American Idol: The Curious World of Faith Builders International Ministries

First, from here:

Well, finally it’s out! Yes, Danny Gokey and Jamar Rogers have made it on to American Idol. The whole nation is talking about it. As most of you know, Danny and Jamar sing on our praise and worship team. Danny was actually our praise and worship leader for years in both our Milwaukee and Beloit locations. Danny made all the rehearsals as well, until his precious wife Sophie went to be with the Lord! Danny needed to take a break for a season to heal. But, it didn’t take long before he was back on the front line singing again! Jamar has been singing on the team for some time as well. Jamar has a tremendous story of God’s healing power. He was completely healed of cancer. Wow, how awesome God is! These two men are not just apart of our church, but apart of our family! They both call me there spiritual father. I’m honored to say the least. They are two of the most humble, sincere people, that you will ever meet. They are the real deal! We are so very proud of them and wish them the very best in where this journey is taking them. But, beyond the lights, beyond the applause and beyond the fanfare they are STARS to me and our church family! We love them very much…touch the world guys, God has given you the platform! Pastor

And then, from here:

A History of FBIM in Wisconsin

My story is based on wanting to tell the truth about the unfortunate and unchristian things that happen in this ministry.

I was asked to leave the worship team because I did not fit a specific image of youth. Because of this, I also left the church. I know what the Word of God says and what it does not say — There is no condemnation, there is only love. There is also no need to put on a show, and Faith Builders International Ministries is one of the best Christian shows you will ever have the chance to view. Perfection, and youth are key factors to fitting in. I request to remain anonymous because I still have business contacts within FBIM. If I were to be found out, I would be harassed by members and my business would certainly suffer. This has happened to many former FBIM members who had started businesses, only to subsequently fail in their respective communities because of the words of the Pruitt Family.

During the July 4th weekend in 1989, what would be known as FBIM started in a meeting hall in Newark Township, Rock County, Wisconsin. What was first called New Ark Christian Center (as a play on the name of the hall), was started by Jerry and Gloria Pruitt. Over the next few years, they grew out of the small meeting hall and progressed to what is now the  building in Beloit, Wisconsin.

About 1996, Jerry’s son, Jeff, was leading the church’s music program and itching to start his own ministry. He left his father’s church and launched his own in a Madison school building. Jeff’s first church lasted less than one year, and by his own admission, it was not his calling from God. Pruitt returned for a short time, only to later once again be called to start a ministry in Milwaukee. Jeff’s church started in a park, and later went through phases in a Howard Johnson, an elementary school, and the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Milwaukee.

In 2001, Jerry Pruitt’s daughter Barb, left Beloit to venture to the Phoenix, Arizona area, reportedly due to the lack of good men in the area. Jerry Pruitt addressed the congregation “I can’t let my daughter walk with turkey’s when she can fly with eagles.” Within 1 year, Jerry Pruitt told the Beloit congregation he needed to move to Arizona and that his son Jeff would run both Wisconsin churches. Jerry Pruitt’s move to Arizona triggered the first marked division within the Faith Builders congregation. Within 6 months, 50% of the members of Faith Builders either moved to Arizona, or left because the new ways of the younger Pruitt were not friendly to those over 30. The focus of the music became oriented to hip-hop and rap, a rapid departure from the traditional Gospel styles of music.

During this time, Terry Morehouse was hired to run the business aspect of the church. Morehouse came in after being a top regional manager of Gander Mountain, one of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailers. Terry was also an experienced motivational speaker, often speaking to executives at large corporations, including Microsoft. It was clear at that time that the church was setting them up to be a “mega-business” and they needed a business acumen to support and achieve these goals. A year after being hired as the Business Administrator, the 43-year-old Morehouse married the sweet 19-year-old keyboard player. Nowhere was the thought was given to the lack of appropriateness, even though Morehouse and the young Rachel had known each other for 3 years prior to their marriage.

In 2003, Jeff was given the call to become the pastor at 7 churches in the area. Within a year, he had absorbed a South Milwaukee ministry which had been renamed Faith Builders Milwaukee South. This church was 100% Hispanic. This church was sold and it is no longer part of FBIM, but the profits [from the sale] are nowhere to be found, and the reason for disbanding the church was never mentioned to the congregation or designated church leaders.

It was also around 2003 that the giving envelopes were changed to state “even though we ask where you would like to direct your giving, Faith Builders International Ministries reserves the right to direct funds to whichever ministry it would like.”

From 2005-2007, Pastor Jeff Pruitt had a very prominent local TV show called Going Beyond Limitations. This show was supported by the Beloit membership. During this time, the Milwaukee church was raising money for a multimillion dollar church building and renovation. Going Beyond Limitations was broadcast daily in the Rockford, Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. For some reason, without notice to the givers, the TV show was cancelled and the monies donated to the show were diverted to other areas.

(Going Beyond Limitations focused on many disabled groups & individuals, yet there had been no consideration given to close captioning the show, which was required for Jeff Pruitt’s intended audience.)

The problems at FBIM are not new. In the last 5 years, two lead pastors have been forced to leave after questions arose concerning inappropriate sexual behavior. The latest, Neal Thomas, was made a lead pastor in Faith Builders, but within 3 months he was filing for divorce with his wife because of infidelity. It was rumored he was cheating on his wife with a member of the FBIM congregation, but Thomas disappeared with little notice and no information about his departure was given by the church. Thomas’ wife was Pastor Pruitt’s personal secretary, and she left the ministry to move with her family in Missouri. Again, no one in the ministry knew she was leaving. Like her estranged husband, she simply just disappeared.

Robin Pruitt formed the Style Ministry during the first year of being the pastor at the Beloit church. This ministry was designed to help women look their best outwardly. Robin’s husband Jeff’s preached on several occasion, women not wearing make-up can be considered a sin. (Quote from sermons given from 2002-2006). Jeff relayed that women who dress modestly (according to the Word of God) are ignorant of the meaning of the word and are as condemned as Pharisees. To fit into the Style Ministry, one should have lots of flashy clothes, jewelry and money to give to the offering. The Style Ministries would frequently have fashion shows for all the Style members to strut their stuff. If a member did not have the appropriate clothing or jewelry, pieces could be easily bought during the events from Pastor Robin Pruitt herself!

