My Pastor is Satan?!
Pastor "Jim" is probably the most intelligent person the Sentinel has ever met. It would be a sure bet that Jim's IQ is well over 150. But even the smartest man on earth can be deceived by Satan.
After having witnessed Pastor Jim, more than once, teach a truth from the Scriptures, only to successfully argue against that truth, confounding all in his hearing, the Sentinel had the thought, Who but Satan is capable of such wisdom? And he remembered that the Scriptures tell us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So the Sentinel looked in his Bible for the description of Satan, which is found in the Book of Ezekiel.
...In the pride of your heart you say, "I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god."...Is no secret hidden from you? By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself...by your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth...your heart has grown proud. - Ezekiel 28:2-5 (NIV)
...You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you...you were anointed as a guardian cherub...you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you...your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor...by your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries, so I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. - Ezekiel 28:12-18 (NIV)
When the Sentinel read these verses, the very first person to come to his mind was Pastor Jim. He was, no doubt, annointed to teach the Bible. His followers adore him and have done nothing less than put him on a pedestal (the throne of God). Even though the pastor often testified that God told him to "expect no great work", his work had become big enough to enrich his financial wealth. He had increased his wealth by using his followers' generosity, acquiring a large tract of land and other properties, and selling lots to followers to minimize his expenses. The Sentinel later learned that Jim had his followers pay for the tennis court built on his property.
Like Satan, Pastor Jim is extremely intelligent. He can read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He taught himself to play the guitar. He knows how to manipulate his followers' thoughts by sending out email to certain individuals whom he knows will spread his messages, thereby distancing himself from the gossip's origin. He knows that constant community activities keep his followers in his control.
After receiving a tongue-lashing from his pastor one evening, Jim said to the large crowd in attendance that when they looked at him they were "looking at Jesus Christ." He quickly added, "And you should also see Jesus when each of you look at one another." Good save, Pastor Jim. Good diversion! the Sentinel thought. He really desires to be like the Most High God, and his followers see him that way too, although they likely would not admit that. But the fact is, and it has been said by his followers, that most of the wives would rather sit at their pastor's feet than be with their husbands. Many of the women spend an inordinate amount of time in his office and home. And no one would ever think that he was capable of making a mistake.
Pastor Jim's work grew from a handful of people when the Sentinel first joined to more than 100 followers before he was excommunicated 12 years later. Jim built a nearly 5,000-square foot house, with a huge office and recording studio. He got his hooks into a very talented musician by buying him 2 or 3 of the finest guitars money could buy. He built a small apartment next to his house for one woman who had recently sold her large estate. And with her money, Jim obtained a large tract of land, which he divided up for his children. He gave away cars (maybe he sold them) to those who needed a new car. He spent a lot of money on out-buildings and landscaping. It appeared that Jim acquired more wealth than God had ever intended for him to acquire. And it revealed the greed that was in Jim's heart, especially after he falsely accused the Sentinel of being greedy.
As far as there being "no secret hidden" from Pastor Jim, he was always having to deal with troubling issues amongst his followers. There was so much gossip among them that there couldn't be any secrets. And no one dared make any important decision without his input and approval.
His followers may have been entrusted to his pastorship, but he needlessly and cruelly broke up families and marriages, and in the name of God no less! His work (sanctuary) took on more of a cult-like image, even though he taught that image was very important.
And after the Sentinel was excommunicated, he started doing some investigating. The Sentinel contacted other people who had been kicked out or left. Maybe the Sentinel was the fire that came out from Jim's work, as his investigating and his lawsuit reportedly had Jim unable to eat or sleep. Jim lost a lot of weight and wasn't in the best of health, according to the Sentinel's ex-wife. What was Jim so concerned about? What was he so afraid of the Sentinel learning? The answers to those questions should be obvious after visiting this website.
It should be noted that the verses in Ezekiel say that Satan gained wealth for himself by trading. Has anyone ever thought about what kind of wealth and trading were going on in Heaven or the Garden of Eden? I don't think that there was any need of wealth in that realm. And how could a spiritual being full of wisdom fall from grace so badly? We cannot know what life is like in that spiritual world, but I do not think that Satan is a real being. I believe that Satan is a concept, a metaphor, a way for humans to relate to the evil, or bad, that occurs in our world, because our world is no longer perfect as it was before Adam and Eve's downfall. I've heard it said many times that Satan is not allowed to tempt us or touch us with any afflictions except by God's approval. So in other words, we do not suffer unless God allows it. So is Satan really just the bad side of God? Is that what a wolf in sheep's clothing describes?
And if Satan was "reduced to ashes on the ground", how can he/it be alive now? Is that another metaphor for how deadly and destructive it is to behave like Satan? One of the biggest problems I had with Pastor Jim was how he took the Bible so literally. I believe that to do so is dangerous. There is a lot of truth and wisdom in the Scriptures, but those stories were written at a time that man had no concept of scientific reality. There was no way that man could comprehend our place in the universe, or the expanse of time. The Scriptures were written for a simple-minded people, and much of it, I believe, reflects the writers' political and social ideologies that were not necessarily from God.
Whether or not the Bible should be taken literally, as Pastor Jim once taught, the goal of the Gospel is not to be right, but to be good. However, Pastor Jim spends most of his time trying to be right and did so much wrong against so many Children of God. He is in more danger of being cast into the Lake of Fire (if it even exists) than anyone I know of.