The New Testament Christian Church of Graham: an overview

by Bruce A. Smith 

A look inside the “church behind the fence”

 Across a sloping field along the Orting-Kapowsin Highway in Graham sprawls the world headquarters of the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc.  Embracing an old-fashioned style of religion that follows strict Biblical interpretations, the faithful of NTCC keep to themselves and are known to Graham residents as members of the “church behind the fence.”

“We’re friendly, though,” said associate pastor Mike Kekel, with a chuckle.

“The fence is mainly for security,” Kekel further insisted, adding, “I even saw a guy once walking up the O-K Highway who tried to steal a 40-foot ladder!” 

The fence encircles a large religious campus that includes the main chapel easily seen from the O-K Highway, and numerous other structures: a fellowship hall, an educational building that houses adult seminary classrooms and Sunday school facilities, a teen center, a smaller chapel for special events, a library, office center and printing shop, and a nursery.

Beyond the central complex are ten dorms for seminarians, and further westward along 210th St are homes for administrative staff and faculty.

However, what happens within these buildings is harder to discern.  During a three-hour visit not a single seminary student was observed although their student body is reported to have over 100 individuals and is a full-time educational program.  In fact, not a single woman was observed anywhere on the grounds during the initial visit.

Adding to the mystery of NTCC was the inability of Rev. Kekel to provide definitive answers about his organization, such as how many churches world-wide belong to the corporation, or how many members attend services, even though Kekel is the CEO.

Nevertheless, Kekel and his co-pastor, Phil Kinson, did say that approximately 700-800 members attend church services in Graham on Sunday mornings.

Internet sources report that NTCC has about 150 churches world-wide, with perhaps five-thousand members.

Despite the uneasy vagueness on organizational issues, both pastors were articulate about doctrinal ones.

“We preach Christ,” said Kinson.  “We allow the bible to guide our lives.”

Kekel claimed that the bible is the “pure word of God,” and said that when they preach Christ they are not delivering “an opinion,” but something much more authentic.

In addition, both men agreed that the NTCC seeks to “change the nature of humanity.”

“We believe that Christ is the only way,” said Kinson, “although the NTCC is not the only church.”

As such, both pastors clearly see NTCC as evangelical, with a mission to spread their religious message to the world.  To that end, the NTCC sends teams of lay pastors and volunteers into area neighborhoods to invite residents to one of the five religious services typically offered each week at an NTCC facility. 

The Co-Pastors of the Graham campus of the New Testament Christian Church: Mike Kekel, (l), and Phil Kinson, (r).

“But we don’t do malls,” said Kinson, with a chuckle.  “We respect the privacy of business owners.”

Besides Sunday morning services, church goers can select bible study and fellowship on Wednesdays, and worship services on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

However, a unique strategy of the NTCC outreach is to target military bases, particularly overseas, where single, lonely American soldiers need something more than honky-tonks and bars.

“We provide a home-away-home,” said Kinson, “and get them out of those filthy, evil barracks.”

 Life and worship in the New Testament Christian Church

Although there are five worship services held each week at the New Testament Christian Church in Graham and attended by hundreds of congregants, the fundamental experience that underlies all of that devotion for most believers begins in a place of utter solitude – the Born-Again Experience.

Most church members describe this event as the most profound and beautiful moment of their lives.  They feel that they have been touched or spoken to by God directly, and yet, it came at a time of absolute despair.

Co-pastor Mike Kekel describes his born again experience as occurring in his military barracks at Fort Lewis, when he felt the dead-end-ness of his life, the lack of purpose in his existence, and the resulting drugs and cursing swallowing him whole.

“I was so sick of my life, I couldn’t sleep,” he says.

One night in the midst of agony, he fell to his knees next to his bunk.  Then, he felt God was touching him physically.

“I believe he was letting me know how real he was,” Kekel says.

In response, Kekel resolved to stop cursing.  Shortly afterwards, he met some soldiers who attended the NTCC church in Graham and he followed.

Many others speak of similar born-again experiences and they describe it as the moment of their salvation.  Once “saved,” they find their way to an NTCC church, feeling it is the will of God that they attend.  In the NTCC environment they find acceptance and nourishment of this most personal transformation.

Soon, the members of NTCC grow to feel their relationship with God is the most important aspect of their life.  As a result, most of them travel to NTCC four or five times a week to re-invigorate that relationship.

View of the stage in the main auditorium of the main chapel at the NTCC.

The services follow a similar format: first a lively song session that has grown men jumping in ecstasy and everyone waving their hands and singing along.  A monetary collection then follows, and the service concludes with a biblical teaching.

Although the NTCC prides itself in adhering to a doctrinal purity of the bible “without interpretation,” as member Julian Cox lauded, and “without opinion” as co-pastor Phil Kinson claims, there is actually a great deal of biblical commentary given.  In fact, the Wednesday night “Bible Study” session is hardly that at all for there are no questions asked or solicited, and the study, as observed on one occasion, was mostly pithy exposition by Pastor Kinson.

One clear departure from study was Kinson’s asides chastising the inaccuracies of journalists, both modern day and biblical, which was not lost on this reporter.

Membership is quite diverse at the Graham NTCC, with about forty percent of congregants being of African-American heritage, and significant numbers possess Asiatic and Hispanic backgrounds.  In addition, about sixty percent of the worshippers are men and most are impeccably dressed in suits and ties.  In fact, the aroma of after-shave wafts throughout the parking lot, greeting members as they arrive for service.

Despite the widespread friendliness of the NTCC congregation, many worshippers sit by themselves and appear to be having a singular experience.  The preaching itself can be described as old-fashioned fire and brimstone, and Pastor Kekel is a superbly skilled fire-breather.

However, his rhetoric undercuts his substantial biblical knowledge; on one occasion he characterized children as “evil and filthy” when they have hissy-fits in the cookie aisle of a grocery store.

Adding to that virulent tone, Kekel uses a great deal of shouting and a percussive delivery, all of which feeds the view that NTCC has of the world – a hostile place that seeks to subvert the pure of heart -a world that the NTCC must defend against.

Nevertheless, since many members are former military, this combative approach seems to fit comfortably with their own view of the world outside the fence.

 Is the NTCC a cult?  Ex-members speak out

By most accounts the NTCC is a highly conservative, dogmatic, and controlling faith community replete with strict dress codes, rigid rules of behavior, and sharply-defined manners of worship.

But is it a cult?

Dozens of ex-members, including many former ministers claim it is.  In the examination that follows our intent is not to prove or disprove the NTCC’s status as a cult, we are simply conveying the many stories told about the NTCC experience and applying a reasonable analysis to their commentary.

Founded in Missouri during the 1960s by a break-away Pentecostal minister named Rodger W. Davis, the NTCC is a stand-alone religious organization.  It has no affiliation with any other denomination, and this singularity sets the stage for a tightly-wrapped organization.

Ex-members, such as Nicole Brown, say the NTCC clergy present themselves as the “actual spokesmen for God, and if you do not do everything they tell you, you will go to hell.”

What the preachers tell their congregations can be disarming: women must wear dresses, can not wear make-up, and must let their hair grow long.  If they are married, women are prohibited from working.

Building upon this, women are not allowed to run a ministry, even if they are ordained at the NTCC’s Bible Seminary, which Pastor Kinson acknowledges is a “highly-charged issue.”

Coupled with this is a rigid control of relations between men and women, especially courtship.  Many ex-members describe a system whereby a young man wanting to date a woman would first have to ask permission of Rev. Davis during a public fellowship service.  If Davis approved, he would then move to the women’s section and ask the young woman if she would like to court the man.  If she concurred, then the couple could “sit along the wall,” in pre-arranged chairs and chat.  In addition, they were forbidden to meet outside of this time, although they would eventually be permitted to go on a date with a chaperone.

One ex-minister, Vic Johanson, said that when he married his wife, a fellow member of NTCC, they had never kissed nor held hands.

As a result, many ex-ers, as former members call themselves, report the NTCC is filled with troubled marriages.

Social activities are also controlled.  Sports are discouraged if not banned outright, as ministers extol their members to spend the time more productively in prayer or other service to God.  Simple gatherings can be severely restricted, as well.  Ex-er Tracey Pelfrey declared that she had to ask Davis for permission to have children come to her daughter’s birthday party. Davis allowed two guests and the birthday girl’s sister, but no others.

Pelfrey also said that she had to ask Davis for permission to visit a sick relative, and she described the negotiation as nerve-wracking.

Even the simple joys of life are restricted.  For a long period of time, watching television was banned and was called “devil-vision,” and the Internet was forbidden and labeled the “sinner-net.”

Pastor Kekel, who is also the church’s CEO, says many of these restrictions have been loosened in recent years and the use of computers is now commonplace.  Nevertheless, controlling practices still linger.

In addition, intense financial pressures are exerted upon members, who are expected to tithe ten percent of their income to the church along with “giving ‘til it hurts,” as one ex-er described, in special collections for construction projects and missionary programs.

More troubling though is bullying from the pulpit.  Any perceived transgressions in members’ behavior can be cited during services, which many report as humiliating.

Further, when an individual leaves the church they are shunned by the membership, thus losing a lifetime of friends and relationships.

When members have questioned these practices, ex-ers say they received a biblical tirade or were told they were “in rebellion.”  Oftentimes, though, they were ignored.

 A deeper look into the NTCC – following the money

By all measures, the finances of the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc are murky and mysterious.

Ascertaining how much revenue comes into the church and where it goes is difficult.  CEO Mike Kekel has not returned phone calls seeking information on this subject, and all attempts to contact NTCC founder and Chairman of the Board, Rodger W. Davis, have been unsuccessful.

Perhaps most telling is the response of Pastor Kinson, who shared a series of conversational snippets in the NTCC parking lot after a bible study session.

When asked how much revenue the NTCC generates Kinson repeatedly said, “I don’t know.”  When pressed to reveal who does know and would they be available for an interview, Kinson replied, “No, that would not be possible.”

Kinson also refused to say how much compensations he receives to pastor the nearly 800 congregants at the Graham church.

Nevertheless, ex-ministers of the NTCC have been able to establish a partial picture of this financial empire.  NTCC has an estimated 1,500 – 5,000 members attending about 100 churches domestically and a dozen overseas “servicemen’s homes” near US military bases, mostly in Germany and Korea.  In addition, it has several missionary stations in Panama and the Philippines.

View from the stage of the auditorium in the main chapel.

All the faithful are expected to tithe ten percent of their incomes to the NTCC, and also contribute to “offerings” conducted at every service, along with special collections for the missionary work and special building funds.  According to a former NTCC minister, Les Rinehart, some of the tithe collected at local churches stays to maintain that community, but at least a portion travels to the Graham coffers maintained by Davis, Kekel, et al..

Greg Shunk, another former minister and former “overseer” of the three Korean ministries, estimates that these revenues sources can total up to $6 million per year heading to the Graham leadership.

Expenses are minimal.  Pastors in the domestic churches do not receive a salary and are expected to maintain full-time employment besides their pasturing duties.  Further, they receive no financial assistance to build their ministry, and although the Graham HQ will front the monies necessary to buy land and materials to build a new church the loan must be repaid to the NTCC, which also holds the title.  Thus, local churches are required to pay rent to the NTCC on the structures they build.

In addition, when a minister leaves a domestic church the NTCC reportedly absorbs all monies in the local escrow account, which can be tens of thousands of dollars, thus leaving a new replacement minister without funds.

Although $100,000 per year is reportedly raised for the three field missions, those who labor there see very little of it – $300 per month.  Further, many ministers report a life in poverty while they labor for the NTCC.

Veronica Medina, a NTCC Bible Seminary graduate and former minister, says she only received a one-time lump sum of $700 to help maintain her ministry in Puerto Rico during a three-year stint, even though she and her family lived in abject poverty.  When she asked the NTCC leadership for additional help, Medina says that Rev. Davis sent her $100 – as a loan.  She then had to go on welfare to feed her children, and soon after she resigned her ministry and left the church.

Davis, for his part, reportedly lives in a million-dollar home in Graham that is registered with Pierce County as being owned by the NTCC.  In addition, in 2004, Davis gifted his son-in-law, Rev. Kekel, with a 39-acre parcel of land adjacent to the NTCC campus in Graham.  This property is scheduled to be developed in 2011 and the documentation requesting a variance from local building codes will be presented to the Graham Land Use Advisory Commission on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7 pm in the Graham Public Library on 224th St at 92nd Ave.

Further protecting these disparities in incomes and lifestyles, the NTCC does not provide financial statements to its ministers or congregants, nor does it belong to the Evangelical Center for Financial Accountability, which according to Les Rinehart is the largest and most respected firm for ensuring sound financially dealings in church ministries.

Such accounting practices are called for by many in  the ex-er community, as the NTCC relies heavily on a “cash-only” system.

Former minister Vic Johanson says that his meager $25 per class salary teaching in the Bible Seminary, which totaled about $1,000 per year, was paid in cash from a card table overflowing with dollars.  Other former ministers and biblical students report that tuition, dorm rent and utilities, and even tithes, were all paid in cash to the NTCC. 

Based upon such financial practices, this organization may be best described as ex-er, Mark Gloer, has stated:  “The NTCC is a real estate company masquerading as a church.”

 A deeper look:  sexual and marital relationships in the NTCC

Of all the allegations leveled against the NTCC by ex-members, perhaps the most serious are those concerning sexual improprieties and destructive marital practices, such as the encouragement of teen brides, church-sanctioned marriage-busting when a spouse leaves the faith, and numerous charges of sexual abuse and misconduct by the ministerial leadership.

Specifically, ex-ers cast harsh judgment on the practice of the leadership betrothing their young teenage daughters to much older ministerial students, many of whom are in their twenties.

A prime target of these charges is CEO and co-pastor of the Graham NTCC church, Mike Kekel, who reportedly started dating his wife Tanya when she was 14 and he was 23, and already a military veteran.  Causing further alarm, Tanya is the daughter of NTCC founder Rodger Davis.

Also receiving the wrath of ex-ers is Phil Kinson, the other co-pastor of the Graham church.  Kinson reportedly started dating his wife Debbie Johnson Kinson when she was 13 and he was about 20 years old.  Kinson’s wife is the daughter of James L. Johnson, a long-time member of the NTCC Board of Directors.

Such arrangements can be construed as border-line criminal activity since Washington state law forbids any sexual contact between a 14 year-old girl and a partner who is four years older, such as in the case of Kekel and Kinson and their girl friends Tanya and Debbie.

Mr. Kinson and his wife both emphatically deny that any physical touching took place when they were dating, and both state that every moment they were together prior to marriage was in the company of others or on a sanctioned, chaperoned date.

The Kekels have declined all invitations to comment on these charges.

Nevertheless, Vic Johanson, an ex-minister who was friends with Kekel and Kinson – even commuting with them to bible studies – firmly declares that both Kekel and Kinson had “boasted about making out,” with Tanya and Debbie when they were young teenagers.

Another ex-member and NTCC Bible Seminary graduate, Linda Rodriguez Fairfield, also claims that she directly heard Kekel and Kinson acknowledge their sexual activity with their under-age girl friends.

Nevertheless, a more problematic issue for the entire faith community may be the efforts by church leadership to encourage a spouse to divorce when their partner leaves the NTCC.

Ex-minister Les Rinehart declares that these efforts of the church were buttressed by doctrinal pronouncements, and the faithful were told by the clergy that when a spouse leaves the NTCC they have effected “marital abandonment,” and thus had created grounds for a divorce.

“This is almost to the point of wife-swapping and ‘anything goes,’ as far as the situations that have been condoned, if not promoted, by the leadership,” Rinehart has stated.  

Rinehart is also very concerned about sexual misconduct in the NTCC, particularly acts perpetrated by the ministerial staff.  Reinhart specifically accuses Rodger W. Davis of being a “serial adulterer.”

Rinehart’s claims are corroborated in part by a former NTCC preacher who told this reporter that he had received the confession of a married woman who had had an adulterous affair with Davis.  Due to the circumstances surrounding how this information was obtained, the preacher has asked that his name and the woman’s identity be kept anonymous.  Nevertheless, at least two acts of sexual abuse within the NTCC community are known.