In 2005, Jerry Pruitt, the founder of the ministry, was made a Bishop by a Bishop who was not a friend or a part of FBIM. This interesting ritual was done in Beloit, although the elder Pruitt’s full-time residence was Arizona. Pruitt would occasionally return to Beloit only to find a shell of the church he had left behind. The last time I saw the senior Pruitt, there were less than 10 people left in the [Beloit] congregation who had known him when he was in charge.

In 2006, due to financial difficulties, the elder Pruitt returned to Beloit to beg for money from the congregation. The payments on the Escalade were getting behind, and the father begged the congregation, if you love your pastor you will pay for his car. He requested people line up to give $25 a month to pay for the transportation. Several members complied with Jerry Pruitt’s request and Pastor Jeff has been able to keep his beloved Cadillac Escalade.

Pruitt has even made comments about how he enjoyed driving down the “old neighborhood” to show off his car and how it is representative of the success he had achieved in life. He claims his Escalade is a blessing for his faithfulness. (I have known two widows who have left Faith Builders because they no longer receive help from the church, although their husbands had been large givers while they were alive.)

In 2007, due to many changes, many leaders left, as did many of the members. Between 2007-2009, less than 25% of the remaining members [from before this time] stayed. Faith Builders became a revolving door. People who left became focus of banning. During my membership at this church, I had wanted to contact several friends who had left, but was almost prohibited because they had spoken poorly of the pastors. The Pruitts would continually keep the focus on the internal group. Fellowship within the church is limited to 20 minutes before service at the in-house coffee shop.

My experience with Faith Builders is the closest thing I hope to ever experience to a cult. The same brainwashing techniques that are used in cults are used at Faith Builders. I do not think that most of the members have bad intent, it just happens one way or another. After I left, I was informed that the building in Beloit is literally falling apart, but money will not be raised to fix the roof, and the building in Milwaukee has to be paid for. For a ministry that was started 20 years ago to help an area that was ‘forsaken’ (as Jerry Pruitt had stated in his vision statement), only one person who started with the church remains in the ministries. With the almost 10,000 people who have at one time called this church home, only having one person being in attendance during the lifetime of the church speaks for itself.

Recently, an FBIM member has received national attention. Dan Gokey, the paid leader of the Praise & Worship Team, is one of the Top 36 finalists on American Idol. Gokey is not the first member of the church who has appeared on American Idol, but the first one who made it past the Hollywood rounds.

Gokey started singing with FBIM Milwaukee about the same time Pruitt started the Milwaukee church. Daniel and Sophia Gokey were married in the Milwaukee church by Pruitt himself, which is indicative of Gokey’s position within the organization. Pastor Pruitt did not typically perform marriage ceremonies for average members.

Danny Gokey was not an easy person to work with on the team. He was never on time, but in spring of 2007, the entire choir was disbanded because there were a few members who arrived late for a service. I can remember several times Dan arguing musical points with myself and others. Because of the intense structure of Faith Builders, there was no possibility to argue.

I have also seen Dan correct other experienced musicians, one who had been playing bass professionally many years before he was even born. Shortly after that particular incident, this bass player departed the church without any notice.

Gokey was very flirtatious with all the female singers. He always had a crowd and was certainly set up in the role of “lead singer.” Gokey was paid for his time, as were the others on the team. It was very clear he was a valued member that the team could not do without. His vacations were carefully planned so that replacements would always be considered adequate. In some instances, if the congregation discovered Danny was not singing, some would actually leave the service.

Gokey’s accomplishments, besides his paid position within the church, include the recording of Enter In, as well as a recording with Clint Brown. Dan also made several appearances on TBN [backed by other key musicians in FBIM].

Sophie [Danny Gokey’s deceased wife] was a sweet gal, each time that I met her.

God Bless everyone who may read this, and may God keep you safe and sound.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

68 thoughts on “American Idol: The Curious World of Faith Builders International Ministries

  1. I LOVE danny gokey and the is by far a cult..the feeling of being there does draw you in and make you want to be there but thats a good thing isn’t it…there is no difference there then a pentacostal church…they sing loud and praise god outloud…its a good place to be when you need to be lifted that is forsure..and having been there and hearing danny sing was a blessing.

  2. I have been looking at this group for quite some time. Based on my findings, I believe a lot of what this letter states to be true. I do understand that it comes off as “gossipy”, however, the principles of this letter are believable.
    So others (above) are seeing red flags and researching too, huh? Anyone want to join forces and see what we can come up with?
    I have so much information I want to share but this isn’t the place to do it.
    “Cult” is a very good description for FBIM.

  3. This is very weird-it seems like the person posting this about the church which you now consider a “cult” knows information only someone would know who was closely involved for a long time–why would you stay involved if it’s so horrible. I also find it odd that the blogger would want to continue to conduct business with members of the church that you consider a cult. While there are certain truths to this blog mixed with lots of someones perception based on a low self esteem and lots of loneliness and jealousy.I feel sorry for you and I hope you understand that this is not pleasing to God that you gossip and spread half truths to discredit people. God wants us to edify and encourage and bring hope to others. I think you need to do some soul searching and spend your time on something of value.

  4. this message is to agent21: you should be ashamed of yourself asking someone to join forces with you to harm or discredit others because you are lonely, bored and obviously jealous. God is the vindicator. It’s obvious that you never truly had a relationship with God or that you are backslidden-which is a shame…so I guess that’s why you wouldn’t see anything wrong with your comment. If you are not for God you are against him. Your comment and the bloggers comments reveal that you are both not living right–judge not least you be judged. While everyone is not perfect and the Pastors realize that they are not perfect either because they tell us not to put your trust in man only in God. All is well at FaithBuilders and the ministry and Danny Gokey will continue to walk in the blessings and under the anointing of God. :)

  5. A family member of mine found this blog doing a search for Dan Gokey and sent it my way. I am just leaving this message for anyone who may like more information about FBIM and their connection with Danny Gokey. Being a former member of the church, I feel responsible to at least offer my perspective of the situation.

    During the 8 years that I attended FBIM (formerly called: New Ark Christian Center) I watched Dan Gokey go from a nervous, young worship leader to a confident worship leader. I knew him personally and we even spent some time together outside of the church. He is a good man, and I am glad to see him pursuing a career using his God-given talent. Because I did not directly work in the music department, I cannot say anything in regard to the allegations about him being flirtatious with the girls or argumentative with the other worship team members, but I could guess that the allegations from the anonymous individual may be slightly overstated. Dan definitely matured over the years and it would be wrong to hold those things against him.

