In this post I share more from Victor Hafichuk’s Path of Truth Ministries in particular an email response to a guy who challenged both of us. I give a copy of my own reply and then share Victor’s response making comments.
Victor Hafichuk runs an online ministry along with his close off-sider Paul Cohen and is quite active for a small group. I’ve previously shared my thoughts on their approach in which I’ve discussed my concerns – an overly judgmental (some say caustic) response to people ‘not in their boat’.
I’ve been expelled from their god-given privilege to liaise directly with them. I actually respect this kind response for it indicates a strong sense of right and wrong; good and bad which is indicative of a close relationship with the Lord – Jesus did the same thing – however living life like this is high risk for if you get it wrong, you fall badly and can cause serious damage to others in the process.
Supreme confidence is all very well but these guys go ‘all the way’ and take on the role of divining truth in others’ lives with what I consider a ruthless, and (in my opinion) heartless manner totally unbecoming of the Master. I don’t feel comfortable assessing their theology – others have ripped them apart, but I’m not so sure everything they say is invalid – I accept a lot of Victor’s teaching – not all of it which is mainstream Christian thought.
This received emailed to Victor, Paul and myself:
Enough already, please, all three of you! Have you lost your priorities? Thank you for your insight, but…What are your priorities anyway…ministering the Truth to sincere seekers, or arguing / splitting hairs for imagined and distorted ego-driven agendas? A depressing word-salad competition of who’s right and who’s not? Or teaching the Truth to those like me who are REALLY DYING to find it?
I know Our Lord Jesus took head-on the falseness of the “religious” authorities of his time and put them in their place, injuring their affluent status and offending them and their false holiness to the point of paying with his life, as was prophesied in writing for hundreds of years.
The dilemma is that for a lost soul – as I am and as many were two thousand years ago – your ever-deepening egotistical and “verified and substantiated-with-proof and Biblical reference”one-upsmanship makes no sense and throws one into the same old confusion of whether I’m siding with the sheep or the wolf. All of you SOUND like you seem to have divine purpose in your hearts. Which is very confusing, and brings me to the obvious conclusion that if all of you take the position that your ministry IS the right way, some or all of you have to be wrong. Wrong either in fact, or interpretation, or delivery, or intent. The contradictory nature of your give-and-take tells me this.
I have spent years in prayer, reading the Word, “flying” through this and that church and “religion”, seeking a true source. A source of Truth. Simply stated, looking for the true place where I can feel and understand where my heart should open up to do what is right in regards to my Savior.
I see the false preachers on TV, listen to the money pleas at the various local houses of worship, and witness the hypocrisy all around me.
I doubt my discernment at times, in humbleness. I feel hypocrisy in myself as well. So I search for the final place where guidance might be true and sincere.
And I run into your websites, your email give-and-take, and after hoping I finally have found a true source (or SOURCES) of inspiration, I follow up and continue reading and find finally I start to be disgusted at the same old egotistical BS I see everywhere else.
Is this naïve or disengenous of me? Or is one of you the “real thing”, but not the other? You all sound so convincing and at the same time confusing to the point of almost giving up.
Respectfully, if you can believe me,
This is clearly not a theological statement from a skilled wordsmith and comes across to me as a genuine guy seeking to divine truth – he’s reading others’ words online; he’s up front about his journey of faith, personal struggles to divine truth and he is seeking relationship with others whom he can lean on. It seems all plausible and is most likely written by a guy in the passion of the moment, frustrated maybe but caring enough to put ‘pen to paper’ and bash it out for us. Good on him I say!
