- December 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm #2432
This forum topic is dedicated solely to a discussion which originally took place on Topix.com, beginning in 2007. Comments from that discussion, some of which are available on The Wayback Machine, have been copied-and-pasted below.
Topix.com content procured from The Wayback Machine, provided herein, is provided solely as means of background on prior public conversations regarding The Brooklyn Tabernacle. As is the case with The Forum in its entirety, the purpose of these conversations is to pursue truth. Opportunity to parse through what is factual, what isn’t, provide updated information, challenge the narrative and beyond, is possible by joining the discussion.
“Why is Cymbala so adored in the assembelies of God denomination? He’s got you all hoodwinked- he is accountable to no one at the brooklyn tabernacle, provides no financial statements to the congregation, has no board, people who work at the church regularly work on his house and recieves millions of dollars in donations from all the churches nationwide he speaks at. And if anyone dares approaches him and asks were is the money spent he’ll tell if you don’t like it here go somewhere else. He basicly treats the church like it’s his own private business and I wish that people from around the counrty would withhold there monies until he provides financial statements. It is not Gods will that we be niave in our giving, but to be good stewards with what he gives us. thank you for taking the time to read this.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:33 pm #2436
“Mr. Baloney you need to really reflect on what it means to be in a New Testament Church and under spiritual authority. When Jesus whipped the pharisees because they were turning his house into a market do you think He would have said to the congregants who attended ” Its ok now, you can go and give your money to my representatives, the pharisees, and sit under their leadership!” I think not! Bottom line is Pastor Jim Cymbala needs to repent for not being financially transparent with the people. The Church gets millions of dollars in donations and there is no in house boards or committees. They have dummy boards set up so that they meet the conditions of the consolidation company that helped bail us out of the of financial ruin we were in 3 yrs ago. The people who are on the board have never met one time! That’s a farce in itself! If the Brooklyn tabernacle wants to prove that there is no financial impropriety going on I challenge the chief financial officer Steve Rhoads to print out the The 2007 financial statements and make them accessible to the church at the front desk! Believe me it ain’t happening! I take that back because all things are possible in Christ Jesus. But unfortunately it might be too late. It’s very sad because BT has some great Christlike members That Jim Cymbala seems to take pleasure in berating and humiliating in leaders meetings (see financial post above).”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:33 pm #2437
“The things that are being said about B/T and Pastor Cymbala are all true. He needs to be accountable. The bible speaks about thing in the dark being exposed to the light. There have been hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to the Downtoen Learning Center (an outreach of B/T) the mindset is that the students recieve free tutoring. The instructors are all unpaid volunteers (some professional instructors)who give of thier time sacrificially. The learning center students do not get anything free, despite the hundred of thousand of dollars that are donated. Resources are very, very, limited. The faces of the poor are being used to benefit the church financially.
We must continue to pray. However prayer can also a call to tangable action.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:34 pm #2438
A grieving member
“Truly a sad turn of events. PJC is a good man with a heart for God. However, it seems that lack of accountability has resulted in the mess we are in. I have heard this from many reliable people in leadership, who have no axe to grind and have been there for years together. They won’t leave because of the relationships they have and the love they have for the people including PJC. It seems that a ton of people have been severely hurt and left in the rubble. Actually, I admire the man and his ministry, but things need to be put in order so that all the labor is not lost in vain”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:35 pm #2439
“I am afraid that this will only fall on deaf ears. If those who have experienced the same encounters would make their voices heard it would be more conceivable that this would bear fruit worthy of repentance. If you are concerned and would like to voice your concerns then that is what this Forum is all about. To be able to express your fears, concerns, opinions without the threat of retaliation or manipulation. Freedom of speech is a right for every American and it is only those who have something to hide who do not tolerate Free Speech. China controls the internet so that people cannot post chats like this that expose the evils in leadership. Brooklyn Tabernacle is just a church. It is not God’s Authority on earth. The leaders are not Vicars of Christ as some would attribute to the Pope. He is a flawed man like the rest of mankind. Yet if he is not accountable or has not authority set in place over him then he is no better than Sadaam Hussein. Why is Brooklyn Tabernacle afraid to show the people the financials of the church? Almost every church in America reveals the financial status to their congregation. If the people are the ones giving the money then why should they be kept in the dark? I personally am not giving any more until I know where my money goes. I will give to single mothers and other ministries where I know that 100% of my hard earned money goes. I implore everyone to stop giving to any Christian Organization that withholds its financials. What fool would invest in a company and buy stocks without first checking the financials to see if it is a wise investment. You might say “but I am giving to God” That might be true but is your money being used wisely for God? Should not the giver have the knowledge of exactly how her money is being used? Maybe the leadership does not trust the sheep with such information. If that is the case the sheep should leave.
Brooklyn Tabernacle – Open the Books”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:35 pm #2440
It is about time
“It is about time that these issues are being addressed. It has been hidden for so long. There is a long trail of abuse and disregard for people who have served faithfully at that church. Many have been fired on the spot without an explanation except “God is moving us in another direction”. The sad thing is that the Pastor never does the firing but sends someone else to do it. I am not even going to mention the countless people who can testify to this. But the excuse is always the same “God is moving us in another direction”. Sounds real spiritual but it is a disgrace. PJC I hope you are taking heed to all of this, you are a fine man, but fine men go off. Get back to the basics, get back to prayer. Shut the church down for a long long week of prayer and fasting. But also amend your ways. Practice what you Preach. It seems to be far removed.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:37 pm #2441
Respond to Berian
I took the time to analyze your points in light of the comments previously made.
1A.”same leadership for 35 yrs.”
Consider the following: Cuba has been under the same leadership for a very long time. Does length of time really mean anything? The question is one of quality not quantity.
1B.”and God has faithfully provided.”
Consider the following: Many ministries make the same claim. We both know some of those ministries are doing tremendous harm to the body. It stands to reason, monetary gain is not necessarily a mark of God’s provision or approval.
1C.”invoices are current within 30 days.”
Consider the following: Do current accounts negate what has been written regarding the financial state of the church? Are you prepared to divulge what kind of debt the church is in? Should the members be kept in the dark?
2.”Financial statements are reviewed.”
Consider the following: This statement appears to be another diversionary ploy. Do the people know how much money the church brings in, where it goes, and how much the pastor’s make? Do you think they should know? If your answer is no, you are in the minority among Christian organizations.
3.”The board consists of six people who provide oversight.”
Consider the following: Who are they and why are you reluctant to release their names? Better yet, who has been on the board and why were they removed? What does oversight mean? Was the current construction project reviewed by the board? The Senior Pastor is not the president of the board, is he?
4.”The Senior Pastor’s door remains open.”
Here, you revealed yourself. Why are the first and last points about you? What if entering that door yielded no results? How many people have tried your preferred method only to come away disappointed and confused. No sir, your door is no longer worth stepping through and the blame for that rests at your feet. Besides, you chose to enter this arena, far removed from the controlled environment you work so hard to maintain.
In summary, your statements failed to correct the “erroneous comments.” What exactly are you prepared to deny about what was written? Please provide a direct answer or remain silent.
Every call to public repentance requires a unique set of steps. I will not bother describing what must be done. I think you know. For the benefit of the church, do the right thing.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:37 pm #2442
Joseph F Andresen
“My heart is breaking.
I have prayed for years for my friend Pastor Cymbala, that God would lead, guide and direct.
I was on staff thirteen yeas ago.
Looks like nothing has changed. God have mercy.
Romans 14:12 “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God””
- December 28, 2020 at 8:38 pm #2443
“The reason why we are posting online is that we went through that open door only to find our way back out with no results. Though your experience was more than desirable others did not have the benefit of those experiences with PJC. If the inside information is erroneous and the powers that be are not listening then they brought this about by not being open.
