* Recently several people have contacted us thinking our article below was not an accurate view of the PH. Read the letters following this article for their thoughts. K
Former members have other thoughts,
visit these webs for more details.
Freedom from the "Potters House". http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freedom_from_thepottershouse/
"I can say what you have posted is true and the actual truth goes even deeper"
More details on my web. SS http://life-after-potters-house.tripod.com/
The Potters House
A LOOK AT THE POTTER'S HOUSE
The Potter's House is a highly visible church. They are extremely evangelistic and attract many young people, largely through their street ministry. The fellowship had its beginning in Prescott, Arizona by Wayman Mitchell about twenty years ago. Wayman Mitchell was trained by the Foursquare Gospel's Bible College (L.I.F.E. Bible College), and his doctrines seem to be mostly in line with this Pentecostal denomination's. However, there seem to be extremes in the church.
Over the years we have become concerned by the letters received by our ministry concerning the Potter's House. We will present some of these concerns at this time.
LEAVING THE POTTER'S HOUSE
One letter begins, "I am an ex-member of the Potter's House...When I left it was with the feeling that I had just bought a one-way ticket to Hell. I have been encouraged by friends to write to you to give you my experiences while a member of Potter's House. I hope they will be useful...I felt when I left the Potter's House that I had just turned my back on God, and that no matter what I did from that day forward, I'd NEVER be able to go to Heaven when I died. I was haunted day and night with terrifying thoughts and dreams of Satan and his demons coming after me to grasp my unsaved soul. It was as though I had cut my own lifeline and that God no longer found me worthy of His attention. I have never felt so alone. A young woman from the Potter's House was going around town telling people that I was possessed by the Devil and that that was why I left the Potter's House (or the result of leaving, I'm not sure which). I really wondered for awhile if she was right..."
These feelings are ones we often find expressed by ex-members of hard line cult groups. We are distressed to find the same feelings expressed by members leaving a supposedly Christian Church. Any member of one denomination should be able to leave that denomination to fellowship at another without feeling they have left God, or need to fear Satan upon leaving. If Potter's House is producing such "fruits" in their exiting members, they need to review their teachings.
THE POTTER'S HOUSE AND SALVATION
Salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone. Churches are meeting places for fellowship among the saved. Unbelievers coming to the meetings should eventually trust in Jesus for salvation, and enjoy fellowship with the saints.
A letter received concerning the Potter's House shows something quite different.
"The congregation were being constantly reminded of their sins and to repent and ask God's forgiveness. We were told that our salvation could be taken away from us at any moment. We were told that God would take our salvation if we had said or done or thought something sinful. It could be taken away without your even being aware. What an unnecessary burden of fear and guilt to put on someone! I was made to feel guilty if I didn't eat, breathe, sleep and talk God 24 hours a day...The Potter's House believe that they alone have the Truth, and anyone who does not belong to the Potter's House is unsaved...".
How different this is from the grace that the Lord Jesus Christ gives. This extreme legalism robs a Christian of the joy of the Lord.
CHURCH SERVICES AT THE POTTER'S HOUSE
Again, we are concerned by this description of church services.
"Prior to every "sermon", time was allotted for the entire congregation to praise God. Most everyone would stand, raise their hands in the air, sway back and forth, and YELL in tongues. It almost seemed to be a contest to see who could yell the loudest. The noise would die down and everyone would take their seats again.
The "Pastor" would begin his "sermon", quietly at first. He'd start pacing across the raised platform, then go faster and faster, his voice getting louder and louder as he delivered his message. He'd get himself and the congregation so worked up that we all be "on fire for the Lord", and he'd be jumping up and down and screaming at us. His "sermons" were always about sin. He'd tell us something to the effect that the presence of God was so strong you could feel it. Of course we'd all agree. We were being taken on an emotional roller coaster ride. At the time I wasn't able to put the brakes on and get off..."
This type of service is certainly not biblically based. We are not saying a speaker could not feel the anointing of God and occasionally speak louder to make a point, but there appears to be a lot of "hype" generated at Potter's House services, in lieu of the genuine moving of the Spirit of God.
THE ALTAR CALL
Altar calls are usually a time for people to seek God in a special way, or to give their lives to Jesus. Others may genuinely go forward to an altar call to ask for healing, prayer, or for a special anointing of the Holy Spirit. However, we received this report of "altar" services at the Potter's House.
