One of the hardest things for me to hear from the Lord was this "You will not go witnessing my son. You will not go witnessing. You will not. But be careful to perform all that I have told you." This was one of the first commands that was given concerning COBU. To this day this directive causes many great difficulty handling it. I have finally come to grips with why he doesn't want us running to witness. Here is where we take a closer look at making Jesus known in the church of untended hearts. This is where we discuss the motivation and corruption behind the push and constant demand for constantly nudging the brothers and sisters to go out and twist the arms of the 'unsaved and lost souls' to accept Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is blessed beyond understanding, forever and ever amen.
Steve (a name I use instead of Stewart Traill) said and boasted that it would be backsliding if he went witnessing. There are lots of problems with this statement. We are called to be a living example, a living sacrifice acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship. Our entire life is supposed to be a living example. Jesus was always proclaiming who he was and who his Father was to him. When Stewart boasts of foolish comments like this, all sorts of red flags go off in my head, when I think of this fallacious comment. Stewart Traill, I suppose, was too good or too lazy to brave the cold of winter, or bear the heat of summer, or bear the rain and snow, to seek the lost of this world. Stewart just did not have time for such a low level drudgery as witnessing. He certainly made sure that every one else went out and did their mandatory obligation. You had to be on your death bed in order to not go out witnessing. Jesus was going to be angry with you if you did not go out street preaching. Stewart taught that Jesus would hold us responsible for not being faithful to the unsaved and his lost sheep, if we did not use the four hours after working all day in the world. Witnessing was possible finances that Stewart needed to support his interests, dreams, hobbies, and hair brained schemes..
Witnessing was the most important thing to Stewart Traill, for several reasons. One, it was his livelihood for making money. This is the key to understanding his deception. We were encouraged, forced, and browbeaten to go out and compel and twist the lost to get saved by Jesus. We did not take no for an answer. By any means necessary, or do and say anything to get someone to say the sinners prayer. From what I could see, Stewart Traill saw dollar signs when he told us to go out and seek the lost. He also saw dollar signs when the number saved was up, because he knew there was a greater potential for more young sheep to move into the fellowship houses, where they would be required to earn incomes that they would have to turn in. He was in his heart happy when they moved in. The biggest payday was when they moved in and started handing in their entire paychecks.
From first glance it seems like a noble thing to do, in seeking the lost. It is pleasing to Jesus on first glance, but as we look closer it was a false sacrifice for cobu people to go witnessing or street preaching. The system of cobu was false and it never had anything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. The general population was overcome with such feelings of condemnation that the general thoughts were: "I am not going to make it, but let me bring more young people in." Yet were we not just bringing them into this dark hole that is falsely called a church?" COBU had nothing to do with a church. This was the legacy of the church that had a false shepherd, who told the world that he did not know what he was doing for over 25 years: that he missed grace. The Grace of God, Jesus Christ, Stewart Traill missed. It is appalling. If he missed the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, what was he peddling? And what were we peddling? Were we not filled with fear and anxiety? Were we not peddling fear and anxiety? Where is the faith in that?
Whether it was cold of rain or snow, we were always out in force going to make "Jesus known". He would call the situation office to check on the goings on in the office of the church. The only numbers he cared about was, you guessed it: the number saved. I remember a time when it was one of the president's holidays and the number saved was high for a Monday, and he still was not happy about the outcome. This ungrateful cuss was never happy. The number could have been a thousand and he would have still found a reason to complain.
You were worked over by one another if you did not lead someone to the Lord. I forgot to mention, when everyone worked in the carpet cleaning business, it was "Did you close jobs and did you lead someone to Jesus?" This was part of the cobu culture. A brother told me that there was a mandatory quota that caused him to leave the church and leave Jesus. He was told he had to lead at least three people to Jesus daily. Where is the work of the Holy Spirit in all of this? Traill badgered us and we in like turn did it to one another. This brother felt that he would have lost his mind if he did not leave this place. One had to be on their dying bed before you were not harassed into going out street preaching. If you said no, you were punished by having to answer a million questions from a suspicious brother or sister. It was usually met with "You are selling the world down the tube of hell if you are not doing your duty."
How many people did we burn off by our constant pressuring and haranguing and boxing-into-a-corner tactics? Many people would run and some would even hide and cringe at the sight of us. Cobu had become a public irritant and nuisance. Many hated us for what we did, and it was not "Christ-like". How many would say the prayer and give us a phony address and phone number just to get rid of us? This happened countless times. Cobu witnessing was nothing more that emotional assault.
Each time they go out they are robbing from the Lord. For in truth they are misrepresenting the Lord God and his Christ. For this is not the Lord. This type of nonsense never came into his mind nor did it come into the Lord's thoughts or heart. Cobu and Stewart Traill are an abomination to him. They do not give the Lord his due. They do not peddle him nor do they handle him.
