Jump to content
GreaseSpot Cafe

"Secrets of the Vine"

Watered Garden

Recommended Posts

This is a class by Bruce Wilkinson, author of "The Prayer of Jabez." I never read The Prayer of Jabez, because I thought it was about financial prosperity and I wasn't interested. Our adult Sunday school class is taking this class. It is a video and workbook and then you discuss.

First of all, the guy is wearing a very nice suit and is up on a stage in front of an audience. The stage is sumptuously decorated. This alone bothers me; deja vue all over again.

Second, the object is that you learn to bear much "fruit." Now back in TWI-land, "fruit" is all the gullible souls you drag to twig and then through class after class after class. God will reward you according to however many you "undershepherd" through each class after class after class. That's your "fruit" that you present for God to judge your worthiness to enter His kingdom, or whatever.

Today, the author discussed going from no fruit to fruit. How God deals with those hapless souls who after being saved turn away from Him. First He rebukes. This causes discomfort. If a sinner does not heed the rebuke, the next step is chastening. This causes distress. If the evildoer still doesn't listen the final step is scourging. Scourging causes desperation and pain.

There's a whole lot more to it than this, but my stomach was churnhing by the end of the hour. I am not sure where this is all headed, but I am reasonably sure already that I do not want to go there.

For example, maybe God is scourging me for not believing LCM is the greatest Man of God who ever lived, by giving me diabetes. That's what I was told when I was diagnosed.

Or maybe it's an excuse to pick at people.

My husband can't imagine I wouldn't trust our pastor, whom he thinks is a fine man. I do too, but there was a time in my life when I though VPW was a fine man, too. I sure don't trust my own judgement and I will probably never trust anyone connected with any church all that much, either.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Similar experiences?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heard ONE section of this book taught that was quite lovely...

That doesn't mean the class is worth anything.

My nature would be to sit through the class with every ounce of scepticism I have and see what comes of it. If for no other reason than to be able to debunk it with intelligence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Dooj, I think that's a good idea. The guy even used a Greek word today. I think I will look it up. Never did that with PFAL. Too bad.

Here's a discussion question from the end of the session we just studied:

"How does the FEAR (my caps) of God's discipline motivate you to become more productive? What place does the love of the Father have in that motivation?"

Well, fear only motivates me to get the he11 away from whatever or whoever is causing that fear. So I guess my fear of God's discipline motivates me to get my anatomy away from God. Especially if He is planning to throw me into a fire to be burned to ashes, or to burn in he11 for all eternity, if I am not bringing new people to church or whatever. I mean, if I'm going to he11 no matter what I do I might as well enjoy myself now.

Or since I do food demos at a wholesale store, maybe I could set up a little cart: "Hi! Would you like to try a sample of salvation today? It's free, it's good for you, and if you don't accept it, I'M GOING TO BURN!"

Nice, huh?



Edited by Watered Garden
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there Watered Garden!!...........wonderful "handle" btw!

i am a fiecely independent christian since leaving twi.......and i will probably remain "unchurched" for the rest of my time on the planet!.....so, my input here is just that.......only mine......i continue to believe that the father of jesus christ is a god of light in whom there is no darkness at all........i can't understand why those who work so hard to "help" us believe in him persist in trying to get us to see that this god would ever want us to SUFFER in order to keep us close to him or his son!!.......diabetes ain't from the father of jesus christ!!!!.......it's wrapped up in your dna and the lifestyle choices you make regarding diet, excercise, etc..........as with so many things in human life........NATURE AND NURTURE.......imo,....any idiot who wants you to believe that god gave you diabetes for whatever reason is just that......AN IDIOT!!!........no wonder you got "all churned up inside" listening to that crap!!!......i'm sure god and jesus would too!!!

as far as god doing anything negative to you for recognizing the truth about lcm et al.........i'm sure you already know that can't in any way be true!!!......the true god would congratulate you heartily for determinig to free yourself from the slavery of those perverse and false doctrines......if, indeed our heavenly father is LOVE......how could spitefulness from him be in any way congruent with his nature?????........and i could care less what any preacher might say to equivocate the "nature" of god!!

attending church is every individual's right......you're free to choose.....and the reasons are really nobody else's business.......you do what you feel you need to do......but you're a mature woman and you also have the right to choose what you believe......god-given right.........so, if someone does'nt like your choices......they can make their own.......but if they try to impose their choices on you in the name of god, they are simply usurping god's sovereignty.......no one, for any reason has the authority to tell you what to believe regarding your relationship with your heavenly father.....nor can they determine for you what his "nature" is.....imo..........for what it's worth......................peace to you WG!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, WG

I don't know anything about this class or the individual you mentioned.

