I have taken the time to put all of this information on the internet with the intention of giving those who are interested "full disclosure." I am of the opinion that if we all took the time to look out for our fellow man, this world would be a much better place.
If you see a hole in the ground, do you just walk around it and hope that nobody else falls in there and breaks an ankle? Or do you take the time to stick up a "danger ahead?"
I have made the decision to go with option B, and so here is this blog.
Who and What is "IWWB?"
He has attracted many spiritual seekers, particularly those who are disenchanted and/or disenfranchised with mainstream Christianity and also, many ex-WWCoG members.
Initially, he was aligned with the now deceased L. Ray Smith of bible-truths and used the internet footprint of Ray Smith to garner himself a following before eventually, ties with Vinson were severed by Smith over the now infamous and secretive "Revelation Commentary." Here is a screen grab, courtesy of "WayBack Machine" internet archive which shows Mike's papers, linked from Ray Smith's website. Note, click to enlarge:
Both Smith and Vinson are former WWCoG members, with Vinson admitting openly on his website, that he worked in the mail-analysis team as a Herbert Armstrong lemming.
So as you can see from the image above (source: HERE), Mike Vinson shares a spiritual heritage with WWCoG leaders such as Ronald Weinland, David C. Pack, Roderick C. Meredith and others.
Vinson also had his emails published on Ray Smith's "bible-truths" forum, a screen grab from 2005 shows this to be case:
Vinson's teachings are very palatable to the Christian burned out on tithing and hell-fire but be warned: Underneath the seemingly knowledgeable, biblically sound exterior is an underbelly of man-made doctrines and cult-style indoctrination.
What Does Mike Vinson and IWWB Teach?
His teachings are an exercise in attempting to harmonize all of the bible from Genesis to Revelation and in pulling off such a feat, Vinson and his IWWB elders must resort to "spiritualizing" much of the Old-Testament whilst also insisting that other scriptures (particularly those from the New-Testament) are purely physical in their application.
Essentially, Mike Vinson prescribes a method I describe as "pseudo-biblical academia."
By this, I mean that Vinson goes to great lengths to uncover the root meanings of Hebrew and Greek words (academic, to a point) and then associate these words with so-called spiritual meanings and precepts.
For instance, Vinson will attempt to tell you what colours in the bible mean, along with numbers and even animals. He believes the entire bible is a parable and that he has and his group alone, in the entire 7 billion people on earth, have been given the knowledge to know what is really being said. However, when pressed on particular points, Vinson will insist these are purely literal and cannot be taken in a figurative manner, and that to do so is to spit on Jesus Christ. Doctrines such as the aforementioned young-earth creationism and the inerrancy of the bible are but two that are seen as "untouchable" by Vinson and his elders.
Moreover, Vinson dismisses all other congregations and movements as false, declaring that they are "of their father the devil" and further, he states that not a single Christian denomination has any of their doctrines correct, not a single one.
Here is what Vinson explicitly states:
"Orthodox Christianity is contradiction. Every single doctrine they have is a contradiction of the word of God."The above quote was taken from HERE.
So while Vinson says this in one breath, he also holds to many "orthodox" and "fundamentalist" beliefs, particularly those from the WWCoG. Evidence of this is seen by reading the Revelation commentary on this blog page or by visiting his IWWB web-page, linked to above.
What Was My Connection to IWWB and Mike Vinson?
During that time (approx. 6 years), I sent and received countless emails and chat messages along with Skype sessions with not only Mike Vinson, but also those within the IWWB fellowship. I shared intimate details with Mike Vinson during this time and without a doubt, he became a real spiritual mentor to me - a person I could trust and from whom I could receive advice and counsel on a range of matters, spiritual or otherwise.
While Vinson can be a very affable and engaging man who is truly genuine about sharing his faith, he will also dismiss anyone, at anytime, if he comes to understand that they differ with him on a matter of doctrine. I observed this over the 6 years I was associated with Vinson however and noted that whenever he removed a person from the fellowship, it was never announced or dealt with publicly, but rather secretly, in a kind of cloak and dagger manner.
During late 2010, I observed a renewed zeal on Vinson's part with respect to putting people out of the fellowship who did not hold to his understanding of Galatians 4:9-10 which speaks about "days, months, times and years." This dis-fellowshipping was done in a secretive and underhanded manner and was only ever disclosed when one pushed the matter and asked about "such and such," where they were, and why they were no longer emailing or a part of the activity of the group.
