labels then become rallying points under which other followers can be moved to action to hurt the individual. Once the label has been placed, it becomes more difficult to see the person as a human with real needs and the potential for good judgment. This is why church leaders today still use labeling against those that disagree or expose abuses within their institutions.

The pressure of the attacks became so great that Tyndale went to Master Welch and said that he desired to leave his employ and go to another place. “I am certain,” he said, “that I won’t be allowed to stay here much longer, and that you won’t be able to keep me out of the hands of the clergy, even though I know you would try. But only God knows what harm might come to you if you keep me here, and I would be sorry for that.” So Tyndale left with the blessing of Master Welch, and went to London and there preached for a while, as he had done in the country.

Tactic #5: Make the harassment so bad that the person labeled as a heretic has to flee for safety. (In the fundamentalist cult I came out of, abuse victims who spoke out about their abuses have had to literally move to another city to get away from the harassment of the clergy and church members.)

Not long after arriving in London he thought about Cuthbert Tonstal, then bishop of London, and especially Erasmus’s note in his book in which he praised Tonstal for his learning. He felt that he would be quite happy if he could somehow work for Tonstal. Tyndale wrote a letter to the bishop and then went to see him, taking with him a copy of the oration of Isocartes, the Athenian orator and teacher, which he had translated out of Greek into English, but the bishop gave him various reasons why he had no work for him, and advised him to seek work elsewhere in London. Believing that God in His providence had shut this door for a reason, Tyndale then went to see Humphrey Mummuth, an alderman of London, and asked for help. Mummuth took him into his home, where he lived for about a year. While he was there, Mummuth said, “Tyndale lived like a good priest, studying night and day, eating only plain meals and having but one beer with them, and wearing the simplest of clothing.”

During that year, Tyndale felt an increasing urge to translate the New Testament from Latin into a plainer language. But as he saw how the preachers boasted about themselves and claimed total authority in spiritual matters, and how vain the bishops were in everything they did [many clergy act this same way even today], and how much he was disliked by them all, he realized that there was no place he could do it in London or England. Soon God provided him sufficient money through Mummuth and some other men so he could leave England and go to Germany, where Martin Luther had just finished translating the New Testament into German (1521), and was working on many tracts and catechisms and a translation of the entire Bible.

. . . Click here for Part Two.

Maintenance of the Clergy

TAT CoverDuring the early days of Christianity, church leaders all worked and provided for themselves and their families. Offerings were never taken for the maintenance of clergy. The offerings were always distributed to the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, the captives. The corruption, of men taking for themselves from the offerings, didn’t happen until the third century. It was shortly after they started taking a portion of the offerings that they then began to EXACT the monies for their office. God never commanded us, nor showed us by his example, that those who shared the gospel should be partakers of any earthly goods of others. As a matter of fact, scripture tells us that they are not to take from the people (see my book, The Truth About Tithing)!  Jesus was a carpenter by trade. Paul was a tentmaker. Other Apostles were fishermen. None of his disciples lived off the offerings they received that were given to help the poor. This corruption, of men living off the backs of the poor through their forced tithes and/or giving, has to be one of the grossest and most blatant misuses of the position of ‘Pastor.’ Many passages have been twisted or overlooked in order to propagate this lie and, my book, The Truth About Tithing, exposes them.  Here’s what early church history tells us:

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Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

by Edward Backhouse, 1906

MAINTENANCE OF THE CLERGY. We have seen how, in her days of pristine simplicity, the ministers of the Church supported themselves by their own labour. The free-will offerings of the congregation were at first appropriated to the use of the sick and the poor, of orphans, widows and captives. By degrees a portion of the weekly contributions was set apart for the maintenance of the presbyters [pastors].  At a latter period, in some churches a three-fold, in others a four-fold, division was adopted; one share, in the latter case, being appropriated to the bishop, another to the rest of the clergy, a third to the church building and service, and the remainder to the poor. [Notice how the sick, poor, orphans, widows and captives who once received 100% of the offerings are now relegated to only one portion of them. They are the ones that need it the most!]