I do think, however, I can somewhat understand how certain aspects of it can evoke an unforeseen response in you.

It's an unsettling reaction and flash of emotions that really defy the logic of the circumstances at hand.

It's pretty hard to put into words that are easily understood, though you seem to have done a pretty good job of that.

I've learned to recognize it, somewhat, and make a conscious effort to control it.

One thing that I found curiously interesting is that it did not have the same affect on Mr. Garden as it did on you even though all three of us spent time in the same "training program".

Could it be somehow linked to events that took place the year after he graduated and you and I were still in the program?

I suspect that , even though he was only a year ahead of us, the overall experience he had was a bit different.

Maybe this is due in part to the changing of the "MOG" that you and I experienced but he did not.

I really don't know. It's just a thought.

I'll say this, though.

If he(the pastor) calls you in the middle of the night and tells you to report to some remote location and you find yourself sitting in some darkened room with 50 people in complete silence--------GET HE HECK OUTTA THERE! :wink2:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi WG.

I'm unchurched also and agree wholeheartedly with what Don'tWorry said.

I did read the Vine book and the Prayer of Jabez and had similar reactions. I like the Prayer but the Vine didn't help me at all for what it's worth.

And, I know exactly what you mean about your pastor. I'll never feel the same way about clergy either.


Edited by thankgodifinallywokeup
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've attended a church for about 5 years now. I don't go for the service. I don't go for the teaching. I go for the people I can meet. I have found that once we get away from the religious noise, people are mostly people.

They cry.

They hurt.

They laugh.

They celebrate.

Whenever I have to sit through one of those "question and answer" periods - I answer honestly - even if it's not a popular answer.

You'd be surprised... many times there is someone else sitting in the same room wanting to say the same thing - but doesn't have the guts.

Basically, I don't play the game as it's laid out. I don't give the "correct" and expected answer. It keeps the "teacher" oh his toes! :biglaugh:

So the answer to the question you heard today:

"How does the FEAR (my caps) of God's discipline motivate you to become more productive? What place does the love of the Father have in that motivation?"

Would be:

"Fear doesn't motivate me at all - at least not to be productive. My Bible says that there is no fear in love - so why would a loving God want to motivate me with fear? The love of the Father is motivation. Fear causes me to dig in and stop."

I'm sure that's NOT the answer that the church average goer wants to hear, but so what? It's true, based in scripture and honestly what I believe.

Believe enough in how God loves you and works in you to let yourself shine...

Just my humble opinion...

Edited by doojable
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, one and all. I appreciate that I am not considered a stupid fool for not jumping into this class with both feet.

Dooj, your answer is perfect. They are not using the discussion questions per se, just reading them to see if they want to paraphrase any of them for the discussion time. My husband did tell me that if I don't like the class I don't have to come. He thinks the author's terminology, especially "scourging" is weird. As I understand, scourging was done with a cat-o-nine-tails type of instrument, containing several strips of hardened rawhide, into which were embedded sharp pieces of bone or glass, which when properly utilized, removed skin and flesh, pretty well leaving the scourgee with strips of skin hanging off his back as well as missing chunks of flesh and exposed ribs and vertebrae. Remember the scourging scene from "The Passion of The Christ?" A lot of people died from infection after being scourged.

I agree completely that God is a God of love. This guy says that God scourges us because He loves us so much! My parents might have whapped me with a ruler once in a while, but I was never beaten bloody by anyone. And I have always WANTED to do the will of God, as best I can understand it. The way this guy described in the video, was like when he was a child at the dinner table with parents and children, and he would disobey, perhaps using bad table manners, and it would progress from mom looking at him a certain way, and if he didn't straighten up dad would clear his throat, and so on and so forth, until dad would calmly send him to his room, with a promise to be along to see him after dinner, and it would not be pleasant. Then dad would come along and administer a prolonged and severe thrashing. Wonder if this guy was abused as a child and thinks God is like that because dad was? <_<

I just hate it when people ascribe characteristics to God that make Him seem like He's up there watching you with suspicion, His stout cudgel in one hand and His heavenly cat-o-nine-tails in the other, waiting for you to step over the line so He can beat the crap out of you. If that's God's nature, I want nothing to do with Him. But I don't think it is at all.

