Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Response from Henry Kreite
Kreite responded "informally" to Kip's letter directly to the ICC DF -- he preached in Portland OR where Kip is now lead evangelist. See his post below.

Hi everyone.Grace and peace.
I just returned from Portland and had an amazing time. I went because my son was in a soccer tournament, that's all. They came in second,and it was great fun.
For the record....
The wheatfield group invited me to speak to them on Sunday and I did not hesitate. It was encouraging to me personally. The Christians were warm and joyful and eager. In my opinion, and from what they have shared,they are not a protest group but a fellowship desiring to follow Christ and not men. That simple, that free in the Lord. I spoke on the love of Christ and His centrality in all things, followed by a Q&A. We worshiped and shared in the Lord's supper.My being in Portland had nothing to do with Kip. On Saturday at the tournament, I was approached by a few of the members of the wheatfield fellowship and was invited to share Scripture the next day. I will preach and teach and worship wherever I find brothers and sisters in Christ, and wherever I am welcomed in the Lord.
I utterly agree with those of you who don't think I should be 'exalted' in anyway. Never my intention at all.This is not a Kip or Henry thing-but a truth thing. To be lifted up at all, especially for the painful contents of my letter,H2G, embarrases me beyond words. That said, I do appreciate the encouragement I recieve from those who have been helped or healed by my letter, and the myriad expressions of gratitude. Other than that,I don't aspire to any kind of role but 'Christian'. I also understand,clearly, that my letter was published after countless letters and appeals were already made from others, at great personal sacrifice and pain, over the course of many years( I have recieved a copy of several of them in the last few months)I also agree that I said nothing new in my letter. I was standing on the shoulders of others.If anything, I simply articulated the silent anguish of countless Christians over the years and gave them a platform to speak from.As for being called a hero,I've never viewed the publication of my letter as an act of courage, but more as an act of conscience . My only regret is that I did not share my convictions sooner. For that I am deeply ashamed, and sorry for the many others who were continuing to be hurt in the meantime.
Our time in London had little to do with the actual writing of my letter.Although, it was without doubt the context of my letter. What happened in London was neither the main impetus to my letter, nor was what happened in London subsequently, a result of the release of Honest To God. That is a misunderstanding that needs to be rectified. I became more urgent and intense with respect to my convictions while in London,and the unfolding crises/events we were experiencing there only strengthened my resolve to release H2G as quickly as possible.However,clearly,what was happening with the church in London was a validation of the four main points in my letter, and so served as the context and final motivation to make my letter known. London was already 'in motion'so to speak, one of the first dominoes to fall as a result of the so called 'Unity Conference' in LA in November.

I think the speed and intensity of the world wide fallout-'or crumbling wall'- proves beyond question that the ICOC as an organization/institution, from it's inception, was not built solely on the foundation of Christ and a ministry of grace and truth, but rather, was mixed with straw and wood, an inordinate exaltation and respect for men, as well as poor theology.

Did amazing things happen in the ICOC? To be sure. Are there wonderful Christians within the ICOC? I believe so, with all my heart. Of course,thousands have now left for conscience' sake while others have elected to remain and pursue change.( Marilyn and I are in anguish over this very issue at present and are not sure of our spiritual future. Pray for us)
Was the ICOC a corrupted religious group? Sadly, it cannot be denied. However,in spite of this, through the efforts of both true and false brothers,the sincere and insincere,truth mixed with error,God continued to use us(not Him)as a tool for the spread of the gospel-albeit a legalistic one.And just as easily as a woodcutter can lay aside his axe after a days work, God seems to have done so with us.Were we ever 'God's Modern Day Movement'? No.Too much arrogance and damage and sin for that claim.The statement alone almost demands a smashing by God.

Do I love Kip? Always have. Do I respect him as a spiritual leader? No longer. Do I believe that many of his teachings are false and unbiblical? Yes . Am I his 'emotional,but dear son in the faith'? Not at all- Steve May, in Ajax, Canada brought me to the Lord in March of 1977, and to him alone I 'owe' my salvation and eternal gratitude(as in Paul to Philemon-'not to mention you owe me your very self')He is my father in the faith.(Whatever Kip hoped to accomplish by that remark backfired-at least with me) Am I emotional? Yes, but I would have prefered for him to say passionate and full of conviction!Did Kip make an impact on my life and faith? Like no other.Have our churches and leaders been above reproach financially? In my opinion,most are,but clearly, several are not. (By the way,having a clean slate from outside auditors on proceedural issues-however glorious- is hardly the same as being ethically or morally righteous in the eyes of God and the church.Clean audits are imperative, to be sure,but we have routinely bragged about them to dissuade a pursuit of the more relevant issues - where the money went, how much of it went there, to whom and why. Those are the spirtual issues that demand accountability. Not opening the books in any city or in any church is utter folly and a recipe for disaster- a total betrayal of trust. What is there to hide?

In the meantime,I have been writing a brief response to Kip's letter on the issues he put forth, but I am hoping a significant amount of other teachers and elders and preachers will do the same-just as Salt Lake did.Not to divide for the sake of division,but to make a very clear stand.If not,I will be extremely disappointed. I believe there are still too many politicians and fence sitters- scary. It's not necessary or wise to get 'too' personal or , God forbid,become mud slingers. We can assume his curse for that kind of behaviour.Rather,we must speak to the relevant issues with Bible in hand-that is enough.But to ignore Kip and his RR3 , as if he has made some kind of personal or tactical blunder,in my opinion, is simply a mistake.To hide like an ostrich behind the guise of some newly embraced 'autonomy'is cowardice.To hope this will all simply go away if we ignore it, is unrealistic.