..."There was a young man in our congregation who was very upset with himself because he was unable to speak in tongues. Even when the "Pastor" was laying hands on him and the Holy Spirit was supposedly all over the "church". he still couldn't do it. This young man believed that he was doing something wrong and he was in anguish that the Holy Spirit couldn't come into into him. The "Pastor" even told him as much...Many times during altar calls, the "Pastor" would lay hands on someone and tell them they were healed of whatever affliction they had. The nature of this affliction would have been gleaned from one of the "Pastor's" informal conversations he'd had with you in the past...The sense of power this man feels must be staggering..."
These types of emotional altar services can quite often result in real damage to persons. Christians need to be careful when praying for others at the altar. We know of sincere Christians who stopped their needed medication, after being told they were "healed". Others have uprooted their lives and moved their families after being "prophesied over" regarding some supposed "call from the Lord". Others, like the young man seeking "tongues" are made to feel unworthy. It is much safer to let the Lord deal with you privately regarding healing, and ministry calls, or even the in filling of the Holy Spirit. Then, if someone confirms what the Lord has already done, this can be an encouragement to you.
TOO MUCH CONTROL BY ONE MAN
Christian Churches have boards for a reason. They are to act as a safeguard for the congregation, and limit the control of the Pastor over the flock. The early church was overseen by a group of elders. From reports we have received, the Pastor of the Potter's House seems to be largely unchecked in his control of the congregation. Here is an excerpt from a letter.
"...The "Pastor" was and is, the ultimate authority in this "church". Under his guidance were four or five young men who were being "discipled" to go forth and start other Potter's Houses in other areas...The entire congregation were strongly encouraged to speak with the "Pastor" about anything they were having trouble with. You were asked to "tell all", as it were, in order to "get right with God". This practice enabled the "Pastor" to use information about you so that when you went up for an altar call he could make it appear as though God really was using him as an instrument to tell you that your problems would be taken care of. It was quite effective. I believed it myself. I was convinced that the "Pastor" had such a strong connection to God that anything the "Pastor" said came right from the lips of God Himself...".
Of concern also is the Potter's House subjugation of the women in the congregation. Reports were received of women encouraged to give up careers considered unsuitable for women, and devote themselves to husbands, children, and the home. Women were excluded from the discipleship program.
EXCESSIVE CONTROL OF MEMBERS' TIME
Reportedly, each morning began with early morning prayers (6 a.m.). There were two services on Sundays, one service on Wednesdays, and a coffee house meeting to support on Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays there was some "church sanctioned" activity available. Monday was actually a free day for members. This is obviously too restrictive and controlling and smacks of cult tactics for controlling members' lives.
The Potter's House started out trying to be a real "New Testament Church", evangelistic and demonstrating the gifts of the Holy Spirit in its midst. Somewhere along the line it has missed the mark and turned extremely legalistic and controlling.
Since Potter's House churches are governed individually and thereby reflect the methods of each individual Pastor, not all we have discussed would necessarily apply to all Potter's House Churches, but we have heard from a cross-section, and believe our concerns are valid.
If you see in your church any of the warning signs discussed in this tract, proceed with extreme caution, or better yet, find a balanced congregation with which to fellowship.
History of Potters House (untold !!)
Date: July 28, 2003 4:25 PM
What I am writing is all first hand information. I was on the original board of Christian Fellowship Church under John Metzler. I was also assistant Pastor for 6 years and a member for 12 years. I was counseled by Wayman Mitchell prior to my marriage to my wife, and instructed by Mitchell as to my ministry. At one time I highly regarded him as my mentor and prophet to the church. I pray for all who have gone through the pain that came with Potter's House Churches. Even as I traveled to Australia and abroad I found casualties of the Christian Fellowship ministries. God is able to heal all. And it is my desire that all seek fellowship with a true and Living God, and let no man stand between you and the Resurrected Christ.
I am going to give you a bit of history many do not know of Potter's House Church. The Christian Fellowship Church was NOT ! started by Wayman Mitchell. It was founded by a wonderful man of God named John Metzler. John and Wayman attended Life Bible College together and went into the ministry under Four Square Gospel. Later as John Metzler had his marriage end in divorce was asked by Four Square Church to leave. (they did not and I believe still will not ordain divorce people). John became an evangelist in California and came with 2 of his daughters and new wife (Donna) and her 2 sons to live in Phoenix. As it was, he founded a small church on Cave Creek Road in 1976. The name of the church was Christian Fellowship Church.
