The Arresting Behavior Of
hortwave radio preacher R G "Brother" Stair was arrested Thursday May 16th 2002 at his South Carolina commune. Heavily under fire for months on the Internet and Shortwave radio over allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls at the "farm," the fiery 69 year old is now seeing his international ministry unravel.
As Internet bulletin boards instantly posted triumphant and jubilant commentaries from inarticulate and scripturally illiterate enemies of Brother Stair, we are saddened by his long developing fall from grace. Although Christian Media has known about Stair's impending disaster for months, we've chosen only to observe the action from the sidelines.
The full story, with a scriptural analysis, is in the new 2 hour tape program Stair Wars: The True Story Of Brother Stair.
Briefly stated, Brother Stair is implicated in more than sexual impropriety. Former members of what many are calling a cult have also accused him of providing herbs that induced spontaneous miscarriages (read abortions) in 2 young women that he had impregnated. Even more sordid is the accusation that more than one female victim has been infected with a venereal disease.
As if that isn't bad enough, Stair opponents claim he sent husbands from the commune off to various projects in order to attempt a seduction of their wives. With the alleged victim count rapidly escalating and eyewitnesses coming forward, his arrest almost certainly signals the end for Brother Stair.
Over the years, Ralph G Stair has been soundly criticized for clustering Christian believers on small, self-sufficient farming communes in several locations. This approach is ostensibly due to Stair's view that America is scheduled for utter devastation in a forthcoming nuclear war. Although we don't follow the communal approach, we can't find fault with this provisionist perspective.
Indeed, some people are very comfortable with their lives structured in the fashion one finds on a commune. Although that way of life is not for everyone, others find it completely satisfying. In the wake of many publicized defections from Stair's farm, I have yet to document one person who wanted to leave Stair's farm that wasn't allowed to leave, or was being coerced into staying.
That's not saying much as a common characteristic of cultic mind control is a continual programming that "convinces" followers their eternal souls will be in danger if they choose to break away from the control of the cult leader. This is the primary weakness of the kind of overt control one finds in a communal setting.
Having been accused of being a cult leader myself, I can categorically state that the Godly course of leadership requires that the personality in control of a ministry is supposed to be Jesus Christ - pointed towards Him through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the agency of leaders and followers in a scripturally sound environment. This is but one of the reasons Christian Media has rejected the communal approach.
Conversely, we've been told Stair's recorded messages were played on loudspeakers 24 hours per day at every place on the farm. That kind of Orwellian immersion is reminiscent of Jim Jones & the Guyana disaster at "Jonestown." It is also evident that verbal manipulation and the Hitlerian "divide and conquer" form of pitting members against each other is standard fare in Stair's spiritual arsenal.
Apparently, the policy for entrance into Stair's way to heaven required the initiate to give everything they own in order to join the "Overcomer" group (the proper name of the ministry). Rather than seeing the classic cult pattern of enslaved followers that wanted to leave but couldn't, the opposite seems to be true.
For example, former members have cited several examples of families that gave substantial sums of money to the 501(c)(3) federally sanctioned ministry, and then were maneuvered into leaving so Stair could make room for more "new" members that would, in turn, generate new endowments.
In Acts 2:44, where we find a description of the first Christian commune, there is no provision for leaving the group with what you started with. Obviously, before committing to such a radical lifestyle, the scriptural imperative of "counting the cost" comes to mind.
e have learned that R G Stair has patterned portions of his ministry on the prophetic expectation that was espoused by William Branham - the notorious false prophet of the 1950's and 60's.
The late William Branham (1909-1965) claimed to have visitations from Jesus. Branham claimed that he was the angel of Revelation chapters 3 & 10! He also taught that the word of God was given in 3 forms - the Zodiac, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written scripture. Branham denied the trinity - teaching the 'Jesus Only' brand of Pentecostalism, and taught that Eve had sex with the snake in the garden - the so-called "serpent seed" doctrine.
