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The whole story to come shortly.
Part of the exit interview
7. Is there anything that we could do to have you reconsider your decision to leave?
Stop treating members like second-class citizens. We have the right to know what’s going on in the church without having to ask. We are not some group of loyal subjects of low intelligence; at least I am not.
8. What could we improve on?
Being a lot more transparent towards the congregation. I believe they would be a lot more transparent with you.
To: Pastor T.L. Carmichael
Cc: Kelvin Tyson, Patrick Faulkner, James Rogers, Anthony Crawford, Vincent Pettiford, Victor Hyman, Samuel Burch, Donnell Brim , Jesse Simpson, Michael Noel, Larry Irving, Maurice Moore, David Shackleford, Desmond Whitfield, Robbie Alston, Chris Brown, Hubert Kelly.
[This is the entire deacon board above]
This letter is being written to inform all members of Elevation Baptist Church, which includes the leadership, about my experience while a disciple. This letter will also be made available for public viewing.
I met with the Pastor twice before even joining the church. I may not have asked all the questions, but I surely did not get any hint of specific requirements of the church (i.e. the mission, vision, and direction of the church). That is to say, those requirements other than what would be considered normal. I wrote a letter to the Pastor detailing my concerns 9-10 months ago. These concerns went unanswered by him. Answering one’s concerns could be placed under the, “what could we improve on”, section. Failing to answer one’s concerns is not shepherding, and trying to label sheep as goats just because we butt heads with the leadership is no excuse for not responding either. In my 2.5 years, which does not include 6 months of visitation at Elevation, I have never heard an in-depth teaching on tithes and offerings, yet this is a major aspect of EBC discipleship as concerning the “Pastor’s” vision. I didn’t miss many services or bible studies either, and went to all the new member’s classes. There is just a simple statement on the back of the bulletin, on the giving envelopes, while tithing had a brief mention in the new member’s class. The only reason why I never attended the Crown Financial classes was because the Pastor was unwilling to discuss the issue of tithing with me. I had already discussed it with the business minister, and I did not want to cause a stir. But Minister Foust said that our discussion on the issue was final (the details of that discussion are in the letter to Minister Foust). I have been in “church” and in leadership long enough and understood that as long as I kept my mouth shut, it was copasetic for the leadership and myself. I knew that there was a culture of secrecy, or may I say, keeping things close to the chest. The very organization that Pastor Carmichael opposes (Greek-Letter Organizations) is the very thing EBC was or has become. But there does come a time when one needs to speak up. My purpose, as stated here, and at the time I met with the Pastor Carmichael at the new member’s orientation, was to help the Pastor. I did try to do that, but all attempts fell on deaf, unwilling, or brainwashed ears.
This is where it all came to a head for me. Pastor Carmichael was preaching and went to Psalms 1. He quoted at least verse 1 and labeled, “ANYONE”, as “UNGODLY” who spoke against “HIS” vision. Now there is a difference in saying that, and simply asking all that disagree, please set up an appointment to see me to talk about it. Of course he does not want to do that, it would shed light on the reality of what he already knows to be true based on the balance in the Capital Campaign Fund (CCF). Allow me to discuss the CCF.
In the most recent capital campaign fund handout, there was not even the option to say “no” to supporting the vision. What kind of foolishness is that, when you do not give people a choice? Well I could say a great many things about the $17,000,000 “burden” upon the people, but I will say this; I knew then where this was going, and the 2007 business meeting showed me that. After raising only $65,000 for the capital campaign fund after the first 3 months, the pressure was on Pastor Carmichael. Usually giving is the greatest at the beginning. Now, I do not claim to be a prophet, but I knew that some type of “NEW” GIVING SCHEME from the Old Testament would be presented. What led me to this belief? Experience…. It only took a week, and next thing you know, in the new Sunday Bulletin, “THE FIRST FRUIT OFFERING SCHEME” was presented. But there is something that I do not hear discussed, and that is the amount of interest to be paid on this loan, nor have I heard a peep about why the Capital Campaign Fund has been such a failure. The fund is supposed to take in $222,222 per month. After 15 months, it has only yielded, approximately $197,000. I called at the end of the campaign, which was March 1, 2009 to see how much was in the fund. Once again, I was met with cloak and dagger tactics and did not get my question answered. I was told that we didn’t quite make it!!!!! Now I do not presume to know what the final tally was, but I do know with 3 months to go EBC was $3,800,000 short. I think quite not quite making it was a lie, but that is my opinion.
