'Prophetic Seminar' preacher shifts to GF's Seventh-day Adventist Church
The California preacher putting on a nearly month-long "Prophetic Seminar" in Grand Forks is shifting the venue from the Alerus Center to the local Seventh-day Adventist Church because of "budgetary restrictions," he said in a mailing to those wh...
The California preacher putting on a nearly month-long "Prophetic Seminar" in Grand Forks is shifting the venue from the Alerus Center to the local Seventh-day Adventist Church because of "budgetary restrictions," he said in a mailing to those who have attended the evening meetings.
The unusually long event began Aug. 1 and will continue through Aug. 26, according to Steven DeLong in a letter to people who attended the meetings and left their mailing address.
DeLong advertised his unusually long Bible seminar, or crusade, in fliers handed out or mailed out and in a full-page, color ad in the Herald. He's affiliated with "Sure Word Ministries" of New Mexico, which he said is an interdenominational group
In the letter aimed at informing his audience of the venue change, DeLong said renting a large meeting room at the Alerus meant he could only afford to use that venue through this past Tuesday night. "Therefore, as is our normal practice for the 2nd half of the seminar, it is necessary to transfer the meeting for the remaining dates," he wrote.
DeLong said the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3610 Cherry St., is one of several assisting him in the seminar.
The Rev. Henry Chin, pastor of the church, sang during at least one of the meetings, which have run from 7 to 9 p.m. each evening except Sundays.
Fifty to 60 people have been attending, many of them from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. DeLong has preached at the regular worship service of the congregation at 11 a.m. Saturdays.
But several people who attended the seminar told the Herald they attend other churches or don't attend any church, but attended the seminar after getting a brochure in the mail about it and liked it, coming back night after night.
Loren Lindberg, Grand Forks, said he found that DeLong "talks very fast," and is very knowledgeable about the Bible.
A local Catholic priest, however, said he attended three of the sessions to find out if DeLong was a Seventh-day Adventist. "I was concerned because I have seen similar speakers and they were anti-Catholic," said the Rev. James Goodwin, priest at St. Stephen's in Larimore, N.D.
Goodwin said DeLong clearly is teaching that the Anti-Christ mentioned in Revelations is connected to the Roman Catholic Church and the pope. He attempted to speak to DeLong after one of the sessions but found him "brusque, hostile and dismissive," Goodwin said.
A canon lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, Goodwin said he has encountered Adventist activists passing out anti-Catholic literature during events when the pope has visited North America.
DeLong would not acknowledge any affiliation with the Adventist church, but stresses his interdenominational ministry. Except for a brief telephone interview before his seminar began, DeLong has refused to speak to the Herald about his ministry or this seminar.
"To me it's just truth in advertising," Goodwin said. "Just tell us who you are."
The priest said he was disappointed at the thinly veiled negative message about the papacy and the Vatican which he heard. The priest said he talked to DeLong after one of the meetings, but the preacher wouldn't say much about himself or his future messages.
DeLong is accompanied by his wife, Susan, who helps coordinate the seminars, and his son, Trent, who sings during the meetings.
At 6 p.m. today, the Rusty Chords will present a concert before DeLong's seminar in the church; he speaks at 7 p.m. on "the United States in Bible Prophecy and Revelations 1,000 years and the End of the World," according to a flier he sent out.
Other topics in upcoming nights include the "Rapture," "The Mark of the Beast" and "Armageddon and the Seven Last Plagues."
The seminars are free and open to the public. An offering is taken at each meeting.
In his mailing, DeLong said he can be reached at (701) 775-7503 or (701) 775-5914.
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