Feb. 12, 1998
Dear Dr. Juedes,
I'd like to tell you about my experiences with Christian Educational Services, a major group of ex-followers of The Way International, which highlights some major problems with CES.
I was involved with The Way from 1972 through the early 1980s. My wife had taken the PFAL class in the mid-'60s, before it was on tape. I'd been a WOW Ambassador (a terrible year), an area/branch leader, and had run every Way class at least once. After I declined to join The Way Corps, however, I was replaced in my leadership position by a returning Corps grad. That was fine by me at that point, as I'd already begun to see (and resist, even as a leader) the increasing authoritarianism of TWI, as well as the MANY discrepancies between what The Way taught and what God's Word really said. I also noted the "closeness" between Dr. Wierwille's writings and teachings and those of Bullinger and Kenyon. Some time before that I had been reproved soundly for even daring to suggest that "the Man of God for the world" had gotten his doctrine from others (often word-for-word), and not by direct revelation from God.
I first met Craig Martindale in 1973. Soon afterward he became State/Area Coordinator for the area I served as a W.O.W. Ambassador. His personality underwent a great change during just that time, and now it looks like he's really out there in deception land. As we saw more and more problems, we began to disassociate ourselves from The Way until we finally stopped going back at all. Our fellowship during the last few years was minimal. I imagine the final break came sometime after Craig Martindale became president and at least a couple years before Dr. Wierwille's death. I guess we must have been considered no longer faithful enough to bother with, because we missed the really nasty stuff of the 1980s.
We were unable to find another fellowship or church in which we felt comfortable, because we were still steeped in The Way's wrong teaching and were very leery of getting involved with anyone else again after our bad experience in The Way.
Unfortunately, in 1987 we did get involved again-- with John Lynn and Christian Educational Services (CES). A relative gave us a letter written by John Lynn, which related the breakup of The Way, his firing, and his own new ministry. We received tapes from Lynn, who had once been my Limb leader, which gave details on the situation, including all the adultery. Adultery had been kept pretty well hidden while I was in The Way., although in retrospect I'd noticed-- and dismissed at the time-- several indications of it.
Lynn seemed to be discarding much of the Way doctrine I'd been seeing problems with. We got involved with CES and its "affiliated" fellowships, which seemed a lot less restrictive and time-consuming than The Way's. I volunteered to help with CES's Dialogue newsletter and did some editing work on CES's first book. When I pointed out problems with some of its content, my comments were ignored and CES didn't desire my editing services on subsequent books.
We continued to fellowship with CES until early 1996 (though my name wasn't removed from Dialogue's list of staff until I requested this in mid-'96). We'd already started seeing some doctrinal and organizational problems with CES. But our final break with CES came after we attended Momentus (which claimed to be a "Christian" experiential training), because Lynn had strongly recommended it.
Momentus is a barely "Christianized" version of the New Age training "Lifespring." The most devilish elements such as monism, are removed or heavily disguised to deceive Christians who take it. (See the chapter on Est and Lifespring in Ankerberg/Weldon's "Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs.") It uses many of the same exercises as Lifespring. It's totally devilish and designed to manipulate, deceive and indoctrinate participants into the trainer's world view, tearing down the trainee's belief system in the process. Sadly, it's worked on a number of formerly loving Christians who took it.
John Lynn had taken Momentus in 1993- about the time I began to notice some really outlandish doctrinal statements (even for him) taking root in CES. He kept telling us how wonderful the training was, how much it did for him, how he'd learned more about being a Christian in four days than in 20 years of Bible study, and so on. He did seem less caustic and sarcastic in demeanor than the John Lynn I'd known before (especially in his bitterness about how The Way treated him). But as we found out after taking Momentus, that was apparently part of the come-on to induce people to take the training.
After constantly being hammered with vague statements (never specifics) about how wonderful and helpful it was to "spiritual growth" (true, but in the WRONG spirit), and how if we really wanted to walk more like Christ (and of course we did), we finally agreed to take the first Momentus run in Indianapolis in Nov. 1994. I hope never to go through a hellish experience like that again-- four days of manipulation through loud, overpowering music, sleep deprivation, and listening to the trainers scream at, mock and curse at people. They taught New Age exercises designed to take the focus off God and the Lord Jesus Christ and put it on self. The "life boat" exercise and the beating on pillows to vent "suppressed anger against our parents" were the worst, but only in degree.
