Louisiana pastor calls out members for skipping church as state struggles with coronavirus

A Louisiana pastor is drawing criticism online for calling out his members by name during his sermon Sunday for skipping in-person church services despite ongoing fears about the new coronavirus.

Pastor Tim Deason of Sugartown United Pentecostal Church in Sugartown, Louisiana, told his congregants Sunday that he doesn’t mind if people go on vacations. He just doesn’t want them staying at home when he’s busy trying to get them to Heaven.




Question: “What is the United Pentecostal Church?”

Answer: The United Pentecostal Church is a Oneness Pentecostal denomination that was formed in 1945 when the Pentecostal Church Incorporated and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ merged. Their website says that they “grew from 521 churches in 1945” to “4,243 churches and daughter works in 2010.” The United Pentecostal Church claims to be “among the fastest growing church organizations since it was formed in 1945.” Because United Pentecostal Churches are normally congregational in government, there can be some differences among individual churches. As a self-governing church body, each congregation elects its own pastors and leaders. The denomination’s headquarters is in Hazelwood, Missouri.

The roots of the United Pentecostal Church and what is known as “Oneness Pentecostalism” can be traced back to the early days of the Pentecostal Movement, which began in the early 1900s in Topeka, Kansas, based on the teachings of Charles Parham. In 1906 the Pentecostal Movement gained popularity during the Azuza Street Revival led by William Seymour. While it was rejected by mainline Christian denominations, the movement continued to grow and its followers began to form their own Pentecostal organizations or denominations. One of the first was the Assemblies of God, which was formed around 1914.

The teaching that became the basis for Oneness Pentecostalism can be traced back to a Pentecostal camp meeting held in Arroyo Seco, California, either in late 1913 or early 1914. While at the meeting, a Pentecostal pastor named John Scheppe had what he believed was a divine revelation from God. As he meditated that night, he believed God revealed to him that baptism must be done in the “name of Jesus only” and not in the name of “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Like most cult leaders, his revelation and “new doctrine” did not come as the result of the careful study of Scripture but instead was based on a subjective revelation he believed to be from God. Soon after, several other Assembly of God pastors began teaching this “new revelation” that would become the basis for Oneness Pentecostalism and “Jesus name only baptism.”

As the new “movement” gained followers, it caused a division in the newly formed Assembly of God organization. Recognizing the unbiblical nature of this teaching, the Assemblies of God rejected this unbiblical doctrine and affirmed the biblical doctrine of the Trinity at its Fourth General Council in October 1916. This led to the Assembly of God banning approximately 150 pastors from the denomination, those who had been teaching this unbiblical doctrine. A few months later several Oneness Pentecostal pastors met in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and started their own organization known as the General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies. That was the beginning of the Oneness Pentecostal movement and eventually in 1945 two of the many Oneness Pentecostal organizations merged to form the United Pentecostal Church.

Often referred to as “Oneness Pentecostals” because of their denial of the triune nature of God, the denomination was formed around a heretical teaching known as modalism. Because they deny the true nature of God as revealed in Scripture and embrace other unbiblical teachings, this group is best classified as a cult rather than a true Christian denomination. Like other cults such as Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses, this form of extreme Pentecostalism denies the true nature of God and in reality preaches a different gospel than true biblical Christianity.

Claiming to teach “the apostles’ doctrine,” the teaching and doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church is based on poor exegesis of Scripture and the misreading and misinterpretation of certain Bible passages. This forms the basis for their heretical teaching on the nature of God and the doctrine of salvation. The heresies taught by this group include the denial of the triune nature of God as revealed in Scripture, as well as the teaching that one must be “baptized in Jesus’ name” to be saved and that true salvation is evidenced by speaking in tongues. These teachings come from a long history of misreading Scripture.

While many false teachings have arisen out of the Pentecostal movement, Oneness Pentecostalism is certainly one of the most deceptive and heretical. Rather than embrace the triune nature of God as revealed in Scripture, Oneness Pentecostals, such as the United Pentecostal Church, create for themselves a God they can “understand” and in doing so end up with another gospel and a heretical concept of God. They hold to a form of modalism that, while correctly asserting the biblical truth that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), fails to recognize the plurality of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 1:9–11; John 1:1; John 8:17–18; John 14:16: John 15:26; John 16:13–15: 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:4–6).

