March 9, 2014
Time for another overview. Various ex-members have made contact with current members of Cobu and it appears as though nothing has changed. What passes for "intellect" and reasoned, biblical defense and adherence is nothing more than ST's debate tactics parroted by his devoted followers. Really, what could one expect from members of a group who have given up their minds and everything that that entails to someone like ST. They truly reflect him and not Jesus. They have stopped listening to the Holy Spirit and instead hang their whole perspective on what ST thinks about everything and it shows.
I wanted to look at Cobu again from a point of view of common sense observation. The trouble Cobu has and will always have as long as they keep ST in charge is that their truth, their life, their reality is and will be defined by him. Think about this with common sense observation which is nearly impossible for current members to do. The FF was started with young people in the early 70's. This is a fact. There are no layers of meaning here. The Forever Family was officially formed in the fall of 1971. Skip O'Neil was in his early 20's. He was married. Neil Pendry was in his early 20's. Chris Blaise was 17 when he met ST. Dave Rizzetto was also 17 or 18 years old. The average age of the FF was between 18 and 21. In 1971, Stewart was 35, married with 5 children. Stewart was born in 1936. These are facts. This age difference played a major part in how ST became their leader. Stewart could only control and fool young people. Most of the people his age knew what he was and they didn't buy in.
Let's look at the culture at the time of the beginning of the FF. America and the rest of western civilization was coming out of the 1960's. The young people of this country were directionless. Robin Hood Dell in Allentown was teeming with smoking and drinking young people who were ripe for something new and different. Think about your average young human being. Think of all the true weaknesses and vulnerabilities most youth possess. Young people back then were questioning and rebelling against authority but they still needed guidance and leadership whether they believe it or not. Groups were springing up all over the east and west coasts. Some were healthy new expressions of the Body of Christ. Some were cults. The rebellion against any form of establishment included the church. One could argue that the established and traditional of the time were worth rebelling against. "Question authority" was one of the many mantras of the 60's. Enter Stewart Traill. He had a tough sell in a way. This 35 year old man had to swim against "Don't trust anyone over 30." Stewart was counterculture enough to pull this off as most of us realized.
Think about Stewart Traill and what is true about him and what are the open questions about him. Hind sight is 20/20 and this is unfortunate and problematic for current members. You see, they were and are discouraged from "thinking." They are discouraged from asking questions, checking the record, holding ST accountable but they still do have some small part of themselves that is not given over to ST. Most important is that they are Christians. The Holy Spirit dwells in them. This means there is hope for their repentance.
One could look at the various occupations and vocations that exist today and see the standards and consequences in place for each profession. There are schools, degrees, certifications. There are review boards, regulatory committee, courts. What does a doctor need to do to become a doctor: college, med school, and residency, right? Police officers: college, the academy. Lawyers: college, law school, the bar exam. And if any of these violate the law while in their profession there are consequences, censures, dismissals or possible criminal prosecution. There are checks and balances in government and policies in place for accountability. We also find in the bible standards for bishops, deacons, pastors, and overseers. One doesn't appoint himself like Stewart or assume control like he did.
What would be the common sense observation of ST; not what we were told to believe about Stewart by Stewart? Did Stewart belong to a group of Christians before starting the Forever Family? No. He did attend the Message Coffee House but he was not under anyone's authority. He was not being discipled by anyone. He was leading his own thing within the larger Message group. The leaders of the Message asked ST not to come to the meetings anymore because they thought he was in error. Stewart never went to seminary. He was never tested, examined, or ordained by any fellowship or church. Of course we were told the scripture, "where did this man get all this when he has never studied" as a justification for ST and us never being formally trained by any qualified teachers. Since Stewart never told anyone in the FF his full testimony, no one is really sure he ever got saved. He himself seemed doubtful at the Grace Meeting in 1989 when talking about his own salvation. Later that year he came up with the 1st John teaching and is heard on tape telling Paul Szostak that he (Paul) was never born again according to the then new teaching which was dropped a few months later. So Stewart, just on the face of the facts and his own words which have been recorded and transcribed, is doubtful about his own salvation. And he is still teaching our brethren.