The truth is, Stewart hated going witnessing; he was too lazy to go out and spend his time doing that which he oppressed us into doing. He used to boast and say that going out witnessing would be backsliding, for him to share his faith with the lost. He said that it would be better for him to study the Bible. It turns out that he was not using this time for studying, but he was busy doing other gross things, in the dark, that are too unspeakable to mention. After all of his supposed study, he comes out with the admission of "I missed grace," and conveniently blamed it on God and the brothers and sisters. Truth is that he did not have faith in Jesus. Stewart had faith in himself and no one else. Stew, who claimed to be wise, turns out to be a fool, who lacks sense.
Going out witnessing takes a great deal of time and effort. We were pole fishermen and we were not good at that either. Fishing with nets is far more effective than pole fishing. Peter was a net fisherman. There are not many instances where hoards of people were "saved." As the nut house got more and more corrupt at Steve's (Stewart's) hand, the people that they could attract got worse and worse. Cobu had to settle for the homeless, a far cry from what they used to get. As goes the shepherd, so go the sheep. Stewart touted himself to be a godly man. He proclaimed himself to be a spiritual man. He pretty much came off as though he had never committed sin. He proclaimed often his own loyalty. He called himself "gold", the best of God. He pondered whether he was more like Elijah or John the Baptist, yet the way he was to others seemed less becoming than a bunch of unsaved men that I've known and respected in my life.
There was a brother who was doing some work for Mr Traill at his house. This brother saw naked pictures of women on the walls. The brother addressed the issue to Stewart Traill saying, "I'm bothered by these pictures on the walls. These are bothering my conscience. I am getting worked over by these." Stewart Traill said to him, "If you won't do the work, I'll get somebody else to do it. Don't worry about them, keep your eyes on your work"
So every time we were going out "to make Jesus known," we were committing mischief. We were building Stewart Traill's kingdom, which had nothing to do with Christ. He took advantage of our youth, the best part of our life, years that we will never get back. He had us go out to gather more sheep, more people, more lambs, more young people, unsuspecting, not knowing what kind of graveyard they were coming into. This is the house that Stewart Tanner Traill built. Again, it has nothing to do with Christ. It is a sick representation of Christ, because Christ would do none of the things that this man has done.
We thought we were serving Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We thought we were doing this for the love of Jesus, but in truth we were misled. We were led astray by someone who was selfish and was only interested in his own gain.
We were bringing other souls into the same deathtrap that we were in. It was impossible to put your faith in Jesus in the fellowship. And yet we were telling people, "This is Jesus." In truth we were spreading Steve's (Stewart's) virus. We knew we didn't have a chance to go anywhere and yet we soldiered on anyway. We were going out recruiting people who had no idea what we were really like. We were hopeless. We were miserable. We were driven, and lived in all sorts of vile oppression. This was the legacy of cobu.
We insisted that people say the sinner's prayer. Jesus was never like this. Jesus would have never done the kind of wild things that Stewart did to his flock. We were like Stewart Traill, who made us into his image. He formed us into his likeness. He was us and we were him. Again, all were baptized into Stewart the Not-So-Wonderful Traill.
So people would say the sinner's prayer and some people would even move in. The smarter ones were the ones who never moved in. The ones who finally did leave were considered wise. The truth is it was impossible to be a Christian in the Church of No Understanding. It was impossible to put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in Cobu. As Stewart was to us, we imitated to each other, we became like him. We have to break down the wall of silence that has been built very thick and very high by the lies and deceitful spirits, that are curses and not blessings. We have to break down this lying wall about the mischief of witnessing. Each time we went out street preaching, we were fishing for more slaves to fill Stewart's coffers.
The Lord God prophetically told Dave and Cynthia not to go witnessing. For Ex Cobu members this is not only a hard saying for some it is a deal breaker. But why? This is the question that I will try to systematically tackle in this section.
Why would the Lord God tell us not to do something that is in the bible and some call the great commission? While I had my own experience that helped me to accept the saying 24 years ago what convinced me is not always what someone else can see especially if you have not been to meetings where the spirit of peace is so strong you feel like it is surrounding you. It is also important to point out the discussion is about the type of street witnessing we had done in Cobu NOT the everyday type of common interactions that lead to you sharing your faith in God OR the very key fact that our witness is our lives which of course we were never taught in Cobu. So here are the three main factors of why I believe God told us to NOT go street witnessing
1-Based on who we thought God was coming out of Cobu we were terrible witnesses to Godís true nature and more likely to cause damage to souls then help them since we had learned a false Christ in Cobu. One completely devoid of grace(ST exact word to describe himself in the so called grace meeting) and other blessings of the Spirit
2-For us witnessing was a compulsion. I delve into this much more below but God doesnít want us to do things because we have to. We had this unbearable at all times COMPULSION we HAD to witness to be faithful and I believe God wants that compulsion BROKEN along with all of the horrible compulsions of Stewart Traill and Cobu.
