CORRESPONDENCE THROUGH MAY 2001
Subject: A little puzzled at your questioning the truth in my letters
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001
I made very little reference to you in the letter you were so upset with, and I can see nothing that really can be contested in this, so I presume that the things you felt were not truth must be in some other comments that I made in the letter. If you are wanting proof to the only thing I can figure out you may feel you have any reason to doubt the truth in must be in the comments I made regarding the reasons behind Dany's expulsion from the work. There are different ways this has been explained but the only claim I made in the letter that you responded so violently to, was that there was immorality of an overseer involved. I fail to see you you can question the truth in this unless you are saying that 'overseers have the divine right to make anything and everything right. Even the self appointed 'highest counsel of the highest overseers in Luxemburg' hasn't made that claim. Although a number of workers seem, by their letters to me, to have given them that divine authority. The Lords mind on these things only seems important to a very few that have contacted me.
This is one of the accounts that turned up in my mailbox a couple of months ago. You will see that the whole thing seems a typical scapegoat story, a enormous cover-up by senior workers to protect the reputation of 'the highest counsel of overseers', and an extreme blackmail of Dany in a covered threat as to her return to the work if anything should 'leak out'. (I will point out she has said absolutely nothing about this- she is apparently forbidden to!! but we do know her well as she lived with us for two months after her expulsion from the work and do value her highly)
The account I received from a concerned and upset person, very well acquainted with all involved was this: A number of months ago the 'overseer' in France was caught in a relationship with the wife of one of the friends. Her husband came home from work earlier than usual one day & caught them at it. They had had that relationship for 15/16 years. Many times during that time Dany had apparently tried to talk them out of it, because she apparently knew about it
When the story broke the 'highest' workers seemed to put cover up as the very greatest concern. Dany was 'offered for the sake of 'the people' and because of her unique knowledge, of course to ensure secrecy. She is also a sister so more expendable. I have understanding for the fact that things like this can happen - but cannot accept this unGodly way of dealing with it.
I did ask Eldon about this but his main concern was secrecy about it all, and as you also suggested to put my trust in the highest counsel of overseers, 'as the Lord has chosen them'. (The 'highest counsel' we read about in the bible was the one that decided to put Jesus to death) This does not really put my mind at ease. Especially in light of the extremely unGodly conduct of senior workers in Canada the last years.
This was only one of the points I brought up that worry me. The lack of respect for Christ's wish for poverty in his ministry was another. All the responsible workers that have answered my letter have clearly defended the right to unlimited bank accounts, and seemingly to the newest of cars (as it is difficult to get around otherwise).
I can of course wonder what has happened to respect for the will of God. The only worker that has answered my letter thus far, that has even mentioned a concern for the will of God, is Christian Ivarsson and I do respect him for this. Your main concern seemed to be mostly on how these things reflected on your person and I have absolutely no complaints with that!!!
Yours in Him, Edgar Massey
Skickat: den 2 maj 2001
Reply to yours
Thanks for your reply - I have noted your position of support for these things that I have felt to be ungodly and of course I do try and understand your loyalties in this regard. I will try and learn to find a way for me and my family to come to terms with this seemingly diminishing importance of matters righteousness, and the increasing importance of the administration of the system. We do not question the rightness of the way of God. You mentioned the importance of conventions and I think your comments were significant. It could easily seem that this has become the prime concern of the ministry. Everything else seems to take a second place to the this - more and more of each year is spent with convention preps, conventions themselves and convention travel, and convention planning. It seems that everything else including reaching out to souls in the world we live in, are things just worked around these different convention activities. The convention grounds themselves become more and more important as structural centers in the 'fellowship'. Possibly you feel this is only an illusion that I have, and feel that in any case it is none of my business.
In the course of these recent developments and communications I have seen pretty much 'every possible vice' justified by workers for workers. Of all the things I have been concerned about no responsible worker has dared to say 'If this is true it must be wrong' about any single one of them.
Interesting isn't it that all my concerns would be so groundless?. I have also seen very innocent people treated VERY VERY badly and the only advice I have received is 'turn the other way' and go around on the other side of the road - it isn't your responsibility. Workers encouraging kindness to these folks is unheard of and even punished. I have an understanding for the fact that there different ideas on how things should be handled. But when unkindness, abuse and mistreatment are made to be part of the system, just to support the system, I can wonder where God fits into it all. But I guess that is my problem to figure out as it doesn't seem to be a worry to you.