Since the time of the Grace meeting, when he was fondling sisters in his darkroom at Princeton, trying to make one sister his 1/2 wife and taking pictures of sisters at pool side, Stewart has continued to lead Cobu members. No one to my knowledge has ever questioned ST publically without experiencing his displeasure. No one has tested him according to scripture. Recently he (78 yrs. old) has been, for lack of a better word "dating" the daughter (30ish) of Tim McAndrews. He took her to the King of Prussia mall and, in a clothing store, had her try on short, skimpy dresses. An ex-member and his fiancée saw them and confronted them. No shame on ST's part. He did his usual theatrical front and brushed off our brother. This reminds me of ST's antics in the FF days: the theatrics to deflect anyone close to his age from actually engaging him seriously about what he was doing. Funny how the teacher who taught us to be "open and honest," come to the light, and go to war against every wrong thing was himself unable to be open and honest and truly repentant for his gross sins. He would have been dismissed in a healthy church.
But what about our brothers and sisters in Christ who still live in Cobu? We are able to identify what Stewart is because no one is able to live outside the Bible, outside the truth however hard they try. According to Stewart himself he is a false teacher and a false christ. Aside from these truths remember his early "consideration," that he might be either Elijah or John the Baptist or both. This alone raises a flag. Psychologists would call it delusions of grandeur. But what is the common sense observation about our brethren in Cobu? Is there something in the bible about them and how they idolize ST? There are examples in the bible of how we behaved toward ST and how the current members behave toward him now. No one is outside the bible. We are all in there. Look at these scriptures:
. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apol'los," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga'ius; 15 lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Steph'anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? 4 For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apol'los," are you not merely men? 5 What then is Apol'los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apol'los watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
Please think about these passages. Paul is telling the Corinthians a few things here. They seemed to be regarding him, Apollos, and Cephas as more than they should. Now if Paul the Apostle were alive today and let's say he had a hand in planting the Forever Family, what do you think he would write to Cobu? He might have written to the Christian brethren instructing them how to appoint elders and overseers in the household of God as he did to Timothy and Titus. Okay, let's now say that Stewart actually was tested and approved according to what Paul said to Titus and Timothy about bishops and deacons. What then would Paul write to Cobu in light of how they treat Stewart now? Simple. He told the Corinthians: "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ, as fellow workers. Stewart never wanted this average equal treatment. It would mean the difference between lording it over us and being last of all and a slave of all. He made himself out to be unique or special (discernment of spirits, Elijah, "true" interpretation) all this to separate himself from us rank and file. He never taught what Paul wrote, never worked toward that end but just the opposite. Stewart wanted members of his group to say with their lives, "I belong to Stewart" and they do. That was part of the confession at the Grace meeting. Only problem is, the false teacher taught about his own error and stayed on as teacher and leader even when admitting that he was the problem. He even said that he took Jesus' place. Any real Christian would have been horrified at such a statement, making it or hearing it. Tim McAndrews calling ST a "man of God" as though ST was above testing, questioning, above accountability is absurd and outrageous considering ST is sinning against God and sinning against Gayle with his (Tim's) daughter. Do you think Tim's view of ST is a little like: "I belong to Stewart" ? I was baptized in the name of Stewart? Stewart is my savior? What does Tim's life say? What do the live of all current members say? Common sense observation: They are getting had by a cult leader who has fooled them into believing lies.
Here is another passage:
John 9: 28 And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."
And in John 5: 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope."
