Struthers Memorial Church and the “road to revival”





We continue to wonder why no one in the SMC leadership seems to be able to place in the public domain a statement confirming now what has been taught for 30+ years.


In our article the vision for revival We have asked for any Struthers leader to confirm that they believe God has told them a revival will come to Scotland through Struthers Memorial Church and when that vision was given to them. We have asked now for 7 months and that simple statement - or a confirnmation that it is the view of the leadership - has not been made public.


This can only be either:



  • because no leader of SMC currently alive has received such a vision


  • because someone has received it - but does not have the courage to share it publicly because if it fails they would be identified as a false prophet


  • or because they have this vision but are choosing to keep it a secret


As a result of this odd silence we only have what we can glean from hints in sermons to answer one of the fundamental questions we all have about SMC.






What do they claim will happen when someone actually manages to sucessfully follow the “high road” of “holiness” in the way which they teach it?


Towards it’s end, the separation sermon 22 Jan 2011 moves onto this subject.


The grey boxes contain quotes from the sermon.




Its the the same road, its the road of separation – it's the road that Abraham travelled.... it's the road the new testament church travelled as they came into that upper room....and they tarried, they had one focus, .....they were separate unto God. They had laid aside every doubt, they had laid aside every human concern, they had laid aside every material ambition, they had laid aside everything altogether and they wanted to be flooded with the power that came from on high. And they were flooded with it – not only in that upper room but again and again and again and again throughout the story of the Acts of the Apostles as they put Him first and as every other concern was put to the side.


Again the speaker gets excited and does a disservice to reasoned biblical exposition. Acts 2:1 tells us the church were “of one accord” as a group of people. The Greek word translated as “one accord” (Strongs 3661) is much more particularly to do with the fact that they were in positive unity as a group of people rather than separated from anything. There is no biblical suggestion whatsoever that those that gathered in the upper room had the attitude she describes in this sermon.


More than that it is dangerous to suggest that pentecost would not have happened if the people (or some of the people perhaps) had not arrived at some correct and required attitude. Is she claiming Pentecost depended on the will of the people rather than the will of God? It is very likely given the nature of the church after Pentecost that some were focussed, some were faithful, and some had flaws in their nature which had not yet been corrected. Yet God moved, poured out the Holy Spirit and the world was changed.


Perhaps God is not limited by the issues the speaker identifies as much as she seems to believe. Perhaps He is God and will speak to, and call, and bless, and impart gifts and ministries to whoever He wants.


Was Saul in Acts 9 prepared in his inner self the way she describes before God could move powerfully in his life? Not so it seems - when God spoke to him he was on his way to persecute and approve the killing of Christians.


Perhaps God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh - the ready and the less ready, the clever and the less clever, the fallible and fearful and perhaps even the contented and happy. If there is a required attitude, it seems to us that the bible makes it clear God is most willing to pour out His Spirit on the humble; and less so on the proud.



Yes there is a price to pay. We are fond of saying that Jesus Christ has paid the price for us and that is wonderfully and gloriously and eternally true. BUT there is a price to be paid if you would enter in to the glory of God and that price is a price of separation


A staggering assertion here.


The speaker says that while the blood of Jesus has paid the price for our sin – actually it is not the price He paid on the cross which brings us most deeply in to the glory of God. She seems to claim we will gain some deeper entry to the glory of God by paying a second price in following, by our own determined effort, this separation teaching!


What bible does this come from?


To say "Jesus Christ  has paid the price for us" and then to say "BUT" is dangerous ground for any preacher to be on. Is the speaker really saying that the way to enter into the glory of God is not by the blood alone BUT but by an additional "price" achieved through ruthless human effort?


1 John1:7 says:


But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


No mention is made in this important verse of a ruthless determination to be separate being required to improve on what we have received by the blood of Jesus.


Does this part of this sermon reflect the teaching and beliefs of Struthers Memorial Church?



Separation from yourself. Separation from the world. And separation from everything that would cloud the glory of God in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  


Again please tell us all: what actions, activity or attitude “clouds the glory of God” and then tell us what doesn't.


If that is complicated and would need a person by person understanding of individual needs then perhaps the speaker should put some time aside to make sure that everyone (in her own congregation at least) is aware of what the things are “that would cloud the glory of God” for them.


Is this sermon about an issue important enough for SMC leaders to set aside some pastoral time and attention to meet with individuals and ensure they understand and apply this teaching properly? Perhaps that would lead to more of them finding this “higher place” it is suggested so few attain.