    I worked in the FBIM A/V (Audio/Visual) department for about 4 years and before leaving I worked in the children’s ministry for about 2 years. In all 8 years of attendance, which was primarily in the Milwaukee location, I witnessed everything that was stated in this blog. Not only did I witness what went on in the Church in general, but I was also given “leadership” status and was allowed to attend the leadership meetings. Therefore, I am a witness to the allegations against FBIM. The information given in this blog is NOT gossip; it is not the attempt of some anonymous individual to get revenge over a personal offense. There are many people that have been hurt by churches such as these, and I and this individual are not the only ones.

    I’ll try to make my version as short as possible. If anyone wants more information, just send me a note. It wasn’t too long after becoming a member of FBIM, that I felt like God was calling me to ministry. I had been raised in a Christian home and knew the Bible better than the average person, but that wasn’t why I wanted to be in ministry. When I first began to attend in 1999, it seemed as if the whole church believed that they were called to ministry. Jeff Pruitt even had a School of Ministry that many of us attended. Looking back on the situation now, it’s clear to me that we all (including myself) wanted the form of ministry that Jeff Pruitt was modeling for us. Jeff Pruitt wanted a megachurch, by his own admission, and so did we.

    My personal years following those original impressions were littered with psychological trauma. In pursuing ministry, however, I studied everything I could on history and the Bible. In the process, a preacher by the name of Derek Prince became part of my research and the key that led me to leave FBIM. Derek Prince was a part of what is now known as the Shepherding Movement. One of the members of this group, Bob Mumford, started a doctrine that he termed “covering.” Today, the doctrine is being spread by such renowned Christian speakers as John Bevere.

    At first, I believed this doctrine and defended it belligerently, but after experiencing its harmful affects I realized that it is NOT at all biblical. The doctrine basically states that God sets one man over a particular region or city and that every Christian in that region is accountable to God to submit to that man. At first this doctrine is taught inside the walls of the church; thus, all of the members of the church must comply with this doctrine so that the entire region will eventually come under the umbrella of this particular man who is God’s “covering” for that region.

    All of this is taught at FBIM, and it produced the results that the nameless blogger described. Most of the time I attended the church I felt a sense of manipulation and control. When someone believes, as Jeff Pruitt does, that he is the “man of God” it is difficult to question him. There are people out there that just want to find something to criticize someone about. I am not that person. I just think that we all need to be corrected at times, and when you put yourself in a position that is untouchable you are setting yourself up to nurture your pride. I could tell that Pruitt did not take correction well. As long as we were a part of the church we were not allowed to do anything apart from the pastor’s final decision. I tried to get council from the associate pastor for my mental problems, but the answer was always the same: you can’t do it if pastor doesn’t approve. And my struggle at the time was merely changing my volunteer work from the A/V to the children’s ministry. Because I was so mentally distraught I left the A/V anyway and went to the children’s ministry. Shortly after that, the associate pastor that I tried to get council from left the church.

    To be fair, the Shepherding Movement that Derek Prince became infamous for did some worse activity under the “covering” doctrine. They controlled whether the members could even have children or not, or how many children they could have, or if they could buy a car, and so on. FBIM did not do any of these things, but in my opinion the teaching of “covering” did just as much mental damage as the Shepherding Movement.

    Sadly, during my entire time at the church, I do not remember Jeff Pruitt saying much about being moral, following the Ten Commandments, or even following the teachings of Jesus like the Sermon on the Mount. Rather, he taught about how to get healthy, wealthy, and stay in line with the proper spiritual authority (which of course was him).

    One final word: I get very tired of hearing Christians say that we shouldn’t judge. There’s a world of difference between being unnecessarily critical, and simply correcting people that are doing immoral and unrighteous things. If we are not supposed to judge then why did Jesus say in Matthew 18:15-17:

    15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

    These are very strong words. If someone refuses to receive correction, according to Jesus we are supposed to expose his faults publically. Everyone who was formerly involved has a responsibility to lay out the facts concerning FBIM and churches like it. All of us have our shortcomings, but when the doctrines behind the pursuits are wrong then there will be character flaws that cannot be fixed by merely correcting the behavior; the doctrine, which is the root of the cause, must be corrected.

    I think we should try to keep the church background of Danny Gokey separate from his current pursuits as a singer. Just because he is a member of the church does not make him an accomplice to the doctrines that Jeff Pruitt is teaching. Although, you should probably be careful not to allow Dan’s connection with the church to move you to financially support it.

  6. Thank you David. I am unsure if you addressed the comment against “we shouldn’t judge” towards me, when I said it sounded like gossip or not. But if so, you could easily find in my blog many posts tells us to judge those in the church. I believe we are to be discerning and call sin like it is.

    My comment was meant to complain about the anonymous nature of what was presented. If an accusation is made, it should be made one on one in private, then if no change, it should be made by two or three, THEN the church should be told if no change occurs.

  7. I too was a short time member of FBIM-Beloit. I left because i just did not feel like i belonger — no matter how hard i tried. While attending the New Members class, i was included, fellowshipped with and felt like members WANTED me there. At the end of the class, we were asked to fill out a form on where we wanted to “help” (sunday school, ushering, etc). i basically said “use me anywhere”. I showed up on “church work days” (driving 30 miles one way!) to help paint, clean etc. This was a very hard group to join! I saw it as very “cliquish”….social groups could not be penetrated; no one ever contacted me about doing ANYTHING but sermons about wealth and finances were often….ONe time a speaker was there and a table set up afterwards to sell his books! I gave a check for a book that they ran out of and never even saw my book! I was unsuccessful in contacting the speaker via a website — which i got a email reply that the speaker “was unreachable by email as he was out on an assignment”. I contacted the church and never even got a reply…..i hope they enjoyed my $25.00. I felt Pastor Pruitt taught me some things in the Bible but in retrospect, i did see cult-like tendacies..and i know several who have left the church. I see the Beloit church crumbling soon due to the diversion…churchs of God just can’t withstand it.

