This may well come out as post number 500 on this blog. But it is not really my 500th post – in fact only the 448th published post. I don’t know why there is such a discrepancy. So I won’t mark this in any special way as I have in the past with such milestones.
My rather quickly written post on The fall of Bishop Michael Reid has unexpectedly proved to be one of my most popular, attracting 1365 hits so far and so putting it in third place behind Pope Benedict, Bible scholars, and the Antichrist (6420, almost all in three days) and Why is Easter so early this year? (2798). Many of the Michael Reid hits have come from Google searches. There is obviously a lot of interest, especially here in Essex, in what has happened to this long controversial and now disgraced pastor. But there is not much information available.
The Michael Reid Ministries website is still working under that name but is now just a synonym for the site of Reid’s former church, Peniel in Brentwood. There is now no mention, except in the page header, of Reid or his resignation. Even the Peniel College URL now links to this same page, but the Peniel Academy, Peniel TV and Michael Reid Publishing sites are unavailable. (The last four links were found in a Google cache.)
The Michael Reid Miseries site has not been updated recently. Among the few bloggers to report this story are Chris Lazenby of Midlands Bible College and Divinity School, Richard Bartholomew, and Simon Jones whose post which I mentioned before sparked a long and sometimes vitriolic comment thread. The most recent posts are those of Johli Baptist (John Race), part 1 and part 2.
The most informative site about the situation is the Reachout Trust forum. Most of the discussion is in one long thread, 29 pages, at Reachout Trust. This thread was closed on 1st May, because it was going off topic and allegations were being made about Reid which are, it is said, being investigated by the police. Of course it is right to avoid passing on potentially libellous allegations, but in some ways it is even worse to hint that some are being investigated without giving any details. It is reported that Reid is back in the UK, but also that there is a court order preventing him from returning to church property including his former home. There is some more recent news on this thread at the same site; see also this thread.
The boredom of the long Reachout Trust thread was broken by this charming story from former Peniel member Jacob:
Back when I was a humble student and first visiting Peniel, I remember on one of my first visits when I was just getting to know ‘his nibs’ (so I got to see his ‘nice’ side…. the bit the security guards need to be wary of). On one of my earliest visits he was in bed sick (at least I assume that’s what he was doing in bed… after recent revelations, who knows!!)
As I said, my only encounters with Reid at that point had been friendly, I was a visitor – and he didnt know much about me either at that stage. So I suggested to some of the other young people that I had been getting to know that we get him a get-well card, we happened to be in town, and while I was in the card shop in Brentwood high street, I spotted a soft toy – in fact, I think it was spotting the soft toy that inspired me to get it for him as a ‘get well’ present, with a card.
It was a bull dog, wearing a T shirt with the slogan ‘be reasonable, do it my way’. It was interesting the response of the other young people…. they obviously knew the ‘other side’ of Reid, and were a bit nervous about getting something so very cheeky – but I was quite a confident, witty chap back then (nothing’s changed as you can tell from my posts… I’m back to my old self…. Peniel tried to knock it out of me but it survived 19 years!).
So I bought it, and the present was delivered…. and we heard nothing back.
However years later, when I was at Testimony House for some reason, I got to peep into the hallowed bedroom – and was very gratified to see the toy there, complete with T shirt, occupying pride of place beside the bed! Obviously the great man like it…. who doesnt like a bit of a cheeky joke… especially when it’s true!
So for all his faults the man has a human humour-loving side.