Branham taught that there would be a single last day's prophet that would play a pivotal role in the prophetic endgame. As there are still significant numbers of people that believe Branham was a genuine prophet of the Lord, Brother Stair apparently adopted the title "the last day prophet" in order to capitalize on the Branhamite expectation.
While many Christians are expecting the ministry of the two witnesses that are described in Revelation to emerge at some point in the near future, there is no scriptural expectation of a single prophet that plays such a pivotal role. Certainly, any major prophetic figure is unlikely to be preaching false doctrine - to say nothing of seducing the young women in a series of sleazy maneuvers.
While communal living can generate relatively Spartan conditions at a place like Stair's farm, the lifestyle is a direct result of doctrinal directives that are all handed down by "the prophet." According to former resident Josh Bennett, no jewelry is allowed. Everyone must conform to a dress code that consists of very plain clothing. No sugar is allowed in the communal kitchen and there is no television at all. Bennett claims that married couples aren't even supposed to have sex unless it's "approved" by Stair.
Considering the fact that we now know that Stair has attempted seductions of married woman at the farm after detouring their husbands to some locale other than their residence, the sheer audacity of the latter restriction is very apparent. While sexuality is a complex subject that is beyond the meager few lines penned here, the Bible plainly shows a joyful relationship between committed couples operating within the confines of Biblical joining. When the scripture says "...marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4), it plainly teaches sexuality is pure within the marital context. I guess I missed the verses that said some lecherous old man should decide when a believer should be allowed relations with their spouse.
ther former members have had the religious equivalent of a nervous breakdown. This is clearly related to inner confliction at the prospect of breaking away from someone they believe wields the authority of God. Spiritual authority is scriptural, but the Holy Spirit driven leader knows when to emphasize the peace and grace found in the cross of Christ, and how to balance the fear and reverence for God with the agape love of the Father.
Leaders like "brother" R G Stair don't have that balance because they have "a form of godliness, but [deny] the power thereof." After telling the reader to "turn away" from such leaders, that same text goes on to link the pseudo-godly shepherd as "the sort...which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women, laden with sins..." (II Timothy 3:5,6). In the present instance, that sounds like an apt description.
While some have attacked us as being an accuser of the brethren for prior statements made about Brother Stair and others, the truth is he has only himself to blame for his actions. Indeed, much of the defensive statements coming from the pro Stair camp are thoroughly inconsistent. As a case in point, in a printed newsletter to their supporters, Stair's wife Teresa writes "My husband is innocent. He has defrauded NO MAN, nor woman."
Yet later in the same correspondence she states "Brother Stair has sinned." One is tempted to ask which is it? If he has sinned, he is not "innocent." If he is innocent, he has not "sinned." The plain truth is, Stair has been exposed as not only having relations with multiple women on a regular basis, the evidence firmly states it was completely calculated to evade detection.
Dan Catlin, the editor of a prophecy newsletter and the leader of the Messiah's Branch ministry in Kansas has visited the farm to gather information. After researching the various claims of multiple women that spoke out about the sexual antics of Stair, Catlin's letter plainly stated "no female was safe."
Mike Rowland, who lived at Stair's farm for 6 years, concurs with Dan Catlin. Writing on a website that went public with significant information concerning the activities at the farm, Rowland has written about the death of an individual named Wayne Douglas - a man that was also known as Brother Simon.
Apparently Douglas went to Nigeria on some sort of mission, but came back 30 days later with a serious illness. In spite of the fact that the 40 year old was clearly very sick with some sort of brain fever that caused him to behave erratically, Stair urged that no doctors be consulted.
Wayne Douglas died shortly thereafter, and was quietly buried on the property. After he died, Mike Rowland noted that "Stair also told the whole group not to contact Wayne's family because that would stir up questions..." The point is, if there had been some sort of infectious disease brought back from Nigeria that had ultimately caused the death of Wayne Douglas, this situation could have been a major disaster with the number of people that had been exposed to the deceased individual.
©2002 CHRISTIAN MEDIA RESEARCH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2000-2012 CHRISTIAN MEDIA RESEARCH