I looked into Vinson's rhetoric and arguments concerning this doctrine during this time, and I soon came to see that Vinson held to the teachings of groups such as WWCoG, Jehovah's Witness and others who believe that an event such a birthday, Christmas, Easter, wedding anniversaries or Halloween are strictly off the cards for a true Christian disciple.
In the images above, Mike and his wife Sandi recline near a Christmas tree. The images sent to me were taken at an annual conference IWWB hold. The conference is run concurrently with the Christmas season, i.e. over the December holiday period...In the minds of such believers, people who engage in these events are glorifying themselves and making a mockery of Jesus and the Apostle's teaching. I had known for sometime that Vinson held to this belief but generally speaking, he was not at all militant or domineering about applying such a doctrine to those around him.
But alas, all of that had now changed and Vinson was demanding absolute conformity and "group-think" as a prerequisite for ongoing fellowship. In fact, Vinson even tried to shore up his arguments by bookending this "no birthdays" doctrine with a quote from St Paul "be of one mind" - Phillipians 2:1-8. I was to find out later that this is a popular tactic lifted straight out of the WWCoG.
I confronted Vinson about this teaching, and how it had been lifted straight out of the WWCoG lexicon. I inquired how he could say in one breath that: "every single doctrine they have is a contradiction of the word of God" and then in the next, advocate for another church's doctrine word for word and line upon line. I attacked his arguments head on and waited to see whether Vinson would also dis-fellowship me, a person he had known for 6 years and who had shared his life with this man.
In response, Vinson threw up weak and prejudicial arguments and attempted to emotionally manipulate me using a recent event in my life. When I saw this, I was shocked and again, asked Vinson to explain his actions. He would not, and could not and in his second reply to me, simply copied and pasted screes and screes of scripture with his own commentary below each one, implying that he knew what the bible truly meant and that I should simply trust his judgment on the matter. I should be clear - he did not address my arguments at all.
When I again responded (to Vinson's second response) and challenged him about his arguments, he simply refused to reply any longer. There was no reply whatsoever.
In short, after 6 years of ongoing friendship, I was now seen as a detractor and a heretic who had been snared by Satan. Mike Vinson, in his mind, had given me my supposed "2 admonitions" (Titus 3:10) and would deal with me no more.
In short, I had been "shunned" and "dis-fellowshipped" by Mike Vinson.
However, Vinson then had his lackeys ("elders") attempt to straighten me out and in short, the standing order from these younger men was that I could remain a part of the fellowship provided I did not under any circumstances bring this issue up for discussion.
The entire episode was amazing to me, as I had never once discussed the issue prior to this at all. I had always seen this entire thing as a matter of conscience, not a legalistic no-no.
However, despite all of this, Vinson still would not engage or communicate with me whatsoever.
Life After IWWB
However, after I had collected myself, I began researching the issue further and came to see, among many things, that Vinson had a history of this kind of behavior and that in reality, he is nothing more than a cult-leader, and that IWWB was simply another WWCoG splinter group. It was shocking to come to the knowledge that I had been a part of a cult-group and it drove me to reach out to others who had been cut asunder because of the very same issue.
During my research, I went back and re-read about an incident that occurred with Ray Smith, whereby Vinson had declared himself "sinless." Ray Smith's telling of the even was eerily similar to my own, with the exception that I did not have an internet following and/or the clout to demand that Vinson pull his head in, and repent.
This re-telling can be found HERE.
It is by no means light reading and I will be up-front at this point and let you know that I personally no longer hold to a literal understanding of the bible at all, so all of the claimed biblical authority in that article (from both Smith and Vinson) really means nothing to me any more.
What is worthwhile in reading the above is to observe what Smith says about how Vinson conducted himself, the character of the man and his responses when called on his obvious errors. These are in-fact, virtually the same as my own and worthy of your consideration should you be in fellowship with IWWB or considering the matter.
It is my belief that Mike Vinson wants this swept under the carpet and when I recently contacted him about the matter, he again refused to respond.
Probably the most damning thing in the commentary is the belief that Vinson has gained dominion over "sin" and that he "no longer sins." Here is what Vinson said:
"...we NO LONGER COMMIT SIN" (Chapter 22, page 13).Vinson, after being taken to task by Smith, claims he repented of this doctrine but only recently, in 2010, and again, in 2012 he repeated the doctrine again, albeit playing semantics with it. You can hear Vinson in the following video:
There are many other videos up on the iwwbEXPOSED YouTube channel. You can hear Vinson ridiculing his family members, claiming to be without sin, telling his disciples he is worthy of "double honor" and many, many other such nonsensical things.
Contact With Me
If you are a cult-member who wants to defend this man, I really could care less. You are better off directing your voice elsewhere!
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