By David Schnittger
I have become aware of a recent letter Prophecy in the News sent to their entire mailing list of thousands of people. In this email, Linda Church, the principal of the operation, slandered the character of Gary Stearman and Bob Ulrich, leaders of the Prophecy Watchers ministry. Other former employees of PITN were also criticized.
As a Christian leader and former pastor, I feel compelled to respond in defense of my friends Gary Stearman and Bob Ulrich. The negative characterizations contained in this letter by Linda Church are totally inconsistent with my personal experience with these men. Both have reliably demonstrated the highest level of Christian character in their dealings with me through the years.
For example, in March of 2015, on the day when Carol Rushton and I were the victims of a coup ď état, and her beloved father, Noah Hutchings, was stripped of his authority at our former ministry, I received a phone call from Bob, saying, “I believe you and Carol need to start a new ministry.” Subsequently, Bob served as our advocate at our successful trial proving that our firing was unjust, and that we deserved unemployment benefits.
Gary has also been of great help to our ministry. He has donated books to our online bookstore, interviewed me to promote our ministry, allowed me to speak at the Blessed Hope Prophecy Forums, promoted my books and allowed me to write articles for The Prophecy Watcher magazine. I do not know where our ministry would be were it not for the counsel, assistance and encouragement of these godly men!
During these past four years, since the founding of Prophecy Watchers, I have also observed that Prophecy in the News has repeatedly attacked these fine Christian gentlemen. PITN has made negative Facebook posts regarding Gary and Bob. They have also had proxies send out anonymous letters to ministry leaders, including myself, attacking them. In all of this, Gary and Bob have chosen not to respond, choosing rather to “trust the Lord.” This has culminated in the recent libelous letter by Linda Church, which was sent to thousands of people on the PITN mailing list. Still, in all of this, Gary and Bob have chosen the way of Christ, and have been silent before their accusers.
While they have chosen to be silent in the face of these ongoing attacks, the Scriptures are certainly not silent. Proverbs 6:16-19 states:
These six things doth the LORD hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Ephesians 4:29-32 echoes these prohibitions, stating:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
I have been in full-time Christian ministry for over 40 years, including over 25 years in the pastorate. I must say, in all honesty, that I have never observed this level of ongoing character assassination from a Christian ministry. I am appalled at the vitriol and venom that has been displayed by PITN over the past four years.
I believe the Scriptural response to this behavior is just as clear as the Scriptural prohibitions in the above passages. Romans 16:17, 18 states:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.