I responded to Fernando thus:
Hi FernandoThank you for bothering to express your opinions – many do not bother so it is refreshing to receive your email. Thank you.I write to you personally and avoid contacting Victor and Paul, only because they asked me not to contact them any more. You are welcome to forward them any of my communications should you retain contact with them and consider this appropriate but I have no interest in doing this.You raise several issues – and I will address them briefly. Feel free to respond and ask me anything you like in followup, especially if I miss anything important to you.I am deducing from your email that you are a genuine truthseeker and that you care. I see that you are frustrated with a conflict of words between Paul, Victor and myself. I found the engagement with them very educational and interesting. It’s not every day that people that I respect call me the equivalent of the anti-Christ and cast me off in the name of Jesus, one whom I know, love and serve, so it caused me to dig deep! For that I am grateful.Your sentiment “Enough, please” is understandable, yet it is from such interactions with others that I found them and engaged with them as I did, so in some ways conflict (and more particularly how one deals with that conflict) is helpfulYou mention that you are “dying” to find the truth. Me too – so much so that I am writing a book at the moment called “Fifty Years a Truthseeker” – you can see the cover at my personal website under the link BOOKS if you’re interested.When I was about 5 years old my father got angry at me over a personal matter where he denied the truth as I knew it, which caused me to become confused about reality. Since that point I was subconsciously seeking to know and understand the truth. After a short spin with Eastern religions my wife at the time suggested we attend a “real church” as she was uncomfortable with my bead counting etc.Long story short, something happened to me (I was “zapped” for want of a better explanation) and God planted a seed of faith in me as I was reading the bible in a Lutheran Enquirers Class. I was 20 years old and have spent the last 36 years wrestling with that event, trying to understand the world around me, and how I fit into it in the light of the revelation. I too have bounced in and around many different churches over the years, and about 8 years ago the Lord called me out of the system. I am now best described as a non-denominational Christian.I summarise this revelation that I was seeking truth as an abstract but found that truth is actually a RELATIONSHIP – between us and our Creator, specifically in and through and with the person of Christ.Of truth I have found:
- Truth is:self-evident to the humble (i.e. it is only ever pride that prevents us from knowing it);
- Truth has no need of violence;
- Truth is never in a hurry; and
- Truth is essentially a relationship, not only an abstract (this is OUR role in determining it)
You ask “Is this naïve or disengenous of me? Or is one of you the “real thing”, but not the other? You all sound so convincing and at the same time confusing to the point of almost giving up.” I can’t answer for others but I can assure you that I am very “real”. I am sorry if I have been or am confusing to you.You say you seek the place where guidance can be “true and sincere”. To this I say that I can and will do my best (as per this email) to help you discern the truth but that relying on any one person or organisation will ALWAYS lead to pain for we are all less than perfect and are on a journey together.My advice (I think you are gently asking for it) is to relax. From the sounds of your email you will most probably be hearing the words “Well done good and faithful servant”.I note with interest some of your personal struggles for I too am in a similar state, self-doubt, pride, frustration and so on. Fortunately I have pretty much overcome a lifetime of low self-esteem and have the confidence to speak now to anyone, anywhere including Paul, Victor, the Prime Minister of Samoa and indeed you, a stranger no doubt on the other side of the world!In regards to your observation that one or both of us is likely “Wrong either in fact, or interpretation, or delivery, or intent.” I’m thinking about this and don’t want to make a judgement call until I understand more of what you mean. Sometimes things are not easy to identify right/wrong or good/bad and this may be one of those grey areas. I look back at the communications and they have taught me a lot, and perhaps I might say things a little differently now knowing who the other party is and how they do things but I don’t see any glaring errors of the four issues you mention. I see one unfinished scriptural exegesis relating to the Parable and am a little frustrated in the validation and words I used but in due course it will no doubt become clearer to me.
In regards to Paul and Victor, I have blogged about them and shared my opinion quite firmly. I love some of their teaching and find it refreshing however their insistence of knowing things because of their direct relationship with the Lord without the application of critical thinking and solid logic causes me concern. It is not possible to engage meaningfully with someone who says basically, “You’re wrong because God told me so” or “He said it; he’s an apostle; therefore he’s right; period”. Writing a fellow believer off as apostates as they do frequently is also a risky call for if they are right they score a coup (big deal!); but if they are wrong then they cause the Lord offence with judgmentalism. I have blogged about this risk and I believe that they have erred in this manner in their dealing with me.I find it more godly to graciously and respectfully speak to the issues; ask probing questions, identify facts and use logic – thus expressing the second aspect that I have found vital to godliness, and that is LOVE. It has been my experience that people and churches err in either of one direction with excess/lack of TRUTH or with excess/lack of LOVE. Truthseekers tend to lose the importance of LOVE. Those who live in the world of feelings tend to err in the direction of LOVE and minimise TRUTH. Interestingly I have never found any instance of LOVE and TRUTH in equal measure in the history of mankind except on the Cross of Christ.Interestingly too is that in all instances of life and living I see proportions of TRUTH and LOVE, so that we are 60/40 or 30/70, but when you have 50/50 in equal balance then something unique happens – it actually becomes 100/100 – we do not have half LOVE and half TRUTH but we have ALL LOVE and ALL TRUTH – the perfect description of Jesus of course. So much for mathematical analogies!I trust this helps. Again, thank you for writing me. Feel free to engage more as you so wish – I am able and willing to answer any questions you may have.