Now let me ask Pastor Carmichael a question. Do you honestly believe the people are with you on your vision? Another thing that caught my eye was that the $17,000,000 was for the first of multiple phases. I just recently found out that the whole project is $70,000,000. Has the INTEREST been discussed with the congregation, or is it included with the final price? Is EVERYONE aware that $70 MILLION is the final cost with or without interest? With the estimated 1500 disciples to support this project, they could build 1500, $46,000 homes. One place to come and fellowship, or 1500 places to fellowship, which do you think is better for the people?
As for people, the only person that ever made me feel comfortable, that I did not previously know, was Patrick Dewberry. I already knew some of the congregants from my years in college.
Another incident that occurred that really showed what EBC and its leadership was really about was the handling of the Ministry of Teaching Classes. But first let me expose the hypocrisy of this whole thing. Pastor Carmichael, at every altar call, summons us to come and use our gifts. What he does not come out and say is that you have to conform to the EBC way first (i.e. be indoctrinated). Since I was told that I could not partake in ANY ministries at the church, I wondered, what harm would it be to show the youth a film on defending creation, the abomination of abortion, etc. But understanding that this issue with me was over “MONEY”, I knew why I was being shut out. As a matter of fact, you do not even have the right to question the ways of EBC. If there was ever a case of gross dereliction of duty, it was with the Ministry of Teaching Class. I often wondered why Deacon Maurice Moore would not return my calls after my meeting with Minister Foust. The big wheel of Church Communism started rolling. If my NO-TITHING stand was such a big issue, why not call me in to discuss it when someone became aware of it, PRIOR to my signing up for the classes. Please see the attached letter I wrote to Pastor Carmichael and Minister Foust concerning these circumstances. Anyway, the leadership played, the no harm, no foul policy. As long as I didn’t make waves and remained a good EBC “Nigra”, everything was fine, although I was cursed with a curse. Is this how shepherds take care of their sheep, allowing them to wander off wallowing in financial curses for not tithing. I realized then what I was up against, but was refreshed by two members who really wanted to do something. So we talked, and they have some of the very same issues. This is when I learned of people leaving the church. By the way, what happened to ELDER Byron Stallings? I mean there were only two elders at the time. Was there any announcement about when and why he left? I noticed because I wanted to work with him in the college ministry. Next thing you know, I do not see him for a while.
What it all comes down to is this; I am leaving EBC, but it’s these kind of ministries/churches that I believe need to be exposed. You see, that is one of my ministries, but no one took the time to deal with me, and what I could do to help expose these issues from the inside. Now they will be made public. If I am going to expose groups such as Greek Organizations, Freemasons, etc., then I am compelled to expose wayward churches.
My problems with Pastor Carmichael specifically stem from the fact of serious error in context, as it has to do with scripture. Luke 6:38 is an often and common scripture used for giving money. When read in its proper context, it has nothing to do with money, but how about judgment and mercy? One day when preaching about Jesus feeding the 5,000, he made it seem that a miracle had occurred when the people went from a “desert” place to sitting on green grass. They were not on a desert (a hot and sandy place), but in a solitary place. I actually had to stop listening, go to the scripture and read it. All the while, everybody is whipped up in a frenzy over something that never happened. Luke 9:12-14
12And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
13But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
14For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
I also became alarmed, when I heard the Pastor start talking about the building again. My alarm was not with him bringing it up, but what he was saying. Whenever I hear people say, God spoke to them and said; I begin to worry. Pastor Carmichael, if God speaks to you, then He speaks to others also. But let me make myself clear, you said that God told you that he wants us to pay for the new church, yet you are looking to anyone for help. What about, “Lord willing”? When Pastors use this, “God told me” language, they place undo pressure upon themselves, but are attempting to put the pressure on the congregants. Being a former member of Freemasonry and a Black Greek Organization, I know hazing (mind control) when I see it. But God cannot be hazed. God is under no obligation or pressure to see this new church built. Pastor Carmichael, you have placed yourself, not God in a precarious position. Failure to see this church built lay solely on the your shoulders, but if it all falls through who will get the blame? The goats! The people who dared to disagree with you and did not support. If it succeeds, who cares who gets hurt (never saves a dime for their retirement), your vision came to pass.
In closing, I would like to say that there have been no misunderstandings on my part. I have made sure I received clear answers to my questions and have the e-mails to prove it. So my problems have quietly been swept under the rug, but I will say this, the early church dealt with people and problems head on. They didn’t sweep circumcision under the rug. A closed and bound leadership can only lead to one thing; a bound congregation of brainwashed followers living in carnality. I refuse to be bound. This exit interview will be made public. People need to know what is going on at Elevation Baptist Church before they join, and the ones there need to see a different perspective. This is the main point of my ministry to people who want to join Greek organizations. Warning them of the potential dangers, and allowing them to decide. I warned my cousin about a church I left, but he decided to join later. He had to learn by experience.
