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Important Announcement

Posted Jan 19, 2023 by Eldership Group in General
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Eldership Statement Regarding the Marriage of Ruben and Lavanya

Dear believer in our ever-merciful, non-violent Father and His only begotten Son,

It is with much sorrow that we advise that our dear brother Ruben has chosen to remarry and is now married to our dear sister, Lavanya. We are distressed because there is no Biblical or Spirit of Prophecy support for this marriage meaning that our brother and sister have chosen to walk outside of the protection of our Father’s law. This is the cause of our sorrow and distress, knowing the certain consequences of such a course if there is no repentance.

We do not make this statement lightly. Much prayer, study and consideration has gone into the making of this statement. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy these words found in 1 Timothy 5:20.

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

We tremble at the responsibility this admonition places upon us. And yet our Father requires this of us for the sake of the body of believers as well as for the sakes of our dear brother and sister.  We have counsel on this.

Just as long as God has a church, he will have those who will cry aloud and spare not, who will be his instruments to reprove selfishness and sins, and will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been. Experimental religion is known but by a few. The shaking must soon take place to purify the church. {2SG 284.1}

Dear brethren, we live in perilous times and our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Any deviation from the law of God exposes us to this adversary who will surely devour if given opportunity.

Ruben and Lavanya are greatly loved in our community. Their recent marriage is a culmination of events that have taken place over the past 13 years. We have spoken to them privately regarding the sacred place of the Word of God and His testimonies in all our transactions in this life and the reason why they are not qualified by heaven to remarry. We know our Father’s commandments are life and they promise us joy and freedom plus protection from Satan’s snares. We do not question our Father’s wisdom in giving us His commandments and believe they are the only path to life.

We also share this eldership statement with the Father of Love movement because By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil (Prov 16:6). Our Father is ever merciful and always forgiving. He is gentle, patient and gracious and longsuffering for which we give thanks.

We do not condemn our dear brother and sister, firstly because our Father does not condemn us and secondly, because there, but for the grace of God, could go any one of us. We grieve for our brother and sister because of the road they have chosen to travel. This eldership statement is an appeal to all to abide by the law of God which is a transcript of His character of love. When the Scriptures block a path that people wish to take, they can either be thankful for the loving guidance our Father gives them or they can “choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears” as Ellen White stated in the quote above.

For clarification, we will draw from the public statements that Ruben has given to provide context for what has taken place. This is from Ruben’s testimony given at Talking Rock on June 3, 2017. Ruben states:

I came into a church called Edens Landing. And there was an elder there who has passed now. His name was Elmore Honor and he was a lovely man. And he began to study the Bible with me and with my wife. And I began to learn and I began to grow. And as I began to grow, there was this little flame that began to kindle in my heart. The more I began to learn about the truth of Scripture, it made me interested to learn more. And I wanted to be involved in church. And I had the opportunity to become a deacon. And my life in the church at that particular church continued on for a number of years. And I know at some point, I don’t know exactly the time period of that, but at some point down there, I was ordained as an elder in the church. Now, around that time, we received a new pastor, and he was a little bit different from our other pastors. One thing that for me really stood out is that in the entire time that he was the pastor at our church, we never had one evangelistic series. And naturally, you would think, what a flop. The guy’s either not committed. But he had a really unusual message. Unusual not because it was not Scriptural. Unusual in that it was talking about God’s kingdom in a whole different context. The central key verse that I recall that his message seemed to focus around was in Jeremiah 9:23 and 24 and as a kingdom based on relationship not performance. Sound familiar? Well, I had the privilege of taking Bible studies with this pastor. And there were 11 other brothers of mine who joined in that group, and we became part of the elder group…

And as I continue to grow, we had a youth camp at a place called Samford Valley [January 2007]. And on a Sabbath, we’d finished some meetings and we were going for a walk. And it turned out that Pastor Adrian and myself happened to be walking on this path together on a mountain that I will never forget. It was called Mount Glorious, and he shared with me The Begotten Son. And I’ll tell you what, it was Mount Glorious. As Adrian started to share his thoughts quite cautiously, all that was happening in my mind is that the puzzle for the Great Controversy was beginning to make sense. I could never understand what happened to Satan in the beginning. It made no sense to me at all. I just accepted it because that’s what they say. But the answers weren’t there. And as I began to hear that this Son of God was literally begotten, I got a glimpse of an understanding of why this created being felt his desire to want to usurp a position he could never hold.

