Friday, January 3, 2014

Must Read: Schism of the Hulmites (Updated)

Silenced has just released an excellent post detailing the latest developments in the ongoing schism within COG-AIC: Hulme's Group Implodes.

It contains links to many documents released by Silenced regarding this schism. Here are some selections from the documents currently being released.

Stephen Elliot's letter to David Hulme (December 28, 2013) contains this devastating indictment of Vision magazine.
In August I mentioned to you that the fruit of this organization is bad. Our membership has declined, not grown. After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member—not because of Vision. (p. 2.)
One of the documents is An Explanation of the Primary Issues in the COGaic which explains some of the issues that have prompted dissenting ministers to stand up against Hulme's tyranny.
1. Governance. The issue at hand is not the proper form of government in the Church. The issue revolves around the proper way to exercise responsibility and authority within the community of the Church, to declare the truth and to prepare God's people to rule with Christ. It's about the way we work together to get the job done, and the way we care for those who are a part of that effort. ... On several occasions, Steve Andrews, Brian Orchard, Peter Nathan and Bob Rodzaj have approached Mr Hulme privately about matters of unethical conduct among the ministry. In addition, matters have been brought before the U.S. board. Finally, Steve Andrews wrote a letter appealing to Mr Hulme to consider these and other matters where members have suffered because we have not acted in accordance with the Scriptures. ... The fear is that Mr Hulme has withdrawn into an autocratic style of governance that no longer reflects a concern for the real welfare of God’s people. ...

2. Our approach to the gospel. The issue at hand here revolves around the content of the message and how it is conveyed. This has been the subject of debate for several years, and has more recently come to the fore. ... Yet as time has passed in these 15 years since we came together again, our public proclamation has not effectively conveyed the truth of God to the world in a clear and courageous way. This too has been brought to Mr Hulme's attention, but we continue to produce materials that fall short in that way.

3. The Church’s teaching on the United States and Britain in Prophecy. The issue at hand here is whether we believe what we once did regarding this pivotal, long-standing teaching of the Church. ... Mr Hulme's answer to one minister when he asked Mr Hulme whether he believed Ephraim was Britain was in essence “no.” Others have heard Mr Hulme express similar ideas regarding this. Peter Nathan and Brian Orchard have appealed to Mr Hulme to consider his approach to the scriptures in this regard. ... A pivotal doctrine like the United States and Britain in Prophecy, which is so much a part of the content of the Church's message, cannot be easily diminished.
David Hulme has peevishly disfellowshipped Steven Andrews for questioning his authority which is mentioned in his member letter of November 20, 2013.
The hope is always that there will be a change of heart on the part of those who have strayed in their actions and attitudes. But if not, in such situations the Church must act decisively to protect the members. Sometimes we must remove the source from among us ... . Accordingly, I am saddened to say that Steven Andrews had to be disfellowshiped. We should bear him no ill will.
Later David Hulme sent this letter (December 18, 2013) he which he begs for money because the crisis he started (by neglecting the needs and concerns of his followers) has reduced COG-AIC's income.
Thank you, dear brethren, for your love and support in this current trial on the Church. So many of you have written, showing that you are not confused by the events of recent days. We must pray for all affected, that they will be led to see the underlying problems, and seek God’s peace for the whole body.

It is customary that I remind US members at this time of year that any donations that you wish to be receipted as tax deductible should be dated and postmarked on or before December 31. The Church’s anticipated income has fallen in the current crisis, and any additional help you can give would be much appreciated. Remember that we are promised all the help we need in such times.
Also worth reading is this Pro-Hulme Current Crisis memo which presents even from the viewpoint of those wishing to maintain and support Hulme's tyranny.

The author uses a personal story of his to imply that the dissenters are being irrational and emotional.
Personal story
i. c 2006 I placed a Pastor’s Update on the website
ii. I got a call from someone who monitors this who was concerned with what I wrote
iii. The person thought that what I wrote meant something I clearly did not say; I could not understand how it could be misunderstood; it simply made no sense at all to me
iv. However, I took the posting down
v. This really troubled me, and I dwelled on it for a while. I talked to my wife about it, and it troubled her as well. Neither of us could understand why someone might misunderstand.
vi. Finally, though, after thinking and praying about it, I came to the understanding that it mattered very little in the scheme of things.
vii. My little article on the web was not going to profoundly change anyone for the better. While I thought it would be helpful, this article was simply not that important
viii. With time, the anger that I felt dissipated, and I was able to completely let it go, with God’s help
ix. I can honestly say, while that even greatly troubled me at the time, it doesn’t bother me one bit today. It’s gone.
x. However, if I had tucked that event away, and let it simmer in the back of my mind; my discontent would have continued to grow.
xi. I could have covered it up; none of you would have known. I could have kept it inside of me.
xii. In time other events could have been piled on until I was at a point of being ready to rebel; refuse to support those God has placed over me
Intriguingly he claims that there seemed to be no problems as of November 1.
Please consider something with me for a moment
1. At the first of November most of us (perhaps all of us?) had no clue there were any
2. How is it, in the span of less than a couple months, entire congregations were very aware
and completely on board with their pastor who has such strong disagreements with Mr.
3. This level of dissent does not occur overnight. Let me be frank and speak plainly: most of
the Phoenix congregation – a congregation I once pastored, with people I dearly love – are
now aggressive against Mr. Hulme.
How did that happen so quickly, when you didn’t even
know there was an issue? Think about that.
4. When I was the pastor, there were no indications of this kind of disagreement.
He is categorically wrong to say there was nothing wrong on November 1. Silenced reported over a year ago that trouble was brewing among the Hulmites. Even I discussed it in a previous post. Also last August Banned by HWA reported that many British Hulmites had defected to LCG. The fact that this pro-Hulme minister noticed nothing wrong by November 1, 2013 indicates that he had his head in the sand and was blind to the building frustration.