Then as John and 4 other church members were returning from preaching in Sedona in December 1978 all were killed in an auto accident crossing a bridge in Black Canyon City south bound on I17. Pastor Mitchell came to the little church and asked if it wanted to join with Four Square Churches. By vote the church became part of Four Square. And the Christian Fellowship, 501 tax was held by Wayman Mitchell, Donna Metzler, and Silver Gaddis the new pastor of the church. As time went Wayman Mitchell decided he did not want to be a part of Four Square Gospel any more. Much discussion was made with Roy Hicks, and John Holland of Life Bible College. It was not a friendly split but all ministries under Wayman Mitchell were directed to leave Four Square and become part of Christian Fellowship Church. Silver Gaddis, and Donna Metzler signed over to Mitchell all documents. The name "Potter's House" was derived from the Saturday night "coffee house" ministries, as was "The Door".
The rest is history........Mitchell became very controlling. Placing demands on the churches that he himself left Four Square over !! such as demanding all churches pay tithe to Prescott. I have in my possession tapes of Wayman Mitchell, preaching "Prescott will never be a Mother church" and stating "at no time will I expect churches to tithe to Prescott". This doctrine would change in years. That if a church did not tithe to Prescott the Pastor was to be immediately removed, without notice. I know of one pastor (close friend) who came for morning prayer to find the locks of the church had been changed, without any notice. This is how he and his family found out he had been fired for disobeying Mitchell, what a poor testimony of Christian ethics ! In this case, as with all who decide to move on to another church, you can count on being ridiculed from the pulpit. The Pastor will generally instruct the congregation to strictly avoid all who seek worship elsewhere. Even if they are immediate family.
The congregation is told to not call, write or pray for those who leave, because once they "have left the fellowship" they are out of God's will. In addition it is preached if you do not tithe you will not make heaven,... "no thief can enter the kingdom"... There was once a time I moved to another part of the city. I decided to attend another church in "the fellowship "because it was only 2 miles from my house. I was told by the pastor I was not welcome and that if I wanted to continue with Christian Fellowship Church " (where my blood family was) I must attend the old church that was 25 miles from my house. This was when I began to ask questions.
Something forbidden in Potter's House. You must never, never question the Pastor, or ask him to explain the Biblical reason for the church's stance on an issue. You will be a "back slider" and "devil". After leaving Potter's House I walked in pain. I left friends who I knew were told I was evil. I was not allowed to attend "Home Bible Studies" of church members, and was told that I was a regular object of jokes from the pulpit. But God brought me peace. I have joy I never knew, and good Christian family who love me when I go through hard times. I found mercy in God, something I did not know in 12 years at Potter's House. I sleep well. I eat great, I love Jesus and I have NO HATE for any member of Potter's House. I regularly run into others have who left the organization and are strong living testimonies for Christ !!
Thank you for building an information center on Cults, and Controlling Ministries.
May God Bless you and your family.
Good to hear from you. I suppose after seeing your web site I just wanted to communicate some of my experience. I know of people who are still in the organization, and my heart goes out to them. I no way wish to offend them. But I feel with all my heart a responsibility to share of what I would definitely consider to be spiritual and emotional dangers. When I was on the original board of "Christian Fellowship Church" Myself and 4 others who I might name later were asked to sign over all funds, property and organizational assets to "Potters House". We were only told this was for "evangelistic" reasons. At the time none of us were told we were leaving Foursquare Church.
I am sure if this had been relayed to Roy Hicks and John Holland at the time there would have been very serious legal ramifications. We didn't find out that the documents we signed were transferring assets to Wayman Mitchell until almost 2 months later.
I would be happy to write an article. I will be praying about it with you. As for sharing my e-mail , you have my permission. I do not mind if you use my name. I left with no hostilities toward the churches, and I still hold none.
As for my e-mail address, I would prefer it was forwarded thru you if you don't mind.
I liked the audio portion of your web site, it not only points out the words spoken to people but also you can feel the emotion with which the sermons are delivered, in some cases very disturbing. I will go thru some of my all conference tapes. I have destroyed many, but there were ones I kept that you may find of great value.
I believe the greatest error any church can make is to take credit for what God has done. This sends chills down my spine. And yet it is an acceptable practice with Potter's House. I also believe that even though every word of the Bible is true and correct, there have been men through history who have misquoted and edited it for their own purposes, and to justify their own actions.
When I was attending the theology was pretty solid for salvation.
However since the theology never matured Potter's House attempted to create a plan for church growth that was not scriptural. They fought desperately to keep that which they did not own. And if they felt prayer had failed, leaders were instructed to take matters into their own hands.
Potter's House teaches if you fast and pray God will empower you.
Scripture teaches fasting and praying
is for another not you !.
Potter's House teaches once God has called you (and they will tell you when) you must submit to church authority.