In the circular issued by the synod of Antioch against Paul [of Samosata], . . . and the Apostolical Constitutions say, “Let the young be diligent in their business, so as to have enough for their own support and to bestow on the needy. For we ourselves besides our attention to the word of the Gospel, do not neglect our inferior employments. Some of us are fishermen, some tentmakers, some husbandmen; for none of those who are dedicated to God ought to be idle.” We have seen in Cyprian’s lamentation over the state of the Church, that the pursuit of trade was not unknown to the African clergy, and was indeed too eagerly followed by some. The council of Elvira forbids the bishops and clergy to be itinerant merchants, but permits them to trade within the province. They were however on no account to exact usury. Even so late as A.D. 398, the fourth Council of Carthage directs that “clergymen, however learned they may be in the divine word, should provide themselves with food and clothing by some handicraft or agricultural labour, but not to the hindrance of their office in the Church; and that such as were strong enough to labour should be instructed in some handicraft and in letters.”

Chrysostom also, about the same time, has described the country clergy around Antioch: “Their language was not Greek but Syriac. They were engaged in agriculture at one time following the plough, at another taking their turn in the pulpit; at one time hedging or cutting thorns with a bill hook, at another sowing the seed of the word; being able to boast of a very small modicum of worldly learning, but yet fairly acquainted with the Holy Scriptures.” “The bishops and presbyters of those early days,” observes Hatch, “kept banks, practised medicine, wrought as silversmiths, tended sheep, or sold their goods in open market. They were like the second generation of non-juring bishops a century and a half ago, or like the early preachers of the Wesleyan Methodists. They were men of the world, taking part in the ordinary business of life. The point about which the Christian communities were anxious was, not that their officers should cease to trade, but that in this as in other respects they should be ensamples to the flock. The chief existing enactments of early councils on the point are, that bishops are not to huckster their goods from market to market, nor are they to use their position to buy cheaper and sell dearer than other people.”

But this liberty was not suffered to continue. The Church had now become subject to the State. It is true we find Theodosius at the end of the fourth century exempting the inferior clergy from the trading tax, provided their mercantile transactions were kept within bounds; but this immunity being abused, all clerical persons whatsoever were by a law of Valentinian III. (A.D. 425-455), interdicted from trade.
The practice of taking fees for the services of the Church, a practice utterly unknown in her days of purity, was not admitted without opposition. In Spain, at the beginning of the fourth century, it had become a common custom to drop a piece of money into the font or box as a gratuity for the rite of baptism. The
Council of Elvira prohibits this custom, assigning this cogent reason, “Lest it be thought that the priest gives for money what he has freely received.”  In the same spirit, at a much later period, the Council in Trullo forbids the clergy to receive any thing from the communicants at the Lord s table, because “the grace of God is not an article of merchandise, nor is the sanctification of the spirit to be bought with money.”  In like manner Jerome declares it to be unlawful to take a fee for performing the burial service. — Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 233-235.

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According to Backhouse, the third and fourth centuries were where the origin of tithing developed. Iranaeus, Origen and Cyprian began planting the seeds toward tithing by teaching that tithes were similar to ‘first fruits.’ Cyprian even taught that, “on the ground that the tribe of Levi was supported by tithes in order that it might be devoted entirely to the Lord’s service, claims the same inheritance for the Christian clergy, who receive as it were tithes, that they may not depart from the altar (Backhouse).” By equating the office of Bishop and presbyter with the Levite Priest that served in the Temple, it allowed them to also add to the position the same honor, reverence and holiness of the position that the Priest in the Temple held. This also instilled a “fear” of going against the “man of God.” Does any of this sound familiar? Of course it does. Presbyters, Bishops and Priests (or whatever other term used for leadership) attained for themselves a holiness and reverence that was never given them by God. They stole these honors through craftiness in order to benefit and reap personal gain.

