At the risk of sounding like I'm kicking a dead
horse when he's down, let me address the issue of Stewart's repentance
I believe that one of the keys to understanding COBU and God's will for me,you, us is to properly identify Stewart's role and actions and match them up to biblical examples and scripture which would support or contrast his behavior. Please don't think me as holding on to Stewart's beard and waiting for his apology and some retribution. My christian life does not depend upon whether or not Stewart makes things right. There is still a lingering feeling of things not being really settled. There are varying opinions about the man. Some want to burn his condo down. Some don't think about him much. He has become as insignificant and as annoying as the devil "Is this he who shook the earth." Some want him to step down and end COBU; stop hurting the brothers and sisters who are there with his kind of leadership. I'm sure there are many other wishes or non wishes. Stewart repenting and becoming a true brother in Christ would meet everyone's hope(those who are hoping). Stewart would then be changed, forgiven, washed. He would be a good pastor. The brethren under him would experience leadership without the abuse. It's not too late for some of them, heck most of them.....alll of them to get married and enjoy one of the gifts God is willing to give to his beloved children.
So why the title "Ooops!?" I was talking to a sister on the phone the other day. We were discussing the Grace Meeting as the tapes will soon arrive at my mail box. One of the things that came up was Stewart's repentance. According to the sister, Stewart asked for forgiveness for teaching legalism(by works ye are saved),and promised to teach Grace from then on. According to another sister the next day Stewart called a sisters meeting and landed on them as only he could. "Good old Stewart..I knew you would not let us down. Hit us again...we are used to bible beatings. This Grace stuff is too unfamiliar." Call us Russians coming to America or battered wives with a restraining order or soldiers come home from the bombing. Neither Stewart nor the current brethren of the time were used to this new life of Grace. One could argue that Stewart should have set up a brothers council right then and insured that his leadership would be checked. Or , if Stewart submitted himself to the brothers for testing, the brothers could have voted him to step down. To teach from 1972 to 1989 legalism and to treat the flock the way he did? Step down or be thrown out with your milk crates.
Did Stewart repent? If he genuinely turned then where is the eagerness to clear himself? How many came to the Grace Meeting? My Members Directory shows at least 1500 brothers and sisters. Were they all there? Something this important; why didn't Stewart invite as many as he could find? Why not go out to the highways and hedges and ask everyone EVERYONE to forgive him. Why is this important? Well if you are, in the name of God, teaching doctrine and behavior that is sinful, then maybe you need "two pins" or a rocket strapped to your back to get you to where you need to go to "make things right.": to find all those whom you hurt and restore 4 fold(Zacheaus). Stewart would have been able to reach everyone by phone by now to tell them he is sorry. Some of the brothers and sisters out there still need to hear that. And most of us would benefit from full disclosure from Stewart as to what he was up to all those years. It would do him good and us. There would be closure. There is still damage out there to repair. Where is Stewart? Where is the sorrow for what he has done? What was the Grace Meeting repentance all about?
Seems to me that Stewart used the meeting to cover sins that, had they been dealt with according to the Bible, would have meant his immediate dismissal. Some of you don't know that Stewart held bathing suit beauty contests at the Princeton House. Some of you don't know that He acted inappropriately toward a sister there. There was physical contact. He spent time alone with this sister in the photo darkroom sometimes till 2:00 or 3:00 am. Stewart told the sisters fellowship that "He was drawing the sisters into himself." And he told two sisters one who is in cobu now and one who is out that "he inappropriately touched a sister." From there he called the Grace Meeting. If I am reporting the order of things incorrectly then email me and I will print a retraction and apologize. At the Grace Meeting he apologizes for the whole legalism mess. He does not address the sins he committed at Princeton. Everyone starts over , everyone's happy..yada yada and Stew escapes removal. A brother then calls Stewart up and tells him to come to a brothers meeting and make his behavior right to which Stewart shouts " You call your brothers meeting and let the chips fall where they may." He then bangs down the phone. No brothers meeting took place. Perhaps the brothers were scared to deal with an angry Stewart or unable to deal with a sinful leader. What would I have done? I don't know. I think I would have led a small group of brothers up the hill to confront the man only to be swatted away. I then would have left. Stewart had a pattern of asking why no one ever tested him and then cream anyone who tried. There's your answer Stew.
Stewart never subjected himself to the rules he laid down for us. He was never tested, never publicly humiliated for his own good, never required to "make it right" with the body or with the brothers. Did he live like us? Maybe in the beginning. His possessions/our possessions? No. His repentance? "Ooops! I'm sorry...taught you all wrong...forget everything from 1972 to 1989. Scrap it all. The Art Show, the many thousands saved, the prayers the prophecies, the joy and oh yeah my behavior including the stuff you don't know about. It's a new beginning and I'm still in charge. Glad I got that off my chest." This is not a direct quote. Some current members might say "hey if you didn't care enough to come to the meeting then Stewart doesn't have to ask you to forgive him." Bologna! I never got an invitation. And a phone call would have been acceptable and cheaper. Two sisters from that time found me in California easy enough. They found Dave too. I try to phone Stewart now and can't get his number. The brothers said they would call me back and tell me whether or not Stewart wants me to call. Remember that Steve Tourpe? Remember that Bob Muller? And Bob ...where is the letter you said you'd write. You laughed at me for not readily giving you my address(which was your imagination). I gave it to you and gosh..where's the letter? Where is the report of how things have changed and "What I am missing." Things have changed. Remember when we did talk about our faith in Jesus. I talked about mine and you talked about mine. You never talked about yours. I remember saying " Now Bob, you still believe you are born again right?" And you seemed unsure. I then took us through the John 3 and Romans 10:9 verses about your salvation. Then you gently attacked me. The "Us and Them" mentality has not changed. But what current members believe about Jesus and their salvation has changed greatly. Who is teaching them these things? The one who said "Ooops" ten years ago.
I am still here Stewart Traill and so is this web site. So if you want to take some space here and write a letter to everyone and come clean...I offer you one meg of space to pour yourself out for others. I will also print your letter and send it to the brethren I have contact with through US mail. You should be doing this yourself but hey...if I can help,,why not?