Rhema Pastor Expelled for Pro-Life Activism
Rhema leaders had warned him 'not to go to any abortion clinic ever'
November 25, 2002 edition
By Eric Tiansay
A Wichita, Kan., pastor has been expelled from a worldwide charismatic ministry renowned for its message of faith and biblical prosperity because he was active in the pro-life movement. The move has prompted a New Jersey minister who is trying to raise awareness of the pastor's ouster to consider removing his congregation from the organization.
Mark Holick had his ordination revoked this summer by the Tulsa, Okla.-based Rhema Ministerial Association International (RMAI), which has more than 23,000 graduates and 13 schools worldwide.
For the last two years, Holick, who along with his wife, Monica, pastors 300-member Spirit One Christian Center, has joined other Wichita pastors in protesting the abortion clinic of local Dr. George Tiller, called "the most infamous late-term abortionist in the world" by the Christian pro-life group Operation Save America.
"They [RMAI leaders] informed me that my wife, any of our church leaders, and myself could not for any reason go to any abortion clinic ever, not even to pray," Holick, 41, said in a letter to Barry Ross, pastor of 100-member Word of Life Christian Church in Cologne, N.J., who has taken up his plight.
"They never told me specifically why...it was wrong for me if I chose to do so," continued Holick, who was dismissed by Rhema without a hearing. "I expressed to them that I have done nothing immoral, nothing unrighteous, nothing unbiblical, nothing unscriptural, nothing illegal, nothing sinful, but that if they felt that I had and pointed it out that I would gladly repent...I have made numerous requests to them for a meeting, to which they would not grant."
Rhema's Tulsa-based attorney, Tom Winters, told Charisma News Service that "Rhema is not for abortion." Winters said he advised RMAI leaders to revoke Holick's license because his pro-life activism could cause Rhema to be "potentially sued."
"Based on my advice, they took a safe and reasonable approach to deal with this," Winters said. "I advised them that the best way to handle this situation was to sever the relationship."
Ross, a 1981 Rhema graduate, told Charisma News that the Holicks have been dealt "a horrible injustice." Unsolicited by Holick, Ross said he has repeatedly tried to contact RMAI leaders about the Holicks, but his calls and letters have not generated any response.
"I'm following the biblical command -- first to Rhema, second to the regional directors and third to the body of Christ," said Ross, 48, who is weighing whether to remove his congregation from RMAI. "I've been stonewalled so far...They should own up to their decision. Why try to hide and not address it? I don't believe there is anything in our ministerial handbook or directory that tells us we can't do this [pro-life activism]. If something like abortion can't be protested, what can be protested?"
Winters declined comment on whether RMAI has a policy against pro-life involvement in its ministerial handbook. Holick, who voluntarily talked to Charisma News but later wanted to retract his comments, said he had seen several women forgo abortions at the clinic and give birth to their babies, partly through the pastors' pro-life outreach. Some of them had also become Christians.
Holick added that Rhema leaders had given him verbal and written warnings in the last year not to go to the clinic. "This is the first time I've ever been disobedient to anything they asked," the 1986 Rhema graduate said. "My feeling was I had to do this in order to obey the Word of God...I think Scripture is clear regarding what the responsibility of the church is concerning innocent blood."
RMAI evolved from the Rhema Bible Training Center, which was started by Kenneth Hagin Sr., and his son, Ken Jr., in 1974 in response to a demand for more teaching material from the Hagins' ministry.
© Copyright 2000 Strang Communications, All Rights Reserved
This is the article that Charisma ran on their web news. He said that it would run in the magazine in around February.
Here are the e-mail addressess at Rhema so that you can write to them:
Here are Pastor Mark's comments:
Rhema's actions against us are saddening. They have done great damage to us and to our church even though we have done nothing wrong in any way. I have made numerous requests to meet with them to work out a solution which they have denied. But what is most troubling is that in one of their letters to me they said, "Although Rhema shares your moral and religious convictions against abortion, Rhema does not agree that the Church should particpate in or endorse direct abortion protest activities."
Troubling because this is exactly the view of many ministries, pastors, churches, and Christians today, not just Rhema. That is the belief that being theologically pro-life is enough. It is a warped religious thinking that believes that as long as I think right - it is right. If you were to ask Rhema or Tom Winters if they are pro-life they would tell you that they are. However, their actions are completely opposite. Is it really possible to say that I have a "conviction" for something and then say but don't "participate" in that conviction?" I believe the Scripture, "Faith without works is dead," applies here.
Abortion in America will not stop until the Church...the Christians of America decides that it will stop. We have many strong para-church pro-life organizations and ministries in America like Operation Save America that are doing an extrodinary job, but they will never be able to get the job done without the local church. We as Christians should stop worshipping doctrines like the style of praise and worship or a certain escotoly theology, etc. Each of us should find a local pastor and local church that is actively persuing justice, truth and righteousness. A pastor and church that is not afraid to go to an abortion mill and lead his congregation there. A pastor and church that is not afraid to have voter registration drives in their church. A pastor and church that is not afraid to stand in their pulpit and publicly speak to those who are righteous politicians and those who are not. A pastor and church that is not afraid to call sodomy...SIN, etc., etc., etc.
Any conviction that does not become participatory is worthless. Theology without biography is religion.
Mark is the dynamic Pastor of "Spirit One Christian Center" in Wichita Ks. He leads his church into the battle for the lives of children and their mothers every week at Tiller's abortion mill. Yes, theology becomes biography in Pastor Marc's church. This is always a road fraught with danger from all sides.
Mr. Tiller is perhaps the most notorious child killer in America! He not only has babies baptized that he has just murdered to assuage the tender consciences of mournful "parents", but he also burns their precious little bodies up in his "on premises" furnace.
Unfortunately Mr. Tiller is also a member in good standing of the Reformation Lutheran Church. This "church" and its pastor are in full agreement with abortionist Tiller's activities. We have beseeched them on several occasions to confront Mr. Tiller in love and plead with him to stop the carnage. We have asked them that, if Mr. Tiller refuses the church's rebuke, to excommunicate him. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Mr. Tiller is a large giver at Reformation Lutheran Church.
All of this background is to say that Pastor Mark Holick and his precious wife Monica are sterling examples and brilliant witnesses of what Jesus is calling His bride to be. He is looking for people who will allow the Word of God to become flesh - no matter the expense. Just look at His example when He emptied Himself and came to this earth to save us. That's right! Theology had to become biography in order for us to be saved! This is what Marc and Monica have done, and they are being crucified by Rhema for it.
Literally hundreds of children have been saved as a result of Pastor Mark's tireless efforts at Mr. Tiller's mill. His love for his Lord, the pre-born children, and their mothers and fathers, has been an inspiration to all of us who have been in the battlefield with him. Pastor Marc, like his Lord before him, has despised the shame and endured the cross because he is looking forward to a city whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:13-16, the great faith chapter, tells us much about men like Pastor Mark: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance...People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
Pastor Mark and Monica, your witness for Christ and his voiceless children is helping us all to remember that, "this world is not my home. We're all just passing through."
For those timid souls of Rhema, who are so desperately fearful of being sued, I ask you this - "Where is your love and where is your faith?" It appears you are worried about a country that can be seen rather than God's children who cannot be seen.
NOTICE** In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted
work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.