Thursday, 24 April 2008

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries, Brentwood, Essex

There were signs of decline when Peniel Pentecostal Church became Michael Reid Ministries. The focus was on a man and his work. In some ways the change was appropriate, because Peniel had moved from being a church to becoming some sort of ministry and arguably a man made one under Michael Reid. There were accounts by former members of bullying, intimidation, fear, shunning, lies about former members, bad language from the pulpit, family and marriage breakdowns, and abusive behaviour. There were no prayer meetings, home fellowship groups, Bible study groups or regular holy communion services.

It was a sad day when a fine scholar and gentleman, who taught theology at the Peniel College of Higher Education, was asked to leave and return to the USA. He was academically well qualified and highly respected by the students and members of Peniel, but shamefully treated by Michael Reid. This learned Christian theologian always acted honourably and with great integrity and he stood up to Michael Reid, who did not allow any difference of opinion. Some believe that the inevitable happened.


The decline continued when Evangelical churches refused to work with Michael Reid on account of his unacceptable behaviour. Michael Reid Ministries left the Evangelical Alliance at this time.
Over the years Michael Reid's track record with churches does not make edifying reading, despite the claims of achieving so much and seeing miracles. It should be acknowledged that he founded a church, a ministry, a school and college of higher education. He managed to acquire the impressive Brizes Park house and grounds for the school. Michael Reid was, of course, helped by the sacrificial giving and hard work of his flock. Some laboured at the school for no pay.

The fall of Michael Reid Ministries (MRM) came when Michael Reid's adulterous relationship was exposed and came to the attention of the national press and media. This was no mere lapse but an affair which lasted about eight years with his choir mistress and music leader. Michael Reid, who was known as the Bishop by his congregation and others, had fervently campaigned for Christian family values in the national media. He had appeared on television upholding such values and strongly condemning homosexuality and immorality. His hypocrisy was, therefore, astounding. His congregation were deeply shocked by these unsavoury revelations. Many felt betrayed.

It has become apparent that Michael Reid did not have the scriptural qualifications of a bishop according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Sadly, and we should not rejoice in his downfall, he did not have a good reputation with outsiders but he fell into disgrace and the devil's trap. He has lost the respect of fellow Christians and others. Consequently he would not be welcomed back into leadership, but many Christians are praying for his genuine repentance. There is legitimate rejoicing in the sense of freedom that has now come as a result of Michael Reid's departure.

At the time of writing, websites that once contained What God Can Do For You television programmes, accounts of the work of MRM, videos and photographs have been removed. The television programmes are no longer available on You Tube. The large Michael Reid Ministries board over the main building in Croxtie Green Road is no longer visible. There have been clear attempts to remove all references to MRM. The Peniel Church, as it is now being called, wishes to move on and put the past old regime behind them. Some have testified to a new sense of liberation from fear and intimidation. More accounts of the bad times have surfaced on the Reachout Trust discussion forum and even more are expected.

There are those who now believe that deep repentance must take place at Peniel. It was, in the eyes of many observers, a dysfunctional place. Some have called it a cult. This even led to a court case, which Peniel won. One could argue that Michael Reid built up a cult of personality.

Peniel is in a period of transition. Although some doubt that the new leadership, which were part of the old leadership, will bring about a healthy state of affairs, others are much more optimistic.
I hope that Peniel will be able to repair the damage, become involved with local churches, have a structure of accountability and eventually rejoin the Evangelical Alliance.

I wish them well and pray that they may find love, grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ and discover the joy of fellowship with other Christians and churches.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

12 comments:

Peter Kirk said...

John, thanks for this balanced account.

Concerning Reid's title "Bishop", I refer to my post which you have seen. This title was not one he awarded to himself, or one given by his own congregation, but it was given to him by an international communion of churches with a claim to apostolic succession. Reid left that communion some years ago, but has a reasonable justification for his continued use of the title.

As for whether Reid has or had "the scriptural qualifications of a bishop", I will not disagree with you. Maybe he had them when he was first consecrated, but he has clearly lost them with his adultery, and had apparently lost them earlier with his bad reputation in the area.

But he is not the only person in Essex using the title "Bishop" when he has departed from true Christian doctrine and lost the respect of a good number of Christian people. See this story for some explanation.

So the question arises, when a bishop or overseer loses his or her qualification for the job, who should point this out, and who should remove them? I don't think this is the job of ordinary believers, in their church or in others, or of bloggers. But I'm not sure whose job it is.

John Race alias Johli Baptist said...

Peter

Thanks for your comments. I also studied at London Bible College.

My sister lives off Tabors Avenue in Great Baddow, so I may visit your church one day.

Some of my emails to you seem to have gone astray.

Do you know how I can get my blog shown on the internet? When I google "the decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries" there is no trace of my blog account. Any ideas?

Peter Kirk said...

John, there are some settings on the Blogger dashboard, under Settings - Basic, for "Let search engines find your blog?" and similar. That may be your problem. As it is the only relevant Google hit I get on "Johli Baptist" is your comment on my blog, and most of the other cases of "Johli" look like scanning errors for "John".

Lucas Labrador said...

Hello. I too am sorry about the mess Michael Reid has got into, but it is the collateral damage that is done to the name of Jesus that hurts me.

I never knew Michael Reid though I did, about 12 years ago, have a couple of long conversations with him on the 'phone, as we had a mutual friend. I was convinced then that the man was not with God and up to no good. Something was plainly horribly wrong. This disaster was something that was inevitable.

I deeply sorry that M.R. has fallen into such sin, but that is what happens when you leave Christ and go off and do 'church'. My videos on YouTube (justinthepreacher) are often on the wickedness of churches and churchianity. M.R. was just a churchman and not a man of God in least, sadly.

John Race alias Johli Baptist said...

Thanks for your comments LucasLabrador. I will look at your You Tube videos.

You have been proved right that disaster was inevitable. I understand that there have been previous disasters, but this last one has been the worst for Michael Reid's ministry and reputation.

John Race alias Johli Baptist said...

Peter Kirk and Dr Raj Patel know me from posts on Simon Jones' blog.
We have mentioned meeting at Brentwood Holiday Inn.

Can you make 8, 15 or 22 May? Which date suits you? Would 7.30 p.m for 8 p.m. in the bar be convenient?

Hope to see you both next month.

Lucas Labrador said...

Hello, thanks for the reply. After posting to you last time my accounts on YouTube have been taken down. Satan does not like the truth.

I am on Veoh though; www.veoh.com/users/justinelder

Justin

John Race alias Johli Baptist said...

LucasLabrador/Justin

I have found that your videos are now available on You Tube. I put in "justinthepreacher" and they appeared.

Lucas Labrador said...

Hello,

Yes, you will find some that others have uploaded and some that people have made against me. My channels have been wiped out.

Lucas Labrador said...

I will correct that a little. You can see some of my older videos that were reloaded by a couple of people from when I was banned the first time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John for sharing this blog with us I have found it very interesting, as peter Kirk says it is a well balanced account.

I enjoy your blog and would enjoy an update as and when.

Bless you Brother.
angel

Reverend John Race alias Johli Baptist said...

Thank you for your comments. MR's ministry has been brought back and videos are shown on YouTube. Peniel Church folk have moved on; they regard the past under MR as deeply regrettable and it's very sad when so many suffered and were wounded by his words and actions.

There is a website for victims of Michael Reid.

Dedham

Dedham
River Stour