William Reginald Cunningham is the Founder of Pursuing the Truth Ministries and former pastor of Oasis Christian Fellowship and Pursuing the Truth Ministries Church.
William R. Cunningham has been involved in ministry since his teen years while a member of the New Saint John Baptist Church. However, his first encounter with God came through his mother, Joan Cunningham. She was the first to tell him about God and William believed her. A personal and intimate relationship with God grew ever since that time. William recalls an incident that happened when he was about 6 to 9 years old. One evening while watching a show about Abraham Lincoln, he asked his mother about praying for Abraham Lincoln. His mother told him that Abraham Lincoln was dead and you didn't need to pray for him, but you could pray for his family now or something like that. The last part, William says, is foggy. He only learned that you can't pray for dead people.
Later when William was about William wanted to give a gift to God. William doesn't remember what it was though he says it may have been a drawing. He asked his mother if God would take his gift while he slept similar to how it is y it is said the tooth fairy will take your teeth. His mother told him that he wouldn't take it, but that God would accept the gift. William has had what he calls a wonderful relationship with the Fahter since a little boy. Later when he was about 10 years old or so he would sit outside in the backyard late at night and just talk with God and meditate on things. He would talk to God while walking down the street or while in the basement of his parent's home. He really enjoys those quiet times with the Lord even to this day and he looks forward to them.
William is not a religious person though he said that he was almost ruined by religion. He says that religion made him feel extremely inadequate and worthless. No matter what he did he felt it wsn't good enough with regards to his relationship with God. He was always prone to go on "witch hunt" trying to find out what was wrong with him. He recovered from this period of his life, but still has to remind himsels that his worth is founded in Jesus Christ not what others think or what he things. This is one reason why William is so vehement about promoting a relationship with God instead of a relationship with a church, i.e., religion.
New Saint John Baptist Church
William credits a significant portion of his spiritual and even social development to his time at New Saint John Baptist Church under the pastor Effie Blumentoe. The following are some specific things that William identifies as being initiated and nurtured while at New Saint John Baptist Churcn.
- Public Speaking
- Bible Study
He was trained by Pastor Effie Blumentoe and Reverend Mattie Waters to study the bible, present the bible, live righteously, pray, and so much more. His cousin, Caroline Cook through her Liberal Arts program at the church, was the single emptius for getting him started playing a musical instrument. She allowed him to keep a flute that was used during a Christmas program. William said he learned how to play that flute and then moved to a recorder. He later purchased a professional flute and learned how to play that. Mr. George S. Noyd eventually agreed to teach him how to play piano when he was in college, though William had already had two years of piano training in high school.
Reverend Waters would allow him to eventually teach Sunday School and encouraged him to do it. William was always impressed by Rev. Waters ability to quote scriptures at any moment and desired to be able to do the same thing one day. Reverend Blumentoe was the one to promote the idea of eating and drinking the word of God and to know God for yourself. William took those words and ran with them so to speak as did his brother Michael who is also active in ministry. William participated in church plays and recitals, prayer, scripture reading, ushering, and teaching. He also served as a deacon. William says that he owes a lot to the church of his youth for much of who he is to this day and especially to his mother who introduced him to God and was a great example of what a godly person should be like.
William vehemently studied the bible from his college days until this very day. William taugh Sunday school, bible study classes, gave seminars and workshops, and more in an effort to promote the notiton that every Christian should be familiar with the bible. William has a library consisting of a plethora of bible study aids and resources. It was during this time that he learned the importance of studying the bible and knowing God for oneself from Pastor Effie Blumentoe. Her bible study classes kept you on your toes so to speak and they forced you to think about the scriptures you read or studied. William began listening to other ministers on the radio and television such as Wayne Monbleau, Kenneth Copeland, R.W. Shambach, Chuch Smith, Charles Stanley, and others. He heard messages from these and others that he hadn't heard before in the Baptist Church. However, a few years after hearing these messages of prosperity, blessings, health, etc.,God said to stop listening and go study for yourself to see if those things are true according to William. He studied those topics diligently in the scriptures. William says that that act of confirming the teachings of the others would prove to be critical in his spiritual development in later years. As a matter of fact, he said that there was one time when he was preparing to do a financial workshop at the church he was attending in the mid 1990s. He was reading about tithing from several authors. There were two well known ministers that had contrdicting instruction on what to do if you could not afford to tithe. William said that one day he decided to take a walk and prayed to God to show him which one was correct. William said that he heard nothing from God during his walk until he returned. God simply said in William's spirit, "Believe me." William said that he will never forget that because, once again it came back to confirming things with the word of God.
William is constantly studying the bible and developing new study guides and now videos and other forms of presentation.
The following are some of the basic beliefs that William has about the topic identified.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking In Tongues
William believes that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is very misunderstood in the church. He thinks that their is too much emphasis on it rather than on Christ and the reconciliation of man to God. Many people seek to speak in tongues instead of seeking the Kingdom of God. Many people strive to master speaking in tongues instead of striving to master the word of God.
