I seem to be getting an awful lot of hits on this blogger page, for whatever reason. As such, I felt it might be worth backtracking a bit for anyone new to the teachings of IWWB. Additionally, it might also give folks some perspective on Mike Vinson's double standards and how it was that I came to the conclusion that IWWB was indeed a cult.
As has already been explained, I was involved and invested in this group from approx. 2004 until 2010, around 6 years. The primary reason for my leaving was that Mike Vinson and his appointed elders had decided that birthdays, Christmas and wedding anniversaries (and many other celebrations) were to be totally eschewed. Anyone caught out, or admitting to these practices, were swiftly set upon and either talked around or blacklisted - and then subsequently removed from the group.
To propagate their doctrine that birthdays and wedding anniversaries were evil, many fallacious arguments were employed but chiefly, they relied upon the use of doctrinal buzz words such as "pagan" and "traditions of men" to prejudice the simple minded into acquiescence. I pointed out to the elders, and to Mike himself that many things were pagan in origin including the names of the week, planets and famous brands of shoes and cars - Nike and Mazda respectively. However, these pagan things were totally ignored by Vinson and Co because lets face it, no serious cult leader wants to be consistent in their arguments. No, it's much easier to cherry-pick your pagan pet hates.
Vinson also used arguments from silence and described what Jesus DIDN'T DO as the basis for his doctrine. As an example, here is a copy and paste of an email Vinson sent to me:
"Christ never once lit a candle for either Christmas or a birthday..."His associate and one-time commentary contributor Rob Jones has this to say on the IWWB website:
"Even Christ never told us His birthday and we are given no scriptural record of Him celebrating it at all..."This is but one example of the kind of fallacious arguments Mike Vinson and his cronies would throw up on a regular basis.
Continuing - upon my departure, I continued to monitor the group. Vinson, in his teachings, began to wax on and on about pagan traditions and how they have supposedly taken over the lives of God's elect. He said a lot of other crazy stuff during this time as well including, that a nose piercing was on the same spiritual plane as ritual Jewish circumcision and that if someone came into his fellowship with a nose piercing, he would consider that person an immature Christian.
"I made the statement that if a brother came into our fellowship wearing a nose ring, that I would not consider him to be a mature Christian, any more than a brother who is still practicing circumcision. Am I wrong to feel that way?"Interestingly, the IWWB group, at the same time this was going on, had a FaceBook page that was active. Mike Vinson was even an admin and an officer of that page. And on the FB page, front and center was the logo of another church - the Moravian Seal. Here are the screen grabs showing this to be the case. FYI, Sandi, Steven and Mike are still in the IWWB group whilst to my knowledge, the other individuals were either removed, or chose to leave:
The image used in the above is known as the Moravian Seal and it is the official logo of said church:
Information on this church, and its practices can be found here. You will note that within the image itself, is the Roman Catholic inspired "Cross of St George." The cross originated in the Catholic crusades, which themselves were a call to arms on behalf of the church, to purge the Muslim and pagan infidel from the "Holy Land" and as a means for participants to gain absolution for ones sins in the afterlife.
Now why is this important?
This is important because Vinson and IWWB were using Roman Catholic inspired imagery in their promotional and marketing efforts while at the same time, lambasting believers in their fellowship for taking part in practices that they said were inspired by the Catholic church.
IWWB elder Steve Crook wrote a "hit piece" on this which can be found here. In this article, Crook references the Catholic church approx. four times. An example of this would be this sentence, in which Steven Crook discusses Halloween:
"Thus, without forcing the pagans to drop their pagan practices and accept Christianity, the Roman Catholic church merely made room to accommodate the barbarians. Just as it confiscated the pagan Pantheon for its own uses, this church incorporated the customs of Samhain to further its mission to convert the known world to Catholicism. The two celebrations made strange bedfellows: one in respect of evil spirits, the other honoring saints..."This outright hypocrisy, in that IWWB used this image, was never once repented of and Vinson, instead of just admitting a simple oversight and apologizing for it as such (surely no big deal?), did everything in his power to rationalize his way around, and out of it. The intellectual dishonesty was so thorough that to observe it unravelling at the time, was really quite unbelievable. He even tried to suggest that he had nothing to do with the FaceBook page, even though, as demonstrated above, he was both an admin and an officer!
Here is what Mike Vinson had to say when confronted about his groups use of the Moravian Seal:
The "Moravian seal" is a picture of a lamb and a cross, both of which are Biblical symbols. ____ would not be satisfied if it were a Bible alone. After all many wars have been fought while using scripture to justify those wars. But the abuse of anything, does not make that thing itself evil or Pagan. If that were the case, we would not be able to mention the name of Christ.
Mike Vinson - February 20th 2011
I am uncomfortable with a personal apology as it seemed we were answering a fool according to his folly when it was not called for. I can't see Christ or Paul apologizing when they have not sinned.
Mike Vinson - February 24th 2011
You call it a Moravian symbol, but is it not just two Biblical symbols which have been hijacked by Babylon? There is a lot of "gold silver and precious stones" in Babylon.
Mike Vinson - February 17th 2011
____ is a false prophet, whose fondest hope is to get us to betray one another and to hate one another, by attempting to make Biblical symbols appear to be Babylonian symbols. But gold, silver, and precious stones, are symbols of the Truth of God's Word, which is Christ.
Mike Vinson - February 17th 2011
If ____ cannot see the connection to Solomon's wives and Pagan traditions, he is truly blinded by God Himself. You have already informed him that I had nothing to do with that symbol, and he still says I am hypocritical. This is his last issue because he knows it is least, and ____ will not be satisfied till I agree that Gal 4:10 does not include birthdays and anniversaries, and that we must never, under any circumstance consider anyone "weak in the faith".These comments from Mike Vinson discredit him as "easily en-treatable," a claim that he makes about himself often. Instead, they show a man who is unable to admit error when it is pointed out and who wants instead to skirt around and make excuses. Moreover, when he is taken to task, Vinson believes and articulates that he is being viciously persecuted for standing firm on his supposed true doctrine.
Mike Vinson - February 22nd 2011
If you are going to become involved in the IWWB group, make sure you are informed about the history of this group. Comments welcome below.