Hebrew Roots Ministries
ROCKS THE ROOD CREW
By Dr. John Juedes
Rood, once a TWI leader, has become a "cult leader"
according to his own staff at A Rood Awakening (ARA). Rood
started a competing organization in August 2007 after ARA
board member Jamie Louis accused Rood of "inappropriate
behavior," financial irregularities and becoming a "cult
leader." Rood counterattacked, alleging Louis (another ex-Wayer)
funneled ARA money into his personal accounts. Both agree
that ARA "fired" Rood and that their mission is Torah
Michael Rood and his "A Rood Awakening Ministries" was
rocked by controversy, accusation and allegations of
unethical or criminal actions in summer 2007.
Rood parted ways with A Rood Awakening Ministries (ARAM,
based in Oregon) in August and began a competing
organization, A Rood Awakening Ministries International (ARAMI,
based in Michigan).
is the Administrator of the Corporate Sole known as ARAM
and was also close friends with Rood. Louis sent a series
of letters to ARAM supporters and published letters on the
ARAM web site making serious allegations against Rood.
Louis accused Rood of "very inappropriate behaviors:"
the years, most everyone who has worked inside A Rood
Awakening! Ministries has, at times, been uncomfortable
with the way Michael Rood has conducted himself. Because
he is a man, and we all have our faults, this conduct was
often overlooked and generally excused 'for the sake of
the message.' Unfortunately, not confronting the problem
allowed it to grow and fester. Now we have found that in
YHVH's perfect justice , the very inappropriate behaviors
we excused in him are now returning as virulent
accusations or misconduct against us." He added that Rood
is "out of control without any regard for the Torah, the
truth, or the law" (Open letter titled "From: The Advisory
Board- Regarding Recent Events on the Ministry")
countered the allegations in part by publishing a
recording of a private conference call between staff
members of ARAM including Louis. In it Louis says that
Rood "has become a cult leader" and that he is "nothing
but trouble- there are the reasons." He adds that Rood
will "answer to God for his crap."
against Rood like those above are mostly vague. However,
Louis did specify that Rood put ARAM assets in his own
name rather than in the name of ARAM, that he took
ownership or control of ARAM assets, was not accountable
to the ARAM Board, and falsely accused Louis and ARAM
staff of putting ARAM funds into their personal accounts.
to Louis, Rood began the new ARAMI organization because he
would not be accountable to the Board or come clean on his
to no financial improprieties at all. Instead, Rood
accuses Louis of financial improprieties. Rood began a new
web site on which he published an open letter titled
"Michael Rood's response to Jamie Louis' Unsolicited
Letter to Michael's Supporters." Rood printed Louis'
letter and responds to each paragraph. Rood insists that
he, not Louis wanted proper accounting and that Louis did
not provide it, but instead lined his own pockets with
ARAM funds. Rood alleges that Louis did not use proper
accounting procedures and did not pay employment taxes,
file IRS returns, or file papers to comply with law. Rood
adds "It looks as if Mr. Louis was transferring corporate
funds and assets into his personal name and use" (and)...
had not reported this to the IRS...."
ROOD'S DEFENSE REVEALS
published letters in his defense from two of his friends
who are also speakers on the Prophecy Club and Hebrew
Roots circuit, Stan Johnson and Glenn McWilliams, hardly
are textbook examples of how cult leaders respond to
criticism, and support Louis' comment that Rood had become
a "cult leader." Instead of treating the allegations of
misconduct seriously, judging them objectively and
censuring the leaders when necessary, they simply declare
no one should even think of questioning Rood, because he
is an Anointed Minister who is above reproach.
letter was directed to an ARAM staff in order to badger
him into accepting whatever Rood did, no matter how
offensive, illegal or ungodly. Johnson writes,
matter what Michael has done, or not done.... Michael is
the speaker and minister, the ministry cannot do without
Michael.... Let's take a worst-case scenario. Let's say
Michael made $3000,000 on a speaking tour, and decided to
buy himself a nice house with it. Let's say some don't
like that. Their ONLY recourse is to LEAVE the ministry."