Or are these things just said from the platform and everyone can then guess for themselves what is meant?


Or they can just cut off everything possible in life to make sure? Since this is impossible: "Separation from yourself" is utterly and tragically meaningless and potentially damaging.


  • Is the speaker separated from herself?  


  • How would she like to define and prove that fact?


  • What "glory" andcoming of the Lord Jesus Christ" was achieved by her managing to do this by her own determination which was not made available to her through the blood of Christ alone?


  • Is the head of the school separated from herself?


  • Are all the 6 church directors separated from themselves?


What does this mean? The way this has been presented as teaching for real living people to follow is vague and close to meaningless. If, as the sermon claims, few people find this place that might not be too surprising.



This is the way to bring the glory of God not only into your own life but into the lives of those round about. This is the road to revival.


Once again we fear the speaker has got a bit carried away. The evidence for this claim is slim.


The speaker we assume is claiming that she at least and some of the leadership of SMC have come into the "place" and "depth" she is speaking of. Yet evidentially this has not yet led to revival. Certainly not in any normal or familiar historical understandable sense of that term and certainly not in the way the founding SMC leaders described revival would be.


Can we suggest that the ability of any individual in a Struthers pew to achieve the teaching that is being confusingly presented in this sermon will not either be likely to result in a revival. In fact we believe that many who spent the last 30 or 40 years waiting for a prophesied revival to come via SMC are likely to remain disappointed.


Some who believed this would happen have died never having seen it and many have grown significantly older and, like most Christians in our day and throughout history, will very likely see out their days without ever seeing a revival in their church.


Revivals are historically very, very uncommon.


Further there is no historic example of revival ever coming through a church which was set up and governed and followed teaching such as that in SMC. That is just a blunt historical fact. Revival almost by definition, and certainly by historical record, usually comes via the established churches and the national churches, and those churches have always had sound biblical governance based on local eldership. As always we would be quite open to any evidence of this not being the case. At the moment we are not aware of any such examples.


More crucially, for a revival to occur there has to be a remnant of those previously in the church or brought up in the church to be revived - such as was the case in Lewis and in Wales. If there are few former church members to bring back then the need is not for revival but for evangelism and mission. By all means keep hoping; and we would be happy to see people come to Christ through a revival in Scotland – whether involving SMC or not. However many people who prayed and spent time hoping for a revival at some distant future time would have been better praying and hoping for God to move in evangelism in their own local church and town.


"This is the road to revival" is the kind of thing we have heard SMC leaders frequently say. It is a yet another version of “do things the Struthers way and God will bless you/God will give you a powerful public ministry”. The continual promise that if a SMC member tries hard enough something good will happen in the future - one day.


We do not believe “this is the road to revival” is a claim which stands up under scrutiny. The speaker claims this is a road few follow. If any now in Struthers at all have followed it then where is the revival that their disciplined "separation" led to? Or is this just a loose misleading phrase which should be less often used?


1  otherwise does this imply that because there is as yet no revival no one including the speaker herself has succeeded to live up to this "high way" teaching? Or is a certain number of committed separated people required for a revival? If so where in the bible is that view derived from?


2  The suggestion that revival is already present (by some special definition) in SMC has been regularly made since the 1980's and 30 years on seems less in evidence than ever. We are not saying this is what we want to see – it is simply what we do see. Is there a revival only known to, and recognised by, the SMC leadership? If so it still appears to those of us outside that Struthers is having less impact on communities than the modest outreach efforts of many churches Struthers would be deeply critical of; and churches who certainly make no pretence of following the teaching in this sermon. That being the evidence we can see then on what basis are we to understand there is a revival, or this teaching as leading to revival? Such a claim would appear to be nonsense.


To suggest, as this sermon does, that an SMC member’s personal commitment to separation will lead to a revival is borderline bizarre, deeply presumptuous and grossly unbiblical. We think this is misleading and SMC leaders should not make this claim.



and yes he might send you to take that presence to those around you - to those in the Lot position - but you'll never be tempted to live near them. In their lifestyle. In their way of being. It's something that is foreign to the redeemed soul. It's something that's foreign to the separate soul. It's something that has been changed within you and you've come into a new place, a new dimension. O hunger, hunger to be separate to Jesus Christ.


Can we look at how Jesus lived.