Does Kip have a real grasp of what happened in London? According to his paper-not at all. But that doesn't seem to matter -he has, sadly, again skewed the facts for his own ends. Those who live in London know what happened in London.
On a more personal note,were we asked to leave London? No.We volunteered to step down at the beginning of April.Shortly after that,however, the majority of the staff were 'forced 'to resign for financial reasons- a drop in confidence was quickly followed by a drop in contribution.I was sure that, ultimately, all of the staff (including us) would have been made redundant(laid off)eventually, pending each regions local needs and decisions by their local leadership groups .In other words-none of these staff reductions were necessarily permanent-but were dependent on the needs and desires for 'rehiring' in each local sector/ministry in the near future. After three months,ending in May, a shift was to be made from a temporary central leadership to a more local one- and each staff situation was,theoretically at least,supposed to be up for review. Some left the full time ministry for good, some were not asked to return.But almost all have left at this point in time.
We served a rather small but amazing group of Christians in North London,but we (Marilyn and I)felt the need to step aside to purify our hearts, make atonement as it were, and to humble ourselves before God.That's what happened to us. We were given 4 weeks severance, one week's UK goverment employee compensation, one month's rent and our flight expenses back to America.We paid for our own moving expenses.We are grateful for the assistance we recieved.We now live in Vancouver.

I am perplexed that Kip took such pains to get his facts correct,and from so many people over the course of so many weeks,but was still so misguided or incorrect in his assessment of things.I am perplexed, but not surprised.

In truth, my letter had no real or measurable affect on London. My letter was barely acknowledged, if at all, by the temporary central leadership group or moderators.Open forums were already in progress through out the church-starting with MT and from there to the East region .Although I did not start them, I am an advocate, but only when they are conducted in a respectful manner. I have never advocated a one way barrage of open critism against anyone, especially if they cannot defend themselves.Some 'open forums'were more productive and healthy than others.My suggested 'rules of engagement'for open forums-if a church wanted to pursue that route- are clear in my letter. Responding to sin in a sinful way grieved/s me deeply. No matter what happens, we must conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.Convictions yes, but always in a Christlike manner.

At the same time, I am sympathetic and even empathetic with the hurts and anguish of the members and their attempts to convey their pains whether 'we' liked the way it was done or not. Shame on those who try to belittle this 'new, supposed freedom in Christ' because of some anger and venting. We have produced anything but a culture of openess and honesty in our churches-therefore,should the level of hostility have surprised anyone at all? Or the awkward and nervous attempts by many good hearted Christians to ask legitimate questions or expect some accountability from their leaders? It is hard enough to be calm, above reproach and graceful in any confrontation-how much harder when simple believers are finally confronting or challenging 'the anointed servants of God'(not my words) who have been 'over them' in the Lord?
Of course, some have sinned and some have rebelled and some were even divisive-but the kind of universal discipline we have experienced within our fellowship of churches-so swift and unrelenting- cannot be the 'work of the devil', but only of God. I utterly renounce Kip's demand that we ask the members to 'beg forgiveness'from the leaders.If you need to as an individual ,so be it.

To clarify again: In February and March,my letter was making an impact in other parts of the world- but not really in London itself. London was where I lived and wrote the paper, and of course, London served as a segue to the wider issues at hand- as evidenced by my first few pages.If you want the facts about London, ask those who served in the 'Working Group'-those elected by the churches throughout the UK to consider the issues and solutions facing the London and UK churches. An amazing group of men and women.There were about 20 elected non-staff, 12 elected staff(I was one)and four moderators.

Finally, am I bitter? Not at all. I am convicted, humbled,ashamed, hurt, disoriented,and uncertain- but not bitter.I never have been bitter, and it is beyond me why Kip would use such an expression-several times- in reference to my letter or me.I have always loved our fellowship and our many cherished relationships. I have served with my whole heart. I wrote my letter with tears and anguish of soul, that is all.

In closing, I have been asked several times about the 'errors and half truths' Kip said my letter contained. Like many of you,I am also at a loss on that point.I suppose you must ask Kip about this yourselves-and why he did not ,right then and there, set the record straight!I have countless hundreds of letters from all over the world, , from those young in the Lord to former WSL's who would beg to differ with Kip on that point. Straw arguments and manipulation are his intention, that is all. I am ashamed of his letter and deeply disappointed for those in the ICOC. I am personally embarrassed by his arrogant and relentless attacks on the churches of Christ. I am dismayed that more public response from those reputed to be pillars in the faith has not been forth coming.He drew a line in the sand.Who will cross it and who won't?Who will make their intentions known?

Anyway,forgive me if I can't answer your questions on this forum at this time. I am a ridiculously slow typist-I will still be answering the first question after the post has been closed for a few days already!

However,if you email a brief question or comment with your name, in private, I will try to answer as best I can if I have time( no promises,however)By the way, Dave Anderson's article and John Engler's soon to be released article pretty much sum up my feelings. John has said it much better than I could. Much love in Christ,Henry.

http://forums.delphiforums.com/ICCdiscussion/messages?msg=7826.93 "Henry Kriete Preaches in Portland Sun."

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