William believes that the Holy Spirit comes on everyone who is saved according to the teaching of John. We have all been anointed by the Holy Spirit that we have received. He believes that people are endued with power for particular tasks that they have been ordained by God to do. He does not believe that speaking in tongues or any demonstration of a power from God is the sole purpose of this baptism of the Holy Spirit. The manifestations of the Spirit are many according to Paul and I think there is too much emphasis on the Charismatic.
William do believes in speaking in tongues but from a different perspective than what is commonly taught in church. He believe that tongues are two fold: Speaking in another earthly language (French, Spanish) other than your natural language or speaking in an unintelligible language when one speaks in the Spirit to God (though the latter is uncertain as no one has heard the first century church speaking in tongues). William also believe that most tongue speaking that goes on in many churches is unscriptural. Paul instructs us to interpret when one speaks in an unknown tongue. However, this rarely happens. Tongue speaking in the Charismatic community seems to be a way to demonstrate how spiritual one is. This was the same problem that Paul faced with the Corinthian church. Paul encouraged prophecy because of the level of edification of the entire body as opposed to the probable personal edification of tongue speaking without an interpreter.
Tithing and Giving
William does not believe in or support tithing the way it is taught in many churches and ministries. He says that the way the tithing law is presented undermines the love and care for individuals. Tithes are usually presented as a way to obtain financial blessings from God, support the ministry or church, or invest in the Kingdom of God or the like. However, William says that the bible does not support those claims and has published a study guide that presents what he has found from scripture. See the study, "The Truth About Tithing, Giving, Sowing, and Reaping" for more information.
William believes that God has the power to heal and that he heals today.
I believe that Jesus Christ was born, was crucified (died), and was raised from the dead by the power of God. I believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God by faith. I believe that salvation is for everyone who would respond favorably to the Gospel of Christ. I believe that those who do not receive salvation will spend eternity separated from life (God).
I believe that the only way to be saved is belief in Jesus Christ—the acceptance of the Gospel. I do not believe that salvation is dependent on living a sinless life, church attendance, tithing, or any other man-made rules and regulations. I believe that there is much more involved with salvation then dying and then going to heaven. I believe salvation provides a way for us to fulfill God’s purpose for us. Salvation exhibits God’s love for humans since he could have turned his back on the earth after the fall.
I believe that there is only one way to be saved or born again. The only way to salvation, that is reconciliation with God the Father, is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to the father. Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to. Jesus paid the price for our sinful nature and by accepting Christ we become "saved."
I believe there is a heaven and a hell. I do not believe in the simplistic hell. I do not consider hell to simply be a place where people who were not saved burn forever. I believe hell is more like a place where the presence of God is non-existent. I believe hell is where fulfillment is nowhere to be found. I believe hell is the place where desires are not realized and we burn with the passions of self never able to accomplish or satisfy self. I believe there is no love nor life in hell since love and life are of God. Hell is a terrible place!
I believe that there is a hell. However, the existence of hell is unimportant to me because it doesn’t concern me. I have been saved and I will not experience hell. Also, I don’t believe that hell should be used as a scare tactic to get people saved.
I believe that there is a heaven and a hell. My view of heaven is not finite because I have never really examined it thoroughly in scripture. What I do believe is that heaven is where God resides, though his presence is everywhere. Heaven is where all Christians will eventually go and live eternally with the father. Heaven is fulfillment—the rest that was promised to us.
Once Saved, Always Saved
Once saved always saved is a very controversial topic. There are some who believe that you can loose your salvation and there are others who believe that you can't. Which opinion do you believe? Who is correct? The word of God is always the standard for all truth. Therefore, what does the Bible has to say about "once saved always saved." Consider that we had nothing to do with our salvation, that is, we cannot save ourselves or earn our salvation. We simply believed the Gospel and was saved by the power of God: The working of the Holy Spirit (See 1 John 3:23). Salvation is a free gift from God and not a reward for something we did. Therefore, if you had nothing to do with receiving salvation, what can you do to give it away or lose it? What keeps you saved? We are saved by the Power of God. I propose that we cannot loose true salvation since we did nothing to acquire it except believe. We are born new with a new Spirit. The Bible gives no unsaved stage nor does it imply that we can loose salvation once it is acquired.
Actually I believe that the question of once saved always saved is irrelevant to the true Christian once an understanding is acquired as to what salvation is. A true Christian strives to live his or her life according to the word of God and therefore, losing his or her salvation is not an issue. True Christians do not concern themselves with losing their salvation. True Christians concern themselves with doing the will of God in their life and not whether it is possible for them to go to hell or lose their salvation.
There is one area of "Christianity" that salvation is possible to lose. A person who is supposedly saved by works through the decrees of religion can indeed loose their salvation. Note that the salvation that they acquire is not true Christian salvation that was provided by Jesus Christ when he died and rose from the dead. The salvation of religion is a salvation of works. It is based on your success in fulfilling rules and regulations. For example, one religions group may say that if you can stop smoking, stop drinking, go to church every Sunday, respond to the altar call then you are saved. This salvation is a salvation of works and is typical of religion.