Linda Fairfield states that her 12 year-old daughter Christine was sexually molested by a young NTCC minister, whose name is being kept confidential pending the filing of criminal charges. Fairfield said that she came upon the minister in his bedroom with her daughter.

“Okay, they were fully clothed, but no man – especially a minister – should be alone in a bedroom like that with a young girl,” said Fairfield.

Linda Fairfield, with Jeremy Fairfield, the man she marrried soon after leaving the NTCC in 1998.

Fairfield also said that her daughter later told her of prior incidents of molestation, where the minister had taken the child on long car trips and had “tickled her where he shouldn’t have been touching her.” 

Fairchild’s daughter later confirmed these allegations in the presence of this reporter.

In addition, former NTCC church worker Michael Fontenot has reportedly been convicted of child rape in 2010 and is currently in prison.  A complete investigation of this case will be forthcoming shortly in the Mountain News.

©  2011  The Mountain News – WA



Thomas K Faubion  –  Attorney at Law

35 Years Experience

Civil Law, Estate Planning and Wills

Volunteer Lieutenant in the Graham Fire and Rescue

This entry was posted in Cops and courts, Culture, Graham News, NTCC, Politics, South Hill, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to The New Testament Christian Church of Graham: an overview

  1. We have attended the New Testament Church, (my husband attended for several years). Except for the manner of dress, it was similar to any other church that I have attended from childhood. The same music, same preaching, and same lovely people. I didn’t feel comfortable as my short hair and makeup didn’t fit it, however, that doesn’t mean that those women didn’t welcome me with friendliness and love. There is always criticism from disgruntled former members of any church or any secular, organization and sensible people disregard it. Don’t go witch hunting. I applaud any church that teaches the Bible without changing the Bible, that reaches out to the military families, that houses a Bible school/seminary. Definitely not a cult, in the offensive way some have labeled it. It is unfortunate that businesses, homes, and churches feel the need to put fences, bars on the windows, and install alarm systems but there are far more gangs, and criminals out there than there are churches that feel a need to protect their property.

    • bill lewis says:

      Well who is going to protect the public from them,ex pastor Kelly Merz just didnt wake up one day and decide to murder and have sex with a corpse, hey maybe he was one of the nice pastors who you are appauding for his freindliness. wake up a brood of vipers is a brood of vipers

    • Vic Johanson says:

      There is a reason that so many former members of this “church” are disgruntled, and it goes beyond personality conflicts or doctrinal differences. With due respect, one hasn’t really been initiated into the NTCC labyrinth until he or she gets “the call” and moves into the ministerial class. That’s where the control is consolidated and the real weirdness begins. You will find that the vast majority in NTCC don’t stay long enough to learn through bitter experience what this bondage is like. However, thousands have been through the mill and want nothing more to do with these oppressors, and furthermore, we would like to warn others to avoid the severe negative effects we experienced.

      Sure, there are many nice and good people in NTCC, just like there are in every abusive organization. But don’t think for a minute that you were accepted there as a Christian. It has always been taught that women who cut their hair and wear makeup are Jezebels who will “split hell wide open.” You can rest assured that the friendliness and love you detected were all an effort to get you “saved” from your rebellious and sinful ways. You did well to remove yourself from that environment instead of buying into the guilt and fear and being drawn deeper into the web, but others have not been so fortunate. Go to; read and learn.

      • Charly says:

        I came across article on total accident, but because i was with NTCC for over 15 years, i went on to read your thinly veilen rhetoric. True, many don’t stay long enough with NTCC to get to know the “inner workings”. Many who do, and leave well…. there is an old saying, “The farther you go, the farther you fall.” That is why so many who were ministers get so sullen and vengeful when they leave their organization on bitter terms. @Claudia – I truly agree with you. They (NTCC) are unique in some respects, and like most any other church in other aspects. Like any other church, the leadership, the members, the teachers, preachers and sinners are all human- the best will fail and have to go on. Where i was in my life when i began my journey with NTCC, needed their ‘brand’ of church. Was it perfect experience? HA! can not be shouted emphatically enough! but i am thankful, i am humbled, and i am going on. Even the Word of God says to work out your own salvation. People should stop worrying about thosthe salvation of those they left behind. God will take care of His church. If He did not allow NTCC to continue, they would not.

      • Vic Johanson says:

        “Thinly veilen” (sic)? I thought I was being pretty transparent about my opinion concerning this den of thieves. Were you in the ministry there? If not, you really don’t know the “inner workings” of this abusive group. If you were, then it’s your decision whether to abdicate your responsibility to warn others of the known pitfalls which attend participation in NTCC, but really? You’re going to criticize those who do? We should never lift a finger to help our neighbor because “God will take care of his church?” Well, if someone had told me the things I had to subsequently learn the hard way, I might not have been exploited quite as much, and many have testified of their thankfulness when informed of some of the more unsavory practices of NTCC’s “leadership”–like Anthony, the guy who posted last on this thread, who told me that because of the information he learned from the “sullen and vengeful” who left on “bitter terms,” he was able to escape the NTCC soul trap. According to you, we should have just shut up and let him flounder in the mire.

        It appears the brainwashing hasn’t worn all the way off for you yet.

    • chris pauler says:

      I am a former-and I emphasize former member: this so-called ‘ORG.’ should be wiped off the face of the earth: I hope GOD relieves us of this ‘ORG.’ once and for all! Let me just say this-if you ever consider attending there or visiting in response to anyone inviting ‘you’, rethink it! Stay away, unless you are ready to be viciously psychologically, and sometimes physically abused. I was a former Seminary student there after my military service(Oceanside, CA) where I had initially first attended the services (Camp Pendleton-Marines: I had been stationed on active duty).
      In Graham, WA- at the main Church you begin to see Lucifer take form in this wicked ‘Cult’ in his truest form. This ‘ORG.’ preaches, when they ought not, hatred, (unGodly)fear, how to make them and only themselves rich(when Jesus clearly states in all the Harmony of the Gospels-Mt.-John:”it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”), and more fear is preached, bullying(their pulpit needs to be burned to the ground after being set ablaze with trail of kerosene and a lit match)-it is their wooden ‘statue'(or idol) in which they hide for a moments behind so they can fling satan’s signs and lying wonders(by words- lazy, premeditated get rich quick words-this is their agenda, so make sure you try them by reading your Bible, and pray everyday!) just as the Antichrist(Satan himself will overtake this human-antichrist’s body in the last days) will do in the Tribulation Period with his false prophet. Just attend a service and see what I mean, but I warn-never attend again, before you get sucked into this Satanic Cult. They do not care about, or for the individual sinner and his small things (or big) he faces everyday. Just see after attending, whether they care about you. You can be sitting at a fellowship table alone, and no one preacher(of lies) will ever care. However, they sure will be quick to reprove, and admonish; and rebuke(‘flameblast’) about every little thing you do wrong
      There was a young man there acrossed the ‘dorm’ house where I stayed who after I arrived home from work, that same ‘pastor’s’ son (whose dad pastor’s anonymously in the U.S. for N.T.C.C.) physically attacked me, jumping on my back, trying to wrestle me, hit, punch, and humiliate me in front of all the other dorm students. The next time I saw him, I choked him in a choke hold until he tapped out(because he tried to attack me again). There were many dorm members who opposed me, though I was a peaceful student, they continued to gossip about me while I was minding my studies in my room (I overheard them while on the phone with my mom) back home.
      I believe these members truly are satanical, demonically oppressed, and twist the Word of God for their ‘birds of a feather’ (like-minded mentality)(for their own lusts, and wicked passions, lasciviousness, and all manner of wickedness). Concluding, I additionally was punched in the mouth by a new student who had just arrived from Army active duty from Okinawa, Japan, and he was admitted to stay in our dorm; and again, the next time he had pulled the ‘shenanigan’, I had to strategize and when I arrived home from work thinking about what he did I was enraged(the whole day), and I picked him up by his front legs, and I slammed him on the hard tile kitchen floor-if I hadn’t said, “enough”, he would have continued to fight me. All this was never told to ‘Directors’ and leadership(that’s a laugh), because I know how they would ridicule, and scoff me to scorn as a talebearer.
      New Testament Christian Churches of America is truly the pre-prophesy of the Book of Daniel that warned about the abomination of desolation sitting in the holy temple, the place where it ought not to sit. I am warning you, “this place needs to be quarantined, and thrown into the deepest fires of hell with Abaddon, and Lucifer(Satan) and all of his minions(followers) with all their following secret societies, etc. I would not doubt if they(one, or all their leaders) are linked to the Freemasons, or some other corrupt organization.*I am in no relation to prior seen investigations, nor blog(s); neither am I associated, nor have been in a friendship, or communicated with any or all anti-N.T.C.C. web(blogs) available on the internet. This and much, much, much, much more was inflicted, and suffered by me as a recipient of such abuse by this Organization and its members, collectively. So, flesh it out for yourselves-stay warned. For the Psalmist said, “by the fear of the LORD(the true fear of the LORD):thereby is your servant warned.” All I have done here is exercise my faith in God, and His statutes He has shown me, and execute the “fear of the LORD” to warn others.