Moses was and is a man of God, a servant of the Lord. Paul the Apostle was greatly used by God for the early church and for us. Apollos, Cephas, Hebrews 11, the list of faithful brethren is long. Spurgeon, Lewis, Wesley etc. These were and are men of God but they would reject the kind of treatment the current members of Cobu give ST. The old defense is "Stewart isn't the issue." Actually he is because Stewart made himself out to be something more than a fellow worker and current members do treat him as though he is more than a fellow worker. Yes we esteem our pastors and teachers, we honor them, the faithful ones but we do not excuse sin. In fact we are not to tolerate it at all no matter who is committing it. Teachers are to judged with the greater strictness. Leaders have standards they need to meet to even be considered for appointment. Current Cobu acts like ST can do anything he wants because he is a "man of God" according to Tim McAndrews. Does Stewart have the license to commit adultery now? Does he have the right to date Tim's daughter while his second wife, Gayle, lives? What would Paul the Apostle write to our brethren in Cobu? Not only have they left their first love but they have replaced their first love. Current members set their hope on ST. They are not even setting their hope on a faithful Christian like Paul or Apollos. They tolerate a sexually perverted and unfaithful creature who has yet to even testify about his salvation in Jesus. The scripture, "They profess to know God but they deny Him by their deeds." When will our brethren awake and strengthen what remains. When will they stop tolerating the teachings of ST?
Common sense observation. Stewart fooled a bunch of young people 40 years ago. He did not have the ability or intellect to deceive people his own age. The only ones left following him now are the young people he fooled 40 years ago with a few exceptions. The only women he can misuse are within the group. Out here in non-Stewart reality people would look at him as a dirty, creepy, old man, a salesman, living off a bunch of grown-up teenagers. Christian leaders would dismiss him immediately. "The name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you." He defames the name of Christian. He dishonors God by sinning and then calling it righteousness.
What will current members do when Stewart dies in his sins? If they loved him they would only have meetings with him to urge his repentance and nothing more. They take part in his adultery with their silence. If Stewart is a Christian then he should be dismissed if not to glorify God and serve Jesus but for his own sake. Current members have put their trust and security in ST and have sacrificed much for him. They have trained themselves to follow an unbiblical leader. How will they choose a faithful Christian pastor after ST is dead? How will they test this pastor? Will they follow the bible at all? Or will they wait for ST's dying wish: naming the one who will succeed him as lord of their lives. Of course that is not how one appoints elders and bishops in the household of God. Kevin isn't qualified but since current members don't hold ST to biblical standards, why should they test KB? It is time for the believers in Jesus to stand for what the bible says about leaders and about how one should behave in the household of God.
What I have said before I will repeat. God said, "you shall have no other gods before me." Go back to the Grace Meeting. The core of the problem was and is what Stewart did, how he led the group, how we allowed him to lead, how we turned "What does the bible say" into "what does Stewart say." It's on the tape. It has been transcribed. It's right there in black and white. Stewart said he took Jesus' place. He said he missed grace. He said he taught error for 25 years. Brothers and sisters, Stewart himself said all this, Stewart on whom you set your hope. He flat out told you that he was the problem. He is your pastor, your leader. He was never qualified according to the bible to be a pastor. He then committed sins which were grounds for dismissal. He is now choosing sin which is grounds for dismissal according to the Bible. You can shoot the messenger all day long. You can run me down. You can illogically, stupidly, hurl accusations at me. You can call me names, label me, disregard me. I have for the last 15 years pointed to the Bible, reported ST's own words to you and have presented evidence the establishes the truth about your circumstances. If you say that you are a Christian and that you follow Jesus then you would follow the scriptures concerning Stewart. You are a Christian church and you have a false teacher leading you. Period! You know it. I don't blame you for being afraid of ST. I think it would be an ugly process dismissing him but you are Christians. You follow Christ. If Stewart were a Christian he would remove himself because of what he has done and what you have allowed him to do. What would the Spirit say to your church? What are you allowing? What are you tolerating? Jesus cared about wrong teaching in His church. He cared about false teachers in His church. He told the churches in Asia that He had things against them. This has gone on long enough. To quote Stewart from the grace meeting, "It's time you transferred your allegiance from my spirit (ST) to His Spirit." Yeah, that's how the grace meeting started. Can you imagine what that actually meant? Can you imagine what it means now? Brothers and sisters, it is time to remove Stewart. You are not loving ST by allowing him to continue like this.