  8. I’d like to add something that describes what i think is a “control” over the congregation…
    When i moved to Illinois and trie to get involved more with FBIM on a smaller personal level, i inquired as to the availablity of any “small groups” (home bible studies) in the rockford area. I was told by a then Associate Pastor who has since left the church, that Pastor Jeff Pruitt was against them as he felt that having small groups led to him losing control — or rather that he could not control was was said or discussed in the “small cell group meetings”. that they led to division. THis went against everything that i was ever taught. To take it further, the Biblical basis for small groups is very strong. There are plenty of accounts in the Bible of them existing in the early church (Acts 2:46, 12:12, 20:8, 20:20; Rom. 16:4-5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:5; Philemon 2). And many Biblical commands given to the church seem to require them. These especially include commands for Christians to minister to one another (Heb. 3:13, 10:24-25; Gal. 6:2; Col. 3:16; James 5:16; I Peter 4:8-9; Eph. 4:32). The very “one anotherness” of these commands necessitates Christian fellowship contexts small enough for our ministry to one another to be truly mutual. Combining this strong Biblical basis — with our own experiences in the effectiveness of small group ministry — gives a very strong rationale for us to pursue small groups. SO why then is Pastor Pruitt (jr) so against them?

  9. David D. Mahoney,

    I think scripture lays out the process for correcting leadership. I also think it IS the business of the congregation to correct the leadership if they go astray. 1 Timothy 5:18-19 tells us that this same process should be followed for leaders of an assembly. Scripture is clear that those who sin are to be rebuked publicly. The only question is how far do we go when we ‘tell it to the church’. I think we have to warn at minimum the local assembly. I think it likely that we need to warn the church at large. But it must follow the process laid out in scripture.

  10. I think its clear from scripture we are to teach the word in season and out.

    2 Timothy 4:2

    2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

    We are commanded to tell people to not teach falsely.
    1 Timothy 1:3-5

    3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

    But more than that, we are to expose deeds of darkness.
    Ephesians 5:11

    11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

    I think the first thing to do is to go to the person, teaching from scripture what the right thing to do is. If they change, then our work is done. However, if that fails, we are to take two or three others and go to the person and show them again from scripture, perhaps using different arguments from different places in scripture. If they change, then we’re done. If not, then we need to go to the leaders. If the leaders are unable to convince the people to change, we are to go to the church and they should be given yet another chance to change. If they do not, they should be asked to leave the church until such a time as they change.

    If the problem is with the leadership of a church who are part of a hierarchy of leadership outside the local assembly, then I think the thing to do is go to them before going to the church at large. If the problem is with the leadership of a church who are not part of a hierarchy, I think the thing to do is go to them, then to the church assembly. It may be this then needs to be taken to the church at large – I think that would be a call each situation would require a separate decision to be made.

    I think 1 Timothy 5:19-20

    19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

    ties in with Christ’s teaching in Matthew 18:15-17

    15 If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    Both of these tie back to
    Deuteronomy 17:6;

    6 “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.

    and Deuteronomy 19:15

    15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

  11. What, no comments on my thoughts regarding addressing leadership run amuck? Come on people. :) You asked me my thoughts. I was expecting criticism or agreement. So here I am sitting on my hands waiting…. :)

  12. I’m curious as to if others have known churches to be “against” small groups — bible studies — cell groups — home groups or whatever they may be called. And if they have been “against” would be interested in knowing they “whys”. They are addressed on many occasions…in fact my last “small group” i was a member of (before my job transfer) we read and studied the Purpose Driven Life. Small Groups are addressed in Rick Warren’s book. Just curious…….thanks

  13. FM-FBIM,

    I have heard of churches not using small groups, and of churches using Sunday School groups as the nucleus for small groups. I have heard of small groups using the material covered by the pastor as their talking points. But I have not heard of churches being out right against small groups before. As Polycarp said, many churches use them to grow membership.

  14. David,

    “when you say that a particular case of leadership sin may warrant bringing it before the Church at large, who do you mean: those of your denomination or members of all denominations? (No specifics needed; this is a rhetorical question.)”

    I think it would depend on the sin. I think sometimes it would be sufficient to tell the local church, sometimes the denomination, sometimes the church of all denominations.

    I dont know anything about Derek Prince, the Shepherding Movement, or Covering, sorry. But I’d bet Polycarp does.

  15. Thats funny stuff polycarp. My apologies beloved.I suppose that5 was pretty cheap.But still,sorry no royalties 4 u! O yeah and as far as small “cell groups” go, I helped start 2 of them “Gangs 2 Grace” and “Inner City Impact” which started out small but just exploded.