Modalism is basically the teaching that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are simply different ways God manifests or reveals Himself to humanity. It fails to recognize the distinctions that clearly exist between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as well as their eternal relationship that Scripture reveals to us. Contrary to John 1:1, Oneness doctrine denies the pre-existence of Jesus Christ despite the fact that this verse clearly teaches that Jesus is God and that He was with God, and was God from the beginning. They acknowledge that Christ is God but ignore the part of this verse that clearly establishes the pre-existence of Christ and makes a clear distinction between Christ and the Father as do many other verses of Scripture.

Their false view of God’s nature then leads them to misunderstand what it means to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). The result is that they make water baptism “in the name of Jesus” a requirement of salvation and thus teach baptismal regeneration. They also add to that troublesome teaching that one must be baptized a specific way using a specific formula or wording in order to be saved. By adding to the gospel these requirements, as well the false teaching that speaking in tongues is the evidence that one is saved, they end up with a convoluted gospel full of error and based on a misunderstanding of what Scripture really teaches.

The United Pentecostal Church recognizes that its teachings are not in line with most Christian denominations. We know that because they state on their website that “in our day, the Apostolic Pentecostal movement is distinctive for its teaching of the Oneness of God, the New Testament plan of salvation, and aspects of practical holiness.” In other words, like other cults the leaders of this movement are fully aware that what they teach is not in line with what is normally referred to as orthodox or biblical Christian doctrine.

Still another troubling teaching of the United Pentecostal Church is their concept of holiness and the legalistic standards they impose on people. For example, their view of holiness means that women cannot wear jewelry or make-up, that women must let their hair grow long, and that men must have their hair “noticeably short.” Also school students are forbidden from participating in shows, dances, dance classes, and theatre—and even prohibited from wearing gymnasium clothes. While Christians are called to be holy, the United Pentecostal Church’s definition of what is holy, like its other erroneous teaching comes from a misunderstanding of the basic principles of biblical hermeneutics.

The UPC’s statement of faith makes it clear that there are areas where their beliefs are acceptable and orthodox in that they do agree with the teaching of Scriptures. However, they go astray in very fundamental and essential areas. They essentially deny justification by faith. They add baptism and speaking in tongues as requirements for salvation. For baptism to be effective it must be done using the phrase “In the name of Jesus” and must be administered by an ordained Oneness Pentecostal minister. This essentially means that only those who embrace Oneness doctrines and practices will go to heaven, again another typical teaching of this type of “Christian” cult.

Like most cults, the United Pentecostal Church believes they are restoring biblical doctrine and biblical teaching that had been lost due to the corruption of the church throughout the centuries. Rather than recognizing that God in His sovereignty has preserved the true “apostolic doctrine” throughout the history of the church, they believe they are restoring biblical truths. The fact is all they are doing is reviving the ancient heresy of modalism that has been rejected by Christians every time another “new” group of false teachers begins to proclaim it.



The Truth About Atheism 8 – It’s NOT Rational [Kari Enqvist explains it’s Logic]

Jesuit Atheism claims to have an exclusive monopoly on “reason”. But just as it’s claims about being “Scientific” are pure propaganda, so are it’s claims about being “rational”. The deeper you dig into Atheism, the more “irrational”, it’s claims become. Why? Because it is not “rational”, in fact, it’s everything but “rational”. It is an irrational belief system that denies not only the existence of God, but literally everything, including even the universe, and even one’s self, in order to justify it’s denial of God. It is perhaps the most “irrational” belief system, in history.


Leader of cult Carbon Nation busted for breaking quarantine in Hawaii

The leader of a polygamist cult called Carbon Nation — which believes in nudism, refraining from bathing and defecating on trees — was busted in Hawaii for violating the state’s quarantine order, according to a new report.

Eligio Lee Bishop — who refers to himself as “God” and “Natureboy” — was among 21 people arrested Wednesday and Thursday in Puna, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The group, which reportedly includes other members of Carbon Nation, are accused of violating Hawaii’s 14-day travel quarantine order.

“It’s my understanding that most of them flew in on June 7 or 8. I don’t have 100% confirmation on all of them,” Police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins said. “We don’t have all the records from the proper authorities to document … mainland incoming passengers. We’re working on that.”

Bishop, 38, allegedly makes his followers hand over their money, credit cards, bank accounts and pin numbers before worshiping, The Costa Rica Star reported in December. The cult practices nudism and polygamy and doesn’t believe in bathing. It also promotes eating a vegan diet and defecating at the base of trees.

He and other members of Carbon Nation were arrested and booted out of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama in December after they were deemed a threat to national security.