The idea had acquired a yet stronger hold in men’s minds by the time of the Apostolical Constitutions where they later added, “As the Levites, who attended upon the tabernacle (in all things a type of the Church), partook of the gifts, offerings, first-fruits, tithes, sacrifices and oblations, so you, O bishops, are, to your people, priests and Levites, ministering to the Holy Tabernacle, the Holy Catholic Church, ye who stand at the altar of the Lord your God, and offer to Him reasonable and bloodless sacrifices through Jesus, the great High Priest. . . . Oblations and tithes belong to Christ and to those who minister to Him. Tenths of salvation are the first letter of the name of Jesus. (Backhouse)”

By deceiving the people into believing that priests, presbyters and bishops were similar to Levite priests that served in the Temple, it allowed the Catholic clergy an avenue into people’s pocketbooks. This one corruption has proliferated down through history and has become so massive, that it has allowed uneducated and self-serving men to enter into the ranks of pastoral leadership while earning salaries that rival many large corporations.

It’s time for clergy to earn their own livings and provide for their own families. Offerings should be dedicated 100% to the poor and needy and not divided between administrative expenses, employee expenses, building expenses, expense accounts for pastors and, pastoral salaries. Christians everywhere should be angry at having their finances siphoned by religious institutions that coerce or force giving and/or tithing through fear of judgment or cursing from God. There is nothing wrong with giving, but there is everything wrong with giving under duress or threat of punishment. Many churches use tithing as a means to determine one’s Christian character and, as a prerequisite for serving in the church!  Some churches, like the one I was involved in, would not help you if you were in desperate need of help, if you did not tithe! Tithing was used as a weapon against the poor and needy — the very ones that God COMMANDED we take care of — because they could not afford to tithe.  Yet, when the truth is brought to light regarding this lie about maintaining clergy, many will fight against it and, against the one that points out the corruption. Remember, I didn’t invent this truth, I am just pointing out what has already been pointed out by someone else. Maintenance of the clergy is the biggest ponzy scheme this side of heaven. We had better wise up to this lie of the church and start requiring clergy to get a job and support themselves. Imagine how many poor could be helped just with the savings in clergy salaries?

Keith Rennar Brennan’s Story of Priest Rape

As human beings, we must work together to stop sexual abuse of women and children in the religious setting. Keith’s story is one that you will not want to pass by. Watch his video and join the many victims of clergy sexual abuse across all denominations that are coming forward and breaking their silence. TOGETHER we can help to stop the abuses hidden by religious institutions and those that run them.  Here’s Keith’s Story:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/184881577/of-god-and-gucci

This documentary is the inspiring true story of Keith Rennar Brennan. His story begins in 1976 in the Greenville section of Jersey City, NJ.
 
Keith, thirteen years old, is being raised by his devout Irish Catholic parents. Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church is an integral part of their family life. Mom sings in the church choir, Dad is the church usher, and his older brother is an alter boy. A creative child, artistic and musically gifted, Keith’s family is pleased when he becomes involved with the church by joining the folk group, playing his guitar and singing at Sunday Mass. Always a nervous child, everyone hopes that Keith’s involvement with the church will help him find his way. Instead, Keith would be taken down an un-Godly path encountering not one, but two men of the cloth who would repeatedly and violently abuse Keith over the next four years.

“I drew St. Paul’s Church for the cover of our Parish Bulletin when I was thirteen. Three years later I would daydream about hanging myself in it’s steeple.”

Keith’s first abuser, the church’s musical director Keith Pecklers, grooms the boy over the course of a few months. He is cunning, strategic and sadistic. Pecklers (great name for a Pedophile!) abuses the boy repeatedly over the course of six months.

Shortly after the abuse began, a new Priest, Father Tom, ( a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing) comes to St. Paul’s Parish. Fr. Tom befriends Keith, and within a few months, Keith trusts him enough to tell him that the musical director has been sexually abusing him. Fr. Tom promises to make it stop.  He does, but only for he himself to begin sexually and psychologically abusing the boy for the next four years.