  2. Mike England says:

    You’ve received quite the diverse experience of the Christian Church in Pierce County. I would be interested in hearing your views on the local Christian Church in our area?

    Pastor Mike England
    GPS Church

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Tis true Mike, I have received quite a diverse experience of Christianity – but not just in Pierce County. I was raised in a devout Catholic home growing up in New York and went to Catholic schools until college. Plus, in my early adulthood my partner was a vibrant, practicing Jew, and she became the president of her shul upon my departure. Further, I had left NY and family to relocate to Yelm and study full-time with Ramtha, so I consider myself a well-traveled person religiously.

      So, here is what I’ve learned: all roads lead to God, but some have a few more pot holes than others. Regardless, the bottom line for me is: what is the impact from someone’s particular spiritual journey; ie: how have they changed, how lofty are their ideals, how evolved are their actions? How well do they walk the talk?

      I have repeatedly told the NTCC leadership that I am not out to “get them,” and that I would like to tell their story. That said, my interviews would be replete with plenty of questions, particulary on the dangers of 23 year-old ministerial students dating 14 year-old girls and having that practice held as the ideal, or who really owns – both legally and ethically – the 39 acres on OK Hwy that is currently slated for development by Mr. Kekel, as I have been told by Graham residents.

      I readily acknowledge that the NTCC is an important place for many. Certainly it has been a sacred environment where people can be nurtured when they have a born-again experience. The big question is what happens next. It is on those events that I focus my searchlight.

  3. A splendid article and from what I read anti-female. When are these so-called Christians realize that women are equal to men? It is prejudice and bias and this is not what Jesus taught. It
    is interesting to note the number of Christian sects claim to preach Christ, but do not live
    the teachings. His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 says it all.

  4. brucesmith49 says:

    This comment comes from a long-time Mountain News reader, Bev Marshall. Her comments did not post properly so she sent them to me via email. It appears that problems at Word Press still continue.

    I found your article interesting, on the church in Graham. I know where it is. I’ve driven by it several times. Have thought about visiting some time but never have. I also heard, which I don’t recall in your article that the men sit on one side of the church and the women on the other, during a service. Thank you for the thoroughly done, informative expose on the organization. I had no idea about some things mentioned. From what you found, it has a mixture of truth and error. That is not the pure gospel that Jesus taught. What you found seems to be closer to cult practices than to freedom of worship and choices. Thank you.
    Bev Marshall

    • brucesmith49 says:

      In response to Bev:

      The congregational gatherings at the NTCC are not formally segregated by gender. Further, the worship services display a level of racial and ethnic integration rarely found elsewhere in American society.

      That said, women are treated much differently than men in many aspects of life within the NTCC. For instance, it is my understanding that women who are married can not be ministers. Further, I have not observed a single woman in a position of leadership or power.

      I also saw few children at the main services. I was told that they are diverted to a children’s center for their own activities and religious instruction.

  5. Pingback: Body of homicide victim found in a shallow grave on 86th Ave in Graham; local residents provide critical information to police | The Mountain News – WA

  6. Kevin Beaudry says:

    It is really a shame when people that have not attended this church believe the lies by the few that have left in a very disgruntle state. Unless there is a clear and devious mob-like activity going on behind the fence everything else should be forgivable. Regardless of what church one attends those that are part of the true church keep the commandments of Jesus Christ because they love Him. One of those commandments is to forgive others and if you do not forgives others than God the Father will not forgive you of your sins and transgressions.

    My heart goes out to all those involved in the recent shooting in South Hill, but I can assure you there is no evil conspiracy going on behind the fence at NTCC.

    If this church was taken to court the evidence displayed would be that they are not a cult plain and simple. They are a non-profit organization that can be audited at anytime by the government. They would be foolish to practice any shady deals considering their tax status that has been registered with the U.S. Government.

    I am astounded at the lies that are spread across by a small group of people that have left this organization and still harbor resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness in their so called Christian heart. I personally wish them nothing but success and pray that they can find forgiveness and move on. I have nothing to gain and refuse to be angry at them (condemning their actions are different) for they appear to be sincere in their attempt to shame this church yet they also appear to be blinded by hate and are not practicing the simple principles that Jesus Himself taught concerning relationships.

    I was with this organization for over 7 years. I attended their seminary and graduated. I even went out to work under this organization for a few years post graduation. They are one of the few churches that actually allow one to experience the presence of God freely. In other words there is not one practice they have that would deem them a cult, absolutely none. They have some specific Bible school rules and some general ministerial/church rules that one may disagree with. These rules are no different then those that you would find in other secular or religious institutions across this nation.

    The women are treated just like the Bible says. The women are treated with love and do have positions such as teaching and in Sunday school but none on the general board. Please note there are other churches and several secular institutions that still have no females in a leadership position or at most only one. To point out NTCC as this midevil project of gender class warfare is preposterous.

    The women and men sitting on different sides is a tradition that the faithful conduct. The new folks attending can sit with their spouses or loves ones all they want to, this is not forced on anyone. They do this because it is easier to focus on the message just like an all boys school or all girls school would have. This can be seen more so at the Bible school than the local congregations since there are more faithful present.

    As a matter of fact there is a public school in WA state that has been separating boys and girls in their classes. They say that the boys and girls are taught differently and are having a lot of success. This school states boys are aggressive and like to do work more by themselves with minimal talking, whereas girls prefer to talk more in groups to approach their goals. Either way it is no different than the simple principles practiced in an all boys or all girls school that wants their students to learn without any distractions from the opposite sex.

    By the way there are female ministers with licenses, but once they get married the man assumes the leadership position with the wife as the helpmate. This is a practice that has been in existence for years regardless if you agree with it or not. They are not the first institution to do this nor will they be the last.

    I did not witness any racial tensions or any racism at all during my 7-8 year stint with NTCC. This is one of the few churches that actually has a fully integrated congregation with numerous cultural backgrounds. I cannot count how many times we went out to eat as a mixed group of believers and got dirty/weird looks from an all black or all white congregation.

    Ms. Marshall I am so sorry that you have taken the view you have based on the limited information Bruce and others have been given access to. Bruce seems sincere, but I can assure you he does not have the big picture or all the information from an unbiased source. Hopefully I can be of some assistance here for both of you.

    I can assure you Ms. Marshall that when I was with NTCC the love of Jesus was there and this is the gospel Jesus taught. There are a few scriptures one might debate with this organization (tithe, dress attire, financial logistics) but the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached there in the power of the Holy Spirit. It might not be for everyone, but they are extremely friendly even if you disagree with their teachings and it would not hurt to check them out for yourselves versus taking someone else’s word for it. When I was there people actually got saved, everything else is minor semantics that if you do not agree with then there are a lot of other churches out there. Some people really like the atmosphere at NTCC, so to each their own. But lets give all a fair chance here shall we.

    The 23 year old minister dating the 14 year old girl was a very rare case; I mean very rare. The 14 y/o girl was a faithful ministers daughter that had the permission from her parents to date this young man, nothing was hid, and they have been happily married for what over 20 years now. There are certain cultures that offer their daughters for marriage at a very young 16 years of age. They were only dating while she was 14. In Massachusetts the age of consent is 16 years old current as of Sep 21, 2011. So to say that from this one very rare case in a organization of over 5,000 is something that goes on regularly is totally unfair.