Victor doesn’t take kindly to fools and detractors. He gets straight into it with this delightfully graceful commentary on yours truly:
There are not three, but two of us whom the Lord has anointed and sent to speak to all.
Cor blimey! That’s a pretty strong swipe at me, perfectly in keeping with his previous write-off, but hey, that’s Victor!
You are in great error, full of confusion, contradiction and consequently blasphemy. Hear me out, if you can.
Again this is very direct and classic Victor Hafichuk speak . . . with a little bit of cynicism at the tail of it.
You say you are “REALLY DYING to find the Truth,” and “a lost soul – as I am.” You also say you’ve been searching for the Truth for years, thus far in vain:
“I have spent years in prayer, reading the Word, “flying” through this and that church and “religion”, seeking a true source. A source of Truth. Simply stated, looking for the true place where I can feel and understand where my heart should open up to do what is right in regards to my Savior.”
Now, Jesus Christ IS the Truth; He is the Light of men and of the world.
Agreed. This was the revelation that I experienced at the age of twenty that I mentioned in my response to the writer. I go a little further than Victor indicating that while Jesus claims to be, and I believe IS the Truth, it is our response to this within the context of a relationship that actually matters. Just like the ice needs to melt before you can drink it; and you have to convert a bank balance into cash to use it and spend it – so too with faith for it has to be exercised.
If so, and you confess you haven’t found Him, then reason dictates you have no idea what Truth is and you’re in darkness.
Victor is right here – both in logic AND to raise the subject for the writer appears to speak two contradictory thoughts – he’s a Christian but also states that he’s a lost soul and is searching. Taking a writer such as this literally though is a mistake in my view for all three can be true simultaneously if you understand what the writer is probably trying to say.
- He has a Christian faith. Somehow he has come to this position and I suspect it is genuine;
- His use of the words “lost soul” appears to me to be a general statement of mankind’s condition of which he realises his need of a Saviour; and
- He is searching. If the meeting of Christ is the end of growth and seeking to know Truth then it is the start of arrogance. More on this in a minute.
It is thus perfectly possible be a believer; know the Saviour and be seeking to know more of the Truth.
If so, you have a “beam in your eye” and have no capacity whatsoever to judge anyone else, yet you plainly judge and rebuke us as though you have understanding of right and wrong and of truth and error.
If that isn’t confusion and contradiction, what is? You manifest your darkness and foolishness in everything you think you eloquently, cleverly say.
Yes, ‘IF’ this is so. Perfectly logical.
Jesus plainly promised that He would reveal Himself to those who called on Him, those who loved and obeyed Him:
“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For each one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 MKJV).
This is not the best scripture reference for this concept but the principle is certainly true.
But you’re a child of darkness, one who doesn’t believe.
Ouch! This is a judgement on a fellow believer based on the literal interpretation of the written words in one email. As I have said more than once before, this is fine IF you get it right but I am not so sure that Victor is doing the right thing denouncing a man’s entire faith from this one email! IF you misunderstand or get one thing wrong in mis-communication then you can cause an enormous negative impact on a person’s walk of faith as a result of judging like this. It takes a lot for a victim of Victor’s words to rise up over such condemnation, and this high risk judgmentalism is NOT exercising love if there is any component of genuine faith in the man’s life.
How is that? He says:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21 MKJV).
You’ve searched and not found. He hasn’t revealed Himself to you. Why? He says why, doesn’t He? He says you’re lawless, one who doesn’t obey Him, one who doesn’t keep His commandments.
I agree with Victor in principle here but not in application – the source of distance between all or any of us and Truth is always pride. Pride causes us to disobey, doubt and brings darkness. Humility on the other hand is a prerequisite for obedience, which then brings knowledge of the Truth. All agreed.
So who are you, self-righteous, indignant one, to rail on us and call it “respectful”? How foolish you are! Is it any wonder you don’t know Him and He doesn’t know you?
“Respectfully, if you can believe me” you say? How can we believe you? You’ve just vomited all over us, unapologetically so, and we should believe you? Are we or should we be the idiots you think we are?
