Essay On Family Matters

The situations involving anti family practices of the Church of Bible
Understanding have been in my thoughts in recent times, and bother me a
great deal, so I decided to express my thoughts on these matters.  The fact
that these situations are still ongoing is even more bothersome to me.
Whatever the intentions of the pastor or the members of COBU, I definitely
think much more harm than good has been and will be accomplished through
these types of policies.  No teacher can separate their practices from their
teachings, indeed their practices are a big part of their teaching, as when
Jesus performed His signs and miracles.  I must see my own actions in that
light.  If only the Church of Bible Understanding would have associated
practices that showed true Bible Understanding!  It is also apparent that
practices like these aren’t limited to the Church of Bible Understanding,
but happen in other churches also, with charismatic pastors stealing the
hearts and loyalty of men’s wives.  So this is a bad teaching being shown to
many of the christians of our times, and is bound to have tragic results.

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Genesis 37:9-10 - “Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the
sun, the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me”. But when he told it
to his father and brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What
is this dreamed that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your
brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”

Jacob understood the figures Joseph spoke of and understood his message. In
fact, the peoples of the antiquities thought much more in such types and
pictures than we do in this modern technical age.  Jacob equates the sun and
the moon with himself and his wife. The father in a household is like the
sun, and the mother is like the moon, which should reflect the light of the
sun as the woman should reflect the light of her husband in the household.

Now I have seen an injustice in our land. That many local solar systems have
been interfered with by this huge star in a globular cluster. The
gravitational effect of this huge star is enough to displace the moons from
their current orbits associated with their respective suns, to travel a new
orbit with respect to that huge star as one of its foci. This puts great
stress on our solar systems unless their sun is traveling with the moon
into a new orbit around this huge star, but not all of these suns are
attracted by the gravitational pull of that huge star. So what will happen
to these solar systems, are they doomed? In fact, anything that came within
the gravitational pull of this huge star had a tough time escaping that

The mothers in these families are not all reflecting the light of their
husbands, there is a great injustice in the land, as they are reflecting
light from this huge star and this globular cluster. This is done despite
their once being a happy part of their old solar system which has become
stretched and stressed, it is being done even if it means defiance of their
own husbands and rejecting of his light. Their good families are being split
in two in an age of dysfunctional families.

Who is this huge star? And who is this globular cluster? We all know this
huge star as Stewart Traill, the globular cluster around him as the Church
Of Bible Understanding. The solar systems are the families half inside and
half outside the COBU orbit, families of our brothers and sisters. Many
brothers such as Dave Rizzetto, John Fontana, Neil Pendry and Bobby Whippel
have had to deal with this type of arrangement, to name a few.  I don’t know
all the details of these situations, but sense a great sadness.

This is a great injustice in the land, one which I feel powerless to do
something about. I am not one who will often discuss or criticize our former
pastor, as I note that David would not strike Saul even when he had the
chance when Saul was not aware, so we have to be very careful about what we
say and do concerning those in positions of authority amongst christians.
Michael said to Satan, “the Lord rebuke you”. The Lord has not seen fit to
remove him from his place as of yet, though it may seem to us that this
should have been done years ago.

I am also mindful of the fact that my first meeting with COBU members was
when I tasted the great salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, some 20 years
ago, the greatest of all gifts. My association with these people was through
1986, even attending a Big Meeting as late as 1988. I am one who openly
opposed the forbidding marriage thing even while living in, and standing up
in support of brothers in Philly who publicly announced their intentions to
marry the sisters as they had chosen, in fact made an attempt to apply
common sense to the situation to any who would listen.

The forbidding of marriage that went on was also an anti family tactic that
went on for many years in COBU which for a while was spun in such a way that
it was the older brothers fault.  This tactic in retrospect was a major
blunder, to say the least. This was a part of the “divide and conquer”
technique setting one group against another and having the older brothers as
the fall guys.  This could have come right out of the communist manuals,
plus his use of the sisters had the smell of communist practices.

In my early days with the fellowship, there were ways I had treated my own
family wrong. Some brethren told me it was better to forget about them and
move in and do God’s Will, yet I really did not believe that it was right to
drop our earthly families, but to love Jesus first of all.  However, there
was really no point in arguing with these brothers who have lived in longer
than I had. As time went on I purchased a car and made it my regular habit
to see my earthly family every few months or so, making the trek from Philly
to Massachusetts usually with a few passengers. I was often accompanied by
Steve and Stephanie Brown, John Amaral, Shari (Buffington) Back, Barb
Begley, and others.  Of course, I did not feel the need to ask permission to
take those trips.

There was a time when I was ready to move in, and the brothers came to my
parents house with me to get my stuff, my behavior must have been tough for
them to take as they thought they were losing me, some two years after the
passing of my younger sister.  At that time I afraid to show affection
toward my parents in front of the brothers, and at least say goodbye to
them.  There really wasn’t any way I could fault the brothers at the time,
they were just there and helped me with my stuff.

Somehow, my mom knew that I received Jesus before I publicly announced it.
Despite their initial and futile opposition to me leaving the Roman Catholic
Church, the relationship was slowly restored.  In later years, some brethren
got to know my parents, and liked and respected them.

Basically, I don’t agree with some of the anti family attitudes and
practices of COBU, especially in this time when the family, which is God’s
parable in our lives for us to know him better, is under attack, and many
existing ones are dysfunctional. The family is being attacked from many
quarters, let not that attack come from within God’s house!
The earthly father is a type of the heavenly Father.  “Those who do the will
of my Father are my mother and brothers”.   Our mother, the New Jerusalem,
relates to the true Jews or the true church. However, as the family is being
slowly undermined and destroyed in our time, eventually the point will be
reached as the prophet wrote, “When the foundations are destroyed, what will
the righteous do?”  Solomon, dealt with the spiritual aspects of the family
as a parable, as he arranged his proverbs with great care, within which he
hid his knowledge.

So now we have another possible application of what Matthew wrote: “Every
kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided
against itself will stand…” and, in a sense, “a man’s foes will be those of
his own household”; especially in the sense of the larger household causing
the breakup of the smaller household.

I haven’t had to deal with the same type of situation as Neil or Dave
Rizzetto, for which I am fortunate.  These brothers are going through a much
greater test than I, and must “keep [their] heart with all diligence, for
from it comes springs of life”.   These type of situations can produce anger
and bitterness, which we must all learn to overcome.  These brothers have
always been true brothers to me, are both gifted brothers and I would hate
to ever see anger or bitterness distort the outworking of their gifts.

Right now, the only solution to the above problem that I know of is to pray.
If any one has any other ideas, please let me know…

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This was written with the help of wise counsel of Rob Machell and an idea
from Wayne Edwards.  Much of it was typed by me with one hand, my left hand
at that, with a three year old girl (who is feeling heavier than she
actually is by now), sleeping on my lap.  I thank Jesus for giving me
inspiration to write on this difficult matter.

Mark Loftus