He lived among people and touched and spoke and conversed and lived with people. Yet within He was able to remain focused on God and His calling. To be Christlike that is the road we have to follow  - living in the world and being salt in an otherwise bland and colourless society. To do that we have to be part of it - as Jesus was.


The danger is that someone following this teaching as presented here:


  • would not talk to Zaccheaus the unpopular - and certainly the unspiritual;


  • would not go to a family wedding;


  • would not relax on a Sunday as Jesus and the disciples did;


  • and would see time with publicans and sinners as dangerously tainting and tarnishing.


We believe we are called to live and be part of all these things and that the provision God gives through the power and the blood of Jesus is sufficient for all people, all Christians and all circumstances God will allow us to face. We believe that it is not inevitable that people will fail - but likely that they will succeed. We believe that no matter how often they fall or fail to reach any road ("high" way or otherwise) God can restore and recover them. We believe one of the greatest ways God gives us help in this is through our families and the strength and comfort we gain from the things he gives and the people he gives.


We believe that the biblical injunction:


“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” 2 Corinthinas 6:17


sought to prevent the early church from mixing Christianity with idol worship performed by unbelievers - in the most literal possible sense. To twist this into a reason for SMC members to cut themselves off from friends, family, Christian brothers and sisters, and God given comforts is probably going to be damaging, rather than beneficial, to people. Many Christians love and value their God given comforts and are perfectly capable of leaving them behind when God calls them and gives the opportunity for Christian service. To make it a lifestyle requirement to do without these things will leave Christians weakened in their ability to have strong families, strong children and well run households. As success in this area is a requirement of those seeking eldership in the new testament church (Titus 1:6), failing to have and manage these things well will weaken their ability to give sustainable Christian service.


At worst some people may suffer psychological damage from ascetic living for which they have no God given calling, or strengthening anointing. They do this because they have moved beyond their call – often to please a beloved leader in response to a sermon like this one. This is tragic and avoidable.  


Once this separation at the demand of men has been attempted their new closeness to God remains utterly subjective to themselves and they are not in any tangible way - or often even any noticeable way - moving in the power and the glory of God more than they were before. They just seem to go to lots of meetings. These people are also fully aware that they are no more an important part of what is going on in Struthers than they were before. Some people are in the heart of things but not them. So what was this ruthlessness with their natures for?  


Finally they get wise to the un-winnable nature of this teaching which keeps people forever self centred on their own religious performance and they give up in despair, leave, or depend on medication to get them through life. For many who have attended for years - failure is the only tangible outcome and they are reminded of it week after week.


Yet the successful in SMC do not always seem to be ruthless with material things and with even the more obvious flaws in their own natures. Yet because of their connections in the church and their particular location, or their job, they get involved in things not open to others. Jobs in the school, jobs in the shops, part of singing groups, part of ministry teams, preaching duties, seem to be awarded not to those who have attained this deep and high place in God but to the favoured and the friends and the families of the leaders.



Moses... his life was different, his life was other and that's what God wants in you and in me. If we have that then more of pentecost will come down amongst us and we will lift up these gates, these doors within us and the king of glory will come in.


Again we would encourage more care here.


Moses was Moses. The speaker is herself. You, reader, are you.


There are possibly ways in which God wants in your life what he wanted in Moses life - but can we suggest the actual similarities are likely to be quite limited.


As in the humiliation sermon a patriarch is used as an example of the life God wants for everyone and their spiritual condition is implied to be similar in some respects to what the SMC leadership have attained in God. Well – we will all be held responsible for our own claims – though those made from the pulpit will be of particular importance. If SMC leaders are going to claim the anointing, the position or even a fraction of the depth and godliness of Moses or Abraham then they have to be able to show that the public ministry and impact on the world of such a life is also in evidence.


If we are being asked (or it is being demanded with threats) that we treat Struthers leaders with the respect and awe accorded to an old testament patriarch, then we must surely also expect to see from them great works and great evidences of God’s call – such as these men had.


As it stands, and as we have said before in this article, Struthers is achieving a great deal less in outreach than many churches; and magnitudes less in developing peoples gifts and potential. This in particular has been attested to in the many tragic testimonies now online as to how SMC treats people. It appears now these are the only online testimonies as the SMC ones have been removed from their website.


We would encourage SMC leaders to be less swift to compare themselves and their spiritual attainment to that of the old testament patriarchs.


We would encourage SMC leaders to be less swift to promise their teachings, when ruthlessly applied to lives will lead to revival in Scotland. There is little evidence to back up such hefty claims.