    The founder of NTCC teachers that more than 10 years of age difference between a man and women can cause problems and that is a good cut off point. The founder also states that it does not matter what color you are if you want to marry but that interracial couples will have a hard time in the ministry because there is still a lot of people in society that do not accept interracial marriages. That is all it was, just a warning that a ministry could be limited to certain parts of the country because of racial tensions this country has had for years. The founder never forbid anyone from getting married that was interracial, this was just a suggestion out of love and practical experience.

    I am not surprised about a few cases of child molestation, for this is found in many churches throughout the land. Why? Because sin, the devil, and a society that pushes sex at every venue is real. When I was with NTCC if someone was found to be involved in any kind of devious sexual activity is was dealt with promptly. Mr. Merz no doubt suffered a divorce and lost his ministers license from a possible sexual sin. Is this not what should be done, but now the church is at fault for dealing with this sin, and causing this long term guilt in this gentlemen? Mr. Merz no doubt had space to repent and if he left this church without praying through or attending another church to get back to God then he wrote his own destiny, for without the Protection of God sin and the devil will make you a victim even though you still have the power of free will which means it is ultimately a persons failure and not God or a church. The devil will try to attack every church possible that has people getting saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. David had a soldier killed so he could lay with this man’s wife and he paid for it dearly. Any minister in NTCC or any other church will pay as well for God sees all.

    When I was with NTCC the majority of the people there would never be caught in such an act. You will always have a few (not just one) isolated problems like this in every church due to what I just mentioned above.

    While in Bible school there was a male student who got caught having a oral sexual experience with a female (not attending the church) inside one of the dorms, and what do you think happened? That man was kicked out of the dorm in less than a week and was allowed to attend a local church and pray through to make things right. This young man ended up marrying this woman he had this sexual experience with, they were both around the same age, but again it was dealt with promptly. Sin is real people and human failure is real, but that does not stop the gospel power from saving the souls of men and women. Again the majority of the ministers, wives, lay people at NTCC were of the finest, honest, and utmost character I’ve ever seen. I am not shamed to still call many of them my brother or sister.

    Bruce I will email you as well to hopefully give you a better understanding as to what goes on behind the fence, oooh, lol. I can assure you I am not affiliated with NTCC in any way. The last person I spoke to from NTCC was in 2003 or 2004.

    Thank you.

    Kevin B.

    • Vic Johanson says:

      “I am astounded at the lies that are spread across by a small group of people that have left this organization and still harbor resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness in their so called Christian heart.”

      Stern truth telling is often misconstrued as “resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.” However, unless you have attained omniscience, you really aren’t capable of judging such matters, and it’s presumptuous of you to make this accusation. Like you, I don’t hate anyone in or out of the NTCC. Howerver, I do hate the actions of these false prophets, and I spent twice as long as you did learning about them through personal experience. Regarding forgiveness, even God himself doesn’t forgive unless there is repentance, which we haven’t seen at all when it comes to this organization. No malice from me, though; I wish they would repent. But they won’t.

      “The women and men sitting on different sides is a tradition that the faithful conduct. The new folks attending can sit with their spouses or loves ones all they want to, this is not forced on anyone.”

      That may be true now that they are under scrutiny, but for many years, the gender-based seating arrangement was enforced personally by RW Davis. From time to time he would even have us switch sides, just to mess with our heads, I guess. No matter what kind of innocuous sounding explanations you construct, it was a pure control mechanism and had nothing to do with us learning anything other than to obey without question.

      “I did not witness any racial tensions or any racism at all during my 7-8 year stint with NTCC. This is one of the few churches that actually has a fully integrated congregation with numerous cultural backgrounds. I cannot count how many times we went out to eat as a mixed group of believers and got dirty/weird looks from an all black or all white congregation.”

      Well, I and hundreds of others personally heard “nigger” jokes from the pulpit for years and years. I even remember a couple that old RW told–from the pulpit:

      Q: What does “reneg” (he pronounced it “renig”) mean?
      A: Change of shift at the Burger King

      Q: Why don’t blacks marry Mexicans?
      A: They’re afraid their children will be too lazy to steal

      A friend of mine bought a burgundy suit once, and when RW saw him in it, he said “where did you get that nigger suit?” Nigger, nigger, nigger–it was just another word in that environment; we heard it all the time.

      I don’t know what you were doing when all this was happening, but if you didn’t witness any of that you were either asleep in church or blind, deaf, and dumb. Sure, they let black folks in their church, as long as their money is green and they act white. It’s a plantation system. They even put a token on the board now and then. But leave the corn rows at home, unless you want some public ridicule.

      “The 23 year old minister dating the 14 year old girl was a very rare case; I mean very rare.”

      Baloney. Teen brides were routinely married off in NTCC, and probably still are. And I lived in the dorm with Mike Kekel and Phil Kinson, and reiterate that they both boasted to me that they were engaging in heavy petting sessions with their future brides when these girls were only 14-15 years old, and that they refused all entreaties to repent. I was there, dude; St. Louis, 1982-3. You weren’t.

      “The founder never forbid anyone from getting married that was interracial, this was just a suggestion out of love and practical experience.”

      The founder did for years forbid anyone who ignored his “suggestion” from attending the “college” (or “seminary” or whatever they’re calling this unaccredited sham institution nowadays). Many relationships were destroyed by this manipulative tactic of making people fear going to hell for “throwing away the call.” You are practicing revisionist history by pretending these things never occurred. And back in the day, even a “suggestion” from the “Apostle” was framed as a command direct from the lips of God, to be disobeyed at one’s own spiritual peril.

      “When I was with NTCC if someone was found to be involved in any kind of devious sexual activity is was dealt with promptly.”

      …unless they were in a leadership position; then it was promptly covered up. But you wouldn’t know about that. Keep drinking the Koolaid!

      “Mr. Merz no doubt suffered a divorce and lost his ministers license from a possible sexual sin.”

      Now who’s slinging mud? Don’t you think this guy has enough trouble without you kicking him to the curb online? It sound like you’re only speculating–or is this a case of talebearing? Well, if you’re going to do it, do it right–give us all the dirty laundry; don’t just throw out some tantalizing tidbit that leaves us wondering if you know something or are just guessing. “No doubt”…”possible”… which is it?

      “I can assure you I am not affiliated with NTCC in any way. The last person I spoke to from NTCC was in 2003 or 2004.”

      So–why did you leave, if you think NTCC is so fantastic? Hmmm? If they’re all they say they are, then you had no reason to do so and are in rebellion, according to their doctrine. But it’s not surprising you haven’t spoken to any of them for years; they generally shun all who leave.

      • Kevin B. says:

        Oh just grow up already Mr. Johanson. Oh look I claim to be a brother but because these people at this church hurt me and this a person disagrees with me I am going to attack him with the same bitterness I have towards the former church I attended. Grow Up you hypocrite and read your Bible a little more please.

        How dare you try to attack my character based upon me disagreeing with you about NTCC. Maybe I am wrong on some issues or did not see things. I totally understand that. I am more than happy to admit if I was wrong and did not have something correct. But to say I am attacking a man based the evidence in front of me, oh please spare me the normal time wasting posts of bitterness you are use to spewing out of your mouth.

        If I came across presumptuous on the reason for divorce than I apologize and I am happy to do that.

        If you do not forgive others than how do expect God to forgive you. Calling people names and slandering people over rules or logistical issues is pathetic and down right hypocritical if you claim to be a mature brother in the Lord regardless of what church you attend.

        Throwing someone to the curb online? tale bearing? dirty laundry? Please you child. Your insignificant venom moves me like voters move the direction of this country. Again Grow Up little baby and learn to fill your cup with love & empathy vs worldly sympathy and bitterness.

        So tell me did I cry and pray unto the Lord of Glory when I heard the news about Mr. Merz? Were those real tears running down my face when I heard the news? “Yes”… “Possibly”…”Not a chance just because I disagree with you on some issues”…Which is it?