I was thankful for this truth. And we began, as I shared before, as elders in the church to study. And we had students that we studied with. We got invitations to preach all over the place, and with a German background and my own faults of character so very much present, the invitations to preach, the opportunities to study soon went to my head and the desire for exaltation that I’d learned about Lucifer was present in my own life. And so we had opportunities to study everywhere and the Lord allowed me to go through this experience.

One particular student that I was studying with, [2009, we] spent more and more and more time together. And as we spent more time together, I began to have feelings for her. And my conscience was definitely screaming at me. And I stopped listening. And what began as a Bible study turned into an affair which led to adultery. And I ultimately left my family and left my wife and my children to seek a relationship with someone that I knew was not right.

The hardest thing about doing something that you know is wrong is that when you continue in it that you can read this book [the Bible] and you will find nothing. Because only do we ever read and learn and receive light when the Spirit of Christ is present. It’s not a textbook that we can understand by intelligence, and the Scriptures tell us that there is no peace for the wicked. And that was my life. And leaving my family and seeking this other relationship in which I thought I would find happiness. I read the Scriptures to find loopholes and opportunity for me to continue in my relationship and find some place where I could operate in a ministry and still somehow serve God.

And so, I understand in my experience the parable of the prodigal son, because you recall it when he gets to the pig pen ultimately, he says that his mind returned unto him. And I don’t believe that that was any different from me. I tried everything I could to put to rest my spirit of the lack of peace. I worked harder. I work longer hours. I hardly ever slept. I somehow couldn’t get any rest and try as I might. This didn’t go on for a couple of weeks. The divorce went through, which I instigated. I wanted to be free from the previous life. I wanted to seek happiness. And I’m ashamed to share it. But it’s the truth.

As I continued this way, I do distinctly recall that there was never a night when I was not reminded of my terrible acts. And yet, amongst all this, I could hear One calling me. As I look back on that time, I have a vision in my head, because when I think about Christ creating Adam, He created Adam from the dust of the ground – He got his hands dirty. But when he brought me to life, he had to get his hands bloody. And in light of the message of the Cross, that is becoming more and more evident. It’s a hard memory to bear. To know that my actions so hurt the Son of God; tore out the heart of my Heavenly Father; because every day that I continued in this sin, my Lord Jesus Christ was crucified afresh. Needless to say, the pain and suffering that I caused to my wife is unexplainable. And there may be some of you here present who have gone through a similar experience, who will know what it’s like, that there’s little greater pain than one can cause to a woman than what I did.

Additional to that, the disruption and the pain and suffering that I caused to my church family, I cannot describe, but I know it was huge. Because I was invited around to a lot of places. I was very active in the church, so my fall affected many within the church, many of our young people. Many of the families. Some who left the church. These are things I bear on my shoulders when I come to the Lord in prayer….

During that time, I once found myself at a small country church. And it just so happened that Sabbath that Adrian was there and he was preaching.... After the presentation, Adrian had a bit of a chat with me. Because there’s something that I haven’t shared with you. Of course, when Adrian… (and I’ll just fill this in, because I think it’s important.) When Adrian shared with me on Mt Glorious about the begotten Son, this was the beginning of his end in the church, because not too long after that he was taken out of the ministry. And so he came to this particular church to present. He was invited to present, and he came and spoke to me because he had contacted the board at Edens Landing Church where I was visiting sorry, where I was attending previous to my fall. And he had appealed to the board to discipline me. Now it might sound a really strange thing to do, but Adrian argued that if you love this man, you will discipline him. And the board was not in agreeance. And so the whole fiasco went on a lot longer in the church, and it caused a lot more damage. Not that I’m passing blame or responsibility to anyone else for my actions….