CHANGE IS COMING”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:38 pm #2444
“Hi there. As you can see I am not hiding and will never hide who I am for I am not ashamed. Many who read this post know me for my teaching at the “Foundation Bible” classes from many years at BT. My wife sang faithfully for over 30 yrs in their choir. Have I seen things that are disagreeable? Of course I have. Have I been offended by the leadership? Of course I have. Many of the slights or corrections were necessary so that I could bear the “peaceful fruit of righteousness”. Other times I was hurt could have been oversights. But we always, I always, went to them in private, as indicated in scripture. Scripture also indicates that if you take the matter in private and they refuse to listen to counsel, then you take a witness, and if they still refuse then you rebuke them openly before the whole body with the hope that they would repent and their soul be saved. Our family no longer attend BT because there are things we can no longer bear to see or experience. There is only so much pain our souls can bear. The Holy Spirit has the power to touch any heart to cause them to repent, I needed to repent because I held bitterness toward the leadership and Pastors, and bitterness is “enmity against GOD”. I don’t need to be HIS enemy, I always want to be his friend. I also want to walk into the fullness of His purposes for “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has prepared beforehand that we may walk in them”. PRAY for pastor Cymbala for it is the Lord who has built and will continue to build HIS house. If there is sin in the camp, the Holy Spirit will drive it out, and provoke the greatest revival man has ever witnessed. Lets keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith, and let us behold the Glory of God in the face of Jesus.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm #2445
Response to Ray
“Ray thanks for being extremely honest. Both you and Joe were intimately involved in the church and have both been hurt by leadership. It is good that both of you are not tongue lashing PJC and slandering him because this is not what this is about. You are real names with real stories that hopefully will show people that something is wrong at the top. We all love PJC dearly and do not want to bring him down. Something has changed and he obviously is not listening to the concerns in private, unfortunately they are now being exposed publicly. There is a history of a wide gap of disconect between what is preached and what is practiced. The scripture used is “if someone offends you go to him” yet there are many who have only to find that the other end will not acknowledge their wrong. Another is “one man seems right till another comes and questions him”. We have been taught from the pulpit to never hear one side and make a judgment until you hear the other. But in practice that is not the experience of many. People have been called to the carpet and rebuked severely without ever telling their side. That is a known fact throughout leadership that cannot be denied. It is for these reasons that people are wanting accountability to be put in place so that everyone becomes accountable for what they do, even the Senior Pastor.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm #2446
- December 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm #2447
What do you think so far?
Are these arguments amusing?
Does this kind of infighting enflame your already blazing sense of self righteousness?
You should not feel so smug. In fact, you helped create this atmosphere by not confronting injustice. You have witnessed the deception first hand and have retreated to your prayer closet.
No, there is not a leader among you, but that is by design. The puppet master has the pastoral staff he wants, with one more on the way. Maybe that one will bring about change.
I will not bother pointing out the biblical standards for leadership, those verses are quite familiar. Your problem is one of application, not information.
Will you apply the truth?
Do you dare to confront Cymbala, or has the sight of human wreckage left a bad taste in your mouths? There is no microphone here, no lights to dim, no organ. You are unable to get us to close our eyes or turn to our neighbors. You are being called out this time.
Will you respond?
Why do you allow him to continue?
Why the nepotism?
Why the racism?
Why secrecy regarding the finances?
Why is dissent silenced by these foolish labels? Are we all cowards, gossips, grammatically ignorant, being used by Satan? Maybe the truth is attempting to shine light on some dark corners. Maybe you could use some light.
If you dared, you could play a role in revealing the darkness and restoring health to the body.
Can you do it, or are you even able?
I invite your comments.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm #2448
“Do I think I am changing anything by posting these blogs? Yes I did… Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen people wounded and there lives changed for the worse at the hands of leadership? What did you do about it? And if you did, did leadership make amends and give an apology? Ultimately this is an a issue of accountability or the lack thereof, if there were proper measures in place people wouldn’t get hurt at the rate that it happens. Leadership thinks they are God’s gift to us and they feel as though they do not have to tell us how OUR money is spent with bottom line figures. Sorry, but they are HIDING BEHIND CHURCH AND STATE LAWS. And it needs to stop. All not for profit charitable organizations must make their financial statements available upon request. The only reason that the church doesn’t is because of the constitution of the U.S., which I happen to agree with (the constitution that is). However, it is the responsibility of the church goers to put pressure on dictator like Pastors when they get off the beaten path. And that’s my God given right and I will exercise it. This Is where God has placed me and he has allowed me to see people hurt so it is my responsibility to do the Christ like thing and expose them. You say I shouldn’t say anything and and just tell God? That’s not healthy if you ask me, I’ll pray and ask God for help and then DO whatever I can…And I feel strangely empowered as a result of it and I think others who have posted might feel the same way.It’s frowned upon to talk about these things at Church so it’s like, wow, I’m not crazy other people feel the same way… Listen, I’m not that important here, look at the other posts by more reasonable, mature Christians who are not ‘angry’ or ‘bitter’ and even though they don’t have the same tone as me, they are pretty much are saying the same thing. But like Jack Nicholas said ” you want the truth, but you can’t handle the truth!”…”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:41 pm #2449
Back to the issues
“1 Corinthians 5:12 Reads,” I’m not responsible for what outsiders do, but don’t we have a responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and if necessary, clean house.”
Through out history, men and women have raised their voices to speak out against all kinds of injustice, Because of their efforts, slaves were set free, the horrors of the concentration camps were exposed and lives were spared. To accomplish this, some wrote articles using fictitious names to draw attention to the cause (i.e. people involved in the underground rail road); others spoke out openly and used the weight of their names to validate the cause.(i.e. William Wilber-force). God has always used people to shine light in dark places. Including dark places in the church. Martin Luther did this when he addressed the abuse and manipulation that was prevalent in the church of that day, via “Public postings”. To some, he was view as a “tool of Satan, a gossip, a trouble maker” but to those who hungered for truth, his testimony was heard, investigated and received. Why the history lesson? History has a way of reinforcing truth or revealing lies and History also reveals patterns in behavior. With an open mind, let’s review some of the patterns in the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Pattern # 1
Pastors who were fired.
3. Combs-was fired on his birthday
Pastors who “moved on”
9.Mcdonald- was demoted from administrative pastor
10. Taledo – Was asked by PJC to leave
11. Pena- Saw the writing on the wall and moved on.
As for Pastor Hammond, he was removed from his administrative duties one time too many, had his income cut and was forced to seek employment elsewhere.
In addition to these pastors, since 2004 more than 50 employees have been fired or have resigned. Why?
Truth or Lies? You decide. In the statement posted by the Brooklyn Tabernacle pastoral staff they assert that the leadership has remained the same for 35 years. If this statement is true, then the above is a lie. In reality, this statement like most statements from the leadership is at best a half truth. This response only highlights the obvious.
Pattern # 2) BT is a family business. It was started by a family member Claire (Carol’s father) passed down to Carol and Jim. In 1997 Pastor Hammond was demoted so that Al Toledo (son in law) could take his rightful place. If we follow the pattern, either Al will return to BT or Pastor Brian Pettrey (son in law) will inherit the business. Who are the members on the Board? Why is it a secret.
Pattern # 3.
Lack of Financial accountability:
At the start of the building project, members in the congregations were ask by PJC to “give sacrificially” so that the church could do the following
1. Build a gym for troubled inner-city youth. People gave, it never happened.
2. A 24 hour crisis center for gang members. People gave, it never happened
3. Homeless children brought to the church. People gave, the church took pictures of these children to Washington DC and received faith based money from the government for this project. The Children were allowed to come once and then leadership pulled the plug.
4. There was also talk from the pulpit of a school, daycare for single mothers and much much more. Again people gave and it never happened. At what point do we hold the leadership accountable? People gave wedding rings, took out second mortgages on their homes, equity lines of credit, gave the monies they saved for their children’s college education and the above did not happen. Instead, PJC Built Churchill’s Restaurant which failed within the first year. To add insult to injury when the people gave, there was never an announcement of what was given, no written financial statement to show how much money was collected. Were the bills paid? Was the crisis over? Will the gym be built? Nothing, but be sure, next Sunday and Tuesday we will be asked to give again.
Pattern #4 Abuse of Money.
Fact. PJC lives in a home that is worth over 5 million dollars.
[Editor’s note: documentation has not been found indicating the house was worth over $5,000,000. In April 2010 the house was listed for sale at $3,800,000, and in July 2010, the house was estimated at around $3,500,000. Average homes in the Douglaston-Little Neck area around that time were $506,000. The house eventually sold for $1,875,000 in October 2013.]
Fact, The church pays for all of his personal expenses. Staff members fix every leak, every plumbing problem, paint and remodel his home on a regular basis.
His house keeper and gardeners salary are also paid for by the church.