        As far as why I left you are not worthy to receive that information at this time. Receive this rebuke with the proper response and I will be more happy to fill you in. If you claim to have what you say you have. 🙂

      • Vic Johanson says:

        Again, warning others of potentially dire consequences shouldn’t be misconstrued as bitterness. Perhaps you are the bitter one, projecting it on others.

        I didn’t attack you; I disagreed with what you said. Grow up already yourself, and learn how to take what you try to dish out. You accused people of lying–please edify us by identifying the falsehoods you say are being spread. Bad things have been perpetrated on hundreds of people by the “leadership” of NTCC for decades, and those people are right to sound the alarm. All kinds of “devious sexual activity” by certain favored ones has been covered up, and I have personal knowledge of some of it. But you seem to be the kind of sucker RW was always challenging “if you don’t believe it, just ask me.” Your gullibility is painful to see.

        Judging by your comments, NTCC really did a number on you. Therapy is available to help you get beyond the denial. Otherwise, maybe they’ll have you back. It sounds like only your body left anyway.

      • Kevin B. says:

        Thank you Vic, that is exactly what I expected from you and nothing more. No surprise really, but in the end I wish you nothing but the best.

        You are a precious soul in God’s eyes, regardless of our what our differences in this matter might be. Everyone in NTCC is also a precious soul and I will continue to pray for them as I do for those outside of NTCC.

        I appreciate your good intentions to try to warn, but the manner in which it comes across just does not make sense considering most of the issues are supposedly mind control tactics or heavy micromanagement into the lives of those within NTCC; non of which makes them a cult based upon what I’ve seen.

        I do not ever recall being forced or coerced into doing anything. I think the Holy Spirit is able to properly guide us if things get too out of hand with any institution.

        Now again maybe I’ve missed some things, and I’m happy to be corrected in the right spirit, but on touching on many of the issues we all experienced I just saw things differently.

        Is it wrong to say you can go to heaven in NTCC and go to heaven outside of NTCC? If Jesus said to deny ourselves “daily,” take up our cross “daily,” and to prefer Him above everything else in this world ‘daily” should we condemn those that desire a high standard concerning the principles Jesus taught.

        To me “balance” is the key; not too much and not too little with the guidelines, standards, etc… The end goal of being able to fulfill the principles Jesus taught; most importantly serving Him in a brotherly and sisterly environment of sincere love.

        I wish peace and good will to all visiting these boards. Remember many things are not what they seem; Politics trumps the Justice System, Power and Money trumps Love, and the answer to the purpose of life has many versions but in the end only one will stand the test of time. 😉

        Kevin B.

      • Vic Johanson says:

        I’ve never said a person can’t go to heaven in NTCC, and I’m sure many will. But since NTCC membership isn’t a prerequisite for that (contrary to the insinuations of the “leadership,” who only pay lip service to that truth while doing their best to make everyone think otherwise), why bother? Why subject oneself to the constant fault finding and heavy handed control tactics? We know it’s not about a “high standard” with them, because we have repeatedly seen them violating the very “policies” they’ve enforced on others. No, it’s about manipulation, and they have a sick penchant for jumping people through ridiculous hoops for no good reason. These aren’t principles Jesus taught; they’re whims of autocrats.

        Sorry if you think I’m bitter, but I don’t have time to corrode my soul with negativity. I do have some legitimate anger toward them, however, not so much for what they put me through, but for the screwed up lifestyle they deceived me into imposing upon my children (which they hypocritically refused to visit upon their own progeny). Hoping others are spared from that dysfunctionality keeps me constructively motivated to continue speaking out against this blight on the church world. Sure, the Holy Spirit can do lots of things, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our part either. It’s hard to hear the still small voice when there’s a maniac bellowing nonsense at you from behind a pulpit almost every day.

    • Bill says:

      Its funny that you mention their tax status, which means they are incorperated , which means they are under the soverien athority of the Goverment, which creates corperations, instead of a church that would be under the athority of God what happened to seperation church and state. The good news for me,them Being incorperated means they can be sued in court and every single member can personally be held personally liable just like any other corperations, A wrongful death suit is being sought , in the death of Cori Lewis

    • bill says:

      So Kevin do you think mayby Kelly Merz , may have reached out for help for his sexual additions which lead to him being stripped of pastor rights and the end of a 20 year marriage and eventually murber then sexual relations with a corpse with a boby while he was the onsite manager with the keys to all the tenanats apprtments who were largley church members, do you think he just snapped oneday out of the blue .do you think his wife after 20 years of marriage didnt know he was alittle twisted ,do you think the church could have prayed for him or got him the help he needed or maybe turned him in to the law if he did have relations with a minor, like the other pastor who is in prison right now, dont get mad at me im just asking cause your so sure everthing is forgivable HUH I dont think even God thought he had to give the command Dont have sex with dead bodies

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Editor’s Note:

        Recently, Kelly Merz has been charged with an additional crime. Besides one count of murder in the first degree for the death of Cori Lewis, Mr. Merz is also charged with one count of “Sexually Violating Human Remains.”

        Mr. Merz is scheduled to appear in Judge Vicki L Hogan’s court room on March 15 at 8:30 am to answer to these charges.

      • Kevin B. says:

        Whoa hold on there Bill, you are coming across kind of emotional.

        Why would I be mad?

        Trust me, nothing you said there would get me mad.

        I will send you an email and feel free to contact me at your convenience. 🙂

    • Chachshka says:

      Beaudry! Well stated, but you were always articulate, lol. i am continually appalled at the people who think they are to doing God’s work, while they are filled with such lust for revenge that they could not possibly be “warning and educating” with pure purpose. I think there are some, who like Paul, cause division in strife in the name of the Lord, out of ignorance. Even they, if truly remaining tender to the Lord will have a true “eye-opening” experience to the errors of their ways.

      I was involved with NTCC, in active ministry, for almost 15 years. I was not brain-washed. I believe as you do. There are always human errors where ever humans are involved. Are there ministers, members and such like in this organization that need to make things right with God? that have failed? or caused harm to others? Yes. To me personally, yes. All i know, is that as Rev. R. W. Davis once said, “At some point you have to go on, and do what God wants for you to do- regardless if anyone else ever understands.” That is what God wants from me- to go on.

      My experiences throught the first 15 years of my walk with God, could have happened anywhere, in any church. God guided me through, even when i failed, and is using the good, bad and the ugly to make me the person He needs me to be.

      Vic here seems to think that if we do not run the name of God through the mud by tearing down eachother, we are not {whatever he thinks he is}. I know God called me to serve in love, humility and compassion. THAT Vic is what i will endeavour to do. Christ had disciples come to Him and complain that there were those that were not worthy to be preaching the One true God doing just that! Christ said leave them be! Let the name of Christ be preached. Let the Almighty Lord take care of those He allows to stand in the gap.

      • Vic Johanson says:

        Since you’re so keen on invoking Jesus’ example, let me remind you that he was quite pointed in his criticism of the Pharisees, even referring to them as vipers and whitewashed tombs. NTCC is an almost perfect modern analogue of those ancient legalistic hypocrites, and my present attitude is informed by the way Jesus handled them. You go ahead and “move on” while others get the shaft, but leave me and others to sound the trumpet and warn them. The bible is full of rebukes regarding false teachers, and we are instructed to oppose them.

        We all have our roles; I’m not finding fault with you for what some may view as dereliction of duty to your brothers and sisters, so you can lay off me for doing what I think is right by them. OK? You seem to think you can discern the secret motives of other people, with your speculative accusations of a “lust for revenge.” But the outrageous behavior of the NTCC controllers is off limits, huh? Their purity isn’t to be questioned? Not very consistent of you; perhaps you should reconsider the brainwashing theory.

    • Neil V. says:

      Minor semantics?!?!?!?!?!

      Merriam Websters definition of cult…
      noun, often attributive \ˈkəlt\
      : a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
      : a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
      : a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

      Aside from paying tithe, (10% of my GROSS pay), being a “cheerful giver” as Pastor Dennis in Woodbrook would say, AND pledging, whatever that means, I was sacrificing my entire existence to NTCC for the “so-called” lords work. I was in church 6 of 7 days of the week. I would attend prayer meetings till very late weekly. I cried out to the lord and it was extremely purifying. However, once I decided to do something both physically and emotionally therapeutic called tennis on Sunday evenings, I became a threat to the church and the insults, belittling, condemnation, humiliation began incessantly like drill sergeant trying to “break” me.

