We received this letter from Gene Shaparenko, a recipient of The Issues of Life, in reaction to The True Marks of a Cult:
Have been scanniing some of the material you have passed on to us. It is difficult to say what we have here in this “victor” person, one who decries pastors and preachers yet desires to be the same as them; who spews scripture to impress the unlearned much like a remake of David Koresh; this person is truly confused, who speaks as if he understands scripture but is indeed leading others away from sincere worship and fellowship with other believers. There will be no reward for this type of person at the Bema Seat – someone who decries the food that God provides yet offers no recommendations – what type of person is this? A person indeed who has been misled by private interpretation of the scripture, ranting and raving like some crazy person who tickles the ears as he decries those who tickle ears elswhere in false churches.
Is there no end to this ranting? Yes – in the fellowship of true believers, who it is clear he has yet to find, there is peace and understanding and wisdom beyond what Victor seems to think he has. truly a sad waste of time and writing energy. We see many like Victor, the ones like the late Gene Scott, the late John Roushdouny and Chilton and the list could go on – looking to draw individuals away from the fellowship of others to join this negativistic campaign of his.
You are making some heady accusations here, but without any substantiation whatsoever. That is deemed sin by the Law of God, and even in the courts of this world would be considered slander. You need to present some specifics. What precisely are you talking about? Because you condemn us without rationale or reason, you are the one who is ranting. When you give us a reasoned and evidential answer, we will answer you, Lord willing. Why do you not tell us, with applicable Scriptural support and understanding, point by point, where we err? Or is ranting and raving all you are capable of doing?
It is typical of people who say things like you and victor are saying to call critiques ranting and ravings. This is precisely what cults do – the exact thing that victor and you claim to oppose. sometimes those who are sick cannot see their own illness. disassociation from the orthodox beliefs handed down by Christ and the apostolic fathers led to cults in Augustine’s time – the same type of thinking and dialog that you are spewing forth on the internet.
Still not a word of substance, Gene, not one. You are angry, hateful, and empty, perhaps angry and hateful because empty. What is your problem? You write:
“It is typical of people who say things like you and victor are saying to call critiques ranting and ravings. This is precisely what cults do.”
What is it you think you are doing? You continue to show yourself guilty of those very things you accuse us. As it is written:
“Therefore you are without excuse, O man, everyone who judges; for in that in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things. But know that the judgment of God is according to truth on those who practice such things. And, O man, the one judging those who do such things, and practice them, do you think this, that you shall escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and the forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and your impenitent heart, do you treasure up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each according to his works; indeed to those who with patience in good work are seeking for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility, everlasting life. But to those who indeed disobeying the truth out of self-seeking, and obeying unrighteousness, will be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man who has worked out evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Greek. But He will give glory, honor and peace to every man who works good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no respect of faces with God” (Romans 2:1-11 MKJV).
Not hateful and empty, perhaps a bit more informed on how others like victor have been destroying lives in christian fellowships by words like I read on your posts. Stick with criticizing amway – that’s the only area where you have made any sense and have facts on your side.
I once had a friend who has turned out much like Victor – he was a strong fundamental believer but decided to find his own interpretation of the bible, in eschatology. well, he sat down in his mental corner and tried to figure out why everyone else was wrong – he spent years writing all about his private interpretations – no body was buying it because even though he was quoting scripture left and right he had no substance to his effort – God did not bless his work until he abandoned it. He couldn’t find fellowship in churches because his private interpretation separated him from believers and pastors who knew scripture better by being spirit led rather than led by a computerized concordance of the bible. He could have been Victor’s brother, joined at the hip spiritually – his efforts were lost and his only consolation was the fact he had figured out why everyone else’s viewpoint was wrong.
Just two more points to mention then I am tied up writing proposals for two weeks: victor says don’t associated with churches and be led by godly men but it is OK for you to follow my(Victor’s teachings). Sounds like Jim Jones all over again.
Secondly, just viewing the discussion on foods – its interesting information but when you can’t recommend an alternative your efforts to convince others that certain foods are wrong are lost in the ether and worthlesss.
We’ve been in lots of these types of discussions with Reconstructionists and they are about as far of base on spiritual understanding as Victor seems to be – albeint both of them can quote scripture all day long, out of context and it takes time to point out these errors – someone else will have to do that as I see both of you are pretty much stuck with private interpretations from front to back. gs
The judge is Victor – read any paragraph and you will see he is trying to judge – you are indeed sick Paul to not see what you are following.