Momentus taught that we were "nerds"- always had been and always will be-- and to recognize that as a form of spiritual enlightenment (chapter and verse, please!). The few instances of Scripture trainers alluded to were twisted to the trainers' goals. For example, one story the trainers used (which centered on seeing the movie "Pulp Fiction," hardly a godly endeavor) was seemingly designed to get us thinking that we had seared consciences, as Paul described to Timothy, if we didn't accept the teachings of Momentus. Some Scriptures were written on placards on the walls (but never referred to); some of the music played was Christian; and verses from "The Message" were read in an emotionally charged introduction. But for the most part, God and his Word were absent.
But the devil wasn't absent. One girl we knew who took it was so thrown into confusion by the training that she almost overdosed on medication after the first night. Another had to be taken from the Momentus training to a mental health unit of a hospital. I personally know of three marriages that fell apart as a result of Momentus. We had to sign a "Hold Harmless" agreement in the class to protect sponsors and trainers from being sued for physical injury and even death resulting from the training. I could say a lot more about the evils of this counterfeit being inflicted on the church and promoted among ex-Wayers. The creators of Momentus claim that it's Christian and trash those who have spoken out against it.
Parts of Hank Hannagraaf's book "Counterfeit Revival" discuss group hypnosis and how altered states of consciousness are induced. Many of the techniques he describes are used in Momentus to obtain the results that its proponents claim are "so wonderful."
CES eventually claimed it wouldn't promote Momentus as a ministry anymore, undoubtedly because they were getting so many complaints about it and were losing followers and the money they'd been giving, yet CES did so again in its very next newsletter. CES leaders continued to promote Momentus individually and blamed those who had bad experiences in Momentus for deciding to take it, even though most of us took it because we trusted them and their word and hadn't been given enough specifics to know otherwise. Still, they claimed that "95%" of those who took it were pleased and satisfied with it-- a "momentus" exaggeration at best.
John Lynn even established a local church, "The Living Word Fellowship," based on the "real Christianity" he learned in Momentus. True Christian love, he claimed, was to practice "iron sharpening iron" on one another. In reality, this was tearing into each other over all carnally perceived faults and differences, most of them not biblically based. He wrote in a Dialogue "From the Staff" column that we should "refuse to love" anyone who wouldn't join into that kind of fellowship. My name (and others') were still on the masthead, though we'd never have let that pass had we been consulted, which is why, I'm sure, we weren't. I wrote a letter to Dialogue setting the record straight and critiquing their "iron sharpening iron" practices, which I titled more correctly, "Iron Bludgeoning Iron." But John Lynn refused to print it because he thought it trashed Momentus. So much for CES's claims that it wants to "dialogue" with those who disagree with them.
For more than a year, we were verbally attacked and savaged for criticizing Momentus as non-Christian and non-biblical. During that time the Lord was teaching us and others in the fellowship the truth about it and about a lot of CES's erroneous teachings (most still held over from The Way). Finally, we faced off the leadership of LWF in a congregational meeting, using God's Word as our sword.
The response wasn't pretty. We were verbally attacked, screamed at, cursed at, and cut off as we tried to demonstrate from the Word the deceit of Momentus. The meeting was like a replay of Momentus in miniature.
John Lynn sat muttering obscenities as he realized that one person was publicly repenting of his involvement in Momentus. Soon John Lynn was jumping in peoples' faces, screaming at them and trying to drown out what we were saying. Then he tried to twist our words to make us seem like demons attacking "the Lord's greatest work, Momentus." If I'd still harbored any respect for him as a minister of the Gospel or CES as a godly organization, I was cured of those delusions at that meeting.