      The ringleader Pastor Dennis would literally mock me on the pulpit to the point where everyone would laugh and even the brothers that sat near me would pat me on the back in acknowledgment of the obvious. At the time, I felt he was simply trying to get me to understand the importance of God’s work. That nothing else mattered in this existence but marketing, oops, I mean “soul-winning.” The problem with me playing tennis on Sunday evenings was that I would not be a part of the soul winning and proselytizing and the others would notice I wasn’t there. This act was a threat because it would indicate that it’s okay to skip soul winning and others would eventually soon question why it was that I was allowed to miss soul winning and get away with it scott free. So Pastor Dennis would continue to degrade me and one day I decided that his acts were not conducive or synonymous with what God represented.

      When a human has to resort to humiliation of a so-called brother in the presence of the entire congregation, it conveys a lack of intelligence and an inability to truly harness the power of God. That behavior was not synonymous with love. Consequently, my wife (whom I married in the church) and I left.This was a massive blow to the NTCC Inc. because I was extremely loyal in giving them money. They tried desperately to get me back but I no longer felt the spirit of God in that church. In actuality, I didn’t even care that he acted to childish because I was in church for my salvation not anyone else’s. I’m not ultimately responsible for anyone but myself right?

      I even convinced myself that I would stick around until I witnessed a reason to leave. I remained for some time and I will admit that I became a transformed being. I will admit that my devotion was evident to the point where my old friends would respect me so much that disappeared and even respected me. They would not use profanity around me or anything. People can tell real from fake right away sometimes without even saying a word! Whereas other brothers never were able to command this level of respect. Even if they asked the unsaved to not speak filth around them…people would just pretend they weren’t even there.

      I never understood how they allowed a morbidly obese pastor to die directly related to his obesity. I don’t recall his name. He was a kind man. However, does the bible not say that your body is the temple of God? That it is a vehicle to be used specifically for his glory? Then what good is a pastor that invests many years in performing God’s work, only to die prematurely way before his time? I understand that obesity is an illness but others should have embraced him and devoted time to the prevention of this form of completely avoidable death.

      Never did understand how they are called New Testament Christian Churches, “Incorporated” after a church name? I understand that saving souls is somewhat of a business but is NTCC involved in something a bit more nefarious for tax and business reasons? As mentioned above:

      “Based upon such financial practices, this organization may be best described as ex-er, Mark Gloer, has stated: “The NTCC is a real estate company masquerading as a church.”

      If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck….

      What I also never understood was that after bible study, there would be a question and answer session afterwards during “refreshments” (a clever way of enticing young soldiers to stick around afterwards). The problem is that week after week, I would submit questions that would NEVER be answered? Why? The questions were not ignorant. They were relevant but for some reason because they involved sex and how I interpreted the bible, Pastor Dennis would NEVER read certain questions that I would ask week after week.

      Consequently I became a Nichiren Buddhist. Because the word of God can be twisted and distorted (even Islam’s God “Alah” see ISIS in Syria) in which I desire no part of. No one that practices this form of Buddhism feels coerced or humiliated by anyone at all. I am actually convinced that if there is a God, he put this effective practice in my path. There is no judging or condemning or humiliating. When was the last time you saw a Buddhist lop someones head off? It is effective because the result of chanting twice daily facilitates my human revolution and establishes awareness. I have “distance” now between my thoughts and my actions. I was told to try it out first and if it was ineffective, I could cheerfully abandon it. Christianity does not provide that option.

      “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

      Sounds a bit coercive to me. There is no option. God does not function in a grey area. You are either all in (NTCC’s principles) or the “Lake of Fire” awaits you. Hell is a figurative, transient place that ALL humans momentarily experience such as happiness, sadness, despair, and all other states of existence. All states of existence are ephemeral. The pursuit of happiness is a lie. No one ever arrives and remains there. If that were so, then there would be no sorrow when a loved one died. NTCC was quick to condemn you to the, “Lake of Fire” if you were to do anything that was sinful. Which is impossible for humans not to do. So if you think about it, it’s not possible to truly and genuinely expect to be loved by God when you fear an afterlife of fire and brimstone “IF” I don’t get saved, “IF” I don’t follow these commandments–(which are really common sense anyway and are mans laws as well for the most part). How then can anyone ever truly desire God when in reality, you DON’T have free will? If you know that “IF” you don’t get saved you will burn for eternity, how can that be free will? Lets see, if you become Wiccan–DEATH! Buddhist–DEATH! So that means Ghandi is burning in hell right now right? IF you don’t do this or don’t do that, then there’s a price to pay. So in reality, according to Christianity, every single human that does not accept Jesus will surely perish. Does that not seem coercive to you? “Hey son, if you don’t do this or don’t to that you will pay with the buckle end of a belt.”

      In my opinion, the Bible is an instrument of oppression. No I don’t hate Christians. I was force fed Seventh Day Advent-ism as child. All I hear from those oppressors is a self-righteous, intolerant, condescending, holier that thou attitude. Really no different than ISIS slaughtering anyone that doesn’t share and live their God based belief system. Interestingly, I realized the power that the bible has to oppress when I watched the movie “The Book of Eli.” In this movie the most evil person on the planet desires the last copy of the bible. Why? Because he specifically understands the power it has to persuade and influence people into being tractable, docile, obedient, etc. for that 10% tithe, offerings, etc. and consequently become slaves that get reminded every Sunday to comply or await an eternal sentence of punishment/pain. Oh wait, but God is love right? Only if you comply and compromise your so-called “free will” to God.

      My website is under construction.

      • Will says:

        you should check out how far HOPCC has gone, many higher ups have left and found freedom including Pastor Bradeen and others.

  7. Vic Johanson says:

    Until I departed NTCC in 1995, women and men were segregated during church services, just as they had been when I started in the late ’70s. Cosmetic changes have been effected to diminish this organization’s apparent weirdness, but it appears that no fundamental changes concerning the most abusive practices have occurred

    • Greg says:


      The segregated seating continued until the new chapel opened to the general public in 1999. Segregated seating continues, at the conferences in Missouri, to this day.

  8. Wally Balmer says:

    The NTCC has been labeled a cult since its inception. Any so called chirstian church rooted in the Lavitical law is not Christian. Christians were first called such by those who were of the Law. The apostle to the gentiles revealed Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Gal 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
    This cult places thier followers under the law which is rejected by the Apostle Paul for sanctification . .. for becoming “right” with God . . . I fear the day the NTCC puts Kool-aid on the potluck’s menu.

    • says:

      Yes Paul said he was the best but he counted all as rubbish for Christ excellence .

  9. David says:

    Baloney. Teen brides were routinely married off in NTCC, and probably still are. And I lived in the dorm with Mike Kekel and Phil Kinson, and reiterate that they both boasted to me that they were engaging in heavy petting sessions with their future brides when these girls were only 14-15 years old, and that they refused all entreaties to repent. I was there, dude; St. Louis, 1982-3. You weren’t.

    (Editor’s Note: The above paragrpah is an excerpt of Vic’s comments, posted above.)

    Statutory Rape Is Illegal Sexual Activity Between Two People When It Would Otherwise Be Legal If Not For Their Age

    In accordance with the FBI definition, statutory rape is characterized as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. The actual ages for these laws vary greatly from state-to-state, as do the punishments for offenders.

    Missouri — Age of Consent


    Added 03-2002:
    Statutory rape, second degree, penalty.

    566.034. 1. A person commits the crime of statutory rape in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age.
    2. Statutory rape in the second degree is a class C felony.
    (L. 1994 S.B. 693) Effective 1-1-95 As of August 28, 2001.

    There you have it folks….. The FBI’s version of what is considered statutory RAPE; and the violation of Missouri laws, where it took place. If this is not peophilia, then what is? Kekel and Kinson are both pastors at this church!

  10. Vic Johanson says:

    There is no evidence sexual intercourse (unless the law contains its own peculiarly broad definition) took place, and you’ll need to fine the ’80s statutes to determine whether there was lawbreaking.

