False Accusation on the Internet about Peter Salemi
from the Website, Ambassador Watch, someone posted...
"Another Canadian based Church of God you may or may not be aware of is the
British-Israel Church of God based out of Brooklin Ontario lead by Peter Salemi.
Peter is a former Toronto CGI member and a self proclaimed pastor. He originally
started a radio internet show called "The Watchman" and then started a video
program of the same name. He then began a web ministry called the British-Israel
Church of God.
"His website solicits donations and I assume he is doing well as his web church is still on the go. His Church is head quartered out of his new house in a new subdivision in Brooklin Ontario about 30 miles North of Toronto. I use to drive through Brooklin often and it was all farm country until the developers got in there and started dropping subdivisions everywhere. If you look up his Church's address on google earth you'll see that it is a house. But I guess enough donations are rolling in to pay his mortgage. I guess the moral of this story it literally pays to start your own church of God.
Former CGI Member."
Peter Salemi answers:
I never thought this would happen, but I guess it comes with the territory of being a Christian; of people trying to find faults in a ministry because no matter what you do, or no matter how sincere you are, there will always be people that will try and find fault with a ministry, even if nothing is there. They will try to find something to accuse you of; and the accused when it comes to religion, is always, in most cases, assumed guilty, whether there is proof or not of these accusations. Why? People are just willing to believe the worst.
But I will answer this anyways and people can believe what they want, as long as I know, my colleagues, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and God knows the truth, that's what really matters; I cannot control what the general public believes, that is up to them.
In the beginning of this post, he is absolutely right. I never attempted to hide my background. I am a former member of CGI, I attended for 5 years in that church. I did have an internet radio show, and now it is a video program which you can see on our YouTube channel. But when I first started the internet radio show I was not in Brooklin but in my house in Markham, Ontario, in 1999, then I moved to Brooklin in 2005.
Now he says that I am a "self proclaimed pastor." Really, so what qualifications do I need to satisfy what he thinks are the right qualifications to be a pastor? Do I have to go through him to be a pastor first? Anyone can become an ordained Pastor on line if they wish. (see here) But does that really mean you are a pastor without studying and putting your time in the study of the Bible? I rather go by God's qualifications, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." (Jer 3:15). Knowledge and Understanding comes from studying and prayer which I have done since 1990. I have read and studied the Bible, history books, journals, magazines, Bible study courses, articles, commentaries, Encyclopedias-my basement is just full of books and literature from, the Churches of God, Seventh-Day Adventist, mainstream Protestants, and Catholics.
Now God puts people in his church as he sees fit (see 1 Corinth 12:18). Jesus said "by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20). These are the fruits that I have produced in all these many years, of knowledge and understanding. Added to that, I was baptized and received the Holy Spirit back in 1992, so I am a child of God (see Rom 8:9), along with EVERY OTHER BAPTIZED MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD! I am not saying I am special by any means, and I feed people with the knowledge and understanding of the Bible as you can read on the website and our videos. I will let the fruits speak for me!
Then he says, "His website solicits donations and I assume he is doing well as his web church is still on the go." No, the "web church is still on the go" because we love Jesus. And we are sacrificing our time, money and lives for the work of God, and we are determined to do this work out of the love for God, and his people, and the world.
But really, we "solicit donations"? The website has a Paypal link for people who believe in Tithing and want to tithe to us. No one is forced, the tithes are not policed, it's up to the individual. But We put it there for convenience; because in the beginning some people asked if we could put something like Paypal on the site to make it more convenient for them to tithe instead of by mail. It wasn't even our idea, people coming to our site suggested it. So it's there for people who want to tithe.
Now on Several occasions many people have asked us "do you have a church in our area," or "Do you do personal appearance campaigns" or "is your radio program in my area" or "your organization should be a refuge for people leaving the Armstrongism churches." When these requests came in I told the people in those emails, phone calls, or on our email list that the demand is great and we would love to do these things but we need the support do it! Bill, Curt and I, are not rich, and I always leave it in the hands of the people. They are the ones who make the decision to support the work, not by us soliciting. Tithing is a command from God, but we are the free moral agents, we are the ones that have to decide to keep the command or not, just like every other command in the Bible.
Every video program I have made, only once, I asked people if they wanted to help fund going on radio. We were self funding it anyway, but we asked if people wanted to help and I left it up to the people if they wanted to help. Soliciting, really? Interesting how, in the world, we get solicited all the time from companies, and sporting events, and that seems ok, that is accepted in the world; but for a ministry? No way! You cannot do that right? (I am not saying that soliciting in the name of religion should be done, I am just pointing out what is accepted and what is not). This is how this world is twisted. Funding a work to preach the gospel, and minister to people and preach the truth of God-can't fund that, right! (sarcasm).
But let me ask a question. How do people expect ministries to do the work without money? Do they expect money to fall from the sky? You cannot do anything without money! Now some people say "well God will work it out." God has already worked it out, it's called the tithing system. God instituted the tithing system to fund the work of God. It's up to the people of God to obey the law or not. If they do, the work will grow, if not, the work will stay the same as it did when it started, or diminish, it's up to the people of God.
But notice that he says "I assume." This is what this accusation is based on, assumptions.
