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Letter to Mr. Tkach from Jules Dervaes

Copyright © Jules Dervaes

February 10, 1986

Dear Mr. Tkach,

There is a need to write this letter to you, and I appreciate very much your “listening” to me. I feel as if I have to make this effort and then I will turn it over to God. I’ve been wanting to write to the Church for a long time but each time I’ve talked myself out of it. Many times I told myself that it is best to let God handle it. But I began to see that this can be a “cop-out” and a way to play it safe and not make waves. I know that I have my own “beam” in my eye to take care of. I know that God is in charge of His Church and that He is the one to look to.

So there are reasons that I could use to “look the other way.” But, recently, a trial that I experienced taught me a very serious lesson: I am responsible for what I know. This responsibility has compelled me to contact you.

Last April in a counseling session, I was told that God’s will could not be known by me directly, that only the minister could discern it for me. I said that my wife and I had prayed, studied the Bible, read church literature, and heard sermons; we had arrived at an answer from God’s WORD. I was told that that was a Protestant idea and that, maybe, I was in the wrong church. When I protested, the issue became—not what is the TRUTH—but was I going to accept the minister’s viewpoint. I was stunned because I could not find any biblical proof that I had to forfeit the Word of God and take the word of a minister.

Four ministers were aware of my situation. The consensus was that I could not know God’s will in my life. I admit that I have problems in my life, problems in my marriage, and problems in my children that I need to overcome. So I did not carry this any further; but I reflected on this issue for months and would read articles written by the Church back in previous years. I saw that the “old” approach was directly at odds with this new one being put forth by these ministers.

Needless to say, I felt confused and I felt alone. Surely, the Church had not changed, had it? On such a very, very crucial issue? Then this past summer, I heard a sermonette delivered in the Auditorium PM Church. The message was one on ministerial counseling. The speaker’s conclusion was that if we reject the minister, we reject Jesus Christ. There was no differentiation made between the doctrines of the Church, matters of sin, and just the beliefs held by the minister. Yet Mr. Armstrong would always say that we should not believe him but believe the Bible.

Then, after keeping this to myself (only my wife knew) all this time, I found out by happenstance, just this past week, that this philosophy—that only ministers could discern truth—has been around for at least four years. Some AC graduates and students have come to adopt the same philosophy. Somehow this is being “taught” or conveyed without anyone questioning it.

As a father of four children, I try to do my best to protect them. It is much easier to protect them physically than spiritually. But I still try to block the bad music, stop the bad TV shows, and weed out the bad attitudes. It is a very heavy responsibility, one that requires a lot of time, effort, and insight.

The eldest of my children is an eleven-year-old girl. If she were old enough, I would send her to AC because it is God’s college. I am responsible before God for her spiritual growth and I would entrust her to the college to further that growth. However, I would be furious to see her come through this experience with a warped attitude. A young, eager, vulnerable mind could be “raped” by those who usurp the very authority of God. I am too much a father to stand by and watch while this could happen to her.

I have very strong feelings about this; I wanted to share it with someone. If I am wrong in anything, I am sorry. Please correct me. I highly respect and value the government of God established by His WORD.

Thank you for being the servant that you are. May God bless you.

Jules Dervaes

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