Baby sitting for his grand children, remodeling of Toledo and Pettery’s homes are also paid by the church. The entire remodel of his mother’s home was paid for by the church. Remodeling of a vacation home in Florida was also done by employees of the church. By the way, this is all done during church hours. When these employees are gone for months at a time, the church building is neglected, projects come to a halt and the work load becomes heavy for others. Were they paid for these services? NO. They are salaried employees who make very little. Could they object to doing the work? The ones who did are included in the list of those who were fired. Oh by the way, the other pastors do not enjoy this benefit. No one shovels the snow for them in the winter mornings, only Al and Jim enjoyed that benefit. No one parks their cars for them. All of this is demanded of the staff. Many have never received raises; one person after working at BT for 15years had only a $10 contribution made by the church into their 401b retirement. On His death bed, Pastor Byrd was promised that sister Byrd would be provided for. Pastor Byrd served faithfully at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. He began laboring there when the church was called The Brooklyn gospel tabernacle. After his death, Sister Byrd received a call from the church informing her that the church would not support her. It was a sister church in New Jersey that came to her aide. Now you understand why she attends that church. When this news reached the ears of some concerned members at BT people began talking and questioning or as some would say “Gossiping”. Because of their “gossip”, Sister Byrd gets some support from BT. The amount is small but at least it’s something. The bible instructs the church to care for widows especially those who served in the church. This act by BT. goes against scripture. The truth is bothers and sisters, the bible says let not your ways be evil spoken of. In other words, if your actions appear to be questionable or dishonest people will talk. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:2 we have renounced secret and shameful ways, we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. Brother and sisters, the answer is simple. All BT has to do is open the books, Produce financial statements, Produce the minuets from the board meetings, prove that these statements are false. Financial disclosure is a legal issue. The minuets from board meetings is a matter of protocol. The issue bothers and sisters, is not slander or gossip. The issue is Accountability. The deception has to stop. Deception about Churchill’s, deception about why Pastors, Staff members and members in the congregation have left and the deception about the finances. There is no doubt that the ministry of the Brooklyn tabernacle has been a blessing to many. The poor have heard the gospel. The music has blessed many and lives have been changed to the glory of God. However, this same work has made poor choices i.e. spending over a million dollars on marble for the smith street building, fired countless people including godly pastors and staff members. Conducting many building projects with out permits and not respecting OSHA codes. Which by the way led to a staff member becoming crippled. This brothers and sisters is a serious matter. If you love BT. you must pray and having done so you must stand and raise your voice. But do this only if you love the church. Do this only if you love Jim.
Let him who has ears to hear let him hear. As stated in 1Cor.5:12 it is our responsibility to examine those inside the church. We are called upon to pray and act. They go hand in hand. Brave men and women, examine the facts . Set aside your emotions, your personal opinions. Some times the truth is hard. There is one other pattern that is consistent among those who defend Brooklyn tabernacles lack of financial disclosure; they often say “I believe the money is spent wisely because PJC says so”. I have heard him say that all the money from the albums and books go to the work.” With out investigating the information and examining the facts, how do you know that it is reliable? As a non-profit organization, the church is required by law to be audited and to disclose the funds to every share holder. Who are the share holders? The tithing members. I challenge you to examine the information in this post. I challenge you to think, question and follow the example of the Bereans in Acts who would not accept Paul’s testimony until they had examined all the facts. This also applies to my post. I challenge you to ask your former pastors why they left. I challenge you to talk to people on staff. But only do so if you are hungry for truth. Finally, just think for a moment what this world would be like if it were not for the efforts of the secret members of the Underground Railroad…. What if William Wilber-force did not lift his voice…? What if” insiders” did not give testimony to the horrors that were occurring within the concentration camps. What if their response was “Pray and leave it to God”. What if Martin Luther did not oppose the injustice in the church which by the way led to revival within the church. Better yet, what if God, from afar just watched us in our sins and did nothing to save us. Thanks be to God, he was not passive, instead he took and active role, He got involved and Changed History. Why did I post? I am hopeful that change can occur; I am prayerful that Jim will repent; I believe the financial books should be opened and I love the Brooklyn tabernacle.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:41 pm #2450
“Some have said, go to pastor Cymbala?
He does not have an open door policy.
He will only see who he wants to see.
The things done in the dark, must be exposed
in the light.
ALL BELIEVERS must be transparent and accountable.
Firstly to GOD, and then to each other.
People are secretive because PJC is very, very vindictive.
The LORD is exposing Pastor Cymbala, not man.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:42 pm #2451
“And herein lies the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and deception, darkness and light.
There are 3 kinds of people here: those who want the truth to be supressed so that they can carry on their sleep walking, those who want the truth to come out at any expense – even if it means it will hurt, and finally there are crazy people who just want to confuse us all.
I serve in ministry. I pay my tithes. That’s my obligation. Beyond that I serve God and He didn’t call me to take on a real life PHARAOH.
There are pastors there who are suppossed to be looking out for my best insterest. I know they are watching this board. Pastoral staff, who among you are the real shepherds and who are the hirelings? YOU NEED TO DO CONFRONT HIM!!!”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:42 pm #2452
“Ezekiel 34:2: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them:’This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
Isaiah 56:11b They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.
Pastors Johnson, Burgos, Olmo, Hammond, Parks and Petrey, when are you going to stand up and defend the flock? When are you going to come together as a group and confront the evils that you are so well aware of? When are you going to start serving the sheep instead of protecting your positions? You know first hand the evils that are going on. Your positions are as secure as Pastors Hannon, Bowman, Combs, Lorenzo, Impaglia, and Toledo’s were. God is going to hold each of you accountable for the constant head-turning that you are doing and your refusal to defend the sheep. Are your positions that important that you refuse to stand up for truth, or have you been so beaten down yourselves that you no longer have the strength to stand and confront injustice when you see it? If the latter is the case, then you should not be in the positions that you hold so tightly to. We the people implore you, take action!! Do you actually think that this is going to stop? Do you believe that you can simply ignore what is being addressed here, or that you can stop your own staff members from e-mailing people and asking them to look at this site? Do you think that all the people who have experienced the evils are just going to keep quiet? If you do not address this issue now it is only going to grow. The end result is going to be a disaster. Wake up! Shake off your lethargy and take action, or just sit back and continue to ignore the injustices that are all around you. The question is, do you love God’s people enough to take action, or are you just in it for selfish reasons as well?”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:43 pm #2453
“Tell that to the former pastors and staff members who are no longer EMPLOYEES of the church. I’m sure that’s exactly what they did, and POOF, they are gone. That is why this blog exists in the first place. All tyrannical empires are overthrown by underground movements, because they know that if they confront the powers that be, they will incur the wrath of the dictator. The truth can be BRUTAL. I believe there may be one or two bloggers who actually have an ax to grind; the rest of these blogs are cries of desperation from God’s people for the truth to be revealed, the abuse of power to be stopped, the abusers to be confronted, and hopefully, REPENT. May God have mercy on their souls, and may they be humble enough to SEE the truth and admit that there is sin in the camp.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:43 pm #2454
“Pastor Cymbala needs to REPENT! That is sole purpose of this forum. We are pleading for PJC to REPENT! You call people, to repent, every sunday, you need to practice what you preach and REPENT! Repent and be saved!”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:44 pm #2455
“Don’t blame Paul White for having the courage to say in a public forum what so many members and or employees have felt, seen and wanted to say, but have kept quiet out of fear. Let Pastor Cymbala respond to “the madness” by acknowledging that there are real problems in God’s church. It is NOT his church, as he has said in staff meetings. I do not believe he is an evil man; I believe he loves God, but that he is blinded by his own absolute power. He is only a man, and is capable of wrongdoing. He just needs to be humble enough to be willing to LISTEN to his own members’ complaints. We don’t want to hurt him, but he is hurting and has hurt MANY people, and for other members to justify his actions by saying “he is only human” and accuse others of “smearing” his name is a cover-up for exposing the truth. The morale of this church is a mess, and there needs to be a major overhaul of accountability and practices, starting with the leadership, namely, Pastor Cymbala. Everyone else in “leadership” are his “yes” men. Let’s see if any of the leaders have the courage to finally “stop the madness” and go to him and implore him to address the issues written all over this blog. If there is nothing to hide, just reveal the financial statements to the tithing members of the church, and acknowledge that the way this church is run is not biblical or healthy. I pray for him, the leadership and other members, as we love our Pastor and the church. But things have been allowed to get out of hand for so long, and now we are reaping what has been sown.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm #2456
SHAME ON YOU BT
“Pastor Byrd was promised that sister Byrd would be provided for. Pastor Byrd served faithfully at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. He began laboring there when the church was called The Brooklyn gospel tabernacle. After his death, Sister Byrd received a call from the church informing her that the church would not support her. It was a sister church in New Jersey that came to her aide. Now you understand why she attends that church. When this news reached the ears of some concerned members at BT people began talking and questioning or as some would say “Gossiping”. Because of their “gossip”, Sister Byrd gets some support from BT. The amount is small but at least it’s something. The bible instructs the church to care for widows especially those who served in the church. This act by BT. goes against scripture.
