|AoG-NZ and the alledged abuse question|
|After Peter Fowler wrote to Philip L Powell seeking his advice and help, Philip wrote to some of those he knew. [All emails ]
From: Philip L Powell
To: Peter Fowler ;
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 8:23 AM
Subject: Re: Frank Houston: Sexual abuse allegation
Dear Wayne HUGHES:
The reasons for my involvement in this matter are three-fold:
Firstly I am concerned for Peter Fowler and any victim of Frank Houston's alleged sexual abuses. It is quite clear from the responses of Neil Hetrick your General Secretary and Les Dowie a former AoG-NZ official that they are ONLY concerned for the reputation of your organisation, which many years ago was a godly movement, but sadly can no longer make claim to being such - at least not at top leadership level.
Secondly I am concerned to maintain the honour of the Lord and the standard of His Word. Ephesians 5 clearly tells us that we should not associate with workers of darkness and that we should not hide but rather "reprove" (i.e. expose) them. It is only as things are brought to the light that they can be dealt with Biblically and openly. The way that God covers sins is by first exposing them - not covering them up. Those guilty can then proceed towards forgiveness by confession and repentance. This is the Biblical model for forgiveness.
Thirdly I am concerned for the many godly men and women who still claim allegiance to AoG world-wide and what could happen to them if they maintain an association with those parts of the denomination which have become heretical and immoral in its associations viz particularly AoG in NZ and in Australia. Hillsong and the likes are having an enormous impact on the Church scene world-wide and in my opinion it is detrimental.
Some of this is quite blatant with Brian Houston's "YOU NEED MORE MONEY" and Bobby Houston's "KINGDOM WOMEN LOVE SEX" and Malcolm Fletcher's "MAKING GOD FAMOUS". That Frank Houston's immorality of more than thirty years ago and that of Jim Williams and Neville Johnston should be the foundation of ALL these aberrations is not without significance. The matter should be addressed with all urgency preferably in an open forum with those who oppose you - e.g. MORIEL, TRUTHWATCH and CWM etc - being invited to participate. I think it should be an Australasian gathering.
CWM has now gone public on this matter both by way of publishing the latest disclosures on our Web Site and by way of a statement in our latest Monthly Mailer which is mailed to some 4,000 plus addresses throughout the world. It is likely that it will also feature in one of our publications in the New Year. Here is what we published in our Monthly mailer:
11. IS AoG-NZ HOPING THIS WILL GO AWAY? Text HERE...
A reply from Jacob Prasch
Sent: Thursday, 12 December 2002 11:48 a.m.
To: Philip L Powell
Subject: Re: Frank Houston: Sexual abuse allegation
Dear Philip & all,
Greetings in Jesus.
As the AoG gets more ecumenical, it is little surprise it gets more like the Roman Catholicism it increasingly compromises with. Like Rome it wants to whitewash the immorality and even horrific perversion of its clergy at the expense of the victims. The victims are suppose to disappear.
Hiding a brother's sin, if done biblically, is admirable and is one thing. Allowing people like the Houstons to stay in ministry to cause this kind of damage however is not admirable and is quite another thing altogether.
Are we really expected to believe that after 20 years of his immorality Elim didn't know what Bilby was? Had they acted sooner the Body of Christ, the reputation of NZ Pentecostalism, and a long string of vulnerable women would have been protected and possibly even Bilby's marriage could have been saved. Protection is one thing, whitewashing is another.
I and others warned that the promiscuity evident in many of the Toronto manifestations showed its underlying carnality and moral scandal would soon follow as we see from Bilby to Roberts Liardon to the Elim leader on The Isle of Man in prison for having sex with a minor in the kiddies church nursery and to Pat Mesiti among others. This spiritual seduction is mirrored by the sexual seduction carried out by the most notorious brood of self serving theocrats and religious hypocrits since the Sanhedrin or the Medievil papacy.
With pseudo spiritual vulgar trash like 'Kingdom Women Love Sex' and suggestive titles such as "I'll Have What She Is Having" being put out by the Houstons, is anyone really surprised by Frank Houston?
I will be the first to hide the transgression of any brother or fellow minister, lest God forbid I should fall. But when they degrade the church publicly, mislead its people into carnality, and use their leadership positions to sexually prey on the vulnerable and ultimately discredit the Evangelical cause - it is another matter. If they are interested in protecting the reputation of what is left of their spiritually bankrupt movement, it is they who should be dealing with these issues themselves and preventing the scandals that inevitably result and get into the public eye.
This entire thing stinks. It is their own cowardly and hypocritical compromise that allows people to be misled, lives damaged, and ultimately the church discredited.
For the record I would ask Philip Hammond and Werner representing Moriel Australia and Nigel from Moriel NZ to represent Moriel at any such summit to firmly address these issues, but it is unlikely that a pathetic figure like Wayne Hughes would ever agree to an open forum. The Sanhedrin wouldn't debate Jesus in the Temple in the presence of all . If the Sanhedrin can't have a kangaroo trial like they did with Jesus or if the papacy can't double cross and turn a symposium into an inquisition like they did with Jan Huss, they will never agree. They just don't do that sort of thing unless they can stack the deck.
I fear that only more scandal, more damaged lives, and more public discredit to the church is on the horrizon. This will come about not because of those who expose it, but because of those who refuse to. Jim Bakker was not the begining and Frank Houston will not be the end.
May The Lord have mercy on us all and keep us (including myself) from harming His sheep and publicly dishonouring His Name.