  16. My wife and I started attending when it was New Ark Christian Center back in 1996. We were one of the couples who moved out to Arizona to help Jerry start a church out there. This place is a cult and the teachings they promote have destroyed many a marriage, family and finances. We have sinced been blessed enough to have gotten out and we sound the alarm whenever we know of anyone even THINKING of going there. They do practice “banning” or “shunning” in that if you leave the ministry you are considered, and this is a direct quote from Bishop Jerry Pruitt himself, “An enemy of the minstry. A Judas. There is no point in continuing a relationship with you any longer”. I will give you some incidents, all of which were witnessed by several people besides myself, some of which are still in the minstry. 1. In Arizona the Bishop performed a “marriage ceremony” for a couple who were each still married and not legally divorced from previous spouses. When confronted about the illegality of this he responded by saying “Well, they are married in the eyes of God now”. When I told him that was illegal and they were still married to their other spouses by law the response was: “You just have to get over that. You either obey God or man”. 2. When we were there we were in “leadership”. At our last leadership meeting it was said that Jerry, not Jesus, was the head shepherd and we, the leaders were the under-shepherds. Then they went on to say that Jerry hears directly from God and we were not to question his directions. If we did we were questioning God. 3. They taught the pastor was not supposed to give up anything material. We, the sheep, were supposed to sacrifice so the pastor would not have to. 4. We had a table set up to sell tickets for a women’s retreat. There was a lady who wanted to help out so we asked her if she could sell the tickets which she gladly said she would do. The pastors came to us and said to pull her from the table because she wasn’t dressed nicely enough, she was too heavy and she didn’t present the right level of excellence for the ministry. 5. The name of the church was first New Ark Christian Center. They changed the name to Faith Builders International Ministries. In one message from the pulpit Jerry said God told him to change the name “because it had such a bad reputation in Beloit”. Then a few weeks later he said in another message that God told him “that old name was an Isaac holding you back”. 6. Leadership was REQUIRED to go to the pastor’s house once a month. The men had to do the lawn, take care of the pool, the car and the outside while the women had to clean the inside as directed by his wife. The pastor and his wife would usually sit and watch while everyone did all the work. 7. On the way to our monthly house duties the pastor’s wife called and asked if a certain man was coming with us. We told her “No. He is gone celebrating his anniversary”. She said that wouldn’t do because they needed him to shock their pool. The pastor’s wife then proceeded to call this man and tell him she needed him to come over so they could use their pool.. Being a good “servant” he left his plans and came over. When he got there and told them that he had other plans to celebrate his anniversary the pastor’s wife looked him in the eye, lied and said “Oh, I didn’t know that. If I did I wouldn’t have called you”. 8. The pastor and his wife had their own personal “Armor Bearers”. These were two individuals who had to wait on them every time they came to church. When they pulled up to the curb this man and woman had to meet them at their car, carry their bags into the church and get them situated in their offices. The man would then go park the pastor’s car. The woman had a list of things to do for the pastor’s wife such as:a. Get fresh blackberries/raspberries with no mold and two packets of blue sugar and put on desk.b. Get one cup of coffee in pastor’s wife special mug with one packet of unopened sweetener.c. Get fresh flowers for us before every service.d. Get her glasses, make sure they are cleaned and put them in the drawer of table next to pastor’s wife chair in sanctuary. 9. The pastor’s armor bearer had to, during service, go and get the pastor’s car washed and filled up with gas at HIS OWN EXPENSE as a blessing to the man of God. 10. A man who was a big giver left the church. When he did the pastor said “I don’t care what he does with God. I just want him to keep sending his money here”. 11. When Jerry found out his son Jeff was going to have to give up his Escalade because the church was having money problems he said from the pulpit in Arizona “I am going back to Beloit and I am going to SHAME those people into paying for my son’s car”. 12. When we moved to Arizona Jerry told us that he was going to put me on paid staff. Once we got there he said there was no money to pay me. It took me months to find a job. In the interim we ldrained our savings and lived on credit cards. At one mid-week service the pastor’s called us in and said “We looked over the books and noticed you haven’t been tithing. Why?” I had to explain that neither one of us had an income. Their response was that we should find jobs as soon as possible. 13. In one instance a grandma, grandpa and their granddaughter got fed up with the crap at the church so they decided to leave. Once they were gone Jerry said from the pulpit that “no one was to talk to them any longer. They are enemies now. The granddaughter is possessed by a demon”. There are MANY more instances of craziness associated with the Pruitts and FBIM. I can provide more examples if you need or want them.

  17. “I don’t know first hand if what you have written is accurate or not”

    Trust me its not…. If you want the real deal let me know. And BOB, you are so far off from the truth its making me kinda sick.

    This whole thing was written by a former member who was very offended & saw danny gokey on T.V. & thought that this could be his big chance to get back at FBIM. Wow, what is he 10. Thats so childish, are you guys really gonna believe a few offended ex-members over hundreds of people who attend every week. The same people that are getting healed every week, the same people that are getting feed when they have nothing to eat, the same people that are getting out of gangs & the street life, the same people that are giving school supplies to kids when there parents cant pay for any. What have these ex-members done to change someone’s life, nothing they just want to bring down the people that do. You dont have to agree with everything FBIM has done, but you have to notice the lives that have been changed for the better, how many souls that have been won to christ through this ministry, & at the end of the day that is what’s important. What have you done besides BLOG about the people that are making the change?

  18. Thanks for reading it. I can tell you, I have spoken with so many people who’s stories are similar to mine from FBIM. They are so happy people are finally speaking up. We are all realizing that we weren’t crazy. Things that happened to us were repeated over and over and over. Thank you for giving us the chance to stand up.

  19. Thank you for sharing your experience Bob (and with detail). It sounds crazy yet believable to me – it would be good if other ex-members could validate your examples.

    I’m an American Idol fan. Each of the final 5 contestants this year seem like genuinely lovely people, but as a Christian myself I a have a special in Kris, Danny & Matt (the remaining Christian contestants) and hoped that they were on the same page as me in terms of their values, actions & characters.

    I’ve heard some great things about my favourite contestant Kris Allen & his mission trips (for instance, in Thailand he impulsively gave away his new $700 guitar, a gift from his parents, to a worship leader who had been using a broken-down guitar with only 4 strings).

    Danny Gokey’s work with his charity ‘Sophies Heart’ also really impresses me (the charity’s aim is to provide free instruments to poor children in U.S schools and free music lessons, so long as their academic marks are reasonable).

    However when I checked out Danny Gokey’s church website two things concerned me. First, the church goal is to equip people to live “a victorious, overcoming life and go beyond their supposed limitations”. This sounds almost like they are advocating the the “prosperity doctrine” (the idea that God will bless us with material wealth if we obey him, and that we are allowed to keep our wealth instead of giving much of it to the poor etc). The second thing that worried me was how the website talks about God giving the pastors Jeff and Robin vision & direction for the church. Surely God is giving this to the whole congregation? Or at least to a wider leadership team? It sounds like Jeff and Robin are running the church on their own.

    Here are some quotes from the website that disturb me:
    1. “Pastors Jeff and Robin… have been uniquely gifted to communicate cross-culturally and trans-locally… God has graced the Pruitts to reach thousands” (a little bit of self-praise? Statements like these make Jeff and Robin hard to criticize)
    2. (when referring to the failure of the first church Jeff tried to establish the website says about Jeff) “However, he couldn’t seem to make that church grow” (“he”, not “God”?)
    3. The son (Jeff) of the pastor who established the church was chosen to take over the leadership of the church. The website attributes this to the will of God (of all the potential candidates, the son happened to be the one divinely chosen?)
    4. “What does the future hold for this couple and this ministry?… Their goal is…” (a website for a church should not talk about the pastor couple’s goal, it should talk about the churches goal – or the ministry team/leadership team’s goal).
    5. Describing their praise and worship: “Our praise and worship services are very exciting! The type of music that is played and sung can be classified as gospel/rock fusion as well as some contemporary Christian. Our praise and worship teams also write and compose original music that is a unique sound for today. Most importantly, our praise and worship services carry a heavy anointing.” (if it is the ‘most important’ part why is it placed at the end of the description? It sounds like they are saying “come to our church because our music is really really cool. Oh and, um, God likes it too”).