SHAME ON YOU BT. SHAME ON YOU!!!!”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm #2457
“I am a single mother of 4children who attend BT by subway. I am sickend by what I read here to think that I struggle every day to pay my bills feed my children TITHE to this church and my money is going to shovel Pastors CHILDREN snow? Several yrs ago I was coming out of the subway with my kids in the winter and I went to the entrance of the bld & saw Pastor come out and yell to usher Willie, go park Chrissys car. I looked and saw Pastors daughter pull in front of the church get out BY HERSELF and walk inside, Willie ran to park her car(this was before we had a parking lot). I had to pray for grace as I must admid I thought here I am taking 1h subway ride to church with my kids and Pastors daugter just pulls up and is care for by the ushers. Then I hear that over 1mil$ is spent on marble in the lobby. What about the gym for trouble youth,the crisis center for gang members, helping the struggling mothers with no support, the promise to take care of Sister Byrd? Why doesn’t someone come and shovel my snow in winter? There is something terribly wrong here when the blding, the BT name become more important than the members whm struggle each week to pay tithe. I am heartbroken for years I knew to be truth but ignored it cause I was blessed by the true believers who go to this church. But I cant ignore now, I pray for his repent. I am heart sick. Help me, Jesus.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm #2458
“Dear Ramon: Your comments were heartfelt and sincere, and you are obviously a godly man of faith. But not everyone can make the same decision that you and your family made; that is, to just leave BT and move on because you couldn’t bear anymore hurt. People have invested their lives as well into this church; not just PJC and Carol, and they have been deeply wounded by many issues that are being written about on this blog; abusive treatment by leadership, mismanagement of church funds, self-entitlement behavior and the like. I’m sure others, like yourself, have prayed for years about the impropriety that has been witnessed, but to seemingly no avail. Others have gone directly to the Senior Pastor, and have been shown the door on the way out, and nothing has changed. In fact, it sounds as though things are getting worse. While we must fast, pray and seek God’s face about EVERYTHING, there is a time when God’s people have to stand together against ANYONE in leadership who is responsible for the wrongdoing…namely, Pastor Jim Cymbala. And I think that’s what this blog is about…the cry of the heart of those in pain who, in your own words, “can no longer bear to see or experience. There is only so much pain our souls can bear”. So, brother, please continue to pray for Pastor, the church and those who are brave enough to act and demand change, in love, for the glory of God. Thank you.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:46 pm #2459
“I am also in ministry, and some may say that I am a coward to hide behind a screen name; I admit that, I am afraid — afraid because everything that has been written here thus far is the Truth. There is no conspiracy here. So much deceit and intimidation goes on within the walls of this church to keep the leadership directly under the thumb of the Senior Pastor. It is not a black/white issue. It is an issue of complete and utter submission to the will of the Pastor…not the will of God, but the will of Pastor Cymbala. All the leaders know it, but they, like myself, need this job, and we know that if we don’t conform, we will be OUT, plain and simple. If you dare do anything that ticks him or his offspring off, they will call you in, “question” your commitment to the ministry, and usually, fire you on the spot and then just say, “Trust God, He’ll provide”, while you go file for unemployment. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times, and it will continue to happen unless someone braver than I takes all of this seriously enough to finally confront the Pastor, if they can even get him to listen, which is highly unlikely….they will be branded “disobedient, troublemaker, conspirator”, etc., because that is how abusive leadership operates…by fear and intimidation. We leaders do speak amongst ourselves, and yes, we are hypocrites. We smile and praise the Lord while we live in fear of retaliation if we dare speak our “own” mind. So you naysayers out there…..you know not of what you so eagerly defend. But God knows, and the day of reckoning is coming. Not because of this blog, but because God is a just and loving God, and pride comes before the fall. I wish Pastor Cymbala no harm; I just pray that God will get a hold of his heart and show him how pride and self-interest have corrupted a once very godly man. He is not evil, he is basking in the glory of his own hype, and lives in a fantasy world where HIS word is law. God is a jealous God and will share his glory with NO ONE, not even PJC.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:46 pm #2460
Reply to Stedfast
Comments #463 and #464
“You just don’t seem to get that the leadership of this church preaches biblical principles from the pulpit, but practices deception and lies behind closed doors. Do you really think this Pastor could go to Pastor Cymbala and tell him these things without serious repercussions? Pastor Cymbala himself doesn’t follow biblical principles; he pays people off to hide his sin, he doesn’t hold his own children accountable for their wickedness, he humiliates and demeans his own staff, he lies…yes, he lies! I won’t go into the details, but this man is a liar. So handling matters at this church in a biblical way is like trying to ask Satan to be truthful. Stop protecting the horrific abuses and practices that are going on, and remember: the actions of this leadership do not edify Christ; so many members and leaders of this church have posted the truth of what goes on, and people like you ignore the offenses, and protect the guilty! Let the truth be told!! Stop trying to hide the truth about this diseased leadership. There is no one to go to about the Pastor, because he is accountable to NO ONE. So the only way to let the truth be known is to tell it.
The person doesn’t listen…he refuses to listen to anybody, and will berate you like a child if you dare offer an opinion contrary to his. He twists your words, will turn the conversation around and make it about YOUR flaws, and tell you how he will put his “fruit of the psat 35 years” up against anybody’s; as if that has anything to do with the dishonest practices going on. He screams and yells, accuses and attacks his own workers. He has become a megalomaniac, and cannot see his own flaws; he believes he is above reproach and will bite the head off of anyone who dares question his authority. I have been on the receiving end of his tirades, and he is NOT the humble preacher you see “on stage” every Sunday. It’s so sad.”
- December 28, 2020 at 8:47 pm #2461
Signs of Spiritual Abuse
Comments #480, #482
“CAN SOMEONE SAY PASTOR CYMBALA AND PASTOR TOLEDO? Incredible; was this book written specifically about them?. Spiritual abusive symptoms of a church or group laboring under the heavy-hand of hyper-authoritarianism of their Pastor . That is to say, the leadership is dominating, controlling, and manipulating their followers, and exploiting them for their own personal gain and private kingdom-building. Wholesale abuse and misuse of authority is an integral part of the very foundation, fabric, and functions of such groups.
Exploitative abuse of authority occurring in groups where these hyper-authoritarian systems of governance are instituted come in various shapes and shades, ranging from members having to receive the approval (usually referred to as “witness”) of their spiritual leaders to date and/or marry, to virtual sole dependence upon the supposed superior spirituality of group-gurus..”In these groups, the “authority” of the “shepherds” is absolute, sacrosanct, and inviolable, that is, without reprisal. Any semblance of anything other than total and unquestioning obedience to the desires and counsel of the church’s leadership chain is considered rebellion and insubordination, and simply is not tolerated. Members live under the constant threat of being branded with the Scarlet Letter “R” for “rebel,” openly denounced and shamed from the (bully-)pulpit, and consequently shunned by the “covenant-community” for failure to comply with the unwritten, unspoken rules and expectations established by the leadership. An oppressive performance-based approval and promotion system keeps members in constant internal turmoil and fear as they jump through all the hoops the spiritual taskmasters put before them, in an attempt to seek their leaders’ approval and favor. Moreover, members are indoctrinated and compelled to accept the leadership-set agenda of the group, regarding which they have next to no real say, as their personal burden and responsibility, and thus to commit their time, talent, And most importantly, their tithe, to its successful completion. Sadly, most never see past the spiritual smoke and mirrors to realize that the so-called “church” to which they have sworn allegiance and promised their wholehearted and unflagging support, is nothing more than the personal “business” of its leaders, and not only are they free labor, but they actually pay out of their own resources for the privilege of being a participant, i.e., member….
