What is fascinating to me, now that I armed with a level of knowledge and objectivity, is to read these emails and see clearly, that Mike and his band of minions have hung themselves with both their own admissions and their doctrines.
One such admission can be found here. In it, the writer laments that his prayers just aren't working. Think about that for the moment. Can you imagine Jesus prayer's failing?
The thing is, the Christian, especially the one who truly believes that he is a special kind of Christian, as IWWB do, can never really admit this to him or herself that this really is the case, that their prayers are failing epically for no good reason. No - instead, there MUST be a reason right? What is happening?
Of course, at this juncture, the anguished Christian turns to their resident spiritual guru. In the case of IWWB, Mike Vinson is that man. Yes, I know he says time and again he is not the leader of IWWB but the plain facts are that Mike is the mouthpiece and the figurehead of the movement. Mike, without a doubt, is the go-to-guy when there is a spiritual dilemma on ones hands.
But anyway, here is what the reader says:
I am becoming angry at the fact that no matter how many times I pray to the LORD to convert me and make me His follower, I experience absolutely no change in my mind and heart whatsoever. I continue to sin and do things I should not. I continue to blame others for the way my life has gone. I continue to feel depression and constant doubt that anything in my life will ever improve. I resent men who have wives and families and good jobs.The reader blatantly admits that his prayers are failing. And it's not like his motives are for personal gain either; he seems genuinely anguished that he can't attain "conversion." The cognitive dissonance this brother is experiencing is no doubt troubling him, so much so that he felt the need to write a "Dear Mike" confessional.
People tell me that all I need to do is "ask Jesus into my life", but when I try to tell them that I have done that a hundred times and nothing has changed, they always tell me that all I need to do is just "trust and accept Him", as if they didn't even hear what I said the first time. I am tired of living this sinful and unhappy existence, and it kills me inside that there is nothing I can do to change. I am furious at these people who believe this "Sinner's Prayer" nonsense and tell me that I MUST attend a church in order to find "fellowship" (even though they ALL believe in doctrines that are RUBBISH). I am at my wits' end.
Thank you for your time, Sir
This was also one of the reasons I abandoned Christianity. When I got honest with myself - and isn't honesty the basis of truth? - I had to admit that prayer was less than useless and a total waste of effort and emotion. Ironically, it was when I stopped praying that my life began to turn around.
A guru like Mike Vinson can never be that honest though and as such, must spin the rhetoric to make it appear that the acolyte is in-fact, experiencing God's divine favour. This keeps the acolyte in a mode of spiritual receptivity and suspends the persons critical thinking skills from kicking in.
Again, I have to ask - did Jesus' prayers ever fail epically? Did he cry out to God and say "Why are you not listening to me anymore?" I don't recall ever reading that in the bible anywhere.
Here is some of what Mike Vinson has to say:
If we are at peace with this world and in our own household, then we are not going to ever feel any inclination to repent of anything. After all, we are paying our tithes, going to church and fitting in with the world around us. That was Job before God took down the hedge which He has also around us all for a time, before He sends Satan to try our faith and to show us just how ungodly and God condemning we really are. Job was certainly at his "wits end."
You and I feel only the physical and mental pain of life, and we, of ourselves, are not capable of equating any of this with 'pity and mercy'. But in time we will come to repent of contending with, reproving, and condemning our own Maker, and we will then understand that it actually takes trials which cause us to do just that to bring us to see ourselves and come to repent. Only then will we see that the Lord chastens and scourges every son He receives, and we will then understand that it was because of our trials that we were able to come to repent of condemning our own Maker.Sad! Mike Vinson honestly seems to relish in this kind of pathetic drivel - parroting the notion of the author of Ecclesiastes, that life is nothing more than a trumped up vanity, something we must simply endure until we can die. I actually feel sorry for Mike (to a point) but there's nothing to be done by trying to reason with him - it's impossible! His whole mental psyche is built around the sandcastle of the "word of god," so there's no helping a person in his condition.
Once you pull your head out of the bible, you finally start to realize that life is an incredible gift and that it is certainly far too short to spend wasted with ones head buried inside the bible.
You can go around the mountain again and again and again, like I did, and like this "Dear Mike" reader is doing. But at some point, you've got to look yourself in the eye and ask the question: "What do I really believe?"
Truly, nothing fails like prayer.