Answers to the two "anonymous" comments.

 I write this post in answer to the two comments left by “anonymous” on “The Definition of a Cult” and “Welcome” postings since the reply box is quite limited in length.

Anonymous: When I refer to the ABC, I refer to the denominational entity and structure itself...not the people within, per se. While I am in stark disagreement with the abusive practices of some of the leaders, my words are directed primarily at the doctrinal structure that allows this abuse of souls. The ABC boasts of having no buildings, but they have replaced these physical structures with much less visible doctrinal walls. Walls, virtual or brick are walls. From within these virtual “walls” they call out to souls passing by, entice them in with false love, then bind them with heavy burdens fraught with much wearying Greek word study. Being a book hound myself, and one who has read and studied voraciously and incessantly since I was in first grade, I am not opposed to reading, studying and learning. At the same time truth tells me I need not know the precise biological structure of a flower to understand its beauty; I must simply observe it and enjoy. So it is with God. To study and attempt to know the intricacies of God may be an acceptable practice but only if one remains non-adamant. There is nothing we can ever really know for certain. God is complex and we will never fully understand that complexity. To be adamant and say we understand Him cannot be true. No man truly understands God, no man ever will and there is no requirement we spend our life, nose in a book, trying to figure out God. Historically there have been huge segments of the population who were born and died illiterate. If salvation came from a book these people had no chance.

On the last night I taught, just before I was “eternally judged” as a “blasphemer” by Bruce Leonard and “elders” in Vancouver Washington, there were many arguments over the exact Greek definition of words. At one point it got so intense I stopped what I was teaching and pleaded with those in attendance to put away the continuous search for a better definition; Greek or English. I suggested we instead focus and admire the simple beauty and joy of God. My statements fell on deaf ears, the bantering back and forth continued. My request fell flat because it ran counter to the base doctrine of the ABC which states we must struggle to find the perfect definition of every Greek word in order to know and understand God. It is a falsehood. We do not need to infinitely define an infinite God. No matter how far you dig into infinity you will never reach the end. Any attempt to do so will be fruitless.

This doctrine of Greek research in order to “find a more perfect way” and to find acceptance with God was first established by James A Watt of Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle. This doctrine was then adopted by my dad, Ramon A Haas, and enhanced over the years to make it even more binding. The true ways of God are simple, peaceable, easily understood and the infinite, endless pursuit of a better truth through books upon books is sheer folly. This folly only leads to more contentious arguments, backstabbing and even hatred. Knowledge puffs up but it can never give life. To be led by the Spirit gives life and, like the statement by Timothy about those who were ever learning, they never really found any truth. Real truth brings peace not strife. There is a lot of strife in the ABC and little true love.

One of the principle premises behind the exclusion of all who are not baptized directly by someone in the ABC is that there must be a proven “Spirit-filled genealogy” of the baptizer for the baptism to be valid or for God to accept it. It is taught that to receive the Holy Spirit one must be baptized by a male filled with the Spirit and that baptism must be witnessed by at least one other Spirit-filled person to be official. Short of that, God will not honor the baptism despite any faith that may have been involved in the process. There are other rules imposed on this baptism as well but I will address just this primary principle here.

It is presumed that if one were baptized by a person in the ABC who was believed to be filled with the Spirit then that person would also have been baptized by a person believed to be filled with the Spirit and that person would have been baptized by a person believed to be filled…and on and so on back through countless generations. All the way back to the day of Pentecost when it all began. Since there are no records of this genealogy of baptismal “births” one must then take it on great faith this man who is doing the baptizing has a pure baptismal genealogy. They are trusting implicitly this man has a spotlessly “pure” baptismal genealogy all the way back two-thousand years with no break in the Spirit-filled chain. After all, going back all those two-thousand years, if even one single person in the succession of “baptizees” was baptized by one “baptizer” who was not truly Spirit-filled all that followed after that man would also not be Spirit-filled; according to ABC doctrine. Notice this belief of salvation puts all the faith in the man baptizing and completely leaves out faith in God if one uses the reasoning espoused by the ABC. Using the reasoning of the ABC, in order to be sound in our hope of salvation, we really must have proof of the baptismal lineage of all baptizers in the baptism “genealogical chain” back through two-thousand plus years of time, or we are doomed. If there was one single break in that chain... That is, again, if we count the ABC teaching as totally valid. When properly reasoned one can see there are some major flaws in this theory.