(Letter by Stan Johnson to "XXXXX" posted on Rood's web
describes a fraudulent use of ministry funds for
self-serving purposes. If, in this scenario, Rood had told
his audiences that he would use the entire $300,000 of
proceeds for his personal benefit, the audience would
certainly not have donated generously. This is like
Elijah's servant Gehazi's greed which was punished with
leprosy on him and his descendants (2 Kings 5:190-27),
Achan's greed (Joshua 7) which was punished by a rout of
the Israelites, and Simon Magnus' greed to which the
Apostle Peter said, "may your money perish with you!"
(Acts 8:20). But rather than emphasize the importance of
confronting this severe sin, Johnson protects the
unethical "Minister" who did it as though he is above
published another letter from Johnson to Rood, in which he
asserts that Rood has a "DIRECT ministry from God as Paul
the apostle did. Everyone else, he claims, is only there
to serve Rood without question as (he claims) Barnabas
existed just to serve Paul without question. This is a
false statement, because Paul and Barnabas had the same
direct call to ministry when "the Holy Spirit said, 'set
apart for me Barnabas and Paul for the work to which I
have called them'" (Acts 13:2; Barnabas is named before
Paul, which would have been reversed if Barnabas was sent
only to serve Paul).
then tries to bully and threaten anyone who confronts Rood
by claiming they will be cursed if they do:
to be blessed BECAUSE they blessed you. When they stopped
blessing you, they stopped receiving their blessings, and
in the Kingdom of God there is no middle ground. ... In
that they have decided to step away from their ministry,
and come against you, they have stepped into curses. 1 CH
16:22... Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no
harm. They have touched God's anointed, and they can not
be blessed. If you are cursed, you can not be blessed....
There is only one hope to remove God's curse upon them,
that is to return what was stolen, and repent before you,
and ask your forgiveness. Upon which you will forgive them
and pray God removes the curse...." (Www.reallyrood.com/Stan.html)
rips 1 CH 16:22 out of context. The "anointed" are not men
with "DIRECT ministry" but rather are the whole nation of
Israel. The verse refers to the time of the Exodus from
Egypt and is directed against nations who wanted to
destroy all the Israelites, not against well meaning
believers who need to confront serious error and sin in
himself confronted Peter who would have had a "DIRECT
ministry" (a position Johnson made up, not one that
actually exists). Paul rebuked Peter for abandoning
Gentile believers and posing as Torah-observant when
observant Jews came from Jerusalem. Paul also criticized
men like Barnabas who submitted to Peer's attitude at the
time, even though by Johnson's rules Barnabas should have
been compelled to go along with Peter because his only
ministry was to "hold up his hands" even when he was
Johnson's letter, Rood is clearly declaring himself to
have the exalted position of "DIRECT ministry," which
Johnson says is above all believers and above question,
even when he is clearly in the wrong.
so, Rood conveniently forgets the many times in the past
in which he said he was equal with all of his followers,
not above them.
ROOD CHANGES HIS
that one day in New Mexico he decided to no longer allow
people to call him Rabbi, because he is on the same level
as everyone, and therefore no one owes him allegiance
(Michael Rood, Messiah's First and Last Message to
Israel, CD 3 of 4).
repeated this theme that "we are all on the same level"
and no one has dominion over others, which he says was the
sin of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 3). Rood warns that "false
apostles sent to build their own kingdoms will always want
to put themselves up there and put everyone else under
them.... that is what Yeshua hates... it's foul" (Michael
Rood, The Sea of Fire and Glass: Comments on the Book
of Revelation, CD).
easy for Rood to say when everyone actually was owing him
allegiance. But now that his behavior is being questioned,
he changes his tune and does exactly what he said is evil
and hateful to Yeshua. By agreeing with Johnson that he
has a "DIRECT ministry" over all his staff and followers
he claims dominion and puts everyone else under him. When
ARAM staff questioned his dealings, he began ARAMI to
build his own kingdom just as Rood says false apostles do.
His supporters like Johnson and McWIlliams use the phrase
"his ministry" instead of "his kingdom," but they amount
to the same thing.
McWilliams of Torah Keepers never address the key
allegations against Rood for inappropriate behavior.
