Shepherding/Discipleship Movement Survivor's Blog

The present-day impact of the Shepherding/Discipleship movement from the perspective of a former member of Morning Star International (now Every Nation Churches and Ministries).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Next Up...

Well, I just got permission to submit the paper I alluded to in my former entry for credit in my "cult class." Our assignment is to analyze either modern-day aberrant Christian groups or communitarian groups of the nineteenth century (eg. Oneidists, Shakers, Brotherhood of the New Life) according to the following criteria:
  • Psychological (individual attraction to the group and effects of group membership)
  • Sociological (how does the group view society and vice versa? Is it "world rejecting" or "world affirming"?)
  • Theological (how do the teachings compare with Christianity? How does the church as a whole view/treat the group and vice versa?)
  • Legal (are there areas of legal conflict between the group and the state that overstep the boundaries of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion?)

The abberant Christian groups we've discussed so far include Jim Jones/People's Temple, Branch Davidians, The Way International, Children of God/The Family, Moonies/Unification Church, and Heaven's Gate. We did discuss shepherding groups very briefly and generally toward the beginning of the semester but haven't profiled them specifically in class. So my question was, "Can I write about shepherding/discipling groups, like the ICoC, Maranatha, and Morning Star International/Every Nation, or am I limited to just the groups profiled in class?"

The answer: "Ms. Ulyankee, you can write about whatever you want."

Ahh, the benefits of relatively old age in a sea of late teens and early twenty-somethings. Not to mention that I'm fairly sure I have the only A average in the class so far, which is probably related more to being old enough to remember many of the groups we've discussed, plus my getting a two year head start on some of the other course material, than to the hours I (haven't) spent studying.

I think I may start my paper with a salient quote by Steve Cannon of Personal Freedom Outreach, who was one of the members of the "ad hoc committee" which investigated Maranatha (at its own invitation) back in the 1980s:

A committee that investigated Maranatha Campus Ministries from 1980 through 1983 got an intimate look at the inner workings of an aberrational Christian group that many believe uses heavy- handed tactics to manipulate its members. Maranatha is a campus ministry teaching basic Christian doctrine and using tactics similar to those of mind-control groups to recruit and subdue members. With the discovery of Maranatha, the issue no longer was black-and-white, cult-or-Christian.


Of note... Richard Bartholomew of "Bartholomew's Notes on Religion" is being threatened with a libel suit over comments made on his blog. My readers may recognize Bartholomew since he has written several entries about Every Nation. While this particular case centers on a rather arcane UK law, believing that something similar couldn't possibly take place on my side of the pond is unwise as Nashville's NewsChannel 5 might be able to attest. My support goes out to Bartholomew and to others who dare to seek and expose the truth to the point of incurring legal threats or worse.


Post a Comment

<< Home