Whether or not we have substance to what we say, we know this: Those who see and believe us are blessed and rejoicing, while those who fight us and deny the truth that we speak in the Lord Jesus Christ are gnashing their teeth and suffering, even as you are.
One more thing is certain: While you accuse us of being wrong, you still cannot produce one piece of credible evidence or give any indication with substance or value that what we say or do is damnable. It is all empty wind and bluster, Gene. Why do you not humble yourself and admit you do not know what you are talking about? If you cannot credibly judge someone, you have no business opening your mouth. You are judging contrary to the commandment of the Lord, and are damned as a hypocrite for doing so.
Gene, we see a lot of smoke, but no fire, and, least of all, no fuel for the fire. How is it you are quite capable of judging and condemning us, yet so blind to the fact that you are unable to come up with substance? Is your word all the substance you think is needed? We trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and preach from the Scriptures, even as did He and all those that are His. You expect us to trust Gene and his word. Why should we when you are powerless to speak anything worthwhile, how much more to do anything? You mentioned that we rant and rave when critiqued. When critiqued by whom? By you? Do you call your judgments and shallow remarks critiquing? Again and again we ask you, “Where are the facts?” You err, not knowing the power of God or His Scriptures.
You are religious and empty. Gene, you are quite ignorant and foolish, as well as stubborn and, finally, self-destructive. You are blind, because you are wicked, and I will tell you why. You presume to see something in our eye. You can’t identify specifically what it is you see in our eye, though we have repeatedly asked you to do so. That is because of the beam in your own eye. Worst of all, and causing that beam, you candidly confess that you won’t bother, though you ought to try, as a servant of Christ, to help us see wherein it is that we are wrong. That is wicked. There is no love of God in you. You really don’t give a damn about the truth or anyone else.
We have tried to reason with you, but you are as a brute beast that grunts and rages, but cannot reason. As to the positive and what we preach to replace the false, it is there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Repent, Gene. You are a miserable creature with nothing but an attitude problem for a god.
We have told you two items to respond to Victor and you refused to do so – they were the easiest ones and you come back and say we haven’t want to dialog. I will reprint your response to us and send it to some of my Christian friends to tell them about your website and how you respond to criticism.
Victor and Paul’s reply:
Do reprint and share our correspondences and web site with others. We welcome dialogue with any of your associates that can reason with substance, unlike you.
Gene’s reply #1:
They will be particularly happy to see a person who claims to be a spirit filled christian say things like Victor did about people who challenge theological positions. that’s the part that is truly sad.
Gene’s reply #2:
Let me tell you this: Any structure or organization that has a name, a license from thegovernment (whatever earthly government it may be), fancy church buildings for leaders (that is, priests, pastors and teachers on staff with salary), religious garb of any kind, canned prayers and "church services" where you can count on a program of some sort, usually on Sundays as well as other days of the week, when people get all dressed up to "attend", various "ministries" specializing in youth, college and career, children, the slums of cities, etc., that structure or organization is not the church of God.
GENE SAYS [Quoting another’s article, without mentioning that fact. Warning – very boring]…
Everybody needs a group to be part of. Some people identify with a particular sports team, others with a activity (like gaming), a gang, or a social club. You gain your identity from your group – whether for good or bad.
Let’s face the issue squarely. Why should you commit yourself to a local Church? Either there are good, Biblical, common sense reasons for doing so; or, frankly, you can forget the whole issue, and we can be content with TV preachers and casual contacts with other Christians.
Is it necessary to commit yourself to a local Church? I think that the Bible says, "Yes." Let me give you six reasons:
1. The Bible teaches that every person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior also gets a family! Like it or not, the Church is your family.
When we receive Christ, we also receive a family. The Bible calls God your Father (Romans 8:15). Jesus is your brother (Hebrews 2:11), although a special brother indeed! Christians are called your brothers and sisters (James 2:15).
These terms all indicate a close relationship. It may be a relationship which we would prefer to deny, but we don’t have that option. We are family, we are related to each other, and we should be in relationship with one another. To cut ourselves off from our family displeases our heavenly Father (Philippians 2:1-2).
2. The Bible teaches that every person who becomes a believer is also included in a body.
In Ephesians 4:25, Paul makes a statement that cuts against the grain of our individuality. He says, "We are all members of one body." What body? The body of Christ (Ephesians 5:29-30). God’s purpose does not end with our salvation. It is His further intent to knit His children together into a working organism, a living body of believers.