All sin is wrong and it all caused Jesus to be killed; but once it is perpetrated within the church by the leaders of the church to the detriment of people in the church we reach a whole other level of culpability in God's sight(Ezek. 34: 10, Jas 3:1) and even in the sight of the secular world.
I pray to God He takes me out of ministry tomorrow rather than allow me to misuse my position as a preacher to ever sexually exploit His people or discredit His church.
For all intent and purposes, the AoG & Elim are self damned by their own leadership - or perhaps better put 'the lack of it'. Anyone with any sense will get out as fast as they would flee from any other false religion or cult (Rev. 17:4, Zech. 2:7, Isa. 48:20).
PLP writes to Max Legg
December 13, 2002 - From Philip Powell - in Blenheim just today (Friday Dec 13) - phone 03 578 3550
ATTENTION MAX LEGG:
I have noticed your attempt to distance yourself from the awful evil that was allegedly committed against Peter Fowler by the former General Superintendent of AoG in New Zealand of which you were a significant member for many years. I think this is cowardly on your part, whether you are presently a member (minister) of AoG or not. (I presume that you are a member of associations linked to AoG - e.g. the Pentecostal Churches of NZ or some such organisation. Frankly I find it dishonest and hypocritical to claim the "benefits" of such associations and to then run for cover to avoid responsibility when a problem occurs.) That aside as a minister claiming to represent the Lord Jesus Christ there is a "duty of care" to which you should and will one day answer.
Far too much has been covered up in the AoG/ Pentecostal scene in NZ. Such reflects on us all who have had any links over the years. I have decided to do my best to expose it - right back to the "cover-ups" associated with Neville Johnston. Wayne Hughes told me that Rick Seaward left NZ with a huge shadow over his life in respect of moral matters - financial and rumour in respect of at least one woman. Were you a party to that "cover-up"?
Max, I understand that you and Wayne Hughes and others have promoted the weird so called "cleansing stream" activity which emanated from that heretical Church called Brownsville AoG in Pensacola. Are you now playing the hypocrite by asking others to get into some imaginary "cleansing-stream" when in fact you are guilty of enormous "cover-up" at the fountain head of what has been happening in New Zealand now for some years. My dear brother I believe it is CLEAN UP TIME IN THE CHURCH and that it must start at the top - yes that's you, Wayne Hughes, Neil Hetrick et al.
If a hole is opened at the top, which is what happened in respect of the Neville Johnston/ Frank Houston/ Jim Williams/ Ian Bilby situations and those TOP leaders do not "plug" it by handling the matter biblically then all sorts of evil will flood in and you can engage in ALL the gimmicks and change of directions that you desire, but nothing of lasting righteousness will be achieved unless and until the matter is addressed biblically by open confession and full repentance. This is what is desperately needed and unless it happens then AoG, ELIM and those groups of churches linked in any way will continue confusing themselves and their people, who will depart from your ranks in ever increasing numbers.
John 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
If you and the leaders responsible can't handle what's happening then please eat humble pie and invite others to an open discussion to seek to resolve this matter and turn back the tide. Elim is as much involved as AoG - and now the new boy and group on the block - is it called PIONEER, (what are they pioneering?) are also implicated with their efforts to bring Ian Bilby back - AMAZING!!
God bless you Max.
Sincerely in Christ's service,
Philip L. POWELL.
From: "Jennifer Bell"
To: (listed names withheld)
Date: Not shown, but in the region of the 12-13th Dec 02
Subject: RE: Frank Houston: Sexual abuse allegation
To: All recipients
From: Max Legg, and Eldership Board at Victory Christian Church
Subject: Dispute between NZ AOG and Peter Fowler
We would like to be removed from any further correspondence in this matter. Please could you ensure that firstname.lastname@example.org is deleted from your mailing list?
We pray that both parties will come to a correct and quick closure of this very sad matter.
While we are concerned, we are not the appropriate people to resolve the matter.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Peter Fowler received these emails from Barney Coombs and Les Dowie.
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 8:04 AM
Subject: Two responses related to Frank Houston sexual abuse allegations
Two very different responses which I have received and which say so much about the spiritual condition of the authors.
1. Response received 21 November from Rev Barney Coombs in Canada
Dear Peter Thank you for your e-mail. I found it so depressing to hear of the way you have been treated. It must grieve God's heart. Recently, I have been deeply moved by the words: "He loved me and He gave Himself for me." Peter, the more the church moves away from being the real "body of Christ" the more it becomes, as you put it, an "organisation" resulting in it protecting it's own interests and not the interests of Christ. Jesus, instead of being the Living Head, is relegated to being simply a figure head. When we walk in the Light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with each other. This is what is lacking in this sordid and sorry story. The leadership of AOG are not giving themselves to you. Instead, they are protecting themselves! And as a result it will get worse and worse. What we do in secret (and cover up) will be shouted from the house tops. Fellowship is broken and cannot be restored until there is a broken spirit, a contrite heart and a walking in the light. I pray that the Lord Jesus will strengthen you in your inner man. And that your heart will remain tender to the Lord and even to those who are despitefully treating you.
You have my prayerful support.
In His great love. Barney.
2. Response received 10 December from Pastor Les Dowie of the Eastern Bays Christian Fellowship,, Auckland and a member of the Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God in NZ
I do not appreciate receiving emails of this nature. Your business has nothing to do with me.
One matter of note however. I know that your statement that the A/G have refused to talk with you is not true. While you make false statements of that nature you will not have my support.