Have you ever heard of the term “dark night of the soul”? This is the account of our very real and painful dark night experience with the empire of institutional Christianity. It was our personal cost of discipleship. We, the Matthews, had our life’s devotion (as expressed in our work in Africa and our small beginnings of ESSM school of ministry) taken from us over 5 years ago. This happened through an alliance of several world-renowned ministries – World Cast Ministries of Yakima, WA, Be A Hero, Revival Now and New Life Church of Kelowna, B.C. and Bethel Church and BSSM of Redding, CA.
Today, April 24, 2016, is the 5 year anniversary of the graduation of our ESSM students and we publish this in honour of them and those who assisted and faithfully walked with us at that time.
May the reader understand that we have waited 5 years working through to process the pain and losses incurred on us. We have not only detoxed from the spiritual abuse, forgiven and healed, but also have been brought to a place where are compelled to bring things into the light due to the incredible need for hope in others who have had similar experiences. We have seen many precious lives ruined and have spent the last few years privately binding up the wounds of the broken body of Christ, one abused person at at time. Our hope is that by publishing this more people will seek help and escape the abuse and walk in wholeness.
As we watch this ’empire’ roll on we have found the denial extreme and so therefore we have published dates and details. Over recent months, as we have watched and observed many concerns raised about the ministries and people named in this account we have come to the conviction that those of us who have personal experience with the spiritual abuse must speak out in detail to empower the necessary change in the body of Christ. Know that any individuals named have been personally confronted by us throughout this period, some multiple times.
We trust that those of you who walked along side us for part of our journey will be encouraged to read the entire story. You have only seen and heard a very tiny part of the outrageous events that transpired over a decade of our commitment to serve and bring reformation to the Christian ministries we were involved with. We have written our history in full to bring it all into the light and to expose darkness which only empowers denial and further abuses. We have repented from our past involvement in empire based, institutional religion and are joyfully walking in freedom outside of it. Many of our deeply held convictions are expressed elsewhere on the Back to Eden Group site and we encourage you to explore it further.
We are confident that it is God who keeps the books and rewards those who serve Him in spirit and truth from a heart of purity. He is also the avenger of the righteous. We can now bless God for our forefathers like Uriah who was unjustly attacked and for whom God Himself avenged his losses and life. The prophet Nathan was obedient to confront the great leader who had fallen into grievous sin. Nathan also could have been killed but he did not shrink back but rose to God’s honour and held the king into account. We also consider ourselves dead to the religious world’s system and values, its lust for fame, reputation and power. Therefore we have written our history so that this world and the realm of the spirit may be notified, we will not bow to any man. If you are in your own dark night of empire, know you can rise again. God will restore you your human dignity and worth. You may need to walk alone but many have gone before you. This is the cost of discipleship.
If after reading this summary you want to know more, click Our Cost of Discipleship to read the entire account. We welcome your contact through the Back to Eden Group “Contact Us” option to clarify anything we have published or to assist you in your own journey.
We give all honour to Jesus, our glorious King!
John and Katherine Matthews