This theme is one that appears often in Scripture as in 1 Corinthians 12:13-27. This is a very important passage for every Christian to read and understand. In verse 13, Paul writes, "When you were baptized, you were baptized by one Spirit into one body." In the verses which follow, Paul compares the Church to a physical body. And individual believers are compared to the various parts that make up that body.
The metaphor of the Body indicates close relationship. Paul makes it clear that no part of a body can function effectively alone. Each part needs the other to be complete: "And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you;’ or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’" (verse 21).
The Reverend Louis H. Evans, Sr., once told of a man writing him to ask for his letter of Church membership. The man stated that he was quitting as a Church member, but was not quitting as a Christian. The man explained the he just didn’t feel any need of the Church and so he was simply going to belong to Christ.
Dr. Evans wrote back that he could not give the man his letter of Church membership, because he would and could not participate in such a bloody activity! Bloody activity? Yes, Dr. Evans saw the man’s desire to commit himself to Jesus but not the Church as an act of decapitation. Christ is the Head of the Body according to the Bible. How can you severe the Head from the Church which is His Body?
Like the man who wrote Dr. Evans, we try to decapitate the Body when we profess our commitment to Christ, but not the Church. "The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you’" (I Corinthians 12:21).
3. God’s purpose is not just to save you. He is also building something.
Another key passage on commitment to other Christians is found in 1 Peter 2:4-5: As you come to him, the Living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
God’s purpose is to bring men to the Living Stone and then to build us together with other "stones." A brick by itself is useless. It is useful only as a home for bugs and worms to live under. In the same way, God’s house will be incomplete without you. We are living bricks that must be built together with other bricks to form God’s spiritual house. Some of us will be for support, others will form the doorway, still others will be for holy beauty, and some will form the steps which touch the ground
and lead up into the spiritual house.
Are you allowing God to place you close to other living bricks? It is God’s purpose to build you together with other people.
4. Relationship with other Christians is essential for your holiness.
1 John 1:7 says, "But IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT as he himself is in the light, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER, and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin."
The introductory "if" confronts us with two related results:
(1) If we are walking with Jesus in the light, then we will be having fellowship with other Christians.
(2) How do we experience cleansing from sin? The way John arranges the words may mean that as we walk in the light this results in fellowship with other Christians; and through fellowshipping with other Christians, we experience the power of cleansing from sin and error. We could diagram John’s thought like this:
IF we walk in the light
THEN we will fellowship with others
THEN we get our lives clean from sin
When we are in fellowship with other Christians, we are forced to clean up our act and become more like Jesus Christ. There’s no accountability between you and your "Tape of the Month." You don’t have to practice forgiveness between yourself and your television evangelist. But when you meet other Christians in a local Church, they see who you really are. And you will have to learn forgiveness if you begin rubbing
shoulders with other Christians. I guarantee it.
Fellowship forces you to change. A good Church will motivate you to holiness. Relationship with other Christians is not optional. It is essential for your purity.
5. Strength for a Christian comes from grace. Many of the "means of grace" are found only in a Body of Christians meeting together.
The word "grace" is used two different ways in the New Testament. Usually, and most of the time, it is used to speak of God’s mercy and undeserved blessing. But it is also used in the Bible to speak about the power that God gives a believer for spiritual growth and obedience. Do you want to grow in the Christian life? Then you need to know how to get grace.
The Reformers used the term "means of grace" to describe certain channels which God uses to give us power for our spiritual growth. You have probably heard baptism and the Lord’s Supper called "means of grace." But there are also other means of grace–other ways that God pours His grace into our lives and provides power for us to grow.
Fellowship with other Christians is a channel of grace (Hebrews 10:24-25). The regular preaching and teaching of God’s Word is a channel of grace (Acts 20:32). Even singing together with other Christians is a means of grace according to the Bible (Acts 16:25; Colossians 3:16). Fellowship, teaching, and corporate singing normally happen in a Church. If we remain outside of the Church, we miss God’s grace through these channels.
And then there is the grace that comes through the channel of spiritual gifts. God has given every Christian a spiritual gift. Peter says we should "use our gifts to administer God’s grace" into the lives of other Christians (1 Peter 4:10). If we are not committed to a Church, then we cut ourselves off from the grace which comes from the exercise of other people’s spiritual gifts.