    Kris Allen (another Idol contestant) belongs to New Life Church in Conway, which is another church that concerns me (the website seems to say “We are a great church because – We’re really big! We have a great building with a nice garden outside! And we have a big loud cool band and a theatre lighting system!”). The church is also advertising a retreat for girls called “Princesses of Purity” which I suspect is to teach them to guard their virginity before marriage… where is a similar retreat for guys, “Princes of Purity”? Perhaps it is only girls who are ‘defiled’ if they lose their virginity. This isn’t an attack specifically directed at New Life Church, I know many other churches have things like “Purity Balls”. I also believe it’s a great idea to wait for marriage for sex, I just dislike the (gendered) use of the word “purity” with the concept of “a girl who hasn’t had sex”.

    I think that New Life Church is just like any other megachurch. Megachurches often end up having quite controlling leadership teams and being run like a business. There needs to be a strong degree of top-down management in large churches and there isn’t room for people to critique the leadership – or the messages taught – because this potentially leads to ‘division’ within the church. I can understand why, but it does mean that megachurches ends up being quite hard to critique, and quite controlling. Smaller churches and house churches are much less controlling and more accepting of differences. My old church was a megachurch like New Life Church. The pastors son became the new pastor (because of “God’s will”), and he had a business degree but no formal theological training. The church was a business. It also came close to preaching the prosperity doctrine (the senior pastor gave the other paid leaders expensive cars instead of increases in pay. My dad was a paid leader with a big heart for the poor, and could not understand why the church would dish out money on expensive cars simply to improve the churches’ image).

    Megachurches are fascinating to think about. It’s amazing how much they are run like businesses.

  20. Hello People,

    Does the name “American IDOL” say ANYTHING to you? I for one, would like to see Danny Gokey actually WIN this thing, then see if the trappings of celebrity change him, or he acually becomes an “agent of change” in a world gone mad with celebrity. Would this not speak to Danny Gokey as a true man of God or a sell-out? We would learn much if he actually could, or if he would become the production of a world that has generally gone mad left to leave a Christ-centered God in becoming an agent of the sytem of the world. Even if left in the top three, we would see where such a world would take him and his “followers of celebrity” (or not). He seems like a good person to me either way. God may have a greater voice in this than any of us can see at the present. Let Danny’s works in the future speak for themselves. it takes time and action before anyone could truly say.

    Just my thoughts..take them or leave them.

  21. Interesting comments and articles. Always have to wonder, what is it that draws folks like Danny and Kris to participate in American Idol. Is it the ever luring draw of success? Can they truely be in the world and not of it. As to the church dynamics, interesting also. Question is, is what goes on the sinful ways of sinful people while trying to serve God, or people building their own kingdoms in the name of Fod.

  22. Jocelyn,

    There are a lot bigger idols in America than this TV program that happens to use the English word “Idol.” Yeah, I agree it tastes bad in the Christ-follower’s mouth…

  23. Didn’t your mama ever tell you not to believe every thing you read, especially when written anonymously? This is really suspicious and could have been written by anyone, even Adam Lambert, for all anyone knows. LOL>

  24. Wow. This was a crazy read. Definitely gossipy. You are not to expose the wrongs of others to the public. No where in the bible does it say that. You are to go to the source and then the church. Bear witness, not bash in public. We all sin. You all have your own secrets. If you are finding yourself to be involved in something unGodly, then walk away if you can’t help to change. Then pray that God will intercede. I have been attending FB in Milwaukee for less than a year. My life has changed for the better. My faith, my marriage, my parenting. I’ll see for myself what’s true and not true. If things happen that are unGodly, I will not run and bark. I will seek God for direction.

  25. I have a song for Danny Gokey to sing. I would E-mail it to you. I have talked with Mike Carey and he knows Danny. I have given him some of my songs to submit. The on called, You’ll Always Be is written just for Danny. I believe you would have a hit with this one. Thanks Darrell Ree Janesville, WI 1-608-756-8146

  26. I know Jerry, Gloria and Barb Pruitt. I can honestly say from first hand experience that they are users and they employ cult like tactics on their members. Barb Pruitt and Gloria Pruitt are very fake. They will smile at you one minute and gossip about you the next. Trust me, they are heartless people. Stay away from them at all costs.

  27. I disagree. I’ve been attending this church for about 1.5-2 years now. It’s a welcoming church. Jeff Pruitt is a great leader. He’s done great things fit the community. He shed light after the Singh attack. He promotes fairness and equality. He’s passionate about helping those less fortunate. Through the councel of this church, I’m saving my own marriage. If it weren’t for this church family, I’d have given up. I started to become more involved so that I can see and be a part first hand of what goes on more behind the scenes. Very open and welcoming church. Show up for service one day. You’ll be glad you did. The size is not big enough to scare you away by feeling lost and unknown. It’s a fun and spiritually led place. Danny Gokey still comes back, so does Jamar. I’ve been able to see them both perform. It’s a feel good place. Cult like comments are unessessary. Please find out for yourself. Introduce yourself. Meet some new people. :)

  28. I have been attending FB in Az for almost since they started here, over 10+ years. Everything that is written is true, both good and bad, and even worse, and greater things I have seen. I have seen it first hand, and just like any family, we all have issues.

    John 8:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
    7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up[a] and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

    In spite of the bad things I see in this ministry, I also see that this ministry, at least with Jerry Pruitt, has saved many souls, and the passion to go after the lost is admireable. Again, yes, I have seen the bad stuff you all mentioned, but remember that these are not “perfect people”, and we all have a choice on staying or leaving. Although the size of the congregation remains a constant, the people coming and going change, which is not a bad thing, because they are all touched and move on. Jerry Pruitt is a great teacher of the WORD, even with all of his faults.

    You get to choose how you react to bad things in your life. You can become bitter, or learn from them.

    The Bible teaches that the above point is true. Job said to his accusers in the long ago, “I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you and shake mine head at you” (16:4). Likewise the Pharisees’ accusation against our Lord shows that anyone is able to dredge up any kind of charge against another (Matt. 12:24).

    I have my own gripes and pains about this ministry but choose to forgive, because of the lives that I see saved!!

    PS: believe me when I tell you I am not a sheep that follows blindly.