Ignoring the wrongdoing of the leadership — exalting them to God-like status in and over the group;
Absolute authority of the leadership;
No real accountability of the leadership to the corporate body;
Hand-picked sub-leaders, based on their demonstration of submissiveness to the ultimate leader rather than on the basis of their leadership skills, spirituality, and anointing and appointment by God;
Pervasive abuse and misuse of authority in personal dealings with members;
Paranoia and insecurity by the leaders;
Abuse, misuse, and inordinate incidence of “church discipline;”
Personal materialism, covetousness, and self-aggrandizement by the leaders;
Members and/or sub-leaders must make a “spiritual covenant,” sometimes a signed covenant agreement, pledging their total commitment and financial support to the leadership and church/ministry;
Financial exploitation of the members;
Inordinate attention to maintaining the public “image” of the ministry;
Theological incompetency by the leadership, especially with respect to the rules of hermeneutics and Bible exegesis employed in the formulation of doctrine, giving license to twisting and adulteration of Scripture in order to provide proof-texts for unorthodox and invented doctrines;
Abuse and misuse of prophetic giftings as a means to dominate and intimidate;
Devaluation, disallowance, disregard, and displacement of the true Fivefold Ministry within the church;
De facto legalism, or works mentality, and its resulting loss of the “joy of salvation,” though “freedom” is forever preached from the pulpit and the church is constantly touted as being a “safe church” by the leadership;
Esotericism — hidden agendas and requirements revealed to members only as they successfully advance through various stages of “spiritual enlightenment,” i.e., unorthodox, unproven indigenous doctrines;
Isolationism — corporate and individual, especially with respect to exposure to outside ministry sources;
Performance-based approval and promotion system of members predicated on “proven” “loyalty” (i.e., submission) to the leadership;
Devaluation, suppression, and non-recognition of members’ bona fide God-given talents, abilities, gifts, callings, and anointing, as a means of subjugation;
Requiring members to perform menial tasks, such as cleaning toilets, setting up chairs, and acting as the leader’s personal valet or slave, as a supposed means to humble them and teach them to “obey their leaders;”
Constant indoctrination with a “group” or “family” mentality that impels members to exalt the corporate “life” and goals of the church-group over their personal goals, callings, and objectives;
Members are psychologically traumatized and indoctrinated with numerous improper fears and phobias aimed at keeping them reeling in diffidence and an over-dependence or co-dependence on their leaders and the corporate group;
Corporately, there eventually develops an inordinately high incidence of financial, marital, moral, psychological, mental, emotional, and medical problems. Lack of true personal spiritual growth and development, especially in terms of genuine faith and experiencing the abounding grace, forgiveness, goodness, blessings, kindness, and agape-love of God;
Members are required to obtain the approval or “witness” of their leader(s) for decisions regarding personal matters;
Frequent preaching from the pulpit regarding not getting out from under the “spiritual covering” of the leadership;
Members departing without the prior permission and blessing of the leadership leave the group under a cloud of manufactured suspicion, shame, and slander;
Horror stories frequently told by leaders about individuals or families who left the group without the prior permission and blessing of the leadership, and the terrible consequences and curses they suffered as a result;
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR, BT/CT MEMBERS?”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:06 pm #2490
What did you do with the approximately $1Million dollars that was given to BT for the Bishop as a trust fund to take care of him? Why did you make him file to social security and say the church is paying him $1,200.00 per month when that is a lie?
DID YOU SPEND THAT MONEY ON The Childrens Ministry ?? Or somewhere else?”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm #2491
“The bible clearly states that if a brother is caught in a sin confront him individualy, after that take someone with you to face him, if he continues in his sin and tries to justify it EXPOSE him and turn away from such a brother. They didn’t have the internet back in those days but if they did, I’m pretty sure Paul would have used it to his advantage. PJC has been confronted face to face many times in the past and he still is right in his own eyes. Granted, there are people who probably hate his guts ,for the very real hurt and pain he has caused, but that is between them and their maker. As for PJC, he not only has to deal with God, but also His Church. Thats the price you pay for trying to be a big dog. He should have checked his corporate style of leadership at the door and submitted himself to a kingdom oriented style of leadership and he wouldn’t be going through all of this.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm #2492
“This is so very sad. But this is the result of years of abuse that never has been properly addressed. Years of people turning their heads the other way out of total fear. Years of reaping the benefits and then holding steadfast to a position, and yet not willing to rock the boat and lose that position.
This is a pattern that I myself have witnessed over the years and partook of. It is very disheartening. And I am as guilty as the rest. So many times I wish I would have stood up but like the rest I just stood their silent.
Pastor Cymbala I want to ask you a question: What was on the piece of paper that you so abruptly grabbed out of Pastor O’Neil’s hand and said to him “you never saw this”?
What was on that piece of paper that caused you to make Pastor O’Neil sign a disclosure when you offered him a very large severance package saying he would never disclose the information on that document?
I just have to remind you: God saw what was on that piece of paper and you can try to hide and cover it up but you know that you will answer to God for it.
The New Building project at 180 is not about children. It is about money. A quote from you Pastor Jim “when children do not come to church, parents do not come to church, when parents do not come to church they do not tithe. Tithing pays our salary. The reason for the new childrens facility is to bring in more adults. The sister who came from Washington told you about the One Million Dollars her pastor put into the Children’s Ministry and how it doulbed the tithes.
Why wouldn’t you keep to your promise to build a Youth Center and instead build a larger children’s church? Answer: Youth do not bring in tithes. Most of them come alone without their parents so it is not financially feasible to build a youth center because the profit would be far less then building a Childrens Church. You promised the youth and the church and begged them to give. What did you do with all of that money you collected from those people who gave sacrificially for a youth center? If you are so concerned about the finances of the church. Sell your $5,000,000.00 Home and buy a condo. It is only you and Carol anyway, why do you need such a BIG HOME when your parishoners who “pay your salary” live in the projects?”
[Editor’s note: documentation has not been found indicating the house was worth over $5,000,000. In April 2010 the house was listed for sale at $3,800,000, and in July 2010, the house was estimated at around $3,500,000. Average homes in the Douglaston-Little Neck area around that time were $506,000. The house eventually sold for $1,875,000 in October 2013.]
- December 28, 2020 at 9:08 pm #2493
“‘If it is not good for me to be on this board, isn’t the same true for all of you?’ No, because just as some can have one beer and not fall into addictive behaviour, that doesn’t mean the rest of us who are managing our lives and are not consumed throughout the day over a blog should have to desist, just because you can’t. You should not have asked that question… However,I think Joe has posed some points that are worth considering, as it relates to the Brooklyn Tabernacle of course. “How many square feet is the Brooklyn Tabernacle? How much does it cost to light, cool and heat that building a month? What about the school, how big is that building? What is the cost of operating and maintaining that? How many teachers are there, how many are on staff, how many in the maintenance team? They all equal salaries and health insurance. How much is the property tax on both buildings? Don’t think that because BT is a church that it is exempt from these responsibilities. Also, what is the phone bill like, how much is given to missions every month, what is the cost for the yearly choir ministry trip?” Thats Joe’s comment of course. And let me start off by saying that Creflo Odollar, Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, Kenneth Copeland all have large facilities, with bills, salaries and ministries to support. And It was substantiated that they were skimming off the top, weren’t transparent with the congregation they were leading and misappropriating funds. So just because you have a large facility and staff doesn’t mean that it’s beyond the scope of reason that funds are being misappropriated. I’ll say this. I work their, and so did you Joe, Cymbala would regularly have housekeeping, engineering and construction crew work on his house. And that house is HIS property, not the Church’s, all renovations should not be paid for with tithes and offerings. Misappropriation of funds, pain and simple, he broke the law. Also, he would not only pay for labor on the congregants tab, he would also purchase materials. The property, by NYC standards, is pretty big and any work done on it would be pretty significant. Let me give you one more instance of misappropriation of funds. I personally have talked to people who have complained that their donations never reached their intended target, namely missions. They have for years always had one account number that for all donations, regardless if one wants his donation to go to a particular destination. I’m going somewhere with this so stay with me, I and ten to fifteen other managers and Pastors were sitting in a finance/ budget meeting with our wonderful and upstanding member of the community, CFO and former pastor, Steve Rhodes. When it was mentioned in that meeting that it wasn’t an acceptable standard practice for donations to be sent to just one account instead of individual accounts, he scoffed at the remark by saying ” In the time that I’ve been here I have never known and money not reaching its intended destination, right Carol?” (Carol is the finance controller), like whats Carol supposed to say ” Uh, yeah, but what about the time we took that missions donation and appropriated it to that septic tank at the Cymbala home?” Or towards salaries, bills, etc.It’s standard practice in not for profits and Churches, to have separate accounts for each ministry and department, in order to ensure the integrity and credibility, of the Church.. how the heck did he purchased that 1.5 million dollar home in Ocala , Fla?”