In addition to spiritual gifts, there are certain activities which should be occurring in the Body of Christ which may or may not require the exercise of a spiritual gift. Joseph Aldrich in his book, Lifestyle Evangelism (pp. 109-110), lists thirty-four of these activities which God commands Christians to be involved in with "one another." Examples are "showing hospitality to one another," "being involved in
intercessory prayer with one another," "serving one another in love," " bearing one another’s burdens," "confessing our sins to one another," etc., etc. These "one another" activities are all paths which God uses to get His living spiritual power into our lives. These are corporate commands. They occur only in the context of a Church fellowship.
We need all the grace we can get in this day and age. And many Christians are weak and stumbling because they lack grace. Spiritual lone rangers aren’t going to survive in the days to come. We need each other. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!
Watchman Nee said, "Let us therefore not be content with personal grace, but rather seek to gain corporate grace." (Assembling Together). Are you content with personal grace or are you also seeking the strength that comes from corporate grace?
It is recorded in the Old Testament that "one thousand chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight." (Deuteronomy 32:30). Naturally speaking, if one can chase a thousand, then we would expect two to case two thousand. Yet God says two will chase ten thousand–an additional eight thousand! Now either God has poor math skills or there is a message there for us about the grace and power available to those who will commit themselves together with others.
6. Relationship with other Christians is a command from God.
Our responsibility for regular fellowship with a group of committed believers is clearly stated in Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. We must not forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but we must encourage one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."
Two related truths come from this passage: (1) We have a responsibility to stimulate and encourage other Christians; (2) We can only do this if we do not forsake "our own assembling." This last phrase obviously takes it for granted that all of us will be related to a group which we can properly call "our own assembly."
The essential step which brings us into this kind of relationship is the same that brings us into proper relationship with God or with our mate. It is the step of commitment. If you have already made a commitment to God, you should follow that with this commitment–to a group of fellow believers.
NEXT, WE WILL DISCUSS WHY GOD HAS APPOINTED UNDERSHEPHERDS TO GUIDE
PEOPLE IN AN ORGANIZED MANNER. YOUR APPROACH IS SOMETHING LIKE TRYING
TO HERD CATS. THAT IS NOT GOD’S PLAN, YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY NEVER SEEN
SHEPHERDS WORKING TO MAINTAIN A FLOCK SO IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE WHY YOU
CANNOT SEE THE NEED AND WHY JESUS USED THE EXAMPLE OF A SHEPHERD RATHER THAN CEO, DIRECTOR OR OTHER METHODS OF OVERSIGHT AND DIRECTDION FOR THE CHURCH. EVEN WITH SMALL GROUPS, A CENTRAL FOCUS OF THEOLOGICALLY SOUND DIRECTION IS NEEDED – WHICH YOU APPROACH DOES NOT PROVIDE.
Gene’s reply #3:
Victor says: Everybody I speak to thinks he is clean, that he does nothing wrong but everyone walks after the imagination of his own heart as to what is right and wrong, good and evil, and will not listen to a man of God to correct their thinking. "Who does he think he is?!" they say, "there are not prophets today, except for false ones!"
so who is he who calls others self-righteous when he is the only one who is capable of calling himself clean and dispensing information to correct the world – the self-righteous individual who spews this informatin – who was it…it was Victor who says these self righteous words.
Gene’s reply #4:
WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?!
Another hodgepodge of Calvinism, Reconstructinism and Unitarianism. Lots of reasons why every individual will be saved – again not in concert with the narrow and wide paths to salvation and destruction respectively and certainly not an encouragement to the unsaved. You seem to have some basic information correct but then concoct, using randomly selected verses, your own interpretation of how man and be and is saved. Most of the verses quoted have nothing to do with salvation; they deal with the creation new and old, the earth new and old and so forth. Most leaders don’t know the difference and apparently you don’t either.
Gene’s reply #5:
ARE WE A CULT?
Victor provides a pretty good case for him and his group truly being a cult. He doesn’t seem to recognize that all of these issues related to separation, clothing, etc are works oriented and by segmenting himself and his cult followers he is in fact a preacher of works and not faith or grace. He doesn’t see why god would have us in he world as a salt to bring others to repentence – just being isolated and eating organic foods seems to be adequate. In the world but not of it doesnt compute with victor – he needs his own theology, not what God has said will happen during our journey here.
victor must have been molested by a priest as a child judging by the way he takes catholics apart(rightly so, but with vengence and not with love so as to bring these lost people to Christ). Definitely not a soulwinner, only a separatist who will have his reward at the bema seat but probably not anything of these disconnected writings will be saved when fire tries them. Lots of words – no action, no activity, just separatism and negativity. Yes, all of the marks of a cult and now writing about cults to cleanse his mind of those things which others have correctly identified about him as cultish.