There was something that stayed with me at that time, though, I was going through a process in my head of repentance. I wanted to make right the wrongs, and I knew that there were some things that I just couldn’t make right. And the Lord spoke to me in regards to my sons. He spoke to me in regards to my wife. And I had written her a letter of apology, trying to put into words my feelings and my understanding of how I’d hurt her. And again, I was forgiven. And yet the weight on my shoulders was still there. The journey wasn’t complete and I was a bit uncomfortable with what was coming. And one evening, the Lord placed on my heart that “You have hurt your family and you have asked for forgiveness. And I have blessed you with forgiveness. But that’s not all you hurt. You hurt the church, and I need to go for you to go back to church, and I need you to apologize.”

…I said, Lord, give me the words, because I don’t know what I’m going to say. And in all honesty, I don’t know what I said. I know I stood up there and I faced my brethren and I explained what I had done. I wanted them to know that I was not trying to sugar coat anything. And I asked for forgiveness.

And all the elders in the church stood up, and they came down the front and they embraced me. And then all the men in the congregation were led out by my son. And as he came out in the front, he said to me, Dad, you have all my respect back. I walked out of there and that burden was gone. I don’t recall feeling like I was touching the ground that day. I have been the prodigal son. And the Lord rescued me from that mire. But in the process, like I said before, he didn’t just get his hands dirty they became bloody…

And it has brought me to humility, as I acknowledge for myself my own failings and ask for forgiveness. And as I was out in the desert – Adrian – I think at first he was down in Victoria and I came and visit him and Adrian shared some more material with me and I started to study again. And so out there in the desert has begun my new journey of coming back into the light. And I know that Father called me for a particular purpose. I know that I’ve wasted much time. I feel privileged to be called to preach the gospel at this late hour. I’m disappointed that I did not bear the heat of the day with my brethren. But unto me is accounted the same reward. That just doesn’t seem fair. But now I view that unfairness from a different angle because I’m thankful…

And during the Passover of last year [2016], I had the opportunity to be rebaptized at Widgee and you know, it stands out to me because as I stood there this year at Passover, at the same place, watching other people get baptized, I realized that I’m just a baby Christian again. It’s been one year. And I’m thankful for the journey that He’s brought me on. And as light continues to come to us, I am thankful that every single appointed time without fail in my life, there has been this exponential growth of understanding because there’s only so much that I can glean from the Bible myself. The Lord has never revealed all truth to one man. But as we come together at the appointed times, all our experiences become united and magnified, operating in that divine pattern.

Click this link to read the entire testimony

The elders were deeply thankful to our Father for restoring Ruben to fellowship after his fall. Our Father is very merciful and gracious and it was a joy to watch Ruben grow in confidence in his sonship to our Father in heaven. Ruben joined Pastor Adrian in 2016 for a mission trip to Germany to engage in a Bible training program. From there he travelled to several countries sharing his story and leading studies with many folk in different parts of the world.

In the light of his testimony from Talking Rock and his growth in wisdom and grace, the question arose among the elders as to how best Ruben could assist in the gospel work. As we began to understand our Father’s mercy in greater depth, and being blessed by Ruben’s ability to understand and express this teaching, we agreed to give him more opportunities to teach and preach at our local meetings. This led to him being invited to do the same work overseas. This work involved a focus on Bible studies and teaching others the word of God. When Ruben went to Asia, he was faced with presenting to large audiences of students and his commitment to the message and the work was a great blessing. Ruben played a vital role in helping to nurture and develop the group in Germany. He knew the message better than most and did an exceptional job in sharing the present truth everywhere he went.

Ruben shared in quite a number of places his belief that the Bible did not open the way for him to be remarried, even counselling some people who were in a similar situation that it was not wise for them to do this. His stand on this question opened doors for him to speak as he boldly presented the present truth.

In reflection, the elders feel an error of judgment was made to grant Ruben the level of responsibility he was given. The context of his ministry and the blessings attending it reflected that God’s grace could sustain this new path. Sadly, Ruben chose not to continue to walk under our Father’s grace.

