Preface to the First Edition
The psalmist Ethan the Ezrahite, in a song addressed to Jehovah, wrote, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee” (Psalm 89:14). Since these four attributes are essential elements of God’s nature, it is important for us his children to display them in our lives as well. It is, therefore, in the interests of righteousness, justice, lovingkindness (or mercy), and truth that I have undertaken the project of writing this book. As you will read in Part Two, there have been many unjust actions taken against individuals by Blitz leaders – actions often based in large part upon untruth. Because I have been a close observer of many of these events, and a member of the Blitz movement from 1971 to 1977 (and because I desire to obey the Scriptures) I cannot stand aloof passively taking note of the trials of my brothers and sisters, doing nothing; I must speak out (see Obadiah 11). If I have failed to maintain these four attributes in proper balance, I can only express my sincere regret.
In preparing this material for publication, as well as in presenting it now to a limited readership, I have sought to keep always before me King Solomon’s injunction in Proverbs 3:3,4 – “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.” Aware of the controversial nature of much that I have written – especially in Parts Two and Three – I have tried as far as possible to verify the facts of everything I have reported; to present as many of the facts as possible; and to present them as fairly and level-headedly as possible. I have likewise endeavored to be honest and moderate in my analysis of the Blitz, refraining (I believe) from extreme or unwarranted conclusions.
My efforts to verify the facts of events reported in Parts Two and Three have included sending manuscript portions to virtually every individual named, both within and without the movement. Not all of them have seen fit to respond, so any inaccuracies or errors that remain, either in fact or interpretation, can at least in part be traced to this unresponsiveness.
I have written Part One of this book in an attempt to chronicle events of a positive nature and to demonstrate the strong emphasis on evangelistic activity that existed (especially) in the Solid Rock Fellowship of Columbus, Ohio. With respect to its operations and outlook, the SRF was fairly typical of the Blitz movement in general, though differences of degree may be observed among the various groups.
Looking back on my five and a half years of association with the Blitz, I must confess that, whatever else may be said for or against it, it really accomplished much for God, and continues to do so. Personally, I believe the most exciting period of my Blitz years was the first year or so of our labors in Columbus (1973-1974) – to see a new Christian fellowship put down its roots and then struggle through many growing pains to permanence and acceptance in its community (and to be a part of that) has been without parallel thus far in my experience. I sincerely thank God for the many, many lessons he taught me, through good times and hard times, and can truthfully say that my desire to serve him is much stronger as a result of my experiences in the Blitz movement.
Lawrence A. Pile
San Leandro, California
July 21, 1979
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. Because God will bring every act to judgment, every thing which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
Ecclesiastes 12 13-14
Preface to the Second Edition
When I issued the first edition of this book in 1979 I expressed the hope that eventually I would be able to add another chapter detailing needed reforms in the teaching and practice of the Blitz movement, as well as the reconciliation of brothers and sisters who had become estranged from one another as a result of the aberrant teachings and abusive practices of Blitz leaders. Unfortunately, during the decade of the 1980s, and to some extent the 1990s as well, merely perpetuated many of those earlier teachings and practices. In particular, earnest, God-fearing men and women continued to be put out of various fellowships simply because they did not agree with certain doctrines and behaviors, and had the temerity to say so.
These doctrines and behaviors were of a nature that most churches associated, for example, with the National Association of Evangelicals would have found eccentric at the very least, or even spiritually harmful, though they did not involve anything that could be ranked as outright heresy. The behaviors to which objection has continued to be made through the decades of the 1980s and 1990s have, on the other hand, been of the sort that often resulted in the squeezing of movement members into molds of the leaders’ making, rather than of God’s.
Many of the events reflecting this continuing trend are discussed at some length in Part Four: The Continuing Saga.
For this second edition I have made mostly only minor alterations in the original. The major changes are in Part Three: Analysis, in which I changed most of the verbs to past tense to reflect the situation as it was during the 1970s and ’80s, and also to indicate that I am uncertain as to whether or to what extent my analysis remained accurate throughout the 1990s. I believe at least some of my earlier analysis remains true for this later period; the specifics will be brought out where applicable in Part Four.
I remain desirous of eventual and full reconciliation between the brothers and sisters on both sides of the dispute, though my expectations of such are not as high as they were twenty-three years ago.
Lawrence A. Pile
January 1, 2002
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Preface to the First Edition
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