Victor has a point even though he’s not particularly charitable in his choice of words but he totally misses the heart of the writer – he’s not out to attack per se – my take is that he’s simply frustrated that somebody whom he started to trust has apparently let him down. Now Victor takes it personally. That’s the natural response of a defensive man. He cops a lot of flak from angry vindictive people so I can understand that defensiveness BUT in this case, as in mine, I consider Victor wrong to judge as he has.
Would you speak to the Lord in Person as you have to us? Yes, you would, and you are. Here’s what He says about that:
“The one hearing you hears Me, and he who despises you despises Me; he who rejects you also rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:16 MKJV).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, He who receives whomever I send receives Me. And he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20 MKJV).
Here’s what you say to Him, Fernando: “the same old egotistical BS I see everywhere else.”
This last phrase wasn’t exactly very graceful from the writer was it? I think if Fernando had a second go at writing this email he might choose a different phrase but this is what he SEES. In that sense it has validity. Victor (as do I) has to build a relationship with others based on humility, understanding and love. Truth has no need of violence. Victor’s judgement tends towards extraordinarily ‘violence’.
Do you really see? Do you understand? You admit you don’t, yet claim you do. Which is it?
Good questions. It would have been better to solicit the answers to this before hammering another soul, and refrain from judgment until the confusion was clarified. I did that on one matter, holding off analysis until I knew more. It’s natural justice to do so.
So then go your way, hypocrite, seeing you think to know so much more than we, and have nothing to do with us because we certainly have nothing to do with you.
Ouch! What an ugly response . . . there’s no need for this type of response – none!
Victor & Paul
Victor sent this email. He uses others for validation of his position a lot as I found out.
My take is that Victor takes the process of sanctification to it’s ultimate end in the here and now, which is a recipe for disaster and is an error. Others have pinged him for this doctrinal error. From my observations they are likely right in that Victor (and Paul) actually consider themselves infallible and claim the right to know and to judge others because they know Jesus.
Nonsense! We are all fallible human beings and while we CAN know Him and that He DOES enlighten us through the work of the Holy Spirit, that does not make us perfect at all times sufficient to be able to judge all.
Sanctification is a PROCESS that is NEVER complete as long as we live on earth in the present dispensation. Yes, contrary to much teaching we DO have a right to judge others – we HAVE to do this for we live in a fallen world and must make judgment calls all the time in order to survive and remain sane, BUT Victor Hafichuk and his ministry team takes this to an extreme level, choosing to ‘whack’ others in regards to their Christian walk.
To those who have suffered from the words like the above from an active online ministry like Path of Truth Ministries, my advice is to do all you can to differentiate the message from the messengers. It’s hard work and you have to dig deep, especially when the ministers come across as hard task-masters like Victor Hafichuk does, but their role in the body of Christ is just as valid as the street evangelist who may have helped a few lost souls to seek the Master even though they may have damaged many more!
Fernando, your email wasn’t the most eloquent piece of theology or logic but if I read you right, you may need to acknowledge that you come across a little confusing and we had to read between the lines.
- Analysing Victor Hafichuk’s Ministry - the orginal post of May 2015 in which my call is "Yes, Christian but excessive judgementalism"
- Path of Truth Emails - the evidence
- More from Victor Hafichuk - analysing a third party communication
- “Path of Truth Cult” – Vanity Search - An adherent supports PoT but challenges following a vanity search
- Aquatechnology.net – Victor Hafichuk - A longstanding third party analysis
- Path of Truth – Logical Fallacies - Exposing multiple logical fallacies in an adherent's communications
- Path of Truth IS a cult - Analysis following claims PoT is a cult
- Victor Hafichuk – The Other Side - A Christian Ministry
- Victor Hafichuk “Nobody Is Perfect” - Confusing Perfected in Christ with Perfect
- Analysing A Path of Truth Detractor - Correcting a Disillusioned PoT follower
- Handling the Path of Truth - Leaving the PoT can be hard
- Path of Truth – Ripped Asunder - Victor fires his long-term 2IC
- Paul Cohen After the Path of Truth - Paul's opportunity/challenge
- Maturity in overcoming Path of Truth - An ex-PoT adherent bares all
- Victor Hafichuk – False Claim Analysis - Exposing 'Delusions of Grandeur'