Don't worry be happy, my diabetes was diagnosed when I was still involved with TWI. It was undoubtedly a result of a combination of genetic factors from my dad's side, and the extreme stress I was under when we were dismissed from the FWC and moved to the left coast, there to be constantly weighed in the balance and found wanting by a couple of little WC mosquito-heads.

I really like this church and most of the time I am thankful for it being in my life. I think some of the fault is mine. I am so accustomed to taking a class, any class, and then having to believe that every word in the class is gospel. I'm working on that....gospel is gospel. This class is just this pinhead's opinion, and so far I'm not at all impressed with his opinion. Not at all. Is there anywhere in the Bible where it says we will be approved before God if we bear much fruit, fruit being people we bring to Christ? The only thing I remember is that 2nd Timothy verse about right dividing the word of truth. And of course VPW twisted that one to suit himself.

I think the fruit of the vine is usually whatever the teacher wants it to be, people, money, prestige, whatever. I may or may not go back. My husband is actually the class assistant, but he doesn't care if I sit this one out. He was thoroughly sick of hearing me question and complain about it yesterday, so maybe it will be a relief to both of us if I don't go back.

In 1996, I was totally, absolutely, completely completely completely absolutely convinced that I would never be worthy of the most exceedingly great and mighty and unspeakable privilege of crossing the bridge of believing into the promised land of the prevailing word. I knew that if I was not an unswervingly faithful, unquestioningly loyal, and instantaneously obedient follower of The Way International Biblical Research, Teaching and Fellowship Ministry, that God would hate me, that the Christ in me would die and that I would suffer and suffer and suffer and suffer and then physically die also. I think LCM taught the scourging of the Lord better than this guy ever could. I sometimes wonder if it hasn't scarred me for life.

Sorry for the rant. Thanks, all, again.


Edited by Watered Garden
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not at all. Is there anywhere in the Bible where it says we will be approved before God if we bear much fruit, fruit being people we bring to Christ? The only thing I remember is that 2nd Timothy verse about right dividing the word of truth. And of course VPW twisted that one to suit himself.

I think the fruit of the vine is usually whatever the teacher wants it to be, people, money, prestige, whatever. I may or may not go back. My husband is actually the class assistant, but he doesn't care if I sit this one out. He was thoroughly sick of hearing me question and complain about it yesterday, so maybe it will be a relief to both of us if I don't go back.

:blink:Fruit are people? That guy is gonna have problems with Galatians 5 then.

This must not be the same teaching I heard - or I heard the only good part of the teaching...

Decide if it's worth it to you to be a thorn in someone's side... :biglaugh: If it's not, then don't take it (my opinion.) Remember that it might be healthy for you to voice your sceptism. OTOH it may just make your blood boil and nothing more.

I thought the Prayer of Jabez was *okay*...until everyone and their mother was using it like a magic potion (sound familiar?) :confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, Dooj, when I was first in TWI, people referred to their "babes" in the Word (ministry) as their "fruit." I have no idea what this guy thinks is fruit. I kind of stopped thinking about going from no fruit to fruit when he talked about scourging.

Maybe he is a fruitcake and this is a fruitcake class! :biglaugh:

I am going to give some serious thought to whether I want to continue this class or not. My husband doesn't understand my objections - how could I think our pastor would be into this legalistic sounding stuff? Well guess who picked out the class?

I think the entire premise is dangerously close to salvation by works. If you don't produce, you will be cut off and thrown into the fire! He says that's not really what it means, but it sure reads that way in every version of the Bible I've got.

I'm just unhappy about it right now. I have a week to decide. And I will study a lot and write down my own thoughts on the matter. Intelligent woman is NOT an oxymoron!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

the object is that you learn to bear much "fruit."

"fruit" is such a vague, undefined wild card of sorts..

"performance".. how do they define it?