    There is no need to inflate; the unvarnished truth will suffice to reveal these mens’ character.

  11. brucesmith49 says:

    Well said, Vic; there is no need to inflate.

  12. Tanya, too.. says:

    It was at this church I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost and was saved. I have never known anything like it in all my life, and I would be lying if I denied its occurance. I thank God everyday for the impact that this particular church had in my life, and even though the old fashioned views saddens me, I’m pretty sure they are direct expressions from the bible. Also, it must be known I wore jeans and crisp white Wii jackets with skull covered shoes to church many times when I was first attending! Come as you are, don’t NOT come to church just because you’re not dressed right. That would be worse! Yes, I noticed all the people, especially women, looked the same and old fashioned with dresses. I also notcied, however, they all had a particular youthful look to their faces that only trust in the Lord can provide. I don’t know what to say, other than I found the Holy Ghost here.

    • Akeys Bort says:

      Tanya, we all know who you are, we all know you are Sister Kekel. No need to hide identity behind a persona as if you blindly walked in into NTCC, they both adopted you and made you a head leader in the church. No need to put on this persona here as if you are outside among common folk.

  13. Vic Johanson says:

    God will use anything he can. I also confused positive spiritual experiences I had while trapped in NTCC with divine endorsement of the group. But years of involvement gave me an opportunity to observe the leadership’s behaviors, and evaluate them in light of what the bible says about Jesus. I don’t pretend to know what Jesus would always do, but a lot of what I saw and heard were things he would definitely never do. That realization gave me strength to remove myself from the control of this organization, a decision which has benefited me and my family in every way.

    As far as the “old fashioned views,” they’re on the way out. Those of us who were around back in the ’70s know what was taught (and required!) even up into this millennium, and despite contrary protestations by Mike Kekel, change has already occurred. The new crop of leaders are pragmatic enough to know that they can’t appeal to people in sufficient numbers to satisfy their lust for money and power unless they lighten up and appear more normal. Now that the “apostle” is out to pasture in Arizona, they’re free to reinvent themselves and engage in any historical revisionism necessary to conceal the truth that for years they have instigated and participated in pernicious actions which have had an extremely negative effect on hundreds of lives. They need to change, and I’m all for it, but until they come clean and admit their tainted past, beware–the change is only on the surface. Don’t trust them.

    • Anthony says:

      Vic, My wife and I recently attended this church for a Sunday service and I find myself coming away questioning on rather I should be involved or attend this church.. I would be very greatful if I could possibly talk with you or exchange emails on the concerns that I witnessed and heard..

  14. Justin Reihl says:

    When Mark S. Cobb was the preacher in Pgh. Pa. He watch me walked home about 2 1/2 miles and laugh about it, not only did he laugh at me, but he preached to me at the same time when he stir my anger up from watching me walk home. His co-minister in Pgh. Rev. Kirkwood also called me a filthy pig in front of 2 other members. Also Rev. Stio and I talked about something and I try to get his advise and he encourged me to go hurt the guy but I refuse to listen to his advice.

  15. Justin Reihl says:

    I look at church like this, if you are claiming to be a christian then act like one, if you are claiming to be a christian when you know well on the inside that you are sinner, quit trying to cover up your sin, especially ministers. (Get bold back with phony ministers, if they make you mad, just make them look bad on the internet, that goes for all churchs and religion. If churchs make you mad, just make them look bad on the internet.

    • tim jensen says:

      I just whant to say hello I am a former member also I wpuld like vic johanson to get in touch with me my email is my name is tim jensen. U may not remember me

      • Vic Johanson says:

        Hey Tim–sure I remember you! Tried to look you up a few times, in fact, but you have a pretty common name. I’ve posted you at your email address. Let’s catch up.

  16. B. Hawkins says:

    I was raised in NTCC. “I cut my teeth” on the second pew on the right side(women’s side), I played the tamborine every service, I lived on church property until I was 12, and after all these years, I still question this,”religion”. I never knew anything but church. 5 days a week. I watched people being berated over the pulpit under the pretense that they were going to die and go to hell. I watched my family struggle because it was unacceptable for women to work, and we could barely make ends meet. I watched close family members divorce because he was blamed for stealing money from the church for years, but it was really pilfered away by the local pastor and a certain visiting pastor(Denis). I am a witness of the practice of marrying young girls off to older men. My sister and I were both being positioned to men in church. At 15, I was being asked to stay after church for “fellowship” to let the single men know that I was now grown and available. My parents were told to marry my sister and I off to young men at the church, or send us to Bible School, and we would get married there. I bear witness of people being ostracized for “not being right with the Lord”. I know of many instances that pastors were told to “run people away from the church” if questions were ever asked concerning the doctrine and monetary practices of the church. It was not until I went away to college(which was highly discouraged), that I began to distance myself from the church. I learned that there were actually other religions in the world, and that some of them must be going to heaven too! I have no ill will towards the church, although I can no longer accept their doctrine to be true, and I am generally ignored by them when we meet in public.

  17. DMH says:

    To Charlie Saminto/Rowe/Ramirez…..
    Charlie said; I was involved with NTCC, in active ministry, for almost 15 years. So if NTCC was or is such a great experience why did you leave after devoting 15 years of your life? Most people that commit that type of time into something do not just “up and leave” one day because they want to try something new. Last time I saw you you were employed at McDonalds (as a full grown adult) divorced and not attending this “wonderful” church at all. What caused you to abandon and leave everything you knew for 15 years to start all over? There’s something you are not sharing….

  18. I have a blog I want to share with anyone who finds this. It’s focus is on New Testament Christian Church and whether or not it’s teachings or practices are Biblical. I don’t know about the rumors of sexual abuse by their leadership, whether they are true or not, and I don’t want to make my decision about them based on things I did not witness or cannot prove or disprove. In my blog, I look at the things that we can see clearly and I look at them critically, giving NTCC the benefit of the doubt, yet not overlooking what is clearly evident. My goal is not to simply tear down an organization so the people can all be scattered, but to promote positive discussion about what the true Christian Church should be if NTCC has fallen short. That is why I have also developed a website with videos that I have made that sort of accompanies my blog about NTCC. The focus of this website is to find the answer to the question, “What is the True Church?” That is in fact the domain name. If anyone is interested in reading or watching my material, here are the links:

    • says:

      Kristefer Moore I miss you and think about you often. I think that the patter of the church is to follow Christ and not man. When we put the emphases on man it’s always trouble. If we simply follow Christ and let him lead us we will always be ok.

      • Hello Timothy, I apologize. I feel terrible admitting this, but I can’t place a face with your name. Is there some way we could reconnect and I can see your profile somewhere? Maybe you can go to my blog and leave me an email address or something? I agree we have to follow Christ, but I know we have to understand His teachings and often the problem is not in His word being hard to understand, but the task is in disproving the lies we have been taught by mainstream churches around the world. We need to know the Bible very well in order to convince ourselves and others of the truth against the lies. For example, In NTCC’s little book about war and capital punishment, they teach that a Christian could very well fulfill the role of an executioner even though the Bible says to love your enemies, judge not, and so forth, and their justification for this in a nutshell is that we can kill for our governments as they are established by God, but Paul doesn’t say you must kill for your government, although he does say to pay tribute, custom, etc. Anyways, NTCC uses a verse of scripture to back them up which I can succinctly shoot down as mishandling and wresting of the scriptures. They say Paul said we must obey not only for wrath’s sake but also conscience and they interpret that to unsuspecting young born-again servicemen to mean that we must obey our governments and fulfill their wrath on other nations by killing their people. Not so fast, Mr. Kekel and Mr. Olson. Paul said just before that verse that the governments will execute wrath on those who break their laws, then he says we must obey not only for wrath but for conscience sake. The clear more natural interpretation here is that we as Christians must obey governments, not only because they will kill us or punish us for breaking their laws, but because the Bible instructs us to. If churches would stop working for the governments such as the USA and would stop promoting their war propaganda, and would start preaching Christ, that would eliminate half the problem that we face in the challenge of following Christ.
        I hope to hear from you soon, Brother Jensen.

  19. Pingback: Harmless Church | Chiefy's WordChiefy's Word

  20. Pingback: Harmless Church | Chiefy's Word

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s