[Editor’s note: the home found in public record is in Florida, but not Ocala. It was sold, reportedly to the Cymbalas, in September 2006 for $745,800. If there is a separate home in Ocala, documentation needs to be produced in order to verify.]
- December 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm #2494
“Happened to see the bookstore that is in the Brooklyn tabernacle and it appears the Cymbalas are at it again. Huge renovations to what was already a fully functional bookstore ( previous owners were a married couple who were members of the Church ). From what I hear, he plans on opening his own bookstore but it seems his wife didn’t like the decor, so she decided to renovate and overhaul the whole store. It looks like another 200,000 dollar job, mind you without the congregants approval or foreknowledge. This all happening while they cry about the economy and guilt trip the people to dig a little deeper into their pockets. But do you think the people in the congregation care if he wastes their money? Probably not. And I know you don’t gotta tell me, I just wasted 10 minutes of my time typing this.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm #2495
“If you think it’s bad now, up until this blog came out, for twenty plus years no one had a clue… Look you don’t have to take whats bieng said here at face value.. Go to the Church and ask to see anyone from the finance department. Preferably Steve Rhodes who’s the chief financial officer or the comptroller Carol Betances. Tell them that your thinking of becoming a member, but first you would like to see a 2008 financial breakdown of monies spent by the church. Then come back and tell us what happened.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm #2496
“I’m guessing that so many people still don’t know about this because I have attended the church for many years (and my parents are members, not me) and I have never picked all of this up…except the fact that the church (members) never recieved an financial annual report.
My father wrote a letter to the pastor concerning this years ago and got no response as a result. I am still trying to figure out why so many people don’t know about this….especially people who work in the ministry (like my mother).
Well, I am officially heartbroken. I am currently searching for another church that is biblically sound (doctrinal integrity) and where the financial aspects are honest. For the people who no longer attend BT, do you know of a church in NYC?(not to change the subject, of this blog, but I really need to know.)”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:10 pm #2497
“I used to play guitar with the worship band at BT between 1999 and 2001. I played the 9 am and 12 o’clock services Nothing on this board sounds
strange to me. I knew it was only a matter of time
before their deeds would be exposed. I nearly lost
my faith, because of the horrible abuse of people I saw and experienced myself. But Praise be to Jesus
I am in a solid reformed church. No Ego-maniacal
leadership to contend with. Believe me BT was horrible. SPY VS SPY best describes the atmosphere.
I left there shell shocked from their heartless, cold ways….
BT is a perfect example of man-centered worship gone
out of control.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:10 pm #2498
Long Lost Joe
Comments #867-#869, #875-#877
Comments #890, #897-898, #902
“I recently found this forum and spent about an hour reading through several of the posts. Reading all this brought back all the sad and painful memories of my time at Brooklyn Tabernacle. I was a member from 1977 to 2006. I was a choir member, led several ministries leader, an “armorbearer”, helped produce several of the Children’s and Christmas program when they used to be located at 290 Flatbush Ave and was very close to some of the associate pastors such as Dan Iampaglia, Charles Hammond, David Hannon, Carlo Boekstaaf, Ralph Byrd and Kenneth Ware. As I read all these posts its seems nothing has changed. I myself confronted Pastor Cymbala and the leadership there on several occassions on my own because noone had the courage to stand with me. What did I get from my confrontation, I was blacklisted as a rebel, and removed from my leadership positions. This is what happens when someone has absolute control with no accountability. This old quote rings true, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I even had a family member who works on staff there. She was a faithful staff member for over 20 years. She was abruptly laid off, left in tears, and then told not to saya anything to anyone. Then to top it all off, Pastor Cymbala made up a story that she wanted to help the church financially had agreed to give up her salary, a whopping $410 a week, and work as a volunteer. What a lie! I was there at a Tuesday Staff meeting when it was said, and I confronted him after the meeting, and was given the typical Pastor Cymbala line, “if you don’t like it here, there’s the door”. I can sit here for ours and recount the pain and heartache Pastor Cymbala and his family has wrought on myself, family and friends. As a former member who was there almost 30 years, I have seen so much. There are many bodies left dead along the road. I too am a victim of Pastor Cymbala’s deceit. The church is more like a despotic dictatorship, or like a Mafia crime syndicate. I tried many times to organize people to confront Pastor Cymbala as a group, but all were too afraid, all I can remember who had the guts to confront him was Joni Schwarz, I have always held her in high esteem. It is shame that as a result of all this, I have lost so much, the years lost and the utter disgust of church. Many people here say that in the end God will have his way, well, as for myself, it wouldn’t hurt to see Pastor Cymbala and his manipulative family all walking on in orange jumpsuits and shackles. By the way, to show that I am not some person who is pretending, I just found out that they are firing the custodial staff. I feel sorry for people like Isabelle, and Ocasio who are people who can least afford to lose their jobs at a time like this….
I find all this writing incredible. It seems that all along many people saw these things and nothing has been done about it. Like I said in my earlier post, I confronted Pastor Cymbala on these issues prior to the move to 17 Smith Street and several times before I left. I even contacted the IRS and NY State Offices about this. But you all must remember that Pastor Cymbala has been very wise in courting the favor of many prominent politicians like Senator Schumer, Congressman Aldohus Towns and the like. I always found it revolting to see these men on stage at the churchm giving there political speeches while representing the very things the Bible abhors. But hey that’s the way it is, do and say what needs to be said to insure the Cymbala agenda and the legacy to his family. That’s what this is all about. I all know is that every time I confronted that man surrounded by his “YES” men, my pain and disappoint grew. Sadly enough, in the end, what it cost me was my faith. All I can say, is that those who remain should open their eyes. For the road of this journey is laden with the dead, wounded and dying left by the wayside.
To those here who say that we should be quiet, or that some people here are cowards, remember this, there are people here like myself who have confronted Pastor Cymbala head on, and to no avail. To those who say hateful things about people speaking up about their experiences, to quote your favorite Pastor, Pastor Cymbala, “Can all of us be wrong!!” To those who say that the can’t be hurting people like this and be preaching God’s word, always remember that the Pharisees were constantly teaching God’s word and yet held the people in bondage and took advantage of them. Just like myself, Pastor Cymbala and all these people in leadership, are sinful by nature and are capable of anything. Unfortunately many hide behind veils of spirituality to take advantage of people. People like this get used to the praise of men and start to believe their own advertising. When someone does not feel accountable to the people they supposedly serve, they are not the shepherd taking care of the sheep, just the ones who fleece them for the wool.
Josh, it is easy for you to speak because you weren’t there long enough to see the abuse and corruption. As someone who attended Brooklyn Tabernacle from 543 Atlantic Ave to 17 Smith Avenue, I can attest to the changes in his personality and values. I too saw him as a mentor and a father figure in my life. Many times it is very difficult to come to terms with a father figure who does wrong. There was a time in my life where I would have defended him to the highest heavens but when I began to see the abuse, waste of money, saying one thing and doing another, the hypocrisy was more than I could take, especially when it began to hurt innocent people who could not defend themselves. Yes I prayed that God would reveal all of this, but God spoke to my heart to confront him on my own, then with two witnesses as the Bible teaches, but all I received in return was rebuke, ridicule and to have my own reputation tarnished. I personally paid the price in coming forward with the truth. Many times are affections towards the man clouds our judgement and we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes, but ultimately as leaders, as people who loved God, our ulimate allegiance is not to a man but God’s people. When the people Jesus died for are abused and taken advantage of, then you must act. I loved Pastor Cymbala like a father, and confronted him, when he was doing wrong, like a good son should, as I would expect my son to confront me, if I were doing something wrong. What happened in the end was that Pastor Cymbala, ridiculed me, and threw me by the wayside like he has done to so many others in the past. Ask some of the refugees from Brooklyn Tabernacle who attend other churches like Time Square Church, and Christ Tabernacle. You will be surprised at the response you will find and it is not good….