Some of the 15 members arrested told authorities they were “people of faith, who had voluntarily renounced their biological families to join the family of ‘God’ Eligio Bishop,” the report said.

They initially were not allowed to board a flight because of “overwhelmingly bad body odor,” according to The Costa Rica Star.

Carbon Nation’s YouTube channel — which has nearly 85,000 subscribers — features a video on “The Purpose of Life: Honoring God’s Creation” and a 2 1/2 hour lesson titled “Technologies of the Body with Master Teacher Natureboy.”

Bishop makes a living by making music videos and self-help tapes, according The Costa Rica Star. The Carbon Nation YouTube channel urges donations via CashApp.

In 2017, he came under scrutiny after a woman from Newfoundland, Kayla Reid, joined the cult, CBC News reported.

“I’ve made myself clear that nothing is going on with Kayla, nothing is wrong with Kayla,” Bishop told CBC News at the time. “Kayla is just fine.”

The report said Bishop had previous addresses in Atlanta and New Jersey and has worked as a former model, stripper, prostitute and barber.

His rap sheet includes arrested for forcible entry in Georgia in 2009 and theft and aggravated battery in 2011, CBC News reported.



California School For ‘Troubled Teens’ Had Roots In A Notorious, Militant Cult

Lisa and Wayne Yuen felt they were running out of options for helping their 16-year-old son, Daniel, who was both socially withdrawn and acting out at school. The Edison, New Jersey couple took him to a number of psychiatrists and eventually decided to send him to a specialized school in San Bernardino, California in January 2004.

Only 10 days after his enrollment, the Yuens got a call from the school: They were told Daniel had run away. Fifteen years later, they still have no idea where he is.

In UCP’s new podcast series “The Lost Kids,” host Josh Bloch and his team spoke with the Yuens and took a deep dive into the controversial Cedu behavioral school from which Daniel had vanished. They found a disturbing pattern of aggressive, frightening “therapy” and hundreds of alleged disappearances by runaways fleeing the school that was supposed to fix them.

And Cedu had roots in the notorious, violent American cult Synanon, Bloch found.

“We start looking into this program, and one of the first remarkable things we discover is that hundreds of kids have run away from this place,” Bloch told Oxygen.com. “As we peel back the layers, we discover that the form of therapy they’re running there is very aggressive.”

Practices at Cedu were intended to fix the behavior of so-called “troubled” youth, and included aggressive “encounter” therapies, in which one student would sit in the center of an entire group as they “laid into them in a loud and aggressive way,” Bloch said.

There were marathon therapy workshops that would last for days and include sleep deprivation, and these treatments apparently were a big reason so many kids ran from Cedu.

“We spoke to a number of former residents who said, ‘From the moment I set foot in there, my fight or flight instinct kicked in,’” Bloch said.


Prosecutors raid branches of religious group at center of coronavirus outbreak

Prosecutors raided facilities of Shincheonji, a minor religious sect, on Friday as part of their ongoing probe into allegations that the group hindered state efforts to contain the new coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic.

Some 100 investigators took part in the raids into the secretive group’s branches nationwide, to seize materials in connection with the charges brought against the group’s founder, Lee Man-hee. The branches include the group’s headquarters in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, and facilities in the cities of Busan, Gwangju and Daejeon.

The raid marks the prosecution’s first forcible investigation into the group since February when a group of people who claimed to be victims of the religious group filed a complaint against the 89-year-old Lee for embezzlement, dereliction of duty and violation of infectious disease prevention laws.

The prosecution was seen as taking a cautious approach in investigating in the face of mounting public pressure.



India: Tribal animists beat Christians for refusing to renounce faith, sacrifice animals

A large mob of tribal animists in India brutally beat Christians who refused to comply with their demands to sacrifice their animals to tribal deities and renounce their faith.

Morning Star News reports that in March, a mob of around 120 villagers led by tribal leaders in Metapal village in Dantewada District showed up at Santuram Markam’s home with their demands. Animists worship gods based on ancestors, spirits, and nature.

“The village council summoned us to a meeting demanding we bring a goat, pig, hen, coconut, incense sticks and cash of 5,000 rupees (US $66) as sacrificial offerings to the tribal deities,” Markam told Morning Star News.

When they refused to give in to their demands, the mob again barged into Markam’s home the next night (March 31) and started beating his aged parents, he said.

“I escaped from there and have run into the woods,” he said. “I will go back only after knowing about the situation there at home. I am very scared to back home now. They beat us yesterday, and they came again today. My Christian neighbor Raju Podiyami and his family also came under attack today.”