First you saddle the animal.. put a nice yoke and blinders.. I think the "fruit" simply hangs in front of him to keep him "performing".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WG, you have to do what's comfortable and pleasing to YOU. :knuddel:

I had the very same issues with "The Forty Days of Purpose". It was all performance based religion and it disgusted me - literally, it made me sick to my stomach. I couldn't bear to sit through the classes. After the first couple of times and spending untold hours trying to convince myself that I was still "way-brained" and "projecting" my TWI experience onto those teachings, I finally decided that it doesn't matter whether I am or not - I am not happy, peaceful, "blessed" or otherwise enriched by sitting in that class. Perception is everything, right? Therefore, it was not healthy for me to be there.

I had already spoken up about the things that I disagreed with on the teachings at the last "class session" and some of the people agreed with me, but they were going to keep on plowing through - much like we did in TWI, no? Ignoring those red flags - ignoring those alarms, those anxiety-producing statements and situations.....

If it doesn't sit right with you, then, by all means, withdraw yourself from the situation. It's good that you've spoken up about it - that's a huge step for those of us coming from the TWI-induced "silence the dissenter" atmosphere.

I see absolutely no value in subjecting myself to something that scratches my soul and well-being like fingernails on a chalkboard. If that makes me ignorant, stubborn or otherwise evil, then so be it - it keeps me peaceful and that's all I really care about anymore. I don't give a rip about pleasing a teacher, a pastor, even my family - I have to do what I need to do to keep my spiritual, physical, mental and emotional state in balance.

I do still visit that church on occasion, but it is not my only, or even primary, source for spiritual enlightenment, support and community. I seriously doubt that one place ever will be again and I doubt that the scriptures say we should have one place, church, teacher, source, "spiritual home".... whatever you want to call it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WOW! THAT certainly explains a lot!

No wonder this guy makes me want to spew forth my breakfast onto the Sunday school room walls! I don't think the people who picked this to study have any idea what they are dealing with.

And boy! The prayer of Jabez - talk about taking a verse out of context and twisting and turning it to suit one's purposes!

Oh, yeah, I'm gonna stay in this class! And study to have a biblical answer for all of his nonsense.

Like I said, I bet Jesus just gets a headache thinking about all the crap that's preached in His name. Of course this guy is just pretending to preach in Jesus' name, so that's even worse.

I don't like Rick Warren, either.

I see something here though, at least regarding fear of the Lord's discipline. Fear is a tool. Betcha it's gonna end up to be a class in Manipulation 101.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This stuff just makes me sicker and sicker. I"ve been reading through the book, making notes like crazy. On page 53 I come to the 3rd secret of the vine:

"If your life bears a lot of fruit, God will invite you to abide more deeply with him."

This sounds like "If you don't tithe a minimum of 10%, God won't even spit in your direction."

Does anyone know the verse "Abide in Me and I will abide in You"? I'm finding some things in I John 2 about abiding in Christ.

I think this guy is putrid fruit. I still have NO idea what the fruit he is talking about is, whether it's people you get to be saved or good works or money or whatJ? I"m still looking through the book for a money connection. .

Any suggetions? I'm gonna have some scripture on hand somehow and I ain't all that good. But this stuff makes my skin crawl, as did The Purpose Driven Life and way back when, "Christian Family and Sex."

Any help would be apperciated.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

WG - I have the book...read the book...figure on selling it in a garage sale or the next donation truck that cmes by...

definately - very wayish --high maintenance christianity if you ask me...

Whenever God is reduced to a book and a formula-- I am suspicious...I gave the book a shot -- thought it shallow and formilaic and felt that even my own knowledge of God was better than the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wrote to Mr. Garden about the sections where the highly overrated author discussed how God disciplines us by giving us an illness such as diabetes or cancer to help us learn something or other. He is leading the discussion this Sunday. He said no way could he expound on how God makes him sick to teach him to be humble. Makes him sick to think about it.

I'm humbled by the power, majesty, and goodness of God. It doesn't take a cudgel or a disease. I loved God BEFORE I was diabetic.

This guy takes one parable of Jesus and writes a whole book and a class on it and makes millions. To me, it's "Christianity Lite" like "The Purpose Driven Life." This guy is so smug in his expensive suit on his decorated stage.

