September 18, 2002

Dear Beloved Holdemans,

Today, we are members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. We have gone in and out among you for almost seventeen years, happily putting our shoulders to the work supporting the doctrines you hold dear. You have given us your confidence and a certain honor far beyond what we deserved.

Tonight we will be excommunicated. No longer will you call us brother and sister. No longer will you greet us or shake our hands or eat with us. The confidence you had in us will be completely shattered, for you will consider us deceived, turned over to Satan, and on our way to hell. You will be watching for our spiritual decline.

And yet tonight, as the martyrs went to their deaths singing, so we have a calm peace in our heart and can face with singing our excommunication. As our forefathers prayed for those who slew them, so we can pray for those who excommunicate us. We hold no ill will, no bitterness, no offence. What you do tonight, we would have approved of a few years back. Like Saul of Tarsus, we would have stood by watching the garments as others were excommunicated for the same charge.

The charge will be heresy—heresy for believing that every born-again soul is part of the One True Visible Church, the Bride of Christ.

We ask that you, with an open heart, hear our story. For our story is not about justifying ourselves—it is an urgent plea we make with you. We fell in love with you many years ago and we cannot just walk off and shake the dust off our feet. We wish to show you why we renounced the books we had written, why we willingly, knowingly, and deliberately gave up all we held dear, why we accepted being shunned the rest of our lives by you and our children and grandchildren. We wish to show you what is so important, so valuable, that we were willing to count all things but loss.

In Christian love,

Will and Vivian Stoppel




September 18, 2003

Dear Beloved Holdemans,

 On this one year anniversary of the day we were formally severed from your organization, it is hard to know whether to feast in celebration of the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free--or to fast in prayer for you who are still in bondage.

The joy and richness of blessing that Christ has given us this year far surpassed what we asked or expected.  Having once traded grace for law, and intimacy with Christ for idolatry toward "The Church," that renewed relationship with Jesus is doubly sweet. And grace is doubly amazing. This has been one of the happiest years of our lives.

But every single day of this past year, we have thought of you with yearning love. Never have we prayed with such earnestness than in this past year.  So today we dedicate this day as a special day of prayer for you, our beloved Holdemans.  We ask that God will open your eyes and awake you from your slumber so that you may see Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. We pray that instead of teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, you will be renewed to worship Christ in spirit and in truth--and in liberty.

In Christian love,

Will and Vivian Stoppel




September 18, 2004

Dear Beloved Holdemans,

The sky has never been so blue, the clouds never so fluffy, the air never so sweet as we find life now. Our hearts are thrilling with melody of praise and wonder at the indescribable joy to be found in worshipping Christ in godly liberty. Sometimes the sheer happiness of it all is so huge that we just can't get our arms around it. Truly, our cup overfloweth.

  And as we go on, our detour through CGCM becomes more and more like a distant troubled dream.  It is hard for us now to believe that we once traded the grace of Jesus Christ for the idolatry of that organization.  It is hard now for us to believe that we once submitted to the concocted commandments of men and eclipsed the glory of Jesus Christ with a Pharisee's righteousness. This shame was the single largest mistake, the worst regret, of our lives.

But God has forgiven and healed us, and left us with a testimony to all : not only is there life when one leaves any of the many "one true" groups, but there is abundant, joyful Christian life! Blessings untold!

Our prayers for you all are always seasoned with sympathy and longing that you might someday exalt the Lord Jesus Christ instead of an erring organization--and thus also enjoy this sweet birthright of every Christian.

In Christian love,

Will and Vivian Stoppel




September 18, 2008

Dear Beloved Holdemans,

Six years ago today we removed our names from your rolls. But we have never removed you from our prayers. It’s true, our Holdeman life seems like a million years ago. We have long since moved on and are wondrously grateful for our present peaceful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, enjoying the rich fellowship of other saints, being fed the Word of God from ministers of the gospel. We rejoice that God has rescued our entire family from Holdemanism, and we thrill to watch our grandchildren being raised to love and obey Jesus, rather than idolize an organization. It’s very hard to believe we once were convinced of Holdeman doctrines, so transparently and tragically in error. We hang our heads in shame that we ever furthered its cause.

In the years since we left, we have heard from hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people whose lives have been damaged by those doctrines. We have listened to grown men cry at the loss of their families through the misapplied practice of avoidance. We have heard old folks weep at a lifetime of being shunned by their children. We have heard from outsiders charmed by Holdemanism’s pretty picture who gratefully discovered the false doctrines just in time. We have heard from members who know Holdemanism does not align with Scripture, but are afraid from childhood indoctrination to question. Afraid, always afraid, for fear is the controlling power of all “one true“ churches. What can we say to them? Only this: Keep your eyes focused on Christ and search the Scriptures, search the Scriptures, search the Scriptures!

