Struthers Memorial Church and the honesty about beliefs


We would like there to be honesty about what SMC teaches and believes.


We would like there to be clarity and consistency across the group of churches – or a statement that this is not important to SMC.


If clear statements of SMC teaching in each of the following important areas do not exist, we suggest the SMC leaders urgently get into a room to decide and communicate what they believe the Bible teaches on each. It is hard to see what jobs the SMC leaders have to do each day that are more urgent or important, or more central to the call to leadership they have received, than ensuring the membership understand their teaching on all these issues fully and clearly.


This list is not random. These are all topics which the contributors to these articles have heard, either mentioned in sermons in SMC, or heard spoken of in one-to-one conversations with leaders, who indicated some of them were important requirements for leadership or membership. Some were indicated to be requirements of those wanting to continue in attendance at SMC meetings. Some of these were indicated to be God’s requirements.









Can SMC members and leaders:


  • Visit the Cinema with their families?


  • Watch broadcast television, non Christian DVDs, or TV on the internet?


  • Be expected to agree to fully abstain from all alcohol?


  • Be required not listen to certain types of music? What types would that be?


  • Shop or go to restaurants on a Sunday? Can children play games, such as football, on a Sunday? Are there any other rules about what the SMC leadership teach is acceptable on a Sunday that people should be aware of before becoming a member?


  • Can unmarried SMC members go on dates with Christians of the opposite sex? If so what teaching would be given for this situation? Or is such conduct banned?


  • Be allowed to marry Christians from another church?


  • If so would their leaving SMC to go to their spouse's church be appropriate? Would they receive a blessing on their way from the leadership and congregation as would be universally practiced in the rest of the Chrsitian church? Or would their marrying outside the church be seen as them choosing a lesser spiritual path?


  • Be allowed to remarry if divorced? Allowed to marry a divorcee? Has the teaching on this changed in recent years or has it always been clear and consistently applied?


  • Have regular contact with non SMC Christians or would that risk damage to the spirituality of SMC members?

(We are not being sarcastic - we have heard some people in leadership in the past claim this so. If it is not the case, it should be stated so once and for all.)


  • Be allowed to attend non SMC run Christian conferences and camps?


  • Be allowed to ask their leaders any questions they would like to know the answers to without being judged, criticised or shamed in any way? What questions would be unacceptable?






We would be happy for any former SMC church members or interested members of the public to suggest other areas of SMC teaching where a clear statement of the current teaching - and the biblical basis it is derived from - would be helpful.









What is the SMC leadership view of what the Bible teaches about;


  • Marriage – does the SMC leadership believe that to choose to remain single is a higher spiritual calling?


  • Is the relationship with their church leader more or less important that a person’s relationship with their spouse?


  • New Testament teaching on women in leadership.


  • Can a woman wear make-up and be a member of SMC? If so, can they be in a leadership role ?


  • Can a man or woman be in a leadership role if they dye their hair ?


  • Are Christian leaders allowed to retire? If so in what circumstances?


  • When it is acceptable to shun, loose all interest in, or simply ignore a church member? In what circumstances would that be acceptable behaviour for a pastor? Would the person always or just sometimes be be told they were no longer under pastoral care ?


  • New Testament teaching on favouritism in the church.


  • New Testament teaching on church govenment.


  • New Testament teaching on how leaders are appointed


  • How  leadership accountability and discipline works?


  • The teachings, beliefs and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church?

Have the views of the leadership changed since the clear statements made by the original SMC senior leaders just prior to the 1982 Papal visit? If so  - was that change of teaching communicated to all the branches and members? How would someone considering membership of SMC find out the SMC teaching on this subject?

We believe there is deep confusion  about this within the SMC leadership and real confusion among the members. Before this is dismissed as not the case, perhaps they should be asked.

(We have no interest in any sectarian position on this – our sole interest remains whether these things are taught by the SMC leadership on a biblcal basis with consistency, honesty and integrity.)


  • What is the church teaching in any other important areas which members need to understand.? How are important teachings decided upon and communicated?

We believe that if there are any teachings which are important enough to the SMC leadership that they would stand on a public platform and publicly berate their church members for failing to live up to them – these teachings should be important enough to write down and share with them first. Then people, knowing what the teaching is, will see why they deserve to be condemned and criticised and they will – no doubt –  welcome it when it comes.






The founder of the church attempted to ensure that his teaching from the platform was argued from scipture and backed by scripture. Particularly in the case of Salvation, Baptism in the Holy Spirit and women ministry, he was very careful to try and keep the case for these teachings grounded in the Bible. He taught that Christians should always go as far as the Bible takes us - no less but also no further. He taught that Christians must never make careless claims which cannot be backed up from the Bible. We ask the present leadership to follow this approach and only hold people to live by a code of conduct that has been presented in the Bible and presented to the membership on a biblical basis. We believe this is the correct approach and that the attempt to ground teaching in a well-constructed, biblical case should always be an absolute requirement. If this massively important requirement cannot be met, then clearly there can be no sane claim that a teaching is biblical.


We ask the SMC leadership to make a scriptural attempt to answer each of the questions raised in this article. We ask this for the good of the membership, the public the charity is seeking to serve, and those who have left SMC in the past because answers to these questions were evaded.


If the teachings of SMC are only for the benefit of a few and only to be understood by a few, and the leadership recognise no requirement to give a biblical justification for their teaching, then there is no need to answer these questions. All that would be needed would be a clear statement that SMC teaching on rules to live by is based on the mystical notions and views of the leaders (which they claim to have heard directly from God). These should be submissively obeyed because the good character of the leaders is so unimpeachable, and their wisdom so reliable and infallible, that it supercedes the need for there to be a biblical case that could stand up to examination by an adult Christian. People would then be in a better position to make decisions about their future links to SMC on that basis. Such a statement would be surprising, but if that is the honest view of the SMC leadership please let us all know.



If that is not the case, we ask that the answers to these questions be made public and placed on the SMC church website. Alternatively they could be issued in booklet form and this made available to members and prospective members. Anything that comes into the public domain we will welcome.


We assume that any answers and consequent requirements as to the beliefs and practices of the membership will apply to all SMC churches.



Finally we don't think the SMC leadership should be ashamed of admitting their own views.


If they believe, for example, that men and women who reach middle age and dye their hair are, as a consequence of that, no longer eligible to use their God given teaching, preaching or leadership gifts in the church then, if that is their belief, they should stand by it and say so.


It may be they realise that a direct public statement like that may open them up to accusations of being intensely controlling, going much further than scriptural guidance on church governance or open them up to mockery from other churches and questions from their own membership.


Each of these things would probably happen.


However despite the fact that they may end up looking ridiculous and out of step with the Bible and the rest of the Christian world, we believe it is still their duty as leaders to tell the church and the public the truth about what they really believe, teach and expect their members to sign up to.