Let’s take a real example of a person baptized into the ABC. We’ll say that Jason Brown (not his real name) is baptized by Gilbert Larson, the apostle of the ABC. To assure that Gilbert is properly Spirit-filled, and is a valid baptizer, we must first examine Gilbert’s baptism. If Gilbert was not baptized correctly by an individual who was baptized correctly then he is not a valid baptizer by ABC standards. Gilbert was baptized by my father, Ramon A Haas, according to the principles of baptism regarded as legitimate within the ABC at the time. The rules have become more restrictive, so the rules are slightly different now. I was present at the Wilcrest apartments the day Gilbert first came and know firsthand who baptized Gilbert. My father, Ramon A Haas baptized him. To make sure Gilbert’s spiritual baptismal lineage is sound, according to the principles of the ABC, then or now, one must now look closely at the baptism of my father, Ramon Haas. We must be sure his baptism was legitimate using the ABC principles in place at that time. I know firsthand about my father’s baptism because I had this discussion with him several times over the years after the ABC was formed.

My dad was baptized in the late 1940’s just after returning from the war. He was never exact with me in his explanation about the person baptizing him but what was clear was that, at the time of this first baptism, he regarded baptism as an “outward sign of an inward cleansing”, not as a “key” or “door” one must enter to access salvation. He did not change this doctrine until late into his days with James A Watt at Broadway Tabernacle. It was James A Watt, Derek Prince and a few others who formulated this current doctrinal viewpoint using intense Greek word studies. Prior to this change of personal doctrine my father considered his actual salvation to have come from “the sinner’s prayer” he spoke when he “accepted Christ” and not from being immersed in water at baptism. I have his original Bible with his handwritten notes from this time period proving that. All the way up through most of our time at Broadway Tabernacle my dad issued altar calls and administered the “sinner’s prayer” as the way to salvation. He was head of many planning committees that brought Billy Graham, David Wilkerson, Nicky Cruz and others to Seattle in the 1960's and was a firm believer in salvation by “sinner’s prayer”. The most information I could ever get from him about who first baptized him was that it was either a minister of a church he attended right after the war, Bro. Branham or someone else. This story was somewhat fluid over the years so who it was exactly I could not really say. On one occasion he talked of questioning this original baptism but this was only AFTER beginning the ABC at the Wilcrest Apartments. To remedy this he decided to be baptized again. Not knowing who to ask he was then baptized by Yvonne, his new spouse and previous adulteress. Yvonne was baptized again, that same day, by my dad since the premise and validity of her baptism was also tenuous. Both baptisms were accomplished in a late night private baptism in the pool at the Wilcrest Apartments with no witnesses present. Presuming all was well with either of those baptisms one must also question who originally baptized the minister that originally baptized my dad because if one or both of them had discrepancies in their baptism, and did not meet the ABC rules exactly, then the chain would be broken and all that followed after in this baptismal genealogy would not be Spirit-filled…again according to the ABC doctrine. The ABC’s understanding of baptism leads to an impossible scenario. One need know the status of all the past baptizer’s. That removes any power of God to grant salvation to whom he wills. It puts control into the hands of man, greatly removing faith from the picture as well. It puts the power of life or death in the hands of man where it does not belong. Jesus never commanded we keep a record of the baptismal genealogical chain and to believe this is sheer folly. Only God can see a man’s soul…not we. We only see the outward appearance and cannot observe who is Spirit-filled except as evidenced by fruits. And, just like a tree, fruit is not always visible even though there is life within. More than half the year the trees in my front yard show no signs of life yet deep within is life that, in it's season, brings forth fruit. So, even if we use fruit as the deciding factor we must also realize that life can exist within but there may still not be evident fruit. In short....only God knows who are his. We can’t determine salvation by the endless questioning of who baptized whom and, if we do, I assure you that if you follow the chain of men (or women) that flow backward from my dad’s baptism it could never pass the ABC test. I find no need to inquire who baptized the person that baptized me and who baptized that person, etc. God is much larger than all that. I trust God can grant salvation to whomever he chooses, despite any rule I or any other man tries to lay down.