Dear former brethren, what more can we say to you? We shared hundreds of scriptures proving the Church is made up of every born-again, Spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ--they were brushed aside with rhetoric and circular logic. We demonstrated the supposed “unbroken lineage of unchanged faith” is completely false, for the same men Holdemanism claims as spiritual forefathers believed so vastly different on crucial points they would have expelled you for heresy--and you them! But instead of seeing your “lineage” is false (which would put a crack in the one true church armor) we hear the church fathers must have been wrong--and yet these men are still taught in your schools as forerunners of your faith.

We have shown that all one-true-church cults teach identically on certain issues to maintain mind control. We have placed their quotes side by side with Holdeman quotes--and they match. We have shown testimonies of people from other one-true-church cults who proclaim the truth of their denomination with just as much fervor and allegiance as any Holdeman. Like you, they grasp only one “truth”--that their organization is The One True Church. All other information must bend to align with that plumb line.

What more is there to say? Dear beloved Holdemans, only God can penetrate the human heart and open the eyes that are willfully closed. He does it through His Holy Spirit, wielding the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God--not through emotions or trained conscience. And certainly not through blind acceptance of what another human or organization says the Bible means.

May God pause the fear in your heart so that you might have courage to prove all things. May you search the Scriptures daily to discover the Truth. For surely, beloved, it will set you free to worship Jesus Christ and Him alone.

With charity,

Will and Vivian Stoppel




September 18, 2015

    It has been thirteen years since God in His great mercy rescued us from the detour we took through the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. What can we say now that we have not said before, except that our thankfulness grows every year, especially as our grandchildren grow up free.   We are happy in the Lord and delight in the fellowship of our children and grandchildren and other believers in the local churches. God has richly and abundantly blessed our lives, may Jesus Christ be praised!

 

   Have we ever regretted leaving? Absolutely not even for a nanosecond. Our only regret is that we spent so many years as members and that we taught our children the doctrines of Holdemanism.  Even so, God graciously led our entire family out, for which we are extremely grateful.

 

   Now our greatest joy is to see our children teach our grandchildren a true and personal walk with Christ! What glory to know they will be free to find Jesus Christ in the Word of God; free to follow Him according to the Word of God; free to listen to the Holy Spirit in their own hearts. And if some should procrastinate in following Christ, they will not be masked nor dangerously lulled by the false security of a mere outward religious form.

   

   We are everlastingly thankful that God brought our entire family out of CGCM, but this doesnt mean we have forgotten you, our beloved Holdeman people, once our dearest friends and brethren. Our prayers are still for you.

 

   We pray that you might have the courage to read the Bible for yourself, rejecting the claim that She,The Church must interpret it for you. When 2 Peter 1:20 says no prophecy is of private interpretation, that word of in the original language means originated from. The Scriptures did not originate from any mans private interpretation but were inspired by God Himself no prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet's own interpretation. It does not say a church, pope, or priest must interpret Scripture for us, so do not fear to read Gods precious Book to find out whats true!

 

    We pray you might read the plain Word of God without Holdemanism superimposed on its pages, so that God may open your eyes to its truths.

 

   We pray you might see that personal faith in Christ who was crucified for your sins is the only way of salvation, that it is a gift of God, not as a result of works. And that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, not a human minister of any denomination.

 

    We pray you might see that manmade commandments are not a path to godlinessthey are sin and distort the gospel,  turning men away from salvation.

 

    We pray that once your eyes are on Jesus alone, you might grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, and forever Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


With charity,

Will and Vivian Stoppel

 

Next page

For Members

Love letter to the Holdemans:

Home

Introduction

Why We Left

Who is My Brother in Christ

An Unbroken Lineage of Unchanged Faith?

Holdemans Calling Their Forefathers' Doctrines Blasphemous

The Forefathers Calling Doctrine Held by the Holdemans Heresy

Public Apology

Why So Many Doubts and Fears?

What Must I Do to be Saved?

Poem

Conclusion

 

Whether it be of God and No Proselytes in Zion--a Re-examination:  (this is the original pamphlet sent to 2,000 members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite)

Re-examination

 

 Scare Tactics

 

Answers to Myths, Fears, and Misapplied Scriptures

 

About the Authors

For Non-members

Origin of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

What does the Church of
God in Christ, Mennonite,
really teach?

Holdemanism VS Anabaptism

Comparing the
"One True" churches

Quotes from Ex-Members

Witnessing to Holdemans

For Ex-Members

Scare Tactics

 

Answers to Myths, Fears, and Misapplied Scriptures

Breaking the Chains

The Sin of Obeying Legalism

Finding the New Testament Church

Should Christians Dress Plain or Should They Follow Christ's Example Who Dressed "Just Like the World"?

Quotes from Ex-Members

Links to Other Sites on Cult Recovery

Audio and Video Testimonies

Our Spiritual Journey to Jesus by Leona Nichols

Quiet Things, Quiet Places - http://www.quietthingsquietplaces.com

Coming Out of Deception and Spiritual Bondage by Weldon Koehn

Canadian Television Broadcast on The Purge of the 1970's

NOTE: If your computer doesn't already have RealPlayer®, download it here for free.