We shall now quote from Ruben’s public statement given in March of 2022 just prior to Passover. This statement is in harmony with the confession he shared with the leaders of the Father of Love group in Germany via Skype also just prior to Passover.

My beloved brothers and sisters in this most precious truth.

You have all been such a blessing to my life through the ministry you have rendered to our Father and His only begotten Son in your sacrifices. I could wish that I could offer the same testimony to you now but unfortunately I have a confession to make to you all which weighs heavy upon my heart.

Over the last number of years I have entertained the desire to be remarried though I have no biblical grounds nor support from the Spirit of Prophecy for such a direction. This desire I allowed to manifest into a relationship which has been going on for a number of years. The relationship became intimate and I broke the seventh commandment in committing adultery. I was counselled that this was not a blessed direction but I did not break off the connection.

My rebellion has resulted in breaches in our movement and I have been deeply convicted that the only way to allow the grace of our Heavenly Father to close this breach is to end this relationship and resign from my leadership position.

I have failed you all at this critical point in history and have caused untold suffering to my Heavenly Father and His beloved Son. I am truly sorry for my failure and for the pain that this causes to you all.

I ask humbly for your forgiveness as I begin the process of reconciliation and healing.

I have confessed my sins before my Father and I am confident that He has forgiven me and will not forsake me.

It distresses me deeply that I have caused greater burden to fall upon you all in this very mighty work. Please accept my humble resignation from my post as a preacher of the Gospel.

Your humble brother in Christ.

Ruben Olschewsky.

The eldership is familiar with the statements of Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy on these points raised in Ruben’s confession above. Wanting the best for Ruben and Lavanya, we pleaded with them to present anything in Scripture that they believed we may have overlooked that could sustain their path and keep them in fellowship with us. Sadly, no Bible or Spirit of Prophecy statements were given. The elders had previously studied this matter for themselves to see if there was any possibility, but nothing came to light.

As per his confession above, Ruben has acknowledged he has no biblical support in remarrying and this includes marrying Lavanya.

On September 8 of 2019 Ruben wrote to the elders:

To my beloved Elders and Pastor Adrian,

I wish this message contained more favourable and edifying content but unfortunately the shortfalls and weaknesses in my nature have prevented this.

To call you all beloved would suggest that I love you all and my heart would attest to this but sadly my actions have not reflected this. I have acted dishonestly and deceitfully. I have placed the message and work in great peril and endangered the lives of many to satisfy a need. In this, no agape has been evidenced in my life, sad to say.

You have all had the highest confidence in me and lavished great responsibility upon me in, not only ordaining me as a teacher, but sending me with your blessings. I have crucified the Son of God afresh and put his kingdom, His character and his Gospel to shame. Words cannot express the grief in me that I find myself here, again. Some of you have ministered to me in the past when I failed the last time and I know this will open some very deep wounds for which I am so deeply sorry…

Every adult understands the temptation to adultery. Any person who condemns another for this error does not know his or her own heart. The added complications in this case were by his acting "dishonestly and deceitfully” as Ruben expressed it. This is because Ruben had been teaching and preaching righteousness by faith while knowingly breaking the commandments of God. The eldership had clearly explained to Ruben the disconnect between what he was teaching and preaching and how he was living his life and urged him to make a decision in harmony with the will of God.

The Bible says “As a man sows, so shall he reap.” What fruit can come from a relationship that has been planted in adultery and dishonesty?

In relation to the right to remarry, the question was raised, “Shall a person be punished for the rest of their life because of such a mistake?” In response, firstly, there is no punishment from our Father for those who choose to leave their marriage and marry another. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus plainly said:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

The choice is clear. The person who chooses to leave their marriage has two further choices being either, to choose to marry another and therefore commit adultery or to choose not to remarry and not to commit adultery. The choice to remain unmarried is not a punishment of God. It is simply a deliberate choice not to commit adultery. If that is seen to be a punishment from God, when the Bible makes no mention of it being a punishment, could it be it is in fact a mirror of their own thoughts projected onto our loving, merciful Father?