  29. I made the mistake of going there as a teen some nice people use to go there, but FB/NACC is a cult plan and simple. ANY churches were the main message is the unbiblical greed based “name it and claim it” message this is NOT a church of God. Jesus said “Matt 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” If your pastor wears a Rolex watch a pinky ring like a mobster and a $10k Armani suit, hair plugs, the wife and sister have breast enlargements and plastic surgery while the congregation is struggling to get by … Like the Pruitt’s chances are you’re not going to the right church. This is why I urge everyone who is Christian to go to a Non-American Based church were the Pastors, Ministers or Vicars have graduate degrees and a governing body (i/e the 2,000 year old Catholic Church, the Orthodox church, Lutheran Church, or the Church of England (the Anglican Church). Even as a teen I saw a lot of abuse at this church. Music pastor sleeping with married women, people passing away and giving their life savings to the church and not their families who better deserve the money (they even sold a home an elderly woman willed to them … That’s sick! The family should have had that to better there life’s not for a new car for Jeff or a breast job for Barb).

  30. Unfortunately, it’s all true. Double dipping into people’s debit card accounts. Secrecy about where the money is going. Hiding the fact that the church’s building has been forfeited in foreclosure. Sad, just completely sad.

  31. One of the things that I have discovered with groups like Hillsong, is that they have different stations, and this spreads the news out, making it difficult to find – but I will. I figure with the media blitz waiting to happen if the Idol contestant wins, I am sure that more will come out.

  32. I think, Redeemed, that you need to take your own advice. Further, I believe that just as the Gospel brings hope, we must be on guard against those that would abuse the Body of Christ. I do not know enough yet to state anything about FBIM, but I find it interesting to see what the evidence is.

  33. David, what a nice description you gave of what happened and the manipulation that so many experienced. I don’t think I have ever read as good a description regarding the whole covering issue and how it has been distorted. There is an excellent book, A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards that I read shortly after we left in the late 1990s and it helped me process what had happened and where the Pruitts were coming from. Doing so helped me walk into forgiveness for them. Elizabeth Kubler Ross (author) has a description of the grief process and I think it applies to people who leave an abusive church – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think that many of us who have left went through that process (with acceptance paralleling forgiveness). Reading these blogs has been enlightening in the sense that we were not alone in how we felt in those days or in our responses to what happened (despite the Pruitts trying to isolate nad shame those who left). As I said in an earlier post, I believe the Pruitts started out with their hearts in the right place. I also believe that God may work a work and bring them back into submission and love and mercy so that they can repent and once again put HIM first. There is a lot of good they can do for the Body and I believe their work is not done yet. (Maybe I am a Pollyanna!) Anyway, God bless you for sharing (and for listening).

  34. hey Dave im surprise to see u on this fbim bashing blog or whatever it is. im sorry to hear your still hurt . I love u and your whole family say hi to james 4 me because after all we are family. I could care less what anyone else thinks about MY CHURCH .But I assure u no one is more qualified to give an fbim history lesson than me.alot of the facts are dead wrong,but i would invite anyone to attend and check it out for themselves and “judge” the tree by its fruit.By the way what u wrote in this blog is not what u wrote in your book about Apostle J.D. Pruitt.Others might want to check it out. Dave’s book is called “Focus on the Father” where u called APOSTLE PRUITT your “father in the faith”. pick up my book intitled “Gods Radical Atonement Concerning Everyone. say hi to your mom n dad 4 me they are always in my heart and prayers.u all mean so much to me . The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the LORD. u being here in the earlier years was no accident. u know what we had to go through just to have service if i recall corectly we threw u through ceiling tiles to make it happen.noone cared about us and now some ones taken the time to make this crap, i mean this, whatever.I dont always agree with some things but im not gonna let that tear away at my mind my “will”or my emossions. love covers a multitude of sins.when all is said and done we all have the same goal and thats to preach the gospel to the 4 corners of the world. u can bare wittness to the fact that im not like most i hope u know that i would never pull any punches when speeking to u OR to you joe w. Id like to get together just to hang out or something, James 2.. thats my brotha from anotha motha [same heavenly Father].

  35. Thank you for your comments wbmoor. My statements about the “we shouldn’t judge” idea were not directed toward any one person. I posted my message on another blog site pertaining to the same anonymous allegations about FBIM. Many Christians that I speak to about these things do not believe I have any right to be correcting the leaders of a church. I suppose it’s just a personal frustration of mine.

    As far as the person being anonymous; I agree with you that it does seem suspicious. Even Redeemed mentioned something about it. It was partly this that prompted me to post a message that wasn’t anonymous.

    The protocol you laid out for correcting an individual is exactly how Jesus instructed to rebuke someone in the congregation. If it were a fellow member of a church that is the proper procedure, but what if it is the pastor or leadership? Whose place is it to correct? I was merely using the passage from Matthew to illustrate that God does not what us to ignore people who have gone astray (even if they are a pastor).

    I did want to talk with the Pastor personally. Before leaving, I wrote a letter to him via the associate Pastor, basically stating that God was moving me on. In the letter, my desire to personally meet with him was expressed. He just sent me a note back saying that he was struggling with why I wanted to leave. Even though he knew exactly when my last day was, he never met with me.

    There are probably other scriptures that better deal with how to handle false leaders. Like Revelation 2:2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;” Or when Jesus warns about false prophets in Matthew 7. I believe all of these Scriptures and others instruct us to expose false leadership just as Jesus exposed the Pharisees publically.

  36. I’m not ignoring you WB, I had some pressing business in the last couple of days.

    I think we basically agree on the process, but the sin that must be corrected complicates everything. Almost all Christian denominations agree on certain moral fundamentals such as steeling, lying and so forth. However, what makes each denomination different is doctrine. Some groups may even see a certain doctrine as heretical or damnable, in other words not making them a part of the corporate Body of Christ.

    For instance, when you say that a particular case of leadership sin may warrant bringing it before the Church at large, who do you mean: those of your denomination or members of all denominations? (No specifics needed; this is a rhetorical question.)

    For a congregation that believes that adultery is sin, it would be natural for them to correct the pastor for committing adultery. On the other hand, in the case of the “Covering” teaching, those who follow the leaders teaching such doctrines are convinced that it is the right thing (I know, because I once was). How can the congregation correct the pastor of a sin that they believe is OK? In this case, not only the pastor, but the people are in sin as well. I think this is the perfect picture of a false prophet or teacher with a following.

    I believe that if we have insight into a false doctrine we should point out who is teaching it just as Jeremiah did in Jeremiah 29:29-32 and Jesus did against the Pharisees when he revealed that they were the blind leading the blind.

    Do you know anything about Derek Prince and the Shepherding Movement? Do you know anything about the doctrine of “Covering?”