Also this is an important admission from Hulme's side that some of the dissenting ministers are greatly supported by their congregations.

There is a lot more to get through but I cannot get through it all at this moment.


Bill Hendrick's resignation letter is particularly poignant. Here Hendrick is compelled to resign after visiting an ill, old lady in order to comfort her at home.

Here Hendrick discusses his views regarding the disfellowshipping of Steven Andrews.
The announcement of the disfellowship of Steve Andrews raised a lot of questions. I couldn’t give any answers at that time since I had received no prior information. When I asked you about it you gave no answers other than to say that he was in rebellion against authority and I would not get any truthful answers from someone that had been disfellowshipped. No comment or information came from Pasadena either. In another conversation about it you said that he had tried to “take over the church”. Knowing Steve as long as I have, I could understand someone might mistake his approach to things because he can be very direct and forceful, but trying to take over the church or to be outright dishonest, no, he is not that way. ...

Hulme gradually expelled more ministers but these still did not stop people asking questions.
As the list of Pastors and Elders being disfellowshipped grew, more questions were coming to me wanting to know what was going on. Still no information or answers were given for the questions being raised. As you should be well aware, this causes concern and is disturbing to the peace of God’s people.
Hulme and his collaborators insist that he is to be followed without question for he is God's chosen.
You have expressed that Mr. Hulme was chosen by God and your view seems to be that he is to be followed without question because of his position. Mr. Orchard, if that is the case, we should all still be members of what is now called Grace Communion International!

Why is Hendricks being forced to resign? Because he tried to comfort an old woman. This is just so bizarre and weird.
Now to address my “unwise actions”, as you put it, of last Sabbath which led you to ask for my
I know that there are members that have been watching me and reporting back to you of everything I say and do. I have not tried to hide anything. Last Sabbath I made it a point to talk to Mrs. Edison. She had been ill the Sabbath before and I had not been able to see her for two weeks. She made the statement to me that she didn’t know what she would do if (name omitted) were to be kicked out or leave the church. Then she said “I’d just die if that happened!” I told her that she didn’t need to worry about it. He wouldn’t just leave us. I then told her that “I think something will happen to clear all this up and things will turn around soon, maybe even this week”. According to you that was an “unwise” thing for me to do. Really?

Hendrick also reveals that some members are spying on him. He also gives an example of the mind control tactics Hulme's collaborators are using to keep people enslaved by Hulme when he talks of how one speaker at church inferred " that those that have been put out are divisive and God hates their actions."
When services started I joined in the song service, listened to the announcement in which Jack Campbell added a short sermonette to the end inferring that those that have been put out are divisive and God hates their actions. After the announcements they introduced the special music and just after the music started I got up from my seat at the back where I normally sit and was leaving when a member stopped me and asked if I was leaving. I told that person that I had already listened to Mr. Keefer’s sermon very closely and it didn’t address the issue at hand because it was taken out of context. This person’s reply was something to the affect of “yes, I have listened to it 4 times”. The same person that overheard my conversation with Mrs. Edison was also closely listening to this one.
This is a tragedy that Hulme is viciously impose upon his followers.


  1. This is another seismic event in COGdom, and it appears that a paradox is emerging. The influential ones in the Armstrong movement are actively engineering something about which they have spoken for many years: their great falling away.

    Now, I do not believe that their great falling away has anything to do with the namesake event foretold in the Bible. A mindset change involving at best 150,000 people is miniscule in the greater scheme of things, but then we have seen leaders of groups of 25 to 2,000 people claiming to be doing a great international work of preaching the Armstrong British Israel version of the gospel, warning the world, even though they are largely invisible and unknown.

    There is one positive to these seismic events. The often outrageous nature of them crosses the threshhold tolerances of a certain percentage of the membership, leading them to reinvestigate all they believe that they know, and to come to a new, healthier, non-toxic set of conclusions. And, that is not a bad thing.


    1. Although these events may seem quite remote to non-members I greatly appreciate that it is, as you say, seismic for them. That I why I post on this event.

      In my opinion this has mainly happened because the members can no longer live with the cognitive dissonance they have lived with for the last fifteen years (5475 days) They are told they are the true church, that they have a warning message to the world, but the church does hardly a thing to spread its message. Hulme seems unconcerned about these things and his followers wonder why they put up with it. They express this problem and instead they are told they are in rebellion, that they are being emotional, that it is God's plan for them to submit to Hulme's authority, that if they "cause division" they are liable to be disfellowshipped. And now they see even Steven Andrews getting disfellowshipped.

      They are waking up that they have gotten a bad deal. They want something better. They want to be treated serious, as adults, not as fools who are expected to simply submit to authority. They want the religion they believe in to be treated with more respect then their own leader, Hulme, seems willing to give it.

      One of Hulme's collaborators, Eric Keefer, is very surprised that things have come to a head. It is not possible for him to understand the problems and frustration of the members because he lives off of the members' tithes and offerings. Everything is going well for him. Sure, Vision can't recruit anyone, but so long as the members are still paying him, he thinks everything is fine. He even claims they have had fifteen years of peace and growth and that he had no idea things were about to erupt as early as November 1. I can only assume he was stuck in the bubble of contentment and completely failed to notice the building frustration. It is hard for members to make their discontent known when they know they could be disfellowshipped if they brake the rules.

      What a tragedy Hulme has inflicted on them because he wishes to have all the power and will not accommodate the dissenters and not give them anyway to have their way and will not work with them.