Surprisingly, this "Torah scholar" ignores spiritual
concerns while emphasizing the pragmatic business
problems. He tells Louis that "If Michael were to retire
or resign, in truth... A Rood Awakening Ministries is
over." He warns Louis that if Rood left ARAM, Louis'
income would be crippled.
may be true, a true Torah teacher should place the moral
and spiritual integrity of a Torah teacher, such as Rood
claims to be, above his economic clout. The apostle Paul
himself allowed for allegations against ordained leaders
(elders) with certain safeguards when he wrote, "do not
entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is
brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be
rebuked publically, so that other may take warning....
keep these instructions without partiality" (2 Timothy
5:19-21). "Without partiality" means that even those who
claim a "DIRECT ministry" must be examined and rebuked if
they have sinned or acted below godly standards for
ministers, which are higher than standards for believers
(1 Timothy 3, Titus 1:5-9, which specifically prohibits
"dishonest gain" and requires being "blameless"), not
lower as Johnson and McWilliams assert. According to Paul,
believers not only may- but must- confront sin and error
in ministers no matter who they are.
and McWilliams' letters are both extremely dangerous in
that they set some "ministers" above reproof, give
entitlement to ministers who want to spend donations in
any (even self-serving) ways they wish, foster secrecy
rather than accountability, badger people who see error
that must be addressed and promote a pragmatic,
business-oriented approach to ministry rather than a
ROOD THINKS AND ACTS
LIKE A CULT LEADER
that Rood posted these letters is very disturbing because
it shows that Rood thinks exactly like a cult leader,
confirming Louis' conclusion. Cult leaders do exactly what
Rood did here, they:
themselves above accountability or correction (John 3:20
"Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come
into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.)
- bully and
threaten people into assisting them without question
unique anointing from God which puts them above everyone
and attack others in ministry who disagree or attempt to
confront them regarding sin
CONTRADICTIONS AND FAULTY PROCEDURES
answer to Louis' allegations reveal several contradictions
in Rood's thinking. First, he identifies himself as only
"a hired spokesman" of ARAM, not a Board member or
employee. But whether he is an employee or a self-employed
independent contractor, Rood is liable to Social Security
and income taxes on his income from ARAM (something he may
or may not have filed or paid). Oddly enough, here Rood
claims to be only a "hired spokesman" rather than an
anointed one with "DIRECT ministry."
admits to being just "a hired spokesman," he acts as
though donations to ARAM are his personal property. Both
parties agree that Rood took control of $100,000 of video
equipment. Rood insists it was donated to him personally
while ARAM insists it was donated to ARAM to produce
videos featuring Rood. When Rood was speaking at a
ARAM-sponsored event, donations were taken. Rood admits
that he retained and returned donations (including checks
made out to ARAM) because they were intended for him, not
admits he was "a hired spokesman" for ARAM, one wonders
what right he had to withhold or return donations made at
an ARAM-sponsored event.
that both Rood and his friend McWilliams thought that ARAM
was "his" ministry and all donations made to ARAM were
actually donations to him and should be for his use and
under his control.
conference call quoted above, Louis mentions that some
assets were in fact in Rood's name and some were in Louis'
name. It appears that ARAM had very poor practices
concerning ownership of assets and perhaps had no clear
agreement with Rood regarding his relationship to ARAM and
who donations made at ARAM events were for (Rood or ARAM).
at this fuzziness in the conference call. He says that
Rood is not an employee of ARAM, but that "we just give
him money." This seems to suggest what may possibly be a
kind of "under the table" payments which the IRS may
consider unreported income.
Organizations which produce videos and books frequently
own the copyright, not the speakers who are featured in
them. This is especially true when they use a "hired
spokesman" such as are used in commercials and promotional
and educational events. Rood seems to think that anything
he appeared in is automatically his, but this is not
necessarily so. This may also be an area in which ARAM
unwisely did not spell things out in advance.
have been the worst possible combination: a speaker who
felt donations were his personal property and that he was
entitled to use funds as he saw fit, with an organization
that had no definite rules regarding use and reporting of
Christian ministries have clearer relationships between
the organization and their prominent speakers. For
instance, James Dobson is an employee of Focus on the
Family and donations made at Focus events are for Focus,
not for him. The same is true of Billy Graham, and the
Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization.
and Rood were formerly leaders in the cult The Way
International. Its founder, V. P. Wierwille, also seemed
to consider TWI "his" ministry with a sense of entitlement
regarding the use of TWI assets such as RVs and airplanes.