Never wavering in his Faith, Keith, now fourteen,  prays for a way out. He is sent a real life angel, Diane; a twenty-five year old married mother of two children. They both serendipitously attend an acting class one night, and out of the corner of his eye, Keith sees the brass doors opening and in walks Diane.

She looked like an Angel. She had these beautiful brown curls and these magnificent blue eyes. I knew that she would save me.”

Meeting Diane at the beginning of his abuse was clearly Divine Intervention. A few years go by and Keith finally opens up to Diane and tells her about the abuse. She is able to help him break away from the church and his abusers. Soon after she gets divorced, they fall in love, and they get married.

Keith survives the abuse. Eighteen years old, and left with only his creativity and the love and support of Diane, he starts designing women’s clothes. He becomes successful in the fashion industry, eventually having showrooms throughout the country, with his designs being featured in magazines, television, and films, such as Cosmopolitan, US, The Sopranos, and Mortal Thoughts with Demi Moore.

In spite of his success as a Fashion Designer, and the ability to pursue his dreams, Keith still feels like something is missing in his life. Justice.

In 2008, thirty-two years after his abuse, Keith confronted the Catholic Church and the two predators responsible. Of God & Gucci tells his incredible journey of healing, redemption, and the pursuit of justice.   Keith has since become an advocate to change the Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse, “Soul Murder”, and has become the voice for so many who have yet to discover their own. In his home State of New Jersey, if you have been sexually abused as a child, you have two years from the point of “reasonable discovery” to initiate a civil lawsuit against your predators. Keith hopes that Of God & Gucci will encourage and inspire audiences to begin a conversation about healing, change, and accountability.

1 out of 3 girls… and 1 out of every 6 boys has been sexually abused.

This true story tells how Keith and Diane were able to surpass insurmountable odds and create a life of Faith, Love, Fashion and Divine Purpose. They have been happily married for twenty-four years.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can now get involved in the making of this inspiring documentary. A Blueprint of how to be the Change that you want to see in the world.  Follow Keith Rennar Brennan from the origin of his abuse in Jersey City, to the Gold paved streets of The Vatican. From being victimized as a boy to becoming a survivor …finding his voice, and becoming a “Thriver”. Of God & Gucci transcends the subject of sexual abuse and becomes a universal life lesson about living life fearlessly, going after your Dreams, and becoming a Hero in your own life.

We can only finish this documentary with your help. You are as much a part of its creation as we are. The more people who participate, the more ability we will have to tell Keith’s story to as many people as possible. Healing is Contagious!

So, help by making a Pledge today, and by spreading the word to others. Share this link, “Like” us on Facebook. Twitter about Of God & Gucci ,and email this Kickstarter link to your friends, family, co-workers and supporters. You will be able  to stay in touch with us every step of the way, and we will keep you updated with the progress of the film. We promise to keep you in the loop.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T REACH OUR GOAL 

Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. The way Kickstarter works is that we MUST make our funding GOAL before the campaign expires or we don’t get anything. It is ALL or nothing. You do not pay anything until we reach our goal. The funding of this campaign is essential to enable us to finance the filming of multiple upcoming events as well as interview influential Politicians, Theologians, and Changemakers, throughout the World.

Our goal is the minimum needed to proceed, but overachieving our goal will help us go further into filming docu- drama scenes and increase the production value of our film.  We want to depict the effects of child sexual abuse as honestly as possible.

We can only finish this film with your help.

My heartfelt thanks for your interest!  Please spread the word to all of your friends about Of God & Gucci.

” Faith makes all things possible.   Not easy”.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We are at the beginning stages of making a large scale documentary. Sometimes factors beyond our control come into play that may cause unforeseen delays. While it is our sincere desire and goal to have this film finished and ready to send to you by March 2014, at this point we cannot GUARANTEE this date. If it is delayed, since you will be so intimately connected to the production, you’ll be the first to know, and you will receive constant updates on the schedule and progress we are making.

We will do everything we can to make this entire experience as easy, seamless, and positive as possible for you.

To contact Keith, click here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/184881577/of-god-and-gucci