by Courtney Howard
Driving past Gospel Assembly Church conjures up memories of students telling stories of being chased off church property and seeing what many call "Cadillac processionals" where people touch the pastor's car as he drives away. But many do not know more than what they heave heard from others, and those students do not know the whole story. So what should one believe about this church?
As for "Cadillac processions," Pastor Glenn Goodwin said they never occurred. "I know that the pastor that was here three years ago drove a Cadillac. There were a couple of times when he would be leaving to go over seas and people would wave goodbye to him, and he went overseas often." Said Goodwin. "But as far as Cadillac processions or touching cars, that wouldn't happen."
Former member Wanda Mason disagrees. She said, "It happened every church night. He (former pastor Lloyd Goodwin) was God to us."
Although the word "God" is not used during services to refer to the pastor, the terms "man of God" and "Apostle" are used. G. Goodwin said these terms are biblical and mean the same thing as pastor, teacher or evangelist.
According to Mason, they were used to coerce people into continually agreeing with the teachings of L. Goodwin. "Lloyd Goodwin considered himself to be the 'one and only' Apostle," said Mason. "Basically, if you wanted to be a part of this great 'move of God' you had to obey the rules or leave. So in one way we had a choice to be there or to leave. But people don't really believe they have a choice, because if you leave you'll die or something bad will happen to you."
One way Mason said this concept was taught was by teaching people that the church was their "covering" and they were no longer of God if they got out from under it.
A passage from a booklet containing L. Goodwin's last sermon talks about getting out from one's covering. It states, "When you refuse to listen to a man of God you are out from under your covering. Whether you are a man or woman, you are out from under your covering and the devil will destroy you. That is one of the first things the devil must do is get you out from under your covering. An individual will say, 'Well, I'm saved.' That's not good enough. That's not good enough. That's not good enough. Until you hear directly from God, don't come out from under your covering."
G. Goodwin said this passage is referring to doing what God wants you to do. He said, "Unless you hear directly from God, we believe you ought to find answers from the ministry or the Bible."
One concept the ministry at Gospel Assembly teaches is "righteous deception." Former member Gary King said, "We were taught that we did not owe the enemies of the church the truth. We could mislead and deceive them if we knew they were going to use it (information) against the church."
This concept is listed in Gospel Assembly's handbook. It states, "God's use of deception to advance the work of God through the ages has been a source of confusion to God's people who rest in their own self-righteousness. God knows the enemies of His work do not deserve the truth!"
G. Goodwin said this concept is from the story of Rehab in the Bible when she told officials she was not hiding spies when she was. "I think it was appropriate to lie to save the men's lives, but you have to understand that that's a rare circumstance. We don't advocate going around lying," he said.
One action that the church does believe needs to be done regularly is serving. Their handbook states, "Men of God are not easy to serve, and I am not sure it is the place of leadership to try to make it easy for people to serve us. Proper serving is that you do it for the benefit of the one you are serving, at his convenience, not yours. If we have to go out of our way to accommodate ourselves to being served, something is wrong. That defeats the real purpose of serving. So even though you may find it hard to serve your pastor, be diligent. Do not expect the one you serve to change to make it easier for you. God expects you to figure out the ways to make his situation easier."
According to G. Goodwin, this passage is talking about service toward anyone, not just one's pastor. "That refers to pastors as an example, " he said. "Service is not limited to just the pastor."
So the answer to the initial question as to what to think about the church varies from person to person. Mason and King believe it is a cult. Goodwin believes it is a Christian church. Each reader must make his/her own decision.
For more INFORMATION
Handbook of Denominations By Frank S. Mead
Good Morning, Holy Spirit By Benny Hinn
Pentecostal WORSHIP - information taken from "Baptized with the Holy Spirit"
Gospel Assembly Church is Pentecostal. This term refers to the way a person or congregation worships. Below are some of the aspects of this style or worshipping.
When a person continues in prayer until he/she knows that he/she has met with God
Praying in UNISON
When people all pray their own prayers out loud at the same time, as opposed to an individual leading a prayer
Lifting of HANDS
When the leading of the Holy Spirit causes a person to raise their hands during worship
Speaking in TONGUES
When the Spirit of God causes someone to speak in another language even if they have never known the language.