The bottom line for the change of heart, is what all men are susceptible to, Fame and Money. No one is immune to it. Fame affected his ego, and having people coming to his doorstep as someone who has all the answers, made him to believe his own advertising. It made him believe that it was either his way or the highway. Also the need for money and the need to leave a legacy. That was the whole purpose of the Learning Center, to leave a legacy for Jim Cymbala. He saw what other pastors were doing to leave a legacy for themselves. How do I know, I was in his office several times hearing him talk about it when I would get a ride to church on Sunday’s with him and an associate pastor.
I know it sounds over the top, but it’s a very effective brain washing technique. Except you use the word “vaccinate”. Look I don’t mind having my brain washed by Jesus through his word, but ultimately Cymbal is not adhering to Gods kingdom, just his own little empire he set up. And he uses that little ceramonial techinque to scare people so they won’t organize against him. Jesus did say we are like sheep you know, we’re very easily manipulated.
First of all I dont have to vaccinate myself for anything. A vaccination is required when a person is infected with a virus. Since when is TRUTH a virus. It is only a VIRUS to those who live in LIES and DECEIT. I have no qualms about what I am writing about because I confronted Pastor Cymbala personally regarding all I have written and have witnesses to that affect. The VIRUS affecting the church is LIES, SIN, HYPOCRISY, THEFT, in the name of Jesus and the GOSPEL. Always remember the story of JESUS and the moneychangers in the Temple. I don’t think Jesus needed to vaccinate himself when he confronted them.
Yes I have heard him say that since my days back at 543 Atlantic Avenue, the YWCA, 290 Flatbush and 17 Smith Street. But when the rubber meets the road, he never apologizes or asks for forgiveness. Personally, I confronted him about several lies he had said to me about money for the particular ministry I was overseeing. I was told personally by him that someone had donated $10,000 specifically for the work the mininstry. Pastor Cymbala then he called me and told me the funds were here and to start making preparations, then when all was finalized the money could not be found. Money specifically given for this particular ministry was used for something other than what the donor had set it aside for. When I contacted the donor to inquire, he was unaware what had happened. Pastor Cymbala asked me through his personal secretary, a close friend of mine, to come see him because he “wanted to resolve the issue and personally apologize to me” I went to the meeting expecting that and I all received was a rebuke and a stern warning not to contact the donors ever again….
Trust me, in the 29 years that I attended Brooklyn Tabernacle I saw too much. In the end it cost me my faith, my family, my reputation and alot of my “so-called friends”, people who chose loyalty to a deeply flawed man instead of the TRUTH. Those who chose not to embrace TRUTH are destined to remain captive to DECEIT. They are willing captives. Who have sold themselves into spiritual slavery. This is why I miss my long and deep conversations with Pastor Byrd, Pastor Dave Hannon and Pastor Carlo Boekstaaf, all who were brave enough to confront the lies. Thank God they are all with the Lord so they are no longer are associated with the nonsense. I have my own sins, failures, and weaknesses, which I am man enough to admit to. Howeverl it is the arrogance of power that Pastor Cymbala and family display that they feel make them above reproach and any sort of accountability. They are only accountable to themselves. It’s like looking in the mirror and asking your reflection to say anything different than you are saying yourself. I hope that one day God will heal all those who have been wounded, devastated or destroyed by these people….
Angry at God, Pastor Cymbala and Brooklyn Tabernacle most definitely YES!
Discouraged, that word does not even come close to describe what I continue to feel.
Closure, I wish, I am far from it.
In the fold, HELL No! I am not.
I am not alone in this. Just goes to show you the destructive power people like this yield over others. I was a fool to believe and for so long.
So as Scotty once said on Star Trek, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I dont intend to be fooled again….
But as I see it, Pastor Cymbala and people like him are representatives of Christ on Earth. Therefore, since the Bible teaches that Christ is the Head of the Church, He is therefore ultimately responsible for the actions of those that represent Him. No different than any other organization, the leadership is ultimately responsible for the actions of those under there leadership. Because if we are to believe, that as Christians you represent Christ here on Earth, remember what a wise person once said many years ago, “You may be the only Christ that a person may see in their lifetime”. So if He is Christ’s representative, he is a poor example of one who has caused pain and heartache to many many people. So why would I want to serve a God like that. Since Christ has not chosen to take corrective action, who else do I hold accountable. But in all honesty, I am trying to move beyond this in my life. I wasted most of my adult life (age 16 to 45) “serving Christ” in the Brooklyn Tabernacle and what do I have to show for it but pain, heartache, disappointment, loss of faith, loss of my good name and reputation, loss of a marraige, loss of family and friends.
So much for your living a life as a ” living sacrifice unto God” not much of a payback.
Many here after reading my posts my consider me just a backslidden christian who is very bitter and hurt. Some may dismiss what I say because of that.
All I can say, is that for those who continue to serve in any leadership capacity in Brooklyn Tabernacle and continue to support the deception and corruption there, are not furthering the kingdom of God. They are only furthering the Cymbala Empire. He is so similar to Roman Emperors used slaves, and lowly people to die on the battlefield to extend the Empire, of which only those in power truly enjoyed its fruits. Pastor Cymbala, while he sits in an office that even some CEO’s would envy, not to mention much larger than the homes of those people in Haiti, Dominican Republic, etc He is no different than the Pope or any other religious leader who lives off the backs of the unfortunate. Let me say this much, if there is a heaven, people like Sister Byrd (abandoned by BT), Isabelle Camacho, Jose Ocasio and the like will live in the very best parts of that heavenly neighborhood.
While those who participate and continue to support this abhorrent behavior at Brooklyn Tabernacle, better make sure that in the end, that they may just make it by the skin of their teeth, if at all.
Joey Vasquez is a contradiction because when the church was still at 290 Flatbush Ave, he and Michael Archibald, were caught stealing from the church. They were purchasing items for themselves, and sending the bills to be paid by the church.
They were sending another brother named Raymond
to purchase the items and telling him, these purchases were approved.
Well,after all hell broke loose and everything came to light, who gets fired Raymond!
Joey and Michael were kept on the staff because Carol could never survive without her favorite and precious bass player and drummer. But Raymond was only a maintenance guy so he was let go….
You ask if Cymbala is to blame??? Did you remain strong for your family and let them see Christ in your suffering? Are you kidding me?????
Hmmm Let’s see… When your Pastor lies about you and your family in a staff meeting with outside guests and to my own face. When you confront him privately and then with witnesses, and then goes about to ruin your reputation for standing up to him. When your Pastor removes you from leadership positions as a result of me standing up for the truth and confronting his lies and tells people that I was replaced because I was rebellious. When your Pastor, makes your famiy cry because I was humiliated in front of them for again bringing up financial indiscretions at the church. When your Pastor threatens peoples jobs because they were standing with you and all you are abandoned by them. I tried to to remain strong for my family but there is so much a person can take, no matter how spiritual you are. When friends that have known you for years abandon you because the Pastor had called them about me.
You tell me, who should I blame myself?? For what doing things biblically, for standing up for the truth. I dont think so! Yes I blame him because he is to blame….
People like you are amazing. Because you accuse a person of being spiritually sick, when it is people like Pastor Cymbala and others who create environments that are filled with spiritual filth and spiritual viruses. Those who are complicit with people like that become immune to the spiritual virus, while others who fight for the truth become weakened by it and become sick and sometimes die.
Let me paint a picture for you. Let’s say you are standing on flat plain with the adversary in front and a deep cliff behind you. You fight and fight against your adversary until finally, you are left at the edge of the cliff with your adversary still in front of you. Because you are so exhausted from the battle, you faint, lose your footing and fall off the cliff.
Who is to blame? That is what happens at Brooklyn Tabernacle and with people like Pastor Cymbala. Through their lies, manipulation, self-righteousness and deception they push you to the edge of the cliff. You become so weary, you fall. Then they turn and say to everyone, Oh look at their condition, it wasn’t our fault, it was their fault. That is the problem with many christians, the only deal with the final outcome of the situation and never have the courage, the wisdom or discernment to deal with the environment or causes that led to the person’s ultimate condition. Like I said earlier, Pastor Cymbala infects people with a deadly spiritual virus and then they are to blame for getting sick and dying, I dont think so.”
Segments of the original Topix Discussion can be found on The Wayback Machine, HERE.