I have thought a bit about the story of Jonah in connection with the unpleasant nature of some of my communication with some of the workers the last while. I have felt a responsibility to give expression to the things that the Lord has laid on my heart as I do feel strongly about them. Even
though I have mostly been condemned for it, for the most part I feel that the message has been heard - even if I have received little indication that more than a few dare to agree with it.
Jonah became bitter and spent a considerable amount of time sulking under a tree when he didn't feel that the message he had spoken had been dealt with as he thought it should. I want to remind myself that the results of the Lords message are definitely not my place to feel responsibility for or have ideas on. Workers involved, either right or wrong, have no responsibility to inform me of the position they take. Also I have no wish to spend the rest of my life sulking under a tree.
I have a few more things I want to say in this round but then hope the Lord will give me the grace to 'quit sulking'. If you feel like it you can pray for me in this.
In any case wishing you all the best in your endevours. I along with my family and the people I feel close to, will do our best to keep faithful to the calling that God has given us.
Skickat: den 3 maj 2001
An interesting reply to my letter from Johan Jorgensen (the older worker in Denmark) . Amongst other things he commented on my worry about million dollar bank accounts. He said he had just checked, and that the 'reserve' the Danish workers had at the moment would only give an industrial wage to each of the 10 workers for about a month and a half. (The letter is in Danish or I would give a direct quote)
In my mind that is a lot of money. How many of us have money in the bank for more than a month at a time. I for my part make substantially less than the 'industrial wage'.
This of course would make the million dollar bank accounts in Canada justifiable as there are considerably more workers there.
I see that poverty is a relative term.
Skickat: den 4 maj 2001 12:08
Translation of quote from Johan’s letter
You mention that workers cannot claim they are poor. We are not like those without substance, who have to go around and beg – I have just checked on the reserve that we have. If in was divided between the 10 active workers here in the country, each one would receive the same as an industrial wage for one and a half months. We are satisfied with receiving food, clothing and house room. (End of translation)
I feel very disappointed and in some way ‘deceived’ by those to have said they have left all and went out in faith, and have this hidden security as a 'reserve' . A ‘reserve’ of this size comes as a shock even to me even if I have become hardened to most things. This is much more than most of us ordinary families have in ‘reserve’ so I don't know where the poverty comes in. I have checked with others – even some in much higher income classes than we. You will notice the amount was measured in ‘industrial wage per worker and month' !
From an email today from one of the friends here in Scandinavia.
"Reserve" bank account, enough for 10 workers on the
"industrial wage" for a month and a half ...
How this can be justified is hard for me to imagine - but I am sure some, at least the 'overseers' of these resources will find a way to do so.
Letter from Cornelius Jaenen written 2001-05-12
Frances Ross in Winnipeg has just sent me a copy of your letter of April 17 regarding the "expulsion" of Marg Magowan from the work in Saskatchewan.
There are a couple matters in this letter about which I would like some further clarification, if possible. I am not familiar with the Magowan case, except that there may be a difference between being "expelled" and being in disagreement with one's fellow workers. Is it not true that she was not in agreement with her fellow workers in French West Africa and returned to Canada? Her father did write to me a couple years ago with some doubts.
The second question is one that was raised as early as 1928, to my recollection. Was there a "hierarchy", privitive or nascent, in the New Testament church? Or can "workers" go about finding their own companions and choosing their own mission fields under individual guidance supposedly of the Spirit? My research, as well as my limited understanding of the scriptures, is that there was an order in the ministry just as there was in the local assemblies of the laity. Peter writes of himself as an elder or bishop (1 Peter 5:1) not of a local assembly but over a number of churches and territory. Bishop and elder were interchangeable terms (episcopus, presbyteros) and referred to a responsibility. His "field" is as the Jews of the diaspora in 1 Peter 1:1. James had responsibility for the Palestinian region, and Paul for the Gentiles, etc. Later historical documents suggest that Mark might have had responsibility for Egypt and environs, Thomas for Irag / Iran etc. So why should we be surprised if the Holy Spirit still directs to the same church order today? On several occasions, Jesus took Peter, James and John apart from the Twelve for special reasons. It is clear from the early chapters of the Acts that Peter had a pre-eminent role in the early church - it was he who advised the choosing of a replacement for Judas, explained the phenomenon of Pentecost, and opened the door to the Gentiles.
Perhaps I misread your missive - but I believe we still have the poor, homeless, sacrificial, Spirit-directed ministry today in Canada and in Sweden, and I hope you agree.
(signed) Cornelius Jaenen
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.  We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.  For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.  How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
Some folks in Alberta sent this scripture to me - and I found comfort and guidance in the feelings expressed by the writer.
