Sam Whaley was a student, and then instructor at Rhema Bible Training Center in the latter 70s & early eighties. I was a student of his. He also co-pastored at Walnut Creek Church with David Ingles. His wife, Jane, was a vocal and captivating part of the ministry team. He only stayed at Rhema until 1982, before leaving to do missions work.
When I was pastoring in Minneapolis in 1983, Sam came into the city to conduct a missions conference with Jim Kaseman. He later returned to his native North Carolina to pastor a church there. The odd ministry stories continued to emanate from mutual contacts. A former classmate of mine (David Ward) who also pastored in the Carolinas later told me his wife left him after Jane Wiley prophesied to her that God ordered her to divorce David.
This is all bizarre behavior which Rhema and Kenneth Hagin Ministries clearly does not practice or condone.
Former members of the sect report:
There is little that Whaley does not control at Word of Faith, the former followers said:
Members can’t watch television, go to the movies, read newspapers or eat in restaurants that play music or serve alcohol. Men cannot grow beards, and no one can buy a house or even a car without permission.
Sexual thoughts and intercourse are considered “ungodly” or “unclean,” so adult members need permission to date, get married and even have sex after marriage. Ministers dole out condoms because couples are not allowed to have children without Whaley’s authorization.
Several couples said they had to wait up to a year after their weddings before they were allowed to have sexual relations.
Two former members said a 20-year-old woman was repeatedly smacked and punched by a church leader who blamed her late menstrual cycle on pregnancy, when she hadn’t obtained church permission to have a child. In fact, the victim said she’d never had sex with her husband; they’d only kissed — once.
“That was one of the worst beatings,” said Rachael Bryant, 28, who left the church last year. “She started punching her in the chest, punching her in the stomach, slapping her in the face. It went on and on.”
Sixteen of the former members said they were hit or beaten by Whaley, including two who said she banged their heads against a wall repeatedly. Another 14 said they saw her smack or assault others — including grabbing crying babies at services and aggressively shaking them to drive away the demons.
Tim Cornelius, 44, a nurse who left in 2013 after more than 20 years in the church, said that in the eyes of Word of Faith leaders, “The baby isn’t hungry or needs to be changed. The baby is crying because they’re possessed by a devil.”
Some of the worst abuse involving children and teenagers took place inside the church-run school, according to former congregants.
Read the full report at the New York Post.
Opinion of the Editor
We recently moved our blog. Our archives are still partially stored at our old site.
David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...