My experience today with detecting cults / false churches

Today, I went to the Emirates Stadium, the soccer ground owned by Arsenal football club which was hosting Just One a praise and worship event, with many young people there.   There was some great teaching by J John with worship music by Matt Redman and Hillsongs UK.

When I left the stadium I got a booklet thrusted at me which looked like this:-

IMG_20170708_221210201

I went back to the two people who gave it to me who were two young Americans.    As it was from a group which had a Hebrew Roots-ish kind of theme and wanted to know a bit about their background.   I explained to them I have had a wide experience in doing ministry with Jewish people and living in the land of Israel.   They didn’t want to say much apart from the wanted to do church in a authentic way Jesus would of done.

My background in fellowshipping with Jewish and gentile believers in Yeshua/Jesus has taught be a lot of things in the last few years.   I’ve met some wonderful people, I’ve sometime had hostility from many traditional Christians who don’t understand biblical plans for Israel and Jewish people.   But I have also seen the extreme, as I’ve also seen people leave the faith and convert to Judaism, Noahide movement or become secular. For this reason, I understand why some pastors are nervous of Messianic and Hebrew Roots stuff getting involved with their churches.

This is from my sense of discernment and also from a few tangible things I’ve spotted in this booklet which give me cause for concern.

  1. Painting all the church as lost.   Its true there are a lot of churches have fallen away and have compromised teaching.   There are of course still plenty of great churches.   if you are looking at switching there many great churches large and small, often they might not meet in traditional church buildings but rent premises off a school or community centre, the might meet in your community but you may have walked right past not know they were there.
  2. Sacred name theology.   In this case, and I’ve seen this many times before.  They explain that you shouldn’t use the name Jesus as its Greek and you should refer to him as “Yahshua”  This is sort of true.   Jesus’ name isn’t “Yahshua” thats a kind of bogus quasi-Hebrew someone dreamed up on the internet.   Jesus’ actual name is Yeshua (written as יֵשׁוּעַ and read backwards as ah-oo-sh-y) Its perfectly ok to address our Lord and saviour as either.   My Israeli Messianic friends refer to him as Jesus or Yeshua.   Only false teachers will tell you can only speak to the son of God in Hebrew only.
  3. Totally ignoring Jesus’ death and resurrection.   This was not mentioned once in this booklet.   Christians can disagree about many different subjects, but this is a crucially important component of our faith which is key to our salvation.
  4. Live in isolation from the body of believers.   One of my Israeli believer friends who is originally from the US told me something; on nature programs on TV you will see a heard of deer and a tiger that wants a meal.   The tiger will go for the animal which has got separated from his flock as its easier.   The body of Christ is like this, if we stick with our fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus we will stay safer from strange and false teachings, than if we isolate ourselves.   Its also harder to break away from potentially abusive behaviour if you are in a small closed in religious community.
  5. Have a statement of faith.   This group doesn’t.   All churches and ministries all of this on this web site.
  6. Having “Another gospel”   Usually among false religious a ‘gospel of works’ a list of stuff you have to achieve with tick boxes needs to be checked to get you into heaven.  Paul talks about false teachers who create another way to be saved without Jesus’s death and resurrection being an atonement for sin.     Galatians 1 : 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
  7. Trying to pretend to be Jewish when you aren’t.   Real Jewish people I know find this creepy and insulting.   This religious group bases their names as being Jewish, and many of the cults and false teachers I’ve come across usually think they are long lost Jews from American Indians or something wack.   Sounds daft but I’ve seen people convinced by it.
  8. Twisting scripture to make it fit your false message.   ’nuff said.

Of course, later I’ver googled searched this group “twelvetribes.com” and found they are actually a bonafide cult which other people have done more research than me.    They do have a operation in Devon UK, but originate from the US and have spread to Canada and Europe.   They have these “Yellow Deli” cafes do great food, but provide a means to rope new converts in.   Maybe some of this stuff is obvious but this blog article exists for anyone who might get caught in it.

Just to clarify this religious group have nothing to do with the Just one, J John, Hillsong church or any ministry attending there.   This was another religious group outside targeting young people by confusing them with another gospel.

I’ve had a lot of experience in talking about Israel, Jewish people the Messianic movement to Christians, and whats genuine and what’s not.  Feel free to privately message me if I can be of any help.

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One comment on “My experience today with detecting cults / false churches

  1. The great urgency right now is for the Body of Messiah (in the West particularly) to be restored to what it was in the book of Acts. Anything less will not be able to complete the Great Commission in the face of ever fiercer opposition from the enemy as we approach the end of the age. If an existing fellowship is fully independent and autonomous then it has freedom to change to be conformed to the book of Acts design. However, if it is subject to outside institutional authority which prevents that, then it either conforms to that authority (in which case it is firmly on the apostate path) or comes out from under it.

    Also, the mere fact that local fellowships are in existence does not mean they exist under God’s initiation and heart’s desire. He may just be permitting their existence and no more. And if/when a local fellowship is in conflict with the Word of God, faithful believers in that fellowship cannot stay there. To quote Arthur Wallis in ‘The Radical Christian’ (1981):

    “The radical Christian, because he is a child of God, will not be able to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to that which does not measure up to the New Testament standard of righteousness either in church or Christian organization, for fear of being accused of a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. He will stand to his convictions whatever the cost, and sometimes that cost is to ‘come out from them and be separate’ [2 Cor. 6:17].”

    Of course believers must not forsake assembling together (Hebrews 10:25) but that does not automatically mean sticking with the majority. To quote Arthur Wallis again:

    “In the Israelites’ desert journeyings God led the way by the pillar of cloud. When it hovered they encamped, and when it moved they journeyed. Let us imagine that the cloud leads them to a pleasant oasis and there tarries awhile. When at length it moves there is a division in the camp. The majority feel that they have journeyed far enough. They refuse to move on. The rest pack their bags and move with the cloud. Who would you think was to blame for the split?

    We must continue to move because the cloud is still moving. If we stop we stagnate. If we crystallize we shall soon fossilize. The hour of destiny in which we live calls for men and women of the calibre of Caleb and Joshua. They may have been a tiny minority, but they followed the Lord whole-heartedly, and they got in when the whole of their generation lost out.”

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