Therefore, if you stop following the rules and living up to the standards of your religious protocol then it would seem reasonable to conclude that you would loose your religious salvation. Remember that this salvation is not biblical salvation and has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. This type of salvation is a rule based works based salvation which is dependent on what you have done and not what Jesus has done. True salvation in based on Jesus Christ. Religious salvation is based on man's ability to save himself or herself.
No. The salvation that we want is the salvation that Jesus Christ provided. This salvation is based on Jesus Christ and not works. Works are involved in true Christian salvation but it is a result and not a prerequisite. We cannot save ourselves. We can only be saved by Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ has not indicated in the Holy scriptures that there is something that we can do to be unsaved. So I believe, based on these evidence, that salvation, the salvation of Jesus Christ, cannot be lost.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Jesus Christ was without sin because he did not have a sin nature. We sin because of the sin nature perpetuated in humans. Jesus’ spirit came from God. Jesus Christ was a real person which can be verified by historical research. He was not a myth as some suppose. He came that we may have life. He caused the intersection of God’s realm with our natural realm. His birth was a miracle (virgin birth) and his resurrection was a miracle.
I believe that there is a God and that He is the creator of all. God has complete power and ability over all creation. He sees everything (omnipresent) and has complete knowledge of everything (omniscient). I believe that God is greatly expressed by love. His nature is that of love. God is actively involved with all of our lives by the activities of the Holy Spirit and His written word. The evidence of God can be seen in the cosmos, in nature, by miracles, and our everyday changed lives.
I believe that the Holy Spirit comes from God and is the same substance (spirit) of God. It is as thought God extends his presence to us by the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit is a person in that he is not a force that hovers waiting to be activated. I believe that the Holy Spirit leads us to truth. I believe that he reminds us of what we learned. He is our teacher and the anointing of God.
I believe is the word of God to us. Through the Bible we can learn much about God and what He is doing. I believe the Bible is the standard by which all Christians should live by. I agree with Timothy in that the Bible is the inspired work of God that profits us in our doctrine and correction. The Bible equips us to do the work of the Lord according to his will and pleasure. The Bible is the written record of truth. The Bible is the standard by which all doctrines, ideals, teachings, and opinions should be measured against.
I believe that true faith is totally relying upon and having confidence in God and that he will do what he said he will do. Faith is to believe God unconditionally. However, faith must be based on fact. We can only believe God for something that he has said. We cannot believe God for something if he has not made it available to us. We can only find his provisions by examining his promises in the Holy Bible. What God said can only be determined by the specific provisions in his word and what he has promised us individually (provide for the vision he has given you for example).
I believe that the general faith message taught in the churches today is unscriptural. We live in a "name it and claim it" and a "believe you receive" Christian culture. There is rarely any talk of God and his word in churches today. Much of what is taught centers around acquiring the new home, new car, new job, husband, etc. For example, Mark 11:23-24 is usually quoted to support the "believe you receive" mentality. However, they always omit verse 22 which says to "Have faith in God." I can’t believe God for anything if he has not promised it to me. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to have a nice home, car, etc. What it does mean is that we have to determine what God has established for us. That involves a whole lot more then just believing you receive. It involves work, research, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, the examination and correction of your motives just to name a few things.
I believe faith is acquired by experiencing the trustworthiness of God more and more as time goes on. I believe that we learn to trust God. We trust him to do what he says and we see that he does it. We trust him more the next time and so on and so on. We learn to trust God. Faith is knowing that God will do what he says he will do and acting on that confidence. Faith is more then believing God for things. It is simply to trust him to do what he says. It is a lifestyle.
The following is more detailed information about me.
I am an Information Technology professional. I manage computer networks, build computer systems, develop web applications and websites, in addition to client application development. I am the systems administrator for the company that I work for. I also own and operate my own technology company called, Reggie's PC Resources.
I am a seeker of truth. My primary prayer is that God would show me more truth each day. I believe that the key to knowing truth is to know more of God (have more revelation of Him). I believe that the absolute truth is God himself. I am adamant about Bible study and the acquisition of truth. I am totally against the current church organization because of the untruths that are taught in the name of Jesus. I find that the average church binds the Christian instead of pointing in the direction of the liberty associated with the Spirit of God.
I hold that the Christian should obtain a personal relationship with God the father. I believe that the Christian should study the Bible regularly and obtain more truth regularly. I believe that the Christian should learn to rely on the Spirit that is within accompanied by the fellowship of other saints as opposed to the dependency on the church organization (distinguishing from the church, the body of Christ).
I protect vehemently what God has given me. I protect the ministry that God has placed in me from the dogma of the church organization. I refuse to be consumed by any man’s teaching unless the teaching is synonymous with the teachings of the scriptures (in such a case it is not the man’s teaching but the teaching of the Bible). I have learned recently that I cannot submit to anyone or any organization if it negatively effects what God has given me. I have learned that I cannot submit to anyone or anything that would take me away from the truths that God has given me so far.
I am literally a man after God. I am a man in pursuit of truth. Truth is God. I pursue God each day believing that He will reveal more of himself to me.