This, I hope, will be the first in a series of pieces I intend for the current members of the Church of Bible Understanding and for former members. I think it is important for everyone concerned to understand the effect Stewart Traill has had, and is having, on their relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We were taught by Stewart, not to make him the issue, not to blame him, not to hold him responsible for anything he did or said or is currently doing and saying. This serves to isolate the brother or sister from the truth of the matter and thereby they remain entrapped in the damage inflicted. Some former members accuse me of blaming Stewart or harping on the whole cobu experience. They urge me to just "get over it." There are various reasons why those who came under and went out from Stewart's influence to say this and another piece of writing is required to explore these reasons. The truth is, we ex-members, can only "get over it" or get away from it, by first identifying what IT is. In my experience talking to ex-members, most have gone through the process of clearly identifying what was wrong about their life with Jesus, in the Forever Family, In the Church of Bible Understanding under the teaching and pastoring of Stewart Traill.
I regret to report that there are ex-members who still have not truly winnowed out the chaff from the wheat. They think the Forever Family and Stewart were of God and so do not depart from the idea or the design of it. They treat faithful brethren with suspicion and sometimes contempt, much like what Stewart taught them about "other" christians "outside" their group. They do not winnow because they don't see the need to. They don't believe the FF had any chaff. My belief is that there indeed was wheat and grain during our time inside and all that God promised to His children was In the midst of the Forever Family and the Church of Bible Understanding. God was faithful to his love for us, in the cult and out.
When you got saved, when you were born again, God became your Heavenly Father. He put His Holy Spirit inside you. You, are a child of God. God bought you with a price. You are His. So, wherever you went or wherever you are going, God the Father loves you and keeps His promises and is steadfastly loving you. I know the usual arguments for those who think I am making it sound easy, or that God is different to those outside this group, or that God loves you is a worn out sing-song phrase that isn't the real way God is toward us. I would say that these arguments come from, how we were taught to look at our Heavenly Father. Who taught you to think the way you think about God?
There is a scripture Paul wrote, " You did not so learn Christ." Paul taught the brothers and sisters about the Lord Christ, not just doctrine, but who Jesus was and is. Let me emphasize, who Jesus is, His person, what He is like, how He, God, acts, and why He acts, What pleases Him. These brethren learned Christ from Paul, and not long afterward, were not behaving in the way one would, having learned Christ from him. This is crucial. We members of the Forever Family, of the Church of Bible Understanding, learned Christ from Stewart Traill. Why should not many of you become teachers? Because the teacher's job is to teach Christ to the believers and he bears the responsibility, the accountability to God for how he portrays God to His children. I AM NOT SAYING, Stewart Traill is responsible for your faithfulness to God. That is ridiculous and unscriptural. I am saying he is responsible for showing us the truth about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He is accountable to God for what he teaches us about God because it directly impacts our view of our Father and how to approach Him. My next piece will be "You Can PLease God. "
I went through various phases dealing with Stewart and his effect on me. Some of my early writings reflect this. I was not alone when it came to the idea of "storming the castle" and confronting Stewart and, according to this shared fantasy of mine, I would "win the argument" and Stewart would pack his bags. The "what next" varied with various brothers who shared this "vision" with me.
The next phase was a drive to help current members escape. We prayed, and we tried to present evidence and proofs that Stewart was indeed a false shepherd in the hopes that brethren would finally see what a terrible place they were in.
Then I started to pity and be afraid for Stewart. I began to realize that in a room of current members, he is in the most trouble, he was and is in the most desperate need of repentence and forgiveness. 2nd Peter 2 makes me very afraid for a brother in Christ, if he is one, to see how the Apostle writes about false teachers. Were there times I hated Stewart? Honestly, no. I was, at times, in the 1980's, angry with him. I think all ex-members will have different paths to restoration. There is no fixed process to detox from Stewart. Some members were in his inner circle, and his influence on them was much stronger and more insideous than on the average member. So I cannot prescribe a formula for "getting over it." I can tell you that you can be healed and restored. Many are. The general idea is that one first recognizes that Stewart didn't teach God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ so we did not learn Christ from him. He used scripture to teach himself(Stewart Traill) to us. The fruit of this teaching is evidenced in what he, himself, said at the Grace Meeting of 1989,
"Youíve all been reading Romans a lot lately(yes)...youíve all been reading Romans a lot(yes)..and could not notice this? well , it is clear that God has decided that it is time for you to transfer your allegiance, if thatís the word, from my spirit to His Spirit (yes..thank you Jesus). there are deeply ingrained ideas and feelings..running wild in our fellowship,many of them directly or indirectly can be traced back to my error. Everything has to be re-examined. And this is a good time to do it...What has happened is this..this is another set of..some sort of ah ah...some sort of tying my error to your problem....and ..ah..how do you think Iím doing Gayle?"..
You will notice here and throughout the Grace Meeting, Stewart speaks about "his error" but then quickly credits God for authoring this "error." But even more clear, Stewart's recognition that we were looking to him and not God. You will find in the Grace Meeting bits of truth mixed in with the lies. What current members could ask themselves is this: "Am I allied with Stewart's spirit or have I successfully "transferred" my allegiance to God, like Stewart said God wanted 21 years ago. Current members, has Stewart changed? Have you? How long did Grace last for those who stayed 21 more years?
"it's time to transfer your allegiance from me to God."
Those in the Forever Family will remember how they imitated Stewart's bible pouch, his rapidograph pens and file cards, his language, even how he said things. I have been transcribing the First Big Meeting for this web site. This recording was tauted as proof that Stewart Traill was a christian in the beginning and that God was using him in the Forever Family, that it was only when he divorced his first wife and married Gayle that he turned from God and the church became the mess that it is today.
I disagree with this view. And I think I can finally prove to FFer's, current COBU, those that want to try the FF again,and to those who want to join the current cobu that Stewart was wrong all along. The problem will always be what one believes or is willing to believe or what one refuses to believe. I cannot labor in this, thinking that if I do indeed clearly show the truth about Stewart, that automatically the current members will throw him out, or the FFer's will give up their dream of recreating their early fellowship experience. I have failed to convince the closest thing to Stewart on earth that he is terribly wrong in his present teaching. I already have a sample of what it would be like to tell Stewart the truth. Richard Wurmbrand and David Wilkerson tried to talk to him. If Stewart didn't listen to them, there is no belief on my part that he would even consider listening to anyone.
I know my job is not to actually rescue anyone. I think my job is to tell you what I have found and if it helps you to find your Heavenly Father and your Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ, then God be praised for His mercy on you and me.
I will be writing on this site some short pieces, hopefully for those still struggling in COBU now and for those outside the group who are still affected by Stewart's distorted view of God. I hope to cut through the noise and make sense to you. Please understand. I am not seeking members for any group. I do not have a group. I am not in charge of anything. I myself, belong to a church and only recently have been given time with 6th graders for one half hour a week. Beyond this ministry, I have my family with whom God has blessed me. The only gain I will get, the only gain there is in this venture is your possible freedom to serve our Lord and for you to find your Father who does love you, still, and who longs for the times you and when He had a relationship with you with no one in between.