I hope for the best for EBC, but I will not wish success for this new building, which can be built for many millions less. Pastor Carmichael, I hope you really understand how important your role is as a shepherd. God speaks to regular old people about their church to Pastor Carmichael. You are not the only one the Holy Spirit speaks to about the direction of the church. I remember you discussed your disagreement with Greek organizations, but your son is now director of the youth ministries. Greeks are in other areas of leadership as well. The culture of secrecy and bondage is their cup of tea. They will fit in well to the EBC way.
One final sobering thought. If the current rate of giving of $13,000 per month continues, it will take 448 YEARS to pay for the $70 million project. To simply get through the first phase of $17 million, it will take 109 YEARS. To raise the approximate remaining $3.7 million, it would take almost 24 YEARS. If you really just feel like you have to build a bigger church, which is really not necessary, do yourself and all the members a favor and build a steel building. ASK, the membership if it would be okay to use the tithe money to help out. You just may be able to have it built in two years. If not, ask the members how they would like to see the CCF money used, and abandon the building project.
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,
Minister Fred Hatchett
Letter to Minister Foust
First and foremost, I would like a letter signed by the appropriate people, with the reasons why I cannot participate in the class and/or the teaching ministry.
I wanted to comment on some things we discussed. First, I apologize for being
upset regardless of who is right or wrong. This apology though is not an agreement to submit to tithing. Everything you spoke to me I considered coming from your heart and sincere beliefs. My anger is not really being expressed toward you; I am saddened that MONEY can keep someone from teaching the gospel. Before I proceed, I want to present an analogy as it relates to the church in reference to the lay members and leadership?
The Scarecrow had to figure out he had a brain, although he could already think and read for himself. The Tin Man had to figure out he had a heart, when he already had feelings. The Cowardly Lion was already courageous; it only took the right situation for him to express it. But the Wizard of OZ thought he was in control, until the curtain was pulled back, and Dorothy with the others realized that he was just a man, not one who possessed the only source of knowledge and authority. When situations are presented to individuals, their responses speak volumes. Maybe, if we sit down and talk again, I will explain the analogy to you.
1.) If you believe in tithing and knew that I had issues with it, before you saw my name on that sheet, why was I not confronted by the person(s) who knew? This would have been the Biblical way to handle it. After all, why would they/you want someone walking around cursed with a curse? But my main issue is that rumors/facts had been swirling around about me, as you said in so many words, and a disagreement with a doctrine of EBC tells their members to follow, and no one in the church is qualified enough to approach me and explain it to me? I find that disingenuous and unbiblical. When the circumcision was an issue in the first century, they didn’t deal with it privately. It was discussed openly in the presence of those who disagreed. Oh, how church leadership has strayed from straight dealing with those who disagree with them. I was basically that scab no one wanted to pick, and hopefully go away, or acquiesce.
2.) During our conversation, you gave no scriptural and practical justification for tithing. All you did was mention Malachi 3, nothing more. Everything else mentioned were the typical clichés heard in tithing circles, such as, I believe money is what should be tithed, or how is the church to be financed, etc. I on the other hand, quoted and explained 4-5 scriptures. I was a leader in a church for almost 8 years. I am not new to the expectations of ministers. When a lay member disagrees with church doctrine, they should be immediately confronted, not with a closed mind though, but a listening ear. You never know, the lay member may know something you don not. We are all commanded to study and search the scriptures. But teachers have a much greater responsibility. By the way, I was a tithe payer, and now I am not, but I am blessed, but I guess that does not qualify me to come up and testify either.
3.) I have already bought the books for my classes. Now I am aware that I will not be allowed to teach, but may I participate in the classes?
4.) When I mentioned having e-mailed the Pastor concerning tithes, you appeared surprised. This meeting did not catch me off guard. Based on my past meeting with you, and discussions with other leaders, I pretty well knew and/or was aware what to expect. You also brought up tongues as a topic of hot debate. The tongues we see in the church today have no resemblance to what it was then, but it does share resemblance with paganism.
Although I was upset, it had no bearing on you as an individual. I believe you are a stand up person, a believer indeed.
Letter was written to address several issues. One was Armorbearors (#5). This man was and still is the head deacon and armorbearor.
Praise the Lord,
I have contacted the church via the homepage contact form, and even the deacon's ministry collective e-mail. In all, I believe I have received one return e-mail for all of my correspondences as they relate to the subjects below. I have been patient on a reply concerning tithing. I had hoped to receive a return e-mail.