3-God desires us to seek him free of the effects of Stewart Traillís wickedness so we could find out and prepare us for what his work for us is. For us in Living Water it is to help those who have been hurt by ST and Cobu. For each man it is his responsibility to both be free of Stewartís grip and to seek God for the task God has for us in the bodyLetís start with the definition of witness from Websters
Definition of WITNESS
1: attestation of a fact or event : testimony
2: one that gives evidence; specifically : one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal
3: one asked to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place
4: one who has personal knowledge of something
5a : something serving as evidence or proof :
b : public affirmation by word or example of usually religious faith or conviction the heroic witness to divine life
We learned God from a man who knew not grace(by his own admission) so we couldnít share grace in our witnessing
We learned our conviction from Stewart Traill and were not free to make our own decisions about who God is
Anyone who witnessed based on his own scruples and not accepted Cobu witnessing techniques was mocked and asked what was wrong with them
Stewart insisted that we not stray from what he thought was best which ended up being the art show
The art show was made by oppression through oppression especially to the artist who had to suffer Stewartís constant wrath
We thought the art show was Godís best and while it did share good points it was flawed through the taint of Stewart Traillís oppressive views on God and Jesus
We thought the art show was Godís best and while it did bring up good points it was flawed through Stewart Traill being completely devoid of the grace of God
We were arrogant because we had the art show and arrogance is a terrible witness
We were completely tainted and scarred by the wrong pressure that we had to lead someone to Jesus or we ourselves were not faithful
We did not accept that our sacrifice to God was in GOING witnessing to please God NOT whether or not we had numbers based on our witnessing
Witnessing cannot be filled with joy when you have pressure to produce numbers
We learned God from a man who knew not peace so we couldnít witness to it
We learned not patience for ourselves or others from ST so we could not witness to them
We learned that kindness was a weakness and something to be mocked so we could not witness to Godís kindness.
We thought that God was after us with a big stick so we couldnít witness to Godís Love
We were taught by a man who was envious of anyone elseís gifts and felt the need to tear them down so we could not witness that envy was wrong on the contrary we defended the cretin and would not protect those we led to Jesus from systematic destruction
We learned Christ from a man who liked to brag about how great he was in God and we parroted that behavior with our we are better than all other Christianís talk so we could not properly witness to the humility of God
Love is not arrogant but we were. Again we thought we were the best thing since sliced bread therefore our witness was corrupted by this arrogance
We thought ourselves better simply because we were out witnessing which again is a false view of ourselves and God and a BAD witness
Love does not act unbecomingly but we sat by and approved of Stewart tearing all of us down. This is a poor witness for God that we allowed him to get away with this
Love is not provoked but we constantly provoked and prodded each other. We were taught to go to war against any wrong thing which is a terrible witness for Christ and his everlasting peace and acceptance
We did not bear all things. We were forced to bear things we shouldnít. This is a false witness of this biblical concept
Love believes all things. We were trained to have suspicious minds who didnít believe anything out of our tight little comfort zones. We witnessed that God had a suspicious mind therefore
Love hopes all things. We were deprived of hope and taught that we were hopeless. When we brought people into Cobu we did it knowing full well we were bringing them into hopelessness and we could not witness to the hope of God when we felt no hope ourselves.
Love endures all things. We again were made to endure things we shouldnít have had to. Humiliation, Deprivation all based on a manís desires not Gods. This was a terrible witness
Love is not rude. We were rude. We were taught to be rude. We thought rudeness was fine as long as you were telling someone ďthe truth about themĒ This was falsehood and a terrible witness.
This rudeness came out in our witnessing whenever someone didnít agree with us. We turned our terrible tongues of fire on those who disagreed with us
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing but we laughed heartily many times as ST tore another soul to the ground again a horrible witness to Christ.
We laughed and mocked those who wouldnít bend the knee and get saved right away and used false and wrong pressure on them.
We thought nothing of using wrong pressure and mocking on others because our fellowship was rife with it
So those are some of the biblical ways our witness was corrupted. And based on this why would God want us to go to the streets and preach to others these horrible misinformed views about him. In this light it makes total sense that we repent of these behaviors and learn new ones even if we are called to evangelism.
Below are a number of wrong habits we and beliefs we had about witnessing and I cover many points about the compulsion we felt to witness rather than being led by Godís spirit to share the gospel
In general witnessing was used as a club in many ways
We were judged by how many we led to Jesus
We counted how many we led to Jesus
At times in Cobu you were not allowed to go to sleep till you got a certain number of people to say the prayer
We allowed the sisters to get into some troubling situations in the name of leading someone to Jesus
At times there were quotas of how many you had to lead to Jesus a very worldly thing and not of Godís spirit
We judged ourselves on whether we witnessed or not
We judge others on whether they witness or not many TO THIS DAY!