It was my wife's and my last LWF meeting or CES involvement, and the last for several others, too. We later heard that LWF lost some 40 people over Momentus, and the Lord is still bringing people out. After we broke our ties with LWF and CES, we began to really study the Word together without the theological filters of CES and began to see how really off so much of its doctrine was. We saw the errors of both Way holdovers and heresies CES developed on its own or borrowed from Momentus and other sources, such as the "personal prophecy" of Christian International and its prophet-apostle restoration movement. After decades of deception, the Lord has at last brought us into his truth and the true body of his church-- praise His name!
CES keeps becoming more and more entrenched in their preconceived theologies and more and more authoritarian, as they become just another carbon copy of The Way. They have formed another totally CES-dominated church in Indianapolis, called "The Spirit and Truth Fellowship," separate from the Living Word Fellowship. It seems that the other Momentus grads in LWF leadership were getting too far off the Word even for CES. We heard that they got into practices similar to the "spirit-led" hysterics of groups like Brownsville and Toronto, and apparently wouldn't let CES control them any longer.
When CES is presented with anything they can't refute, their "dialogue" is suddenly replaced by silence. Almost a year ago, Mark Grasser of CES came to our fellowship on what he called a "reconciliation" approach. He said he'd listen to our problems with CES and respond to them. When we finished presenting all the evidence we had to prove that Momentus was not biblically based, but anti-Biblical, he suddenly had to leave. He never set up another meeting to respond to us, as he'd promised. Others who wrote CES leaders about CES errors have also been ignored. CES planned to sponsor a series of bimonthly symposiums to give people a chance to air opposing views, but they were "postponed indefinitely" after the first one in April 1997. Although it was set up to give CES maximum control of the format and content (papers had to be submitted to them ahead of time), I suspect they weren't able to sufficiently defend their doctrines as superior to justify the charade. I read two of the opposing papers which were submitted for another symposium this April, and both expose CES doctrine as a house of cards. I just heard that this April's event was canceled.
I thought your "Four Crucified" critique was quite sound. That one bothered me, but I was never able to pinpoint exactly what was wrong before. Another strange Way teaching was the bit on Judas being alive on the day of ascension, based solely on he statement that the disciples Jesus "had chosen" were there, so Judas had to be there because he had been "chosen" by Jesus. Talk about faulty reasoning! I tried to point out to people in The Way how spacey that was, and got soundly reproved.
Another was the "throughly/thoroughly" distinction. By the time I'd done enough research to see the error, I knew better than to question it openly. You had to accept even the most minor, insignificant statements handed down from "the man of God," or be accused of bucking God Himself. Really insane-- and CES is getting just as bad now, although it's the god of "intellectualism" they seem to worship now.
Among the worst of CES's new heresies is that God doesn't know the future at all-- that He can only guess at what the devil is going to do and plan accordingly. In essence, they've thrown out the sovereignty of God and turned him into little more than a cosmic chess player. Mark Grasser presented this view in an article in Dialogue in which he offered not one Scripture to support it. It all came from his vain imaginations. Even V.P. Wierwille would be spinning in his grave over that one.
They've also now dispensationalized Romans chapters 9-11 out of the Church epistles as being the result of Paul's "Jewish mind set." It seems Paul hadn't "grown enough" by then for God to give him the "true revelation" for the Church, so we can ignore those chapters. Excuse me? My Bible says, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." CES says that those who call them "ultradispensationalists" haven't done their homework; and they're right-- they go way beyond ultradispensationalism now in hacking God's Word to pieces and discarding whatever fails to agree with their theology.
Perhaps the worst travesty, however, was in a CES newsletter in which they said that we had to define our words the way God defines them to be accurate. They then proceed to define words according to a 19th century edition of Webster's dictionary, never once consulting the Bible. For example, the living God's definition of "love," as so beautifully presented in 1 Corinthians 13, was totally ignored in favor of the words of a dead man! Unbelievable! And because their Momentus-taught style of laying accusations on whoever disagreed with them was receiving so much opposition, they simply defined "accusing" as "admonishing.") So now I suppose that Satan is really just the great "admonisher" of the brethren.)
Such are the depths of self-deception to which the leadership of CES has fallen, and the deceptions into which they'll continue to lead those who blindly follow them. I pray that they'll repent and come at last to a true knowledge of God's Word.
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