Then he goes on to say, "His Church is head quartered out of his new house in a new subdivision in Brooklin Ontario about 30 miles North of Toronto. I use to drive through Brooklin often and it was all farm country until the developers got in there and started dropping subdivisions everywhere. If you look up his Church's address on google earth you'll see that it is a house." Is there something wrong with working out of your house? The churches of God in the New Testament worked out of their homes and held services there (see Acts 8:3; Rom 16:5; Philemon 1:2) I didn't know that was a crime! When I left CGI because of the split in the church, and I decided to do the work, where was I supposed to start it? Is he saying that this ministry, then, would be legitimate if I started it out of an office or a church, and not a house? That is just plain stupid! Everyone has got to start somewhere. Some of the biggest companies in the world started out of garages. (see Here). Does that mean these companies are not legit either?
Also, if this man did his homework he would have known that I started the work when I was in Markham, Ontario, not my house in Brooklin, Ontario. This work started in 1999 in Markham, and I carried it on when I moved to Brooklin. If this person did his homework or even called me he would of known that, but he doesn't he just "assumes."
Now here is the kicker, he says, "But I guess enough donations are rolling in to pay his mortgage. I guess the moral of this story it literally pays to start your own church of God." WOW! He accuses me of using the tithes to pay my mortgage! LOL!
Here is the break down. If anyone has read our booklet, "This is the BICOG" I wrote that 80-90% of this work is SELF FUNDED! When I started this work I was putting my own money into this. Bill Petsinis, and Curt Winkle and I are funding 80-90% of this work. Talk about an insult. When Bill read this post he was totally insulted by it because he has put a lot of money and effort into this so the world can know the truth of God, and I know Curt feels the same way. But of course this man "assumes" all of this with no proof.
This work makes on average about 20,000 dollars per year. Most of that is from Curt, Bill and Myself. We do receive tithes from others. Most of those tithes are in the range between 20-50 dollars, and most of the tithes do not even come in on a steady monthly basis. Every once and a while we receive a large tithe. Now big or small, all tithes are appreciated, because it all contributes to the work of God, and we thank you for the support of the work. Here is the link to the expenses of the BICOG and where the tithes go to.
Now when it comes to my mortgage? Banks in Canada will NOT give you a mortgage without showing some sort of income. I started the work of God after I purchase my home in Markham. When I purchased the house in Markham, I was working full time at a construction company. I had to show them my paychecks or I would have never gotten that house, and this was BEFORE I started the ministry-And I was funding the work after I got my house by tithing my paycheck to fund the work of God that I was doing. And at that time with the exception of Curt and Bill, we were hardly receiving tithes, if any!
Then I moved to Brooklin, and the same thing occurred. I was working full time for Weston's Bakeries and I had to showed the bank my paycheck or I could not get a mortgage. And I continued to fund the work from this home. As I said, most tithes range between 20-50 dollars and It is not on a steady basis. I doubt the bank would give me a mortgage nor can I pay my mortgage with this amount of income coming in if I did (even though I am not!). No, I had a full time job then, and I paid my mortgage with mine and my wife's paychecks. Today my income is from CrownTech Computer Services a company Bill Pestinis started up and I work under him.
How can this person accuse me of this? Has he gone into my bank account and looked for himself If I have been paying my mortgage with the tithes? NO!
Has he seen my tax records? NO!
Did he contact me to see if this was true or not? NO!
Then what is all this based on? He said it "I assume" It's all based on assumptions. And these people, it doesn't matter what you tell them, they wont believe you anyways because he believes that all of the churches of God are out to fleece the flock as he says, " I guess the moral of this story it literally pays to start your own church of God." They just CANNOT believe that someone out there is actually doing the work of God because they just love God, his work, to obey God, and to help his people. They just cannot fathom that, they just think everyone in the COG'S are out for the money, and you cannot convince them otherwise.
Now the blog that put this up. If they were responsible bloggers, before posting this, they should have looked into this to see whether it was true or not. Did anyone call me to see if this was true? No! But they posted it anyways! This goes to show that if this isn't true (which it is not) then what else on that sight is not true? One has to question the veracity of everything else that they post on that site.
Now I know this site is dedicated to trash Herbert W Armstrong, and if that is what they want to do fine, I really am not interested in that. But posting false accusations about us, that I will take issue with. And I am not going to put the link of this post here because I do not want to give any free hits to that site. You can Google it if you want.
Bill and I were talking about this and we asked ourselves why? Why would someone post this? Is it because there is no COG baggage with us.? We were not involved in any lawsuits, scandals, womanizing etc...with the Worldwide Church of God or the Church of God international. I never even attended the Worldwide Church of God in the heyday of HWA or GTA. I was only 6 years old in the 1975! So they just have to find something, or make up something even though nothing is there-to drag everyone associated with the COG'S through the mud and show the public that all of them are bad people out for your money.
Now that person who posted this. I believe I have spoken to this person before by email. A few years ago I got an email from a former member of the CGI who was trashing me and the site. I kept asking him who he was because he said he knew me from church, but he would not reveal himself to me. I think this is the person who posted this and he has some sort of personal vendetta against me (for what reason I don't know why), to try and find fault with what we are doing, but I am speculating of course, I am not sure it's the same man, but the post does seem familiar to the email I received years back.
These people should be careful about spreading rumors and false accusations. The Bible warns about doing this. The person says in the end of the post he is a "former CGI member." Now did he leave the church of God and went back into the world? I don't know, but as Paul says, "...because they have cast off their first faith....And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (1 Tin 5:12-13). This seems to be what has happen to this person, since he says he is a "former CGI member." Rumors and lies can take on a life of their own, and can cause serious damage to people lives; hopefully these people will stop with the false accusations and rumors before it gets out of hand.
But this nonsense is not going to deter us from doing the work of God. This is our goal of preaching the Gospel, and the watchman work to the people of God. For those who support this work thank you and God bless you.