I was baptized by James A Watt at approximately age eleven or twelve at Broadway Tabernacle and then baptized again at age 14 by my dad, after he began the ABC. The James A Watt baptism was no longer sound by the new rules…even though James Watt and Derek Prince were the ones who developed the basic teachings about Foundational Greek Word Studies. After John Stegenga wrote his concordance they both began teaching “the Foundation Truths” just as is taught in the ABC. This can be evidenced by surfing over to Amazon and acquiring Derek Prince’s book called “The Foundation Truths”.

If one leaves the ABC, they are considered to be “in the wilderness” or to have “left the body” and their fate; at least as far as the ABC is concerned; is uncertain. That can only be described as servitude and bondage to a corporate body and not service to God. If one does not step within, or stay within, the “walls” the ABC has doctrinally constructed they are not considered to be among the righteous. Many are even pushed out then “turned over to Satan” if they disagree or question too much. The foundation Christ laid down, as prescribed by the ABC, can only be laid through tortuous works of Bible study and the study of page after page of Greek tenses, moods, voices and the like. This mandatory study is really an effort to make everyone think, talk and sound exactly alike. Nature itself shows us that God hates cookie cutter images and loves a fractal diversity. Are all an eye, a hand… Read the Psalms of David as he describes God's creation.

The Bible, as the ABC perceives it, is only properly aligned when viewed through Ivan Panin’s lens. Ivan Panin was born one-thousand-eight-hundred and fifty five years; roughly; after Jesus time. I pity those who came before this version of the Bible was produced since; having a non-aligned scriptural text; this may cause one to suffer a spiritual loss as a result. I, of course, jest. Truth is from above and not from a translation; mathematical or not.

Pure faith in God does not come with a written test. Knowledge has the ability to puff one up with pride and make one feel better than another. Knowledge will never bring about righteousness; only pure faith and trust in God can do that. We should seek increased wisdom that leads to peace rather than increased knowledge that can lead to quarrels. Much study to gain ever more knowledge was not one of the commandments of Jesus, nor is it one of the weightier matters of the law. Much study is a trap that can draw one into the pride of knowledge. I prescribe to the wisdom of Solomon when he said in Ecclesiastes “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon fell into the trap of thinking he could find God through an increase of knowledge. Read the book of Ecclesiastes closely. He wisely discovered God can never be acquired through then increase of knowledge. We can only know God when we accept His peaceable wisdom. Perhaps that all sounds too simplistic but, while God is complex, his wisdom is quite simple.

I suppose we may be fortunate to have all these books at our disposal, ready at hand, in this modern age, but I am not fully convinced we have done ourselves a favor. I once had a huge library of Greek and English Bible study books but have rid myself of them all. To understand God’s wisdom they may be a great place to consult but if we turn our eyes to the books alone we run the risk of becoming stiff necked with adamant non-repentant opinions about God and miss the seeking of wisdom with an open heart. Seeking knowledge, without first seeking wisdom, only brings about discord, division, distrust, and sometimes even raw carnage as has been evidenced over and over in the ABC. The end result of continuous knowledge seeking is to become blind to the needs of our neighbor and to become high minded in our own great knowledge. One can then lose sight of the pure simple faith in God that brings total freedom. This is a message I have spoken for a long time….although previously with excess timidity and fear of man. My error, in times past, was to be afraid of man and not properly show respect to the wisdom that is from above. Judge and inspect my words. Seek the truth of God on your own. Look into the history of the ABC independently. Ask lots of questions. To agree or disagree with all or part of my words and to challenge or investigate them is not only right…it is expected. Freedom does not lie within the walls of the ABC; only bondage; and this is the reason one should not enter or stay within its confines.