Before I start with my issues and concerns, I would like to state my purpose of being at EBC. Simply put; it is helping you in whatever way I can.
Here are the problems:
1.) I am hearing a very mixed message. Tithing is required! Tithing is Free-Will! You should Tithe! The back of the program even attempts to place Tithing in the realm of New Testament giving. The program is "not really" saying one must tithe, just a part of the whole on the subject to make it appear that tithing is a type of giving in New Testament. I have even heard you state that we should bring the [TITHE at the first of the week- July 22, 2007], which is in direct contradiction of God's Word,
I Corinthians 16:2- Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
I was told in my new member’s class that tithing is required of members. An application asks if one tithes! So what is the churches' official position on tithing?
Capital Building Campaign
2.) When the building project got underway, I noticed the familiar pattern of bringing people before the body to testify about tithing and blessings. Testimonies are personal experiences, not scriptural justifications or proofs that tithing works (i.e. the so-called Malachi 3:8-10 windows blessing). Personal experiences do not validate scripture.
Now when I heard the financial report, I knew what to expect. I knew the amount that should have been raised at that time was approximately $800,000. The actual Capital Campaign Fund was at $65,000 that is less than 1/10th of the expected amount. I knew what was coming next. I knew it would be an Old Testament practice changed to a financial blessing decree, such as the Heave Offering. Lo and behold, the First fruits offering appears in the Sunday church bulletin.
First Fruit Offering
3.) The problem I have with the First fruit Offering other than it being manipulated, which is unscriptural, is the 25% amount. Is that even scriptural? Where is it decreed that 25% is the amount? Where did that number come from? When will this stop? It is just like the government. When they can't pass a bond issue to pay for something, they just find a way to TAX you. I did notice that this 25% amount changed in the bulletin about 3 weeks later. Why was that?
Apostolic Anointing- Miracles, signs, and wonders
4.) My next contention is with a statement made during a sermon concerning Apostolic Anointing along with miracles, etc. I would like to address, “THE THEOLOGICALLY INFORMED” comment you made concerning the belief that what we see in Acts is for today. This comment strikes me odd, as you are a graduate of a seminary school. What bothers me about this comment is what it really says to the membership. You are either knowingly or unknowingly influencing people to turn a deaf ear to anyone that disagrees with what you are saying, especially those who claim they are “theologically informed”. Well, I just happen to be theologically informed, and submit to you that the Apostles were special messengers and those miracles, signs, and wonders have their purpose. But why does one need to see or experience miracles to believe in them, even rejoice in them? They are written. If we have some need to see miracles, signs, or wonders, it’s easy to look no further than John 2. But what is easily noticed is that all Christians were not performing or experiencing miracles in the written record of the New Testament. Is not the salvation of a soul a sufficient miracle, sign, and wonder? I believe miracles still occur, but they are not needed to establish truth, or increase faith. If we believe the Bible, we must believe in the supernatural. The written record is the established proof, not personal experience.
Although we discussed this before, the tongues we see in the modern church today (the gibberish and babbling) was a common phenomenon among Pagans before the Incarnation of Christ (i.e. the Jews would have recognized it as Pagan at Pentecost), and Pagans are still doing it today.
Armor Bearing or Leadership
5.) I signed up for the leadership class believing it to be about leadership, not training to be an armor bearer. At the end of the second class, the teacher and Head Deacon, Kelvin Tyson, was discussing the role of an armor bearer. I was taken aback when I was told that in times of emergency that the Pastor takes precedence over the armor bearer’s wife and family. The exact example was that if a tornado were to hit Raleigh, and the Pastor lived on the other side of town that the armor bearer’s wife and children would have to make do on their own, or fend for themselves. This was the response I received after challenging such a ludicrous statement. I asked, “Where in the Bible does it say the Pastor comes before a wife”? I was summarily told that if I didn’t buy into that, then armor bearing was not my calling. The question was never scripturally answered. The only answer I received was a comparison of an armor bearer to a secret serviceman. A Pastor is not a King, President, etc.
Peter’s cursing or use of profanity
6.) Is profanity (cursing) being spoken by Peter, or is it something else. A study of the passage will render the fact that he is not cursing (using profanity). This is a common fallacy passed down via ignorance and simply accepting another person at their word.
In conclusion, I love you and every believer at EBC. One thing I count above that all is the truth of God’s Word.
I never thought I would receive a response, bit I did. It was from a leader, but not the Pastor. I will post his response alone, then my responses, point-for-point.