We were made to feel guilty if we were too tired to go witnessing
If someone had a complaint it was ignored if they didnít go witnessing every single day and have the type of success that was demanded
It was all about getting people to say the prayer and join us this led to a compulsion where we just HAD to get them to say the prayer
We felt a compulsion to tell everyone we met about Jesus
We felt a compulsion to tell people when we were on the train
When we passed by a toll booth we had to say something about Jesus or we were bad
We shared with each other our compulsions about witnessing through peer pressure
We constantly made each other feel the need to meet the compulsive witnessing standards
We told other Christians they were not faithful as we were because they didnít feel the compulsion to witness we did
We counted ourselves better than other churches because we went street witnessing more often and with more fervor than other churches
We kept charts on how many got saved at the big meetings(It was about the numbers dummy!!)
We set brothers against brothers in competition to see who could lead the most to Jesus
We had the same competition spirit sister to sister
We had fellowships locked in a death combat to see who could lead the most to Jesus
If you didnít lead someone to Jesus you felt the need to hang your head
Witnessing was a get out of jail free card for all our poor behavior. We said to ourselves it doesnít matter about all these horrible things that go on in Cobu because we know we are right because we have great teaching and we witness more than other churches
When someone had a complaint about their life not going anywhere they were told to do a zeal pill to make them feel better. Instead of dealing with whatever issue that brother or sister was going through
We were miserable but we always told ourselves he who waters will himself be watered. And we would then drag ourselves out to the street again
This is a misery and a terrible witness
We hid in witnessing
We falsely trusted in witnessing
We claimed to care for the unsaved while our own needs were left untended
We claimed to care for the unsaved but if they didnít immediately say the prayer we would badger, insult and at times condemn them
Our fearless leader said that it would be backsliding for him to go witnessing
We bought the lie that it was ok for the leader to not bear his load but anyone else who didnít do it was badgered, oppressed and beaten
A double standard is a horrible witness
Feeling a compulsion in place of the natural ladings of the Holy Spirit is spiritual robbery and oppression and a horrible witness
If someone says their witness is their good life we would laugh and mock them and say get your butts out in the street with US!!!!
The Pharisees thought they were a good witness but God said they made their disciples twice the son of hell that they were
Jesus also said to them that they were witnesses that they were children of those who killed prophets
We had the same false pride in our witnessing(works)as the Pharisees did
Stewart at times used guile to get us to go witnessing playing the donít you want to do it for Jesus card which helped reinforce the compulsion he had already put in us
It was ok to break any rules of public decorum in the name of making Jesus known
Anyone who didnít witness enough or didnít have a good enough success rate was told they must not be proud of Jesus
The bible says that some were made evangelists. Good luck telling anyone in Cobu you donít think that is your calling!
Even outside of Cobu good luck telling XCobu folk that your witness is your life!
Anyone who didnít have success at witnessing told there must be something wrong with your relationship with Jesus that God is not giving you success
We were told we were not bearing up for Christ if we didnít street witness
We had a zeal for God but it was unenlightened by his grace
Here is the great commission passage
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
 You are witnesses of these things.
We used the great commission as a club against each other to go witnessing but when we went out we did not follow the great commission anyway. How you say? We didnít teach the forgiveness mentioned and so our witness was a sham
If you donít believe God forgives your sins how can you preach to others?
If you have your sins used on you to shut you up how can you witness to others
If you use others sins to shut them up how is that a good witness
So those are the two big ones. As for being called in another direction that is a long subject but one I have long ago accepted for myself. Each man must decide what is right for him and whatí Godís will is for him without undue influence or oppression of others and certainly without Stewart Traillís compulsion
So witnessing became many things. Worldly things. Harsh things. Something we felt a compulsion to do or else. But it was ok because we wrapped it up in a Jesus bow. The compulsion causes brethren to feel uncomfortable in regular settings. You canít listen to a conversation because you are just itching to preach at the person talking to you. When you walked out the door to leave Cobu the compulsion or feeling that you had to witness or else just didnít stop. That type only comes out by prayer and seeing and admitting itís affect upon you. Understanding the compulsion we were trained in and how our witness was doomed to ultimate failure by our lack of knowledge of the blessings of God in our own life is at the crux of why Witnessing in Cobu was flawed.
Some other important thoughts that I am leaving out for now. Why did ST want us to witness? Was it concern for souls? If so then why did he mistreat and malign the souls in his charge? Was it for the money? The power? Was it????? I will let you think on that for now. Todís take on witnessing.