  37. The Lord was not heard in the earthquake or the fire, but in the still small voice. 1 kings 19:11-12
    A Cult. What???? We believe in the word of God and no matter how you want to look at it the method of the word may change but the message always remains the same. Negativity will never over come the goodness of the Lord. Perhaps you should join us in giving praise and thanks. Its truly unfortunate you don’t recognize your own ignorance. Hear the Lord….and know that you are loved.

  38. Lynette,

    I too am curious what was meant by ‘method’ in your statement.

    Also, would you please give us scriptural evidence for the behavior of the leaders being questioned in this article?

    Should people not be allowed to serve God, regardless of whether they fit some appearance/age criteria? “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5). By showing favoritism, the leaders are sinning (James 2:2-9). God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:18-30), should we not do the same? We should each serve the Lord wholeheartedly (Ephesians 6:6-8), why would any leader prevent someone who desires to serve the Lord from doing so?

  39. FM-FBIM, I have never really met a group against those small groups. When I was in Baton Rouge, Bethany used them to actually build their congregation. It was tightly controlled, but they were cell groups.

  40. CELL GROUPS. I have been in church all of my life. I have been members of churches(non denominational), that did not want cell groups. It did not start out that way. Pastors and leaders would find out that the members were not always studying the bible. They were using the cell group time to bash the church and the Pastor and to ultimatley start their own church aka church split. So it is not uncommon for a Pastor to not want cell groups, especially if the Pastor has experienced this type of division in the past. I think cell groups should be tightly monitored because it can be a haven for gossip, slander, and church splits. From what I have seen, the leaders of some cell groups think they should run the whole church and they cause division in the cell groups and slowly plant seeds of doubt of the church in the people that come. Im pretty sure just the thought of this is enough for a Pastor to not want cell groups.

  41. Unfortunately, I know firsthand that much (albeit not all) of what is printed under “curious world of FBIM…” is true. We were church members for several years and left once we recognized that what we were experiencing was indeed abuse. After we left, we had friend and family members (who were not church members) express their relief that we left and their concern that we had belonged to a cult. (I wish they would have shared that while we were there but they felt uncomfortable calling those things by the names they were). To this day, there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people who are still turned off church because of what the Pruitts have done. Many have moved onto forgiveness (by the grace of God) but sadly, many have not. Suffice it to say that there will be a day of accounting that will be beyond human hands. At this point, my family and I have long ago forgiven the Pruitts. Yet, as Scripture says, that which is hidden shall be revealed and it is good to get the truth out. I do not wish any of them to be maligned. They are simply humans who started out with the right intent and got way, way off course. Please, pray for them and the souls who are still under their deception and power – the focus and the “covering” must be that of the Holy Spirit – not a man, even one as persuasive and charismatic as Jeff Pruitt or his dad, Jerry Pruitt.

  42. The changing method in delivering the word…The word may come in a small prayer group, or in a large church production or perhaps it’s provided in a small flyer handed out on street corners. Pastor Pruitt preaches to reach all individuals within the church and he is ablility to open ears once deaf to the word of God. I can not speek on the behavior of the members referenced above as it was before I became a member of FBIM but I can reference John 7:24 There, Jesus tells us to judge, but to do so righteously. Righteously means to use the truth of the word to discern sins and not by appearances only. In 1Cor.6:2-3 Judge behavior, not the individual; the deed not the doer; the choice not the chooser. The individual/doer/chooser is accountable for his/her deed/choice, but judge the deed/choice in your judgement. Jesus could see a king in the shepherd boy and an Apostle in a murder. So while we must judge one’s behavior we must try to nuture the goodness in an individual: to separate the deed from the doer. Nor may we who discern poor behavior based on his work think of ourselves as “better than” the one whose behavior we judge as poor. Only Jesus can give Salvation. I have attended every Style Ministery session since becoming a member. I don’t own fancy clothes or jewerly but believe me when I say I was as welcomed as those who are spoiled in material riches. I’m sure there is some truth behind the letter but Its also obvious that there is dark intent and perhaps the author should be reminded of Matthew 7:2-5 “For the same way you judge others, you will be judged.” There is only one true judge and that is God… He will forgive us all of our sins—past, present and future— if we are humble enough to ask believing. On judegment day, Jesus will send the unforgiven sinner into the fiery pits of hell. Only he will determine who is righteous.

  43. I think the person stayed (as we did) because of blinders. It took awhile (because of how much we loved the Pruitts) to see that much of what they were preaching was not scriptural and was not based in love. We were there about five years – it’s hard to believe, looking back. Sometimes, we see things better in retrospect. We also had our entire lives wrapped up in the church – our social, finanical, personal, emotional, lives. When we left, it was as if a part of ourselves were ripped asunder. I completely understand why someone may not have moved past their hurt yet – especially if they have only recently left. We left several years ago and God’s mercy and grace have allowed us to move on. Please join us in praying for this (the grace to move on and forgive) for all who have been hurt by their experienced at New Ark/FBIM.

  44. Bob,
    I was just reading what you wrote about FBIM and Pastor Pruitt.
    Does the Pastor have any family? i.e. Father, Mother, sisters or brothers? None have been mentioned. If so, Just curious as to what they may think of this controversy. I don’t know first hand if what you have written is accurate or not but, if it is I pray that FBIM and it’s Pastors will come to their senses before it is everlasting too late. God Bless

  45. “I don’t know first hand if what you have written is accurate or not”

    Trust me its not…. If you want the real deal let me know. And BOB, you are so far off from the truth its making me kinda sick.

    Well, I am sorry to say that what I wrote was the truth. Not from my point of view, but what actually happened. You can label me an offended an ex member if you want to. That’s fine. All I can say is that I once believed in the mission of the church and it’s pastor so much I willingly moved across the country. I gave my life to Christ in that church. I am one of the people you speak of when you talk about lives being changed. I find it sad that they have gotten so far out in left field.

    What have I done? Well, after being freed from that system at FBIM I went on to finish my studies and became a licensed minister/pastor. I went on to travel and teach at many churches in our region as well as in several other states. I work with two different outreach ministries. We support several missionaries. We currently are running a support ministry for people in need of financial or help with food or utility bills. We donate our time at the food shelter in town twice a week to serve meals and help with clean up. None of these activities is a big deal in and of itself but to watch Christ work through all these different areas and change lives, heal bodies and restore relationships is awesome.

  46. sorry not gossip hard cold facts i have known thr pruitt family over 30 years love them but never will i sit under them again thank you god for getting me out of there many years ago

Leave a Reply, Please!