Scripture teaches you to submit to
your "First Love" and "one another"
Potter's House teaches if you do not follow direction of church leaders you can lose your salvation.
Scripture teaches salvation is a
decision of the heart and can only be maintained by Grace
Potter's House teaches "no thief can enter the kingdom" if you do not tithe you are a thief and can not go to heaven.
Scripture teaches "be born again" to
Potter's House teaches if you are totally submitted to God your family will always serve God.
No scripture foundation for this, and
I hated to see Billy Graham condemned as not following Jesus
when his son was sent to jail.
Potter's House teaches to avoid any one who leaves the church.
Scripture teaches avoid those who
"pervert the Gospel".
Potter's House teaches only spend time with those who you can disciple.
Scripture teaches it is the Church's
responsibility to care for widows and orphans.
Everything just stated I have heard from the pulpit. I believe I have tapes on many items. At one time I had all conference tapes from Prescott from 1978 until 1989 winter and summer conference. Scary huh. I was told I should listen to them over and again , I did. Since we were told we could not be in leadership if we had a TV. I listened to tapes often. Also most Christian radio stations were scoffed at and told to avoid because of false teaching.
Let me know if all this sounds like what you have been hearing. I know I was lengthy, I guess just needed to talk.
Thanks Bill Tubbs
From: "April J......." Date: April 6, 2005 4:03 PM
Subject: Potter's House a cult seen first hand
My name is April and I am writing to you to also share my story on my experience, or rather more of my family's experience with Potter's House. You are more than welcome to share this with your reader's on your website.
I recently went to visit family in Oregon, all of whom I haven't seen since childhood. I was very disappointed to find that my aunt, uncle, and three cousins had become members of this cultish group. Not knowing what it was, I was asked to attend church with them. Loving church, I gladly accepted their invitation. Things started off nicely, church members like usual greeted us at the door. The worship music went nicely, with my cousin closest in age to me playing flute in the band. Then came the supposed 'speaking in tongues.' A whole lot of babbling howls filled the room. It was a very uncomfortable experience. The church had no interpreter, which made it all clearly against scripture. In that case, the 'speaking in tongues' was to be kept between them and God, which makes for a strong doubt as for this church's aunthenticity as a scripture-based church.
Later, when being warned by other family, I was told that the pastor of this Potter's House excercises full control of the church. When asked what exactly that meant, I was informed that my aunt and uncle, according to the pastor at their local Potter's House, cannot even buy or sell a house without their pastor's permission. When they moved quite a few years ago, they had to get their pastor's permission. And my uncle was quite a good guitar player.. what a gift at music God had given him. One day, their pastor told my uncle that playing the guitar is not what God wanted for him, and that he had to give it up and concentrate on other things. Sadly, he gave it up. God had given him a wonderful gift, and he let a man take it away. And my cousins are not allowed to marry without seeking the permission of their pastor. Not only that, but it has to be another member of their tiny local 'church'! It is horrible. They have lost hope as far as marriage is concerned. They have just decided in their minds that God must not want them to get married. And maybe that is so, but it certainly is not biblical to limit them only to their local church. And it is certainly not biblical for this 'pastor' to claim full control over this 'church.'
Not only are they limited in the above mentioned ways, but also in being able to attend another church. They are forbidden to attend another congregation. Everything has to be only within that tiny church and with the permission of one man who claims to have revelation from God in all matters. And this man is clearly, in many ways, going against the Bible.
My prayers sincerely go out to all those involved in cults, saved or not saved, that they may realize that we are free in Christ, and that salvation by God's amazing grace alone, not by works. Please pray for my aunt, uncle, and cousins that God may open their eyes and that they may better understand the grace of God. Thank you.
For another persons view of this group by former member visit this web:
This web site is an outgrowth of a Yahoo Groups Message Board, Slam The Door Forever an ongoing message board discussing the problems and issues with Christian Fellowship Ministries from Prescott, Arizona, U.S.A. This organization was founded by Wayman Mitchell, a former Foursquare Gospel minister in 1984. The churches are known as "The Potter's House", "The Door", "La Puerta", and "Victory Chapel". There are approximately 800 churches worldwide.
This web site contains information regarding CFM and its activities worldwide.
The webmaster DOES classify CFM as cultic by the unethical way it treats it's membership.
The documentation on this web site proves that the false teachings and heretical beliefs along with the verbal intimidation and pressured non-Biblical conformity are grounds to label this organization cultic, heretical, legalistic and spiritually unhealthy to be attended or supported in any way.