The Family International and Assemblies of God

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Perry 1
 
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2011 07:20 pm
The Family International and Assemblies of God
I have posted my article that I linked to in a previous post on a new site. The article is Who is the Real Anti-Christian: the Atheist or the Fundamentalist Christian? and the new url is http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-is-real-anti-christian-atheist-or.html

I have also added an update to the article in which I reveal that my fundamentalist accuser is a member of the Assemblies of God. Here is the text of that update:

Quote:
One thing I neglected to mention in my article above is the church that Pastor Don is affiliated with, namely the Assemblies of God. This is an important piece of information that bolsters my claim that his departure from the The Family International cult was akin to simply moving across the street. What I meant by that metaphor was that dangerous dogma in both groups is identical in many ways. Pastor Don has abandoned some of the cult's more radical doctrines, but continues to evangelize other equally harmful fundamentalist doctrines.

Pastor Don is proud to be a fundamentalist, and does not seem to be bothered by the fact that the Hillsong church and Mercy Ministries were involved in abusive exorcisms. His affiliation with the Assemblies of God seems to explain that lack of concern, because they believe in such nonsense, just as The Family International cult does.

I have archived on my news blog several articles on Teen Challenge, an abusive program run by the Assemblies of God. The most recent article details abusive attempts to 'cure' a gay man of homosexuality as if it is a disease.

See: Inside look at abusive Teen Challenge program run by fundamentalist Assemblies of God that claims to cure homosexuality http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2011/02/inside-look-at-abusive-teen-challenge.html and see the links at the end of that article.

Here is what the Assemblies of God teach on the subject of homosexuality from their website: http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/topics/relations_11_homosexual.cfm

And here is what David Berg, the decease founder of the Children of God/The Family International, and the current leader Karen Zerby, teach about homosexuality: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Berg_on_Homosexuality

If you exam both sets of dogma you will find they are almost indistinguishable and cite the same scriptures. On this subject and many more, there is no doctrinal difference between Pastor Don's church, the Assemblies of God, and the cult we both escaped from.

I find it extremely ironic and somewhat disturbing, therefore, that he is major contributor to an online forum for ex-members of that cult, offering spiritual advice that is often no different from what The Family International cult teaches. See: http://www.exfamily.org/chatbbs/jrny/index.html
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Tue 8 Feb, 2011 06:47 am
Re: The Family International and Assemblies of God
I was once a member of The COG/Family/Family International or whatever ridiculous name they go by now, anyway, regarding the comments about the Assembly of God and TF quoting the same scriptural references, and having same doctrines about gays, having myself earned a Doctor's degree in Theology I have found that it's not unusual for mainstream churches to have some similar doctrines as the COG/Family do. In my opinion there are some beliefs and doctrines of TFI that are Biblical, such as salvation by grace, sharing your faith with others, and even homosexuality.That's not saying they are all correct on these, but I am just saying that since David Berg himself and his mother came from such a churchy background, you can expect these doctrines to be in TFI. Berg came from a Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal background, and taught TF members many things he learned from his mother and what he heard other preachers say. The strong influence he received from his mother and father, and other preachers of his day is reflected in the Mo Letters, and whatever he wrote became COG/Family doctrine, if not law. The Assembly of God teachings were not derived from the Mo Letters, in fact quite the opposite I presume...that Berg wrote his Mo Letters from his own memory banks from his childhood through his adulthood, and everything he wrote concerning Biblical doctrine was due to being influenced by his mother, father and preachers.
If the assembly of God proceeds to try to cure gay men of being gay, well, I'd say they have their hands full. The COG believed in praying for them and casting the spirits out, derived from Berg's writings...I myself witnessed the remarkable transformation of a gay member in the 80's, mind you, who had been prayed over and had a remarkable transformation in his life. This member had a wife and children, but was still gay, I guess you might say bi-sexual. Prior to his marriage to someone very dear to my heart, he had attempted to have sex with a new disciple in our home , year 1975, and so I knew about his dilemma back then.
We did no "exorcism" as even then I was opposed to many of the things I read in the letters,...but reasoned with him and he refrained from any homosexual action since that time until he was "exposed "by Faithy after writing a confession. I must say I cannot agree with how he was handled by Faithy and Magdalene who dealt with the brother. (Magdalene having been recently "delivered" of her manliness and now more "feminine" as it was quite harsh to publicly expose such a sweet and caring person as this brother was, and it broke him, and he was humbled , yes, but he remarkably changed and became a new person, I trust, and seemed to change due to the peer pressure at the time.....HOWEVER...he gave up his wife to another member, and presently lives under the same roof with his wife and the other member, a single guy, with no wife now...so I can't really say that he actually changed, was DELIVERED or what. There is nothing more I can say about him except that he is a nice guy and would not hurt anyone. What his present beliefs are I do not know.
So the point? All the Family exorcism in the world cannot change people if they do not want the change themselves...and as far as homosexuality goes, now what exactly does that term mean anyway? For someone who is a homosexual...gay...or whatever the politically correct term is today...if it is merely a normal sexual preference or style of life, then why all the huff and puff about it? If it is normal, as normal as a relationship between a man and woman, then why all the rhetoric , differentiation, isolation, huff and puff, and why are there two sides to the question in the churches?
If it is normal th an it would be looked upon as a normal relationship, and there would be no questions asked. so what's the problem anyway with how Assembly of God believes>? Is there not freedom of religion? If you live in the US yes there is freedom of religion, at least there is supposed to be according to the Constitution, so whats the big deal over what Assembly of God believe and what TFI believe? Can not the Family Int. believe what they wish to ? Or are you against freedom of religion?
All the best, Chazz
 