I'll tell you what. I worked in a cancer hospital for 9 years. I saw 12-month-old babies die of an incurable cancer. I saw people maimed by the disease, disfigured by the surgery, sicked by the chemo. The children were the worst. If I thought it really pleased God to give a baby cancer, so that that little life is one of suffering, anguish and pain from birth to untimely end, I would want absolutely nothing to do with that God. I think for a so-called man of Goid to ascribe such awful things to my loving heavenly Father must make the devile really happy. Talk about deceitful!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

John 15: 1-17

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

I still don't know what "fruit" is but:

It does have to glorify the Father

We are commanded to love one another.

That's all I need to hear.


The only connection I've heard to real grapevines was several years ago. I'll try to remember but I'm old...so give me some leeway:

When a husbandman (one who tends grapes) finds that a vine is no longer productive, he does several things:

He trims it. Get's the suckers and extra branches off.

He gets it off the ground (picks it up)

He (I think) digs around it and loosens the soil. This makes it easier for new roots to grow.

Basically, he gives it more attention - attention that is necessary for the health of the vine.

This is a bit more tender of an image than "pruning"...

Edited by doojable
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Sitting here and reading through the whole thing, I see again how Wilkinson has twisted scripture and taken things out of context. The emphasis is not on God "pruning" our lives so much as that He loves us and has chosen us.

Wilkinson says that in practical terms. fruit is good works, how God receives His due honor on earth. Inner Fruit is when you allow God to nurture in you a new Christlike quality. He quotes Galatians and the fruit of the spirit. Outward fruit is when you do things to bring God glory.

All well and good. That's the first session. Then he goes into this thing about God disciplining us at 3 levels. The first level is rebuke, which produces discomfort. The second level is chastening, which produces distress. The third level is scourging, which produces desperation.

Next time we will go into the ways in which God disciplines us. He may discipline us with sickness or premature death.

More later,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

WG - there is a scripture that talks about God treating us like children and how a loving parent chastises (reproves and corrects) their children - it's just not right at my fingertips right now.

I can go into some thoughts here - but I think they are best for Doctrinal - and that forum wearies me sometimes... :yawn1:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WG, have you seen this? What Jabez REALLY Prayed :wink2: I wonder if you can get a copy through Inter Library Loan if they don't have it at your library.

I also have to wonder about anyone who believes God is a worse "father" than our own flesh & blood fathers. :unsure: I mean, even when I screwed up majorly, my daddy was always there to help bail me out. Daddy doesn't require me to jump through hoops before he does something kind and loving for me. He does get hurt or angry or upset when I do some things, but he does not ever seek to discourage, depress or put me in despair....

How the he11 is that loving??

Those teachings make the Pharisees seem more kind and loving than God. Sheesh!

Luke 11:11

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Ephesians 5:26-27

So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

That doesn't say He beats the crap out of her - gives her boils, cancer and other horrible diseases so that she will "wake up and get her $h1t together".

John 9:1-7 - remember this is the story of the man born blind - the disciples asked whether he or his parents were responsible for this "punishment"? Jesus said neither.... From one of the www.blueletterbible.com commentaries on this:

Now this question of theirs was,

(1.) Uncharitably censorious. They take it for granted that this extraordinary calamity was the punishment of some uncommon wickedness, and that this man was a sinner above all men that dwelt at Jerusalem, Lu. 13:4. For the barbarous people to infer, Surely this man is a murderer, was not so strange; but it was inexcusable in them, who knew the scriptures, who had read that all things come alike to all, and knew that it was adjudged in Job’s case that the greatest sufferers are not therefore to be looked upon as the greatest sinners. The grace of repentance calls our own afflictions punishments, but the grace of charity calls the afflictions of others trials, unless the contrary is very evident.

(2.) It was unnecessarily curious. Concluding this calamity to be inflicted for some very heinous crime, they ask, Who were the criminals, this man or his parents? And what was this to them? Or what good would it do them to know it? We are apt to be more inquisitive concerning other people’s sins than concerning our own; whereas, it is more our concern to know wherefore God contends with us than wherefore he contends with others; for to judge ourselves is our sin.

And remember, too....

Ecc 9:11

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

People who are sick have not necessarily done any thing to deserve it. :realmad: And, who the he11 is this bozo to be teaching otherwise?!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...