Also, such a question ignores the principle of the seed and the fruit that it must bear. Our Father in heaven wants to protect his children from these things and this is why the words of inspiration on this subject are clear.

I saw that the seventh commandment has been violated by some who are now held in fellowship by the church. This has brought God's frown upon them. This sin is awful in these last days, but the church [members] have brought God's frown and curse upon them by regarding the sin so lightly. I saw it was an enormous sin and there have not been as vigilant efforts made as there should have been to satisfy the displeasure of God and remove His frown by taking a strict, thorough course with the offender.  {TSB 248.1}  

It has had an awful, corrupting influence upon the young. They see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the house of God and be held in [the] embrace or fellowship of the church.  {TSB 248.2} 

They have thought it was not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, if there were no other sins to cause the ark to be taken away and weaken Israel.  {TSB 248.3} 

During the month of June 2022, after it was clear that he had not ended his relationship with Lavanya as he said he would, some of the elders tried to speak with Ruben about his change of direction. After some initial discussion, he indicated that he did not wish to discuss this further. Sometime later, we learned through Ruben’s parents that he had married. It was devastatingly clear that Ruben had completely rejected the counsel of the “faithful and true witness” and denied his own confession and we grieved deeply for our brother and sister. What can be the fruit of these things? Here is the Testimony of Jesus in this case:

Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church, and not have its fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said the angel, "This is not a sin of ignorance. It is a knowing sin and will receive the awful visitation of God, whether he who commits it be old or young."  {TSB 248.4} 

Never was this sin regarded by God as being so exceedingly sinful as at the present time. Why? Because God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. It is at the very time when God is purifying this peculiar people unto Himself that [unsanctified] individuals step in among us. Notwithstanding the straight truths they have heard--the terrors of the Word of God set before them, and all the blazing truth for these last days calculated to arouse Israel--they sin with a high hand, give way to all the loose passions of the carnal heart, gratify their animal propensities, disgrace the cause of God, and then confess they have sinned and are sorry!  {TSB 249.1} 

And the church receives them and says "Amen" to their prayers and exhortations, which are a stink in the nostrils of God, and cause His wrath to come upon the camp. He will not dwell in their assemblies. Those who move on thus heedlessly, plastering over these sins, will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.  {TSB 249.2} 

At the close of the 2022 Tabernacles, the elders in Australia, wrote to Ruben and Lavanya expressing our sorrow at receiving the news of their decision to marry without biblical support. In accordance with the Spirit of Prophecy statement above, and as they have rejected the counsels of the Word of God, chosen to marry and do not desire our fellowship, we reluctantly confirmed their decisions and sorrowfully told them that their actions prevent them from receiving the hand of fellowship in our assemblies in their present unrepentant condition for we dare not invite such a breach into the camp. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). It was extremely distressing to write this to them because we love them both dearly, but it is because we do love them, that we had to write to them. We want them to be saved and we pray for them and for their salvation. We would welcome them privately to our homes to pray with and for them at any time they are willing to come.

In addition to our care and concern for Ruben and Lavanya, is also our care and concern for all of those under our leadership. The breach that Ruben acknowledged in his letter above must be closed out for the safety of all who want to walk in the light of truth because, as Ellen White stated in the earlier quote above, to “…have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment…has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp…”. This is a very serious matter.

Brethren, mercy only comes with the truth (Ps 89:14). Our actions may seem harsh to those who are struggling to decipher the truth of God’s Word but, we are on the edge of a great crisis in human history. We are on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. If we are found to disregard the commandments of God now, then we all will die in our sins and be lost. Now is not the time to disregard the character of our God as expressed in His commandments, and presume upon His mercy.

We are in a time of tremendous shaking. Eternal decisions are now being made. Come brothers and sisters into the safety of God’s commandments and heed the straight testimony of “the Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Rev 3:14) and be saved.

As elders here in Australia and in Germany, South Africa and North and South America, we are appealing to everyone to come fully into the safety of God’s commandments.