Superintendent of Police of Dantewada District Abhishek Pallava reportedly told the outlet that because police were exhausted from working extra hours due to the coronavirus, they were unable to address the situation in a timely manner.

“I will try to make peace between the groups over the phone,” Pallava told Morning Star News at that time. “Nobody can reach there now. All the police force has been working day and nights because of coronavirus. It is a Naxalite (Maoist rebel) area, we cannot take risks by sending forces without any preparation.”

That same month, animists kidnapped Markam’s neighbor, Podiyami, from his home and locked him in a hut as they drank liquor throughout the night, area pastor Sushil Sangam told Morning Star News.

After cutting through the thatched roof and escaping, Podiyami took his family of eight, injured from the previous day’s attacks, and sought refuge at Pastor Sangam’s church site in Tokapal village, Bastar District, the pastor said.


ELCA faces criticism for posting prayer to ‘Mother God’ on Facebook, Twitter

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America garnered controversy this week for posting a prayer on their Twitter and Facebook accounts addressing God as “Mother” instead of Father.

“Mother God, you have fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food. Raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness, so that we may share the sweetness of your holy word with all the world,” the ELCA tweeted on Tuesday as part of their #Bread4theday series of Twitter posts.

The tweet has gotten a fair amount of negative attention. Hans Fiene, a conservative pastor who oversees the popular Lutheran Satire YouTube channel, took issue with the post.

“Leave the ELCA,” he succinctly replied on Wednesday when retweeting the ELCA post, getting 207 likes as of Friday morning and several comments in agreement.

Also posted to Facebook, the prayer was criticized by the website Exposing the ELCA, which said: “the ELCA has rejected Jesus’ own way of referring to God as Father.”

“They must ‘know better’ than Him,” Exposing the ELCA declared. “This is not just a one-time thing. It has been happening for a while.”

Jeff Walton of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy told The Christian Post that he was concerned about the prayer as well.

“Church mystics including Julian of Norwich — who is commemorated next week in the ELCA and the Episcopal Church — and Bernard of Clairvaux likened divine love to motherly love,” Walton said.

“My concern with this ELCA prayer is that it does not focus upon an attribute of God’s character and instead simply declares God ‘Mother.’ It prompts me to ask if there’s an agenda in doing so.”


Walton also told CP that theologically liberal mainline Protestant denominations in general “have all to some degree dabbled in this stuff.”

“It has ranged from politicized statements against ‘patriarchy’ all the way to outright goddess worship in events like the infamous ‘reimagining conference’ of the 1990s in which prayers were offered in the name of ‘Sophia,’” he said.

The Christian Post reached out to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will update this piece if a response is received.



Prosecutor General calls for religious sect to be shut down

Prosecutor General Ēriks Kalnmeiers has submitted a demand to the Vidzeme Regional Court that the First Evangelical Jesus Congregation (Pirmā Evanģēliskā Jēzus draudze) cease operations, according to a press release on March 20.

Kalmeiers came to this decision after evaluating a letter and investigative materials from the State Security Service (VDD). The basis for calling for an end to the organization’s activity were the criminal case factors surrounding the death of a 21 year old congregation member and her newborn in May 2019. She didn’t receive medical help due to the organization’s religious beliefs.

The materials highlighted other restrictions imposed on congregation members, such as not being allowed to see a doctor, work and study, contact family members outside the congregation and others. Members live in closed-off communities where prayer is used in place of qualified medical help, families are created according to instructions and property is sold.

According to the Law On Religious Organisations, the activity of a religious organization can be terminated based on a court decision if it goes against the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia or other laws, or if the organization’s activity threatens democracy, public peace and order or the health of others. Kalmeiers said that there were such violations in the materials, which is why he handed in the demand.

Last spring the deceased mother’s father, Valdis Simsons, and her husband Renārs Jēgermanis were charged with denying medical care, as they were present during the home birth. They are also part of the congregation and are not medically qualified. The congregation leader’s wife Solvita Dāvida has also been charged.


SEE IT: Televangelist claims to cure coronavirus through television sets

One prominent televangelist would like people to believe that coronavirus can be cured through their TV sets, so long as those televisions are tuned into his show.

Texas-based Evangelical preacher Kenneth Copeland — his right hand dripping with ointment — urged believers to put their hands on their screens and be cured of the coronavirus, for which there is no known remedy.

Video of the 83-year-old preacher’s program was tweeted Thursday by the group Right Wing Watch. It showed him conducting the alleged healing ritual.