March 13, 2017 by missionsandmysticism
This testimony continues…Please read Part 1 here.
“Before I go into the theological issues with leadership’s beliefs and teachings, I want to highlight a few examples of the bad fruit that manifested during our race:
- An unhealthy and overbearing emphasis on Self that left the whole squad wallowing in victim-mentality selfishness and causing even the most servant-hearted members of the squad to start acting in a self-first way
- Confusion over basic tenants of the faith (e.g. do we need a second baptism of the Holy Spirit? can we all receive the gift of tongues if we have enough faith? what is the purpose of man?), controversial views that were presented as fact and never explained (e.g. there won’t be a Rapture, it is a good thing to pray for the dead, there will be more people in Heaven than in Hell, God loves sin, I am Jesus / I am God with skin on), and various scriptures that were misquoted and mistaught according to commonly accepted teaching (related to the lack of knowledge of Scripture)
- Complete lack of discipline allowing many situations to escalate into physical bullying, verbal abuse, physical abuse, drinking and party lifestyle, and slander that affected the squad as well as external missions organizations and caused alarm for several of our hosts
- Complete cultural insensitivity by immature members of the squad resulting in offense by hosts and fellow workers that reflected poorly on our image as Christians and as Americans
Please understand, the World Race does very little to screen the candidates coming in. There is no requirement that members have been involved in discipleship and no litmus test to see if they’re producing good fruit in their life, or whether they have ever shared the gospel. World Race staff also admitted to several of us that many people were allowed onto our squad who shouldn’t have been allowed to come on the mission field because they were still walking in serious sin patterns. But they wanted more people in our squad and wanted more guys especially, so they accepted every guy that applied and almost all of the girls.
The situation of a large group of 20-somethings roaming the globe together living in minimalist conditions is frequently referred to by WR staff as a “pressure cooker.” If there were mentors living life with the squad, modeling Biblical manhood and womanhood and pointing young people towards maturity through their wisdom and knowledge of the Word, then the pressure cooker would be a great place to be discipled.
However, there are no role models on the race. — we had two “squad leaders” with us for the first 6 months who had just finished their own World Races the previous year, one of whom admitted she had not really been a Christian before her World Race experience and actually came to faith on the race (the other was a true believer, albeit a 24-year-old). We had one “squad mentor” in the US who came out twice to see us, who was around 30 years old and had been a Christian for about 5 years. And we had two “squad coaches” who maintained frequent contact with our squad leaders, who were in their fifties but who directed the squad towards Christian mysticism, discouraged squad leaders from reading the Bible “too much,” caused much confusion in the squad with poor teaching, refused to discipline disruptive squad members until they were forced to by higher AIM leadership, and did NOT model or exemplify godly manhood and womanhood in many ways (cussing, crude joking, frequent drinking, inappropriate clothing).
The first couple weeks we were in remote villages without wifi, but [recently we worked with an international mission organization] and it’s been such a stark contrast to the leadership and lifestyle of the World Race leaders. Seeing the heart and passion for the unreached that these folks have, and hearing their words talking about JESUS and the good news — it’s so refreshing, but also disheartening, because it makes it so clear that the World Race leaders are not living or teaching out of the same truths.
The World Race leadership and organization is not encouraging us to share a saving message, they are not encouraging us to read the Word, they are not fostering an atmosphere of holiness — and this has been happening since Day 1, it’s just been so hard to discern what is truth and what is simply different teaching that might be okay in the end. Being around the mission families has made this so clear, and during [my last weeks] I had been talking and praying about whether to leave the Race, and I felt peace in my spirit about the decision to withdraw….”
(Part 3 to be continued…)