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Counterfeit Moriel in AustraliaWritten by Jacob Prasch
Issued By the Moriel Board, 28th November, 2000
Dear friends, following the recent article "Jacob Prasch - Pastor or Predator" and other material on the Internet web site called "Moriel Australia Inc." the board of Moriel has issued this warning to provide facts for all concerned so that truth may be discerned. This unusual step for the board was taken in discussion with Jacob because of the highly personal nature of the comments and the serious accusations it makes concerning the integrity of Moriel Ministries and Jacob himself. The board regards legal action against any individuals as an action of last resort, but given the seemingly financial motivation in this case Moriel does not exclude the possibility of enforcing copyright and reporting theft of copyright to the police. May God give discernment and understanding to all who read this statement - which we have endeavored to make entirely factual rather than subjective and personal. This warning therefore covers the nature of Moriel Ministries, source of the counterfeit Moriel and specific issue (the Elim dispute, raised by the counterfeit Moriel).
Nature of Moriel Ministries
A brief summary of certain features relevant to this warning are included here as the best way to understand what is counterfeit it is to first focus on what is genuine:
- J. Jacob Prasch has a teaching (not pastoral) ministry based on a traditional Jewish understanding of scripture (not secrets) rather than western "Greek" interpretation.
- This ministry results in identifying and challenging errors of doctrine, "Christian" experience and lifestyle. Jacob is passionate for the truth and expresses his opposition to error in passionate terms (as did Ezekiel or Luther), making every effort to show the truth from Scripture as the basis from which error is identified.
- The Internet and other media today facilitates large Christian organizations (churches, denominations, and para-church organizations), giving their leaders significant influence. Those reached through public ministries and individuals (via mass media and the Internet) may never be challenged to consider error unless that challenge is likewise expressed in the public domain because it may not be accepted by those individuals or organization, and not communicated even if it is accepted.
- Moriel is funded by voluntary gifts and has the objective of bringing truth, discernment and strength to the Church. The objective is not to achieve popularity, although the ministry continues to grow to date. It has generated no personal wealth for Jacob (a fact recently shown legally in the UK) and been a heavy personal cost to Jacob in terms of time away from his family to whom he is deeply and passionately committed - a fact which is plain to anyone who knows him or them personally.
Several matters raised in the article require no response including the authenticity of the teaching, popularity or financial status of the ministry, and in particular Jacob's family. The Board is fully satisfied that these matters are in good and godly order. External verification of these matters is available through the genuine Moriel organization on the Moriel web site.
Source of the Counterfeit Moriel
The Moriel Australia Inc. website is maintained in Campbletown/Adelaide Australia and is believed to be operated by an individual known as Henry Shepherd (not his original name). The website and any organization behind it use the Moriel name without permission and issue Moriel materials in violation of copyright laws.
Mr. Shepherd attached himself to Moriel Australia some years ago as a part-time volunteer worker until he was dismissed when his previous activities were brought to our attention by local clergy. The most prominent of these activities included the publishing of material about a senior Assemblies of God official in Australia which was ruled as slanderous and defamatory in court and a court order issued preventing further material of such nature being published. In a similar vein, Mr. Shepherd also attempted to set up an organization using the name of the former Assemblies of God general secretary Philip Powell. These activities meant Mr. Shepherd became well-known in local ecclesiastical circles.
Since this time, Mr. Shepherd has been involved with the Internet-based organization of Peter Michas ("Michas") and through Peter Michas, Mr. Shephard has had contact with a former employee of Moriel . That employee had worked for Moriel USA until early 1999 and without our knowledge or approval linked Moriel to Michas - an organization with which Moriel has a fundamental doctrinal disagreement. The employee had been associated with Peter Michas for several years, without Moriel's knowledge, and resigned from Moriel over this matter.
Also since his involvement with Moriel, Mr. Shepherd commenced a publication called "Grafted Olive" which was sent to Moriel subscribers without knowledge, permission or any mailing lists having been provided. After Moriel subscribers were informed of this fact the publication ceased. In a similar activity, Mr. Shepherd has been involved in the issuing of a bootleg version of Jacob's book "Grain for the Famine" (published by Moriel Australia and St. Matthew's Press in the UK) in violation of copyright law.
Since "Grafted Olive" ceased, the counterfeit Moriel Australia Inc. website has published several statements questioning Jacob's personal integrity, one example being a claim that Jacob "stole" Moriel Air Miles, which was publicly shown to be untrue on production of a copy of Jacob's Visa bill. It also continues to market the bootleg "Grain for the Famine" and publish material which Moriel and Jacob Prasch do not support.
Mr. Shepherd has demanded money from Moriel to remove material from the website and to buy stocks of the bootleg version of "Grain for the Famine". The board believes that this request and the copyright infringements described above by "Moriel Australia Inc." constitute illegal activity.
The comments in the article concerning Jacob's attitude towards women and the disassociation of former staff with Moriel. Many women today work in key positions within Moriel worldwide, such as Alison Dodd - UK Administrator, Margaret Godwin - Australia Administrator, and Carol Champion - Webservant, They can and do completely reject the view given in the article of Jacob's attitude towards women, especially his wife. Several people have indeed joined and left Moriel over the years it has been operating, usually due to the nature of the ministry itself discussed above. The departures of whole teams indicated in the article is factually incorrect, these statements (in the view of the board) being due to the historical facts of the source of the counterfeit Moriel discussed above.
The nature of Moriel Ministries discussed above has resulted in instances where Jacob has himself been the subject of potential litigation which the article refers to. Where unacceptable expression of opposition to error has taken place Jacob has submitted to arbitration or apologized. The board accepts that he is not perfect and public figures must accept the risk of misunderstanding or their words being taken out of context.
One specific dispute with Elim and the related arbitration with David Pawson is raised in the article without reference to essential factual material:
- The dispute with Elim arose from Jacob's objection to an Elim leader appearing on a platform of a political rally of Ulster unionists, endangering in Jacob's view the safety of ex-Catholics in an Elim church in Northern Ireland.
- The matter never came to court but was instead dealt with through the very arbitration referred to in the article with David Pawson.
- Arbitration found Elim and Jacob coequally to blame in placing lives at risk and Jacob retracted everything that was the subject of the protest.
Since this dispute, Jacob has only differed from David Pawson - whom Jacob frequently holds out to be someone whom he holds in general in the highest regard - over the specific question of the "Toronto Experience". David Pawson has publicly referred to the experience as a "blessing" but to be approached with caution (a "yellow light"). Jacob and Moriel refer to the experience as a "deception" (a "red light"). Although this is only one point of disagreement it is a significant one and Mr. Pawson's objections to Jacob's character should be read in the context of Jacob's objections to Mr. Pawson's position on the experiences known as Toronto. For further information on this subject please contact Moriel.
One final point is that the counterfeit Moriel Inc. website has published a statement that UK Ã‚ £20,000 was spent on the legal fees relating to this matter. This is untrue as shown in the accounts and records of Moriel. Much time was spent in arbitration to openly resolve the dispute with Elim and resolution was obtained. It is interesting to note the prominence of money for the counterfeit Moriel Inc., and the fact that more than once it has given information concerning Moriel that is demonstrably false.
Moriel Ministries regrets having to post the above material and would like to put it behind us; but as long as the Counterfeit Moriel is operating, we must alert everyone there is a counterfeit.
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