Sat, 26 May 2001
It has been a while since I have written a number of you, but the silence hasn't been because we haven't been thinking about you - and been thankful to God for you all, and for the things that God has enriched my life with because of the privilege of contact with you these last months. It perhaps wasn't just an empty turn of chance that often moved Jesus to lead his disciples to the 'wilderness', or 'mountainside' to speak extra special things with them. Away from hearth and home and all form of "civilized" life that they had perhaps been taught to trust and even love - just to be apart with him and feel his presence. A place where they perhaps would be less affected by these other things that perhaps could affect their sense of values and lead their thoughts where he didn't want them to go.
I think each of us have strong feelings that it is God that has led us into this wilderness - away from much that we have trusted and loved. But he has spoken to us very clearly, we have heard his voice and we do purpose to follow it at any cost. I am convinced that as we tell our testimonies to our children a few years down the road, these things will be a very, very important, and very, very precious part our story.
But at the moment I still feel very much 'in the wilderness' - Trying to hear the masters voice above the wind in the treetops. Not always succeeding, but thankful to be with him. Have enjoyed some wonderful thoughts expressed in some of your letters and would like to believe that God has blessed these things like he did with the 'bread and fishes' meaning that I feel as satisfied as from any convention or special meeting I have ever been in.
I guess that in His time, the Lord will give us direction - and in the meantime will care for us as he has always done before.
Always glad to hear Edgar Massey
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001
Thank your for your comments on the letter that I have felt moved to send to a number of workers - it was interesting to hear that you had received a copy of it as it was sent only to workers. I have understood that in Saskatchewan at least, the responsible workers had a number of gatherings where workers where encouraged to completely disregard the contents of the letter. I received very few replies from workers in Western Canada - but have received 15-20 replies from European workers.
I will do my best to come with the 'clarification' that you asked for.
I know nothing about the accusation you make that she returned from West Africa because she was not in agreement with the other workers there. Seeing you seem to quote her father as suggesting this I will ask him. We have quite close email and telephone contact. I will get back to you on this.
Regarding the difference between 'expulsion' and disagreement. I understand of course, that words can be be rearranged, played with, and manipulated in diplomatic fashion to prove political perspectives that have nothing to do with truth in situations. We need to be aware of this. The workers involved, have of course used other words to describe why Marg was told she would not be allowed to continue in the work and was asked to leave her companion that same day. Expulsion is the right word. I do understand that there could be some situations where expulsion was justified - her crime was simply to visit some friends in Alberta that the workers had expelled from fellowship a few years before. Of course I acknowledge your right to feel that this could be warranted and thus the Godly way to deal with the problem - in my mind it was an ungodly way to deal with a threat to a hierarchy that has no Christian right to exist. (I will get back to that issue later in this letter), I will enclose a letter that was sent describing the events surrounding the rejection of these friends in Alberta. I did not write this document, and even Willis or Dale does not question its truthfulness.
Regarding the issue of Jesus establishing a hierarchy - or political structure for the administration of his followers on the earth. I respect your right to interpret the gospel, as teaching such if you wish - the Catholic church is built on such an assumption. But for me, such a system resembles a system capable of gathering together the muscle to hang our Lord on the cross, more than it describes the new testament followers of Christ. I will concede that the scriptures you mentioned do indicate that these workers were in different geographical positions and working together in different configurations. These things do not constitute the administrative hierarchy and self-appointed seniority system that we have today.
In any case the workers haven't tried to justify the existence of this hierarchy but have solemnly sought to convince others and me that it doesn't exist. I have less a problem understanding your position that this hierarchy is proper, than the workers position that it is only a figment of my imagination. In my mind their position creates serious credibility problems.
Your closing comments were about the 'poor, homeless, sacrificial, Spirit-directed ministry'. I believe that there are 'poor, homeless, sacrificial, Spirit-directed workers in our midst (both in Canada and here in Sweden) and I am extremely thankful for them - But regarding this man made institution that you call the 'ministry', the spirit directing it is definitely not the Spirit of Christ- it is an extremely arrogant, self righteous spirit and unlike Christ, very much in the expulsion business. It is definitely not 'poor' with several proven bank assets in Western Canada with over a million dollars in each. This institution sacrifices nothing that would be acceptable to God, and while the term 'homeless' may apply to some workers personally, absolutely not to the institution which is carefully registered according to the laws of Canada (in Canada) and the laws of Sweden (in Sweden).
Will let this be all for now and will enclose the account of the expelled friends in Alberta.
Yours in Him, Edgar Massey