Only his group is living right – all others are wrong, yet God is to save all mankind? paradox is too light of a word to describe this disconnection of his articles.
Gene, Victor’s reply to your note (below) was composed before the last 4 emails you sent to us arrived here. The words of the reply still apply, and, though you made an appearance of engaging us, you simply plagiarized another’s article [in Gene’s second reply above; the original article, found here – www.new-life.net/whychur.htm – has been removed from the internet] in lieu of having anything substantive to say for yourself. You remove yourself even further from honest discussion. However, what the article presents is not a problem for us at all, and, Lord willing, we will address that too.
Foolish words continue to spew from your mouth, Gene. What does the Bible say? Here it is for those who are ignorant of both the letter and the spirit:
“Charity does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6 MKJV).
You say your friends will be “particularly happy” with what I am saying, while I am claiming to be Spirit-filled. Are you projecting your personality and attitude on them, or are they as you? If as you, with the kind of “church” or “fellowship” or “friends” you have, why should anyone even begin to suspect there to be any godliness among them whatsoever? And then you say, “that’s the part that is truly sad.” Happy or sad? Make up your mind. You are shallow, irresponsible, cynical, ignorant, and hypocritical, Gene. You don’t mean what you say, and you do not say what you mean. You cannot do so because you are confused by your sins and the harlot church, Mystery Babylon (confusion). We preach to deliver from that horrible darkness, which people like yourself call “light.”
As we said, Gene, you are grossly ignorant of the Scriptures and of God. You have the same lovey-dovey, soppy, carnal image of Him that most have, not that He is as judgmental and murderous in attitude as you have presented yourself to be. You and others see Him as you choose to see Him, and not as He is.
If I am wrong in my statements and expressions, then what are you? Here is something from Scripture of which you are surely ignorant:
“If according to man I fought with beasts in Ephesus, what advantage is to me if the dead are not raised? ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (1 Corinthians 15:32 MKJV)
The apostle Paul, who laid his life down in preaching the truth, was not reticent in saying to one of his disciples in training, “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12 MKJV). Not very spiritual or godly, huh! He then advised him:
“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Titus 1:13-14 KJV).
If you wish to circulate our words to others, by all means do so. We know whereof we speak, and are not ashamed of what we are saying. You need to be ashamed of yourself, attacking and condemning without cause or substance, and not responsibly reading that which is there, but which you say is not. Yet again, if you wish to “challenge theological positions,” we will gladly respond with fit answers. You have challenged nothing at all. You have neither asked questions nor addressed specific issues. You send two vague points and, in all of your ungodly conduct, have ranted and condemned, but refuse to admit your ignorance and failure to address us intelligently, much less in godly wisdom. That is no challenge to us. It is utter lack of understanding at best. Either speak substance or hold your peace, humbly admitting you have a position of religious ignorance to defend but no good reason to defend it.
We are still, in the patience God has given us to deal with such as yourself, prepared to discuss any issue you wish to discuss in decency, with knowledge. We have not written you off, but you must admit (refresh your memory with your first letters to us) that you came out with nothing short of condemnation. And you accuse us of having a wrong spirit? You worship “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), my friend. Pass our words and website around, and if your friends are as you, they will have no more to say than have you. If there is an inkling of desire for truth and God’s righteousness in any one of them, they will understand whereof we speak and the illegitimacy of your position and attitude. We are open to dialogue with any, not at all defensive of our position.
Contending for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), the one you have not heard of, much less experienced, and addressing the false, even as Enoch prophesied would come to pass (Jude 1:14-16).
You evade discussion when you ask – what a liar you are.
How can you discuss something with one who answers by plagiarism? Discussion implies a two-way conversation and you have nothing to say for yourself. You steal other people’s words, labeling them as “Gene says,” applying them without a conscience or any use for truth whatsoever. When you do talk, as in these last few letters, it is irrational tirade, almost incoherent, and entirely devoid of substance or relevance. Nevertheless, we may have things to say there, not for your sake, but for the sake of others, who could learn from you as “Exhibit A” of what a person who has been given over to the whore, Mystery Babylon, becomes.