This website has always been about trying to create some transparency for Stanton, so their beliefs, teachings, and practices can come out of the shadows. To that end, let’s see what Merie, the founder of the sect, said about various issues…in her own words. And for those who would argue that the opinions of Merie don’t matter today because she’s long gone, would you dismiss the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, and other denominational founders on that basis? Of course not.
Merie’s opinions do matter. If she hadn’t taught what she taught over 50 years ago, Stanton wouldn’t be here today. Stanton’s legitimacy as the self-proclaimed “One True Church” rests squarely on the soundness of Merie’s teachings. Merie herself taught that wrong premises produce wrong conclusions:
“When the major premise is wrong—all our conclusions are wrong. This time the author not only doesn’t have anything to hang on the hook, he hasn’t any hook.” (Put Up Thy Sword)
Without any further introduction, let’s take a look at just a small sampling of Merie’s teachings, in her own words.
“We begin this letter by saying that every Christian has a right and a responsibility to express as well as to teach those things which they honestly believe to be scriptural without being called a false teacher, or one who perverts the word of God. Inasmuch as the church is so divided upon so many things, and cannot come into an agreement upon hardly anything, it ill behooves a preacher to denounce and call names because he happens to disagree with that which is taught by others.” (Moyer Letter, 1967)
Could have fooled me.
“Within the next few years, we hope to have a New Testament church of Christ in every state in the union.” (Moyer Letter, 1967)
Gamaliel nailed it: “If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.” And it has, epically.
“The proof of all that I am contending for is found in the lack of zeal, the lack of new churches, the concentration of churches in given cities and states, the sparsity of baptisms, the ignorance as well as the do-nothing habits of the congregations where the preacher-elder rule is practiced, and the paid preacher system of rotating from one established church to another converted group.” (Moyer Letter, 1967)
Does anyone know of new churches being planted, or a single church that is growing at all? Anyone? Beuhler?
“We find at times the evangelist after establishing the church stayed several years in one place and taught and trained those whom he converted. Nor was it uncommon for the founder to return ‘to see how the churches are getting along.’ Acts 15:35 to 41. BUT THE PATTERN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS THAT THE PREACHERS WERE CONSTANTLY ON THE MOVE, going into all the world teaching and converting the lost and establishing the church of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Moyer Letter, 1967)
Irony much? How many years has the main evangelist been in the same congregation without traveling and planting new churches?
“The growing power of the preachers and in some cases, of the elders, in taking over the government of the church from the members of the body of Christ is not only unscriptural but is inherently dangerous to the identity of the church. It also has the sinister resemblance to the pope and his cohorts. The image of the Catholic priest as the last word in matters of faith is reminiscent of the attitudes of too many members of Christ’s body toward the preacher today. This attitude reflects itself in the ignorance of the people and the indifference to what is happening to the church. It tends to make them dependent upon possibly one man or men for all of their knowledge and this is pernicious in its effect.” (Cogdill Letter, 1968)
Sounds to me like Stanton needs a revolution to put the power back in the hands of the people, rather than preacher/teacher/evangelist priestly class.
“The preacher-priest image is further carried out by the attitude of the people toward the preacher, leaving it to him and/or the elders to make all the decisions, do all the teaching (except perhaps the children) and their word is law. They are usually considered above reproach and are not to be contradicted on any matter.“ (Cogdill Letter, 1968)
No, preachers/teachers/evangelists in the “preacher-priest image” are not to be contradicted on any matter. On the bright side, at least Stanton doesn’t have to worry about elders making all the decisions.
“The members of the church have a right to question and ask for Bible answers from those who are doing the preaching. But this is considered almost tantamount to heresy by the preachers of today; and if a member persists in such he is usually slandered and called a trouble-maker… We should know our Bible and we should be ready and willing to take a stand for the truth. We are commanded to ‘contend for the truth.’ But this can hardly be done seeing that the church is ignorant and the preachers are content to have it so. Individually and collectively we should take scriptural stands upon all subjects…” (Brethren Letter, 1967)
Of course, if anyone exercises their “right to question and ask for Bible answers,” especially if they don’t just question, but “take a stand for truth,” they’ll be promptly withdrawn from for murmuring or sowing seeds of discord.
“New Testament evangelism died along with the deterioration of the church spiritually. But the preachers are so blind to their own defection and lack of zeal and their obligation to go into all the world and preach the gospel, they even advertise their ignorance of what evangelist means by adding the word ‘evangelist’ to their names.” (Brethren Letter, 1967)
Be careful when you point your finger, because there are three more…never mind.
“Today the church is going through a mammoth apostasy and the authority of the Bible is being ignored as more and more of the members and leaders of the church follow the traditions and dictates of men rather than God.” (Public Confession)
So…we agree on something?
“We can clarify the issues by exposing those who undermine and destroy the souls of those who follow pernicious doctrines of men. Let’s warn our neighbors, our unsaved friends and even strangers when the opportunity arises, and let us continue to prepare ourselves to teach from God’s word as well as to show the error of the great religious organizations which fill the earth and which are nothing more or less than the devil’s stronghold upon this earth.” (Church Lesson)
Couldn’t agree more.