- December 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm #2499
“Your in Chicago, I’m here in the Church. The way they handle sexual abuse is to keep it on the hush hush, it’s a p.r nightmare. It’s standard operating procedure.But you know better than we do over here. Do you?”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm #2500
BOO HOO HOO
“How come no one from the church seems the least bit concerned about the unlawful, ungodly, CRUEL practices of this leadership, and you all just boo hoo about “everyone venting their anger” on the poor Cymbalas. B.S. They are the most destructive “religious” family since Tami and Jim Bakker, and their empire will suffer the same fate….it’s all a matter of time, because God is a just God. People have a right to state the truth about this church that influences millions of lives, and people need to know the truth about how corrupt and dangerous these people are. They are RUTHLESS and will stomp on anyone who gets in their way, or steals their thunder. A sick bunch of people.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:12 pm #2503
Question -the real one-
“What’s really scary is that you don’t even leave a possiblity that this stuff can even be true. You just know deep down in your heart that it is not true.
There is nothing here that is deemed as gossip. If you read this forum from DAY ONE…it was already addressed what the issues were. You have no idea what is going on at Brooklyn Tabernacle especially since you are in CHICAGO! So how on earth can you say it’s not true?!
The issues simply were Cymbala not being accountable financially and not being accountable for the way that he has treated his staff. The victims of this abuse have confronted Pastor Cymbala FACE TO FACE and they were shut down, excommunicated and labeled as gossippers (kinda like what you are doing right now). And just seeing that there are more and more people here voicing their cries, shows that it’s pretty rampant.
As Christians, we are INSTRUCTED by the BIBLE to voice any injustices within the Body of Christ. That is biblical, did you know that?! The reason why people are doing it here is because telling Cymbala himself to his face has done nothing at all. So you take other precautions. Paul in the bible stayed rebuking people for their nonsense, would you call him a gossipper and someone who has no love?! I thinks not.
I actually feel sorry for you, only because people like you who stand up so admantly for a MAN or men…are usually the ones who will get hurt the hardest. I think it is HIGHLY insensitive to downplay the harships that people went through just because the perpretrator just happens to be your favorite person in the whole wide world.”
Segments of the original Topix Discussion can be found on The Wayback Machine, HERE.
- December 28, 2020 at 9:12 pm #2504
“”Joni is very brave to confront PJC.” Ok, you said that this blog was all hearsay and outright lies, but at the same token you give legitamacy to Joni Shwartz because she “confronted” him. Your line of logic doesn’t make any sense. She confronted him because of the lack of financial tranceparency, thats common knowlede everyone knows that. And what motivated her to do it was because Cymbala kept using her and the students as a prop to raise money at churches in the midwest,downsouth and every where else. Joni was upset because Cymbala was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in residuals and she had little to no resources to work with.The kids in her program worked on second hand computers that were donated, beatup desks, outdated books, an understaffed teaching faculty… In other words,Cymbala was misappropiating those monies and the whole learning center was a scam to make money. That is the real reason behind her resigning. How do I know that? I know her personally, so there’s your “proof”. Remember I work there. But I suspect your not interested in the truth, your only interested in currying favor with crooked pastors so you can get a “promotion from the Lord”… If you know Paul Shwartz or Joni why don’t you call and ask them they’ll tell you.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:13 pm #2505
“JUST WONDERING wrote:
Did P.A.T really have a fist fight with his brother-in law Brian P INSIDE B.T??
Gossip, gossip and some more gossip….Not gossip. The reason why people wanted to know if Toledo had a fist fight with his brother in law, was because your innocent pastor got on stage in a sunday service, after the fight and said with the utmost conviction, that God called him to chicago, and proceeded to tell this elaborate tale of how he seen the regional director at a conference and 10 years prior the director prophesied that he would open a church in chicago.That was the reasoning behind his abrupt announcment for leaving. So it wasn’t gossip at all, people were mystified that your “Pastor” would lie and used God to cover up an obvious scandal. I and many others were sitting in the service when toledo to that boldfaced lie. And if your wondering why nobody confronted Cymbala and Toledo, Well I often wondered the same thing. But it was easy to control the outflow of information at that time because the only people who knew what happened were paid employees. You keep making these bold declarations Rob and your liable to have a crisis and become very conflicted. You might want to stop coming on this blog and plug your ears and close your eyes. lol!”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:13 pm #2506
“As someone who once tutored at the Learning Center. Make note, Mrs Schwartz was always very
tolerant of her staff. She was ALWAYS willing to
initiate the steps needed to effect full conflict
resolution. She was not laid off. In effect, she quit, as she grew tired of the B/T administration’s games and lack of sincerity.
She determined within herself to pursue her Doctorate so that she may effectively minister to those in need in a greater way. She NEVER cared
about the money. She was one of the few to always confront pastor Cymbala about his
actions , in love. Today she still helps those that need a voice or need to be encouraged about their ability to make a difference in this world.
The Learning Center is not the same. The celebrations that Mrs. Schwartz introduced to affirm the laborers and the tutoring staff are not there any more. The students are affirmed as to what they cannot do. At the completion of the DLC Graduation ceremony this past June the students were not invited to participate in the graduation as usual. The tutors were given a book
entitled “A Servants Heart”, the forward was written by Pastor Cymbala. the book clearly is a means of trying to retain the continued free service of the tutors that make the DLC. Under Mrs. Schwartz’ headship. The tutors were given a
$50 gift card for Barnes and Noble.(No small feat since it cost the administration several thousand dollars). The graduation celebrations also included the students as well. The tutors are made to feel that if they desire to stop tutoring GOD would not be pleased with them.
It is a form of control effected by the church administration. But, as we know, the Lord is watching. We must keep praying.”
Segments of the original Topix Discussion can be found on The Wayback Machine, HERE.
- December 28, 2020 at 9:14 pm #2507
Proof of BT falsehood
“Hmmmmmm. Pastor Cymbala and his wife Carol are always saying how every penny received from his book sales and choir sales go straight into the church’s coffers. So explain to me how they can borrow $500,000 from Chase Bank in July 2005 and pay off the entire $500,000 loan in September 2007. Maybe all those dollars aren’t flowing back to the church. All this information is available at the NYC Department of Finance, Office of the City Register.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:14 pm #2508
“And I agree that the Church should give Pastoral support. The problem is, is that his home is lavishly provided for. High end furniture from out of north carolina which is the furniture capital of the US. And the house does not belong to brooklyn tabernacle inc. It’s his home, let him spend his own money on his “better homes and gardens” decorum. Im sorry, Cymbala guilt trips the elderly, who are on pensions and social security, so he can live it up. Well he can get away with it I guess, but I’m snitching him out to everybody. Notice I used the term snitching, which is a more appropiate term for spilling the beans on criminals. But you call it “gossip”, in the biblical sense.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:14 pm #2509
“Joey Diaz (joey A) came on this forum and gave one example of the impropiety. He and I worked behind the scenes. Cymbala asked people to give to the Rosados womens home in New Hampshire. They recieved ten thousand dollars (BT) and they gave the womans home a thousand… John Gotti also gave a lot to his community, and the people who lived their were pissed that the cops took him away. Gotti gave jobs and security to the neighbohood he lived in, as long as their needs were met they could less about justice.”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:15 pm #2510
Proof of BT falsehood
“I worked for that Church for about 7 years. Cymbala’s robbing those people blind. I asked him why couldnt he be financially transparent with the congregation. He became upset and told me that maybe I should find another Churh that has those practices in place… I was fired four months later. I had a personal friend who recieved 10,000 dollars from him for a down payment on his condo because he didnt want my friend to relocate back to his home state. His son in laws homes were purchased by him with Church funds, his Daughter recieved a paycheck for years to stay home,Employees from the Church would do major renovations on his house during work hours and I could go on and on…”
- December 28, 2020 at 9:15 pm #2511
“it can be proven that your Pastor laid out his brother in law. The whole staff was there to witness Brian on the floor. Then within weeks, and I’ll admit this part is suspect, he had an impression that God wanted him to go to chicago. He got fired, plain and simple. So Cymbala validated this mystical experience Toledo had on the heels of his violent outburst? God is a God of order, and Toledo at the time had serious anger issues that were out of order, that needed to be dealt with before allowing him to oversee a Church that has a segment of vulnerable weak people. That says alot about Cymbala’s spiritual discernability which is totally blinded by his own self/family preservation.”
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