antiM
 
Reply Sat 12 Feb, 2011 07:44 pm
Re: The Family International and Assemblies of God
Thanks for the links to your blog, Perry. It's certainly true for me that after getting out of controlled environment where I had to learn what my own preferences were for toothpaste and clothes even, that I needed the freedom to discover all that and decide what to believe or not to believe over time. I know that people who are innately in a minority need to feel safe to discover themselves and not be condemned by someone elses' view. I'm all for different viewpoints but it can be pretty devastating if there was only one opinion on things that are so innate such as sexuality. I've been really concerned about a relative whose kids were taken out of school for homeschooling where religious programming is the goal. The State demands some interaction so there are field trips with people that go to public schools. Some of the warning signs are charismatic church involvement and encouragement to get rid of things like X-Box, Wii, cable television, anything not "edifying". I felt so sad when one of the kids told me that Halloween was of the Devil and that Jesus didn't like that people celebrated it. We were going to have a Halloween party for the kids. Shudders! Hate to see kids afraid to have fun since the devil is in the candy corn Shocked .
 
Perry 1
 
Reply Fri 18 Feb, 2011 05:55 pm
Re: The Family International and Assemblies of God
This is a response to Chazz's comments above.

I'm sorry to hear you wasted so much time getting a degree that is as useful as a degree in homeopathy. Studying what isn't there does not prepare you to think critically. You have missed the point of my article and you have made some asinine assumptions. You assume, for example, that I'm not aware of the doctrinal issues involved, or the similarities and differences between Christian groups, so you proceed to lecture me. You write: "The Assembly of God teachings were not derived from the Mo Letters...". Do you really think I'm not aware of that and that you need to instruct me on these issues?

You wrote another comment on my article directly on my blog and in that comment you declared that TFI are not Christians. And here in this comment you go on about denominations and doctrines. I don't give a rat's ass about any of that. You can dispute all you want with other god experts about who is a Christian or not. That's a fool's game. I don't care about dogma. If someone considers themselves a Christian then they are a Christian as far as I'm concerned. That is what is really at that heart of my article. I'm saying that I, the atheist, am not anti-Christian because I'm perfectly content to let people believe anything they want. On the other hand, my Christian fundamentalist accuser is the real anti-Christian because he and his church pretend to be authorities on what Christianity is. I used the example of the dogma on homosexuals as just one obvious way in which my accuser is anti-Christian, choosing to demonize homosexual Christians (remember, from point of view they are Christians too).

What you have failed to understand, however, is that religious freedom always applies to thought and belief, but not always to action. You cite the US constitution on religious freedom, but like so many god experts, don't really understand the concept. Religious freedom means to right to be free from religion just as much as the right to freely believe. You asked: "so what's the problem anyway with how Assembly of God believes?" The fact you had to ask that question demonstrates that you have failed both to understand my article and the concept of religious freedom. If AOG, TFI and other similar fundamentalist Christians were content to just believe that homosexuals are possessed by evil spirits, that would be one thing. But they are never content with just belief, but are compelled to act upon it, which takes them out of the realm of religious freedom. They spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically abuse people by acting on their dogmatic beliefs, and that violates the religious freedom (the right to be free from religion) of their victims. Let me ask you a question, what if the Assemblies of God believed in the physical sacrifice of children (remember Abraham, the father of faith?)? Would you then ask what the problem is with their beliefs? I think you would make the same distinction I just made, that it is one thing to believe something, it is an entirely different matter to act on that belief. Religious freedom is not absolute. No one should get a free pass for harming someone else just because they rely on a religious defense, although plenty do, especially in the US.

There is a problem with what the TFI and the AOG believe about homosexuality because of the abusive nature of the way they practice that belief. I used that example for comparison because it is so obvious and I had just posted recent news articles exposing abuses in Teen Challenge, an AOG ministry. But I could have chosen any number of other doctrinal issues. And while I'm on the subject, some people have questioned my sexuality because of the numerous articles on my blog exposing human rights violations of homosexuals by religious groups. No, I am not gay, not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry and George would say. But neither am I a woman or a child, and I have far more articles on religious abuse against them. But even on the issue of sexuality you god experts get it all wrong. You wrongly assume there is only one correct sexual identity, heterosexual, and that anything that deviates from that means you are possessed by demons. I don't know how else to read your comments about homosexual deliverance. Deliverance from what?

Finally, do you remember Berg telling the Blind Men and the Elephant fable? He attempted to use it to demonstrate a theological principle. On my blog I've posted two versions of that fable that might speak to you. The first is poem from the 19th century, put to music by Natalie Merchant. The second version is written from a scientific point of view. You can find those at: http://chainthedogma.blogspot.com/2011/02/blind-men-and-elephant-duet-by-natalie.html

Here's the last stanza of the poem, which reminded me of your arguments:

Moral

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
 
 

 
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