Hubris. By Jeffrey Smith. Raleigh, NC: Gold Cuff Publications, 2004. 89 pp. Paper. $10.99.
This book contains a hard-hitting, fast-paced slideshow of a man’s experience in a cult-like legalistic church. Although the names, places, and events were changed to hide the identity of the characters, they were all inspired by true events to which many who have had similar experiences will surely relate.
Smith quickly plunges the reader into his former life. The first chapter begins with a swift punch to Jeffrey Smith’s stomach, delivered by Brother Cory, the church’s assistant pastor and SWAT (Soul Winning Attack Team) leader. Smith recalled, “…no one had the right to show weakness or the team could be adversely affected. I got hit a total of eight times. Only the first punch—the one delivered by Brother Cory—hurt” (p. 1). The first chapter goes on to list the rules of SWAT, much of which sound good. However, Smith also explains how the leaders formulated the rules in such a way so that they could have full control over every area of each member’s life.
Smith continues to explain the verbal abuse (chap. 2), cult-like deception (chap. 3), control (chaps. 4, 10), illegal actions (chap. 6), king-like veto power over every decision—even what car to buy! (chap. 7), twisting of Scripture to suit their system (chap. 12), and physical abuse (chap. 13), each of which was rampant at Baptist Bible Tabernacle.
Although the book is short and has several grammatical and formatting errors, don’t be fooled. The gripping stories it contains far outweigh its apparent weaknesses. This work will inspire you to live a life which not only proclaims the truth, but unmistakably exudes grace!
Michael D. Makidon
Director of Publications
Grace Evangelical Society