Like Rood, Wierwille claimed God spoke to him aloud and
set him apart for an anointed ministry in which he would
teach the Word as it had not been known since the first
be wise to establish better practices for his new
organization, with strict rules regarding his income,
employment, ownership of assets, and deposit of donations,
as well as a strong board which expects Rood to be
accountable in detail. However, since Rood published the
McWilliams and Johnson letters he has essentially declared
himself to be the Anointed Minister who is above question
or accountability, and has found new staff who he hopes
will support him without question.
mentor V.P. Wierwille of The Way International (TWI) went
through this same transition. When his early followers
such as Peter Wade and the First Way Corps questioned his
leadership, Wierwille decided to put some "teeth" into his
ministry. Wierwille eliminated TWI's board of directors,
disbanded the First Corps, and established an
authoritarian structure modeled after a tree, with
Wierwille himself as the Root, serving as president and as
one of just three Trustees who autocratically controlled
all aspects of TWI.
established a committee of Torah teachers to address the
arbitration board composed of Torah Teachers and Messianic
Leaders from around the USA has been independently
established to collect the facts and mediate this
controversy. We... will continue to comply fully with
their requests to supply documented and confirmed facts."
("ARA Advisory committee Responds to Michael Rood's
"elders" were selected on August 27 including
and Phil Vellekamp of Lion and Lamb Ministries, Allen
Dodge and Neal Brenner of Beit Ernet Ministries, and Todd
Bennett, Attorney. September 18 Jamie Louis distributed a
letter they had written stating they had reviewed
correspondence, financial records and recordings provided
by ARAM, but had not yet interviewed Rood. It remains to
be seen if Rood believes his "DIRECT ministry" places him
above review by these Torah teachers.
their claims that ARAM followed correct accounting
procedures and did not commit any financial
irregularities, the web site posted five financial
- A short
statement of facts from A Rood Awakening's (ARA's)
bookkeeper Debbie Copper
Cooper ARA's bookkeeper answering questions from, the
- a short
letter from Connie Mosier, an accountant who is preparing
all ARA's books for a CPA certification
current profit and loss statements (Jan 2007- July 2007)
profit and loss statements (Jan 1, 2006- Dec 31, 2006)
statement shows a six-month income of $1,020,522.18 but an
operating loss of $125,935.47. It also lists under Other
Expenses "Professional Svs - Michael $80,274.52."
from Mosier Services supports ARAM staff rather than
business activity and accounting procedures are excellent.
Please note on the Profit/Loss statement under other
expenses Michael has charged and transferred monies into
his account(s) with no receipts. This may fall under
Excess Benefit transactions. The IRS may impose an excise
tax on any insider who improperly benefits from an excess
benefit transaction." (Letter from Connie Mosier of Mosier
Services to Jamie Louis, Aug. 23, 2007)
when staff members of organizations are permitted to make
purchases, they are required to provide receipts to
demonstrate that purchases were for the good of the
organization rather than the person. If evidence is not
provided, the IRS assumes that the money went into the
person's pocket and should be taxed as income (with
penalties if tax payments are not made on time). The
organization may consider this as either income paid to
the person or as fraud. It may also be possible that the
IRS would consider some other expenses such as travel,
entertainment, rent, etc, to be Rood's personal income
rather than expenses of the organization.
staff are attempting to show financial transparency in the
face of Rood's allegations that financial dealings were
hidden and irregular, and that money went into Louis'
pocket rather than for the good of ARAM.
If Rood is
not in the habit of keeping receipts for ministry
expenses, of distinguishing between gifts to himself and
gifts to ARAM, and of distinguishing between personal and
ministry expenses, he could have some very serious tax
Dr. John Juedes,
Articles by John Juedes :
Does Obeying the
Laws and Commands of the Old Testament Please God?”
MICHAEL ROOD, DOOMSDAY PROPHET
FOUND A BOOK, BUT LOST THE GOSPEL--
A REVIEW OF “A ROOD AWAKENING” AND
“RAIDERS OF THE LOST BOOK” BY MICHAEL ROOD
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