Steve Van Nattan of Balaam's Ass
Some time in the 1990's a Baptist 'cult-hunter' called Steve Van Nattan wrote a short report on NCCG in which he accused us of being 'a Mormon clone'. His website no longer exists (see below) but an an independent archive has been made of the article in question and can be viewed here. Van Nattan was known for his 'pithy' language no matter what church, group or ministry he attacked which, as we will see, seems to have got him into trouble. Simply not accepting the KJV as the only infallibly true Bible translation was enough to earn you a ticket to hell from this man. At the time I wrote a reply to his accusations on our LDS Page (Section VII):
A 'Catholic Clone' Site
That Misrepresents NCCG
Nobody likes to be accused of something that is not true. All Protestants began as Catholics, broke out of the Catholic hegemony, and gradually reformed, going in various doctrinal directions, but I suspect they would all resent being called "Catholic Clones".
Our precursor organisation, the 'Independent Church', broke away from Mormonism, reformed, and eventually discarded all the Mormon paradigms, scriptures, authority structures, etc., and today its NCCG third-stage successor (viā NCCF - New Covenant Christian Fellowship - our 'neo-Baptist' phase - today we consider comparisons with Hebraic Roots Messianics to be better) regards Mormonism as a cult. To accuse NCCG of being a 'Mormon Clone' (a 'clone' is an 'identical copy') would therefore be a gross misrepresentation.
I first came across the website appropriately styling itself as Balaam's Ass some years ago and was struck by its abundant use of sarcasm and its mocking tone of anyone who did not agree with its webmaster's brand of theology - see his remarks on an LDS portrait of Christ. A pity, really, because much of its material is excellent and needed. The webmaster is clearly of Protestant extraction in his belief structure and would probably resent being called a 'Catholic Clone'. However, I think I would be excused if I were to call him such, judging him on the same basis as he has judged us. So I call him a 'Catholic Clone' since he accepts some of the Catholic Creeds and demands their acceptance even though as Mormon-type "extra revelation" they destroy his Sola Scriptura stance and demands our acceptance of them as a test of faith (rejection of which led to the murder of thousands of innocent believers historically).
His real beef with us, I suspect, is the fact that we do not accept the Protestant dogma of the infallibility of the Greek New Testament (amazingly, since every Greek MS differs from every other one in some detail or other) but defer to the Aramaic and Hebrew originals. Our belief in the Sabbath leads him to wrongly conclude we were influenced by the Seventh Day Adventists and Ellen White (we consider this to be a cult ourselves) when in fact it was Messianism that was our tutor. He is also apparently upset by our rejection of the Pre-Trib Rapture heresy, a Golden Calf that is approaching a sacredness equal to that of the Trinity in many Protestant quarters. And finally our belief in a female Holy Spirit obviously "trashes" his Catholic Trinity doctrine (though this is not a Mormon teaching, incidentally, any more than the Sabbath is - yet we remain a "Mormon Clone" for some reason). Finally, he wishes to associate me with Wyatt (whom I regard as a charlatan) and Rives (whom I have never heard of).
We have tried to be completely honest and transparent here at NCCG even though we knew our openness about our earlier associations might lead to accusations of 'heresy' by the intolerant and unforgiving. And yet Balaam's Ass cites this page as though it were something secretly tucked away and in need of 'exposing' - people are supposed to be "blown away" by it. I suspect what actually needs "blowing away" is the Ass's neo-Catholicism and anti-Torah lawlessness ... and with a really good guff at that.
I commend the Ass for his zeal but he surely lacks integrity and sound wisdom in many areas. He tries to make associations with frauds (like Wyatt) simply because we may possibly share one or two similar beliefs (as he undoubtedly does with Catholicism). That is dishonesty and subtle character-assassination. His disrespect for, and mockery of, people is appalling, however erroneous their beliefs may be. And remember that most of the material he quotes is from a site run by a Mormon called David Bowie (not the rock star) which is hopelessly out of date (I have asked Bowie to update it several times but he has never responded) and which represents a position we have moved even further away from since 1996. By all means visit his site but use discernment and be sure to avoid the diluvian swill.
The original website is no longer available online and now hosts his piano business. Clues as to why his website disappeared may be deduced both from those who have apparently sued - or tried to sue - him for libel as well as a page where he is selling his old website on CD-ROM. However the link to the CD-ROM purchase-page is dead. He seems now to be confining himself to more Christian-like activities on his websites, Much Assurance and Blessed Quietness. So why are there no traces of either his old website or CD-ROM? I think the reason is obvious. For not only has Van Nattan apparently got himself some lawsuits (and his material is mild compared with some of the material that has been thrown against us in recent times) but he has upset many of his orthodox brethren. This comment from a respectable Christian Apologetics page sums him up:
Though the Balaam's Ass site is no longer available, the Apologetics Index still retains a short article on Van Nattan:
King James Defense Page (Pro) Subtitled, "KJV Defended, bible mutulators thumped" this collection of links is part of the Balaam's Ass Speaks site, and thus interspersed with Steve Van Nattan's polemics (samples from recent emails: "If you hate the KJV, you hate God, and I hate you with perfect hatred." and "You and your scholarly friends will soon go to sleep for the last time and wake up in hell with your soul on fire, and you will scream for water."). While Mr. Van Nattan claims to defend ''God's Word,'' it is evident that he does not obey God's commandments - and thus lives as an enemy of the cross.
As Van Nattan's materials are no longer available we must turn to others he has maligned who quote him extensively. Edward Hendrie is one such complainant. It makes for interesting reading but is not worth reproducing here.
Extensive web site operated by Steve Van Natten, a King-James-Onlyist.
Phil Johnson, who works with John McArthur, at his popular Bookmarks site, under the heading ''Bad Theology'' simply notes: "A fittingly-titled journal. Here's sad evidence of how low ''fundamentalism'' can sink." Indeed, it is one of those web sites that give Christianity a bad name. A sample of Van Nattan's attitude, quoted from a recent email: "If you hate the KJV, you hate God, and I hate you with perfect hatred." A follow-up mailing provided further evidence of Mr. Natten's true nature: "You and your scholarly friends will soon go to sleep for the last time and wake up in hell with your soul on fire, and you will scream for water."
Beyond my short reply on our LDS Page, I did not think it was worth going any further though reading between the lines I think there is a strong likelihood that Van Nattan was either sued by those whom he defamed or was threatened by fellow evangelicals with spiritual exile if he did not tone himself down or withdraw his website - or both. Whilst I was a little upset the first time I saw what he had written on us (since it was the first public attack made against us) I eventually laughed it off as the work of a rather immature and acidic-mouthed hellfire-and-brimstone preacher lacking in manners. He was the first of several 'zealots' who had brain-power, plenty of energy but little wisdom in knowing how to relate with people. A pity really because, as I have said, most of his material is excellent and he has an undoubted call from Yahweh to Muslims (perhaps that's where he picked up his pithiness). And now, when I compare what he wrote with the character-assassins of recent years, I almost feel like giving him a bone as a reward for at least the effort he put in and for his evident sincerity.
This page was created on 24 September 1999
Last updated on 20 November 2007
Copyright © 1999-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved