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Getting On : Literature Reviews

review of 'Jesus Freaks' book

from Corpus Outreach - Wednesday, November 07, 2007
accessed 1143 times

review of the 'Jesus Freaks'

On my blog I

(584) [THIS ENTRY IS FOR ALL OF YOU ON THE ‘MOVING ON’ WEB SITE, THOSE WHO I HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THRU THE SITE- This version is ‘Post critics!’ Thanks to ‘Fish’ ‘Limmiwinks’ ‘smshgrl’ ‘sar’ ‘afflic’ [Sp?] and all the other comments from you guys! I sure wish you guys had real names!

I had the book ‘Jesus freaks’ sitting on my desk still wrapped in the box that Amazon used to send it in. I cut the box open and read the whole book in one sitting [around 225 pages, not real big] I have read on this group before and want to share some stuff. First, the thing that caught my interest was not that they are a ‘sex cult’. It was the fact that they started at the time of the Jesus movement out in California in the late 60’s early 70’s. The Jesus movement was a time where many hippies and young people rebelled against authority and were dropping out of the ‘suit and tie’ establishment of their parents.

Many of these kids found Jesus for real, some great ministries came out of this period. Calvary Chapel with Chuck Smith, the Vineyard Churches with Ken Gulliksen and JohnWimber, and the great music of Keith Green and ‘Last Days Ministries’ that was headquartered in Lyndale Texas [now owned by Teenmania ministries with Ron Luce]. One of the ‘coffee houses’ was called ‘The Living Room’, people like Arthur Blessit were popular at the time, the group from the Living Room would also be called ‘Jesus people U.S.A.’ and re locate and start a great magazine that also did a lot of ‘cult exposing’ and even did an expose on ‘ALBERTO’ the Catholic Priest in the ‘CHICK TRACKS’ it showed him to be a total fraud. They also exposed Mike Warnke [sp?] the author of the best selling ‘Satan seller’ who claimed to have run a coven of witches before he was converted. Mike was also a Christian comedian. I actually read the book in the early days and was a fan of Mike. I even invited him to come to our little church at one time, it never worked out. I liked Mike, and after he was ‘exposed’ it seemed to show that Mike really liked ‘telling stories’. A lot of his friends said Mike was sort of a chronic story teller. Mike was a Christian, and after this incident he did submit to other Pastors to oversee his restoration, but the fact was Mike made up most of the stuff in his best selling book. I think the name of the magazine that the ‘Jesus People’ put out was Cornerstone? It is no longer in print but you can find old copies on line.

A lot of good came out from this time. Some of the converts wound up back in their ‘daddy’s religion’. That is after they ‘got saved’ they became true students of the bible and church history and began ‘rebelling’ against their ‘rebellion’. They saw that many of the historic churches had great roots and were not totally worthless. Some went back to the older churches. Jack Sparks had a ministry called ‘World Liberation Front’ and espoused many of the ideas of the strong authoritarian ‘Apostolic’ ministries. These were the ‘shepherding’ movements that were very influential in ‘covering’ young Christians. Bob Mumford and others were leading the Discipling Movement. Sparks got into the strong apostolic stuff and would write ‘we are going to get noticed, those in the churches that do not recognize us, we will take your people’ pretty authoritarian don’t you think? Well Sparks also got into the ‘cult exposing’ movement, which also was birthed at this time, and he eventually became a Greek Orthodox Priest and as far as I know is still one today [Sparks eventually would become one of the critics of the ‘Local Church Movement’ of Watchman Nee, being led by ‘Witness Lee’ in California. The ‘Local Church’ would eventually take the cult exposing ministries to court over this] so you had some interesting fellows at this time.

One of the most interesting was a man named ‘David Berg’ AKA ‘Moses David Berg’. He was the son of Christian ministers, his mom, Virginia, was a traveling evangelist who would eventually set up shop in Florida. David learned ministry and the gospel from his years as his mother’s main helper. He also did a short stint as a Pastor of a Protestant church. David was in his 50’s about the time the Jesus movement hit, he wound up back in California at his moms house. He eventually worked his way into reaching the kids of the area, Huntington Beach and places where the hippies were hanging out. His ministry grew, eventually they would be called ‘the Children of God’ ‘The Family’ and the ‘Family international’. They were around at the same time as the other good ministries that I mentioned.

They were like a commune of hippies/Jesus freaks that eventually would have outposts all over the world. Their language and beliefs were a lot like any evangelical group of the day. Over a period of time their leader ‘David/Moses’ would espouse the doctrine of ‘free love’ which taught ‘we love everyone like ourselves’ and should share everything with everybody else. I mean everything! They became known as a sex cult. They are not the first to believe this either. John Humphrey Noyes of the Oneida Community in upstate New York taught and practiced this ‘open love’ in the 1800’s. Bergs group got a lot of heat when word got out that they practiced sex with under age children. A few magazines and news papers would introduce this strange cult to the world as they covered the story in the 70’s and 80’s. As I have read a lot about this group over the years, I have come to see how many of the kids sincerely thought they were following the Lord, and some were never involved in the strange sex practices [most knew of the open love doctrine, but some did not experience the under age abuse. I say ‘some’ for the benefit of those still in the group who have said this, but there are tons of stories of children who were abused]. Some of these today are still on the mission field with their families and are witnessing for Jesus in the exact same way that many other missionaries do. But of course the doctrine of the leader of this group was classic cult material.

You can go on line and find both pro and con web sites. Just Google ‘The Family’ or ‘Moses David Berg’ and you will find them. The reason I just read this most recent book [the other one I read is ‘Heavens Harlot’s’] is because after a few years of them fading away from public memory, one of the sons of the wife of David Berg [though not Bergs actual son] who was being groomed to be the prophet to take over the group, killed another group member out of revenge and a feeling of trying to get more heat on the group and to bring the group down [The boys mom was Karen Zerby, the leader of the group today, she became pregnant from an Hispanic waiter thru the ‘flirty fishing’[actually called ‘FFing’!] doctrine of the group which taught witnessing and ‘fishing for men’ can be done thru sleeping with men, you sleep with them, show them ‘Gods love’ and there you have it!]

This boy was sexually abused from birth and was to be an experiment on what it would be like if someone enjoyed open sex from birth, sort of a guinea pig for Moses Berg’s doctrine. Eventfully the boy left the group and became part of a growing number of second generation defectors who have made it their goal to expose and bring the group down. Many who are still in the group live in various parts of the world and have said they do not practice sex with kids any more, but still believe in the ‘open love doctrine’.

The young prophet who was to eventually take over the group was called ‘Davidito’ he eventually changed his name to Ricky Rodriguez. By all accounts he was a good young man, who rejected his cultic upbringing and was trying to make a life for himself after leaving the group. A smart, intelligent well liked young man. He could never get over his rage and in 2005 made a videotape of himself getting ready to murder one of the female leaders who molested him as a little boy. He would stab the woman to death, send three copies of his confession video to 3 friends and pull up on some deserted highway in California and put a bullet thru his head. This is why the recent book ‘Jesus Freaks’ just came out, they covered this most recent affair.

This is such a sad story. Many still in the group are trying to change it into a more ‘respectable’ group, those who have defected are trying to bring the group down. All of these kids, being taught scripture, growing up in this perverted environment. Learning true bible stuff along with the distorted stuff. Lifetimes of trying to serve Jesus mixed in with these cruel ideas and actions that are a part of their lives. Many who have defected have committed suicide. Truly David Berg was a false Prophet of the highest order, he has met God now.

There actually has been a very popular well known preacher out of the Atlanta area, Earl Paulk, who I have been praying for now for a few years. I liked watching him on TBN for years. He had a few accusations against him over the years of sexual misconduct. I do not know whether they were true or false. Paulk admitted to certain past indiscretions, but never to the allegations of certain women. They claimed Paulk secretly taught them ‘kingdom /covenant relationships’ which were basically a doctrine to justify adultery. I was hesitant about sharing the Paulk story, but I did so for a reason. Why would I see this doctrine as false, and those who teach it as ‘cultic’, and not hold the same standard to a Jimmy Swaggart or a Ted Haggard? All humans can fall into any type of sin, Paul wrote the Corinthians and told them ‘you have a brother who is sleeping with his mother, this must stop’ If a believer falls into a sexual sin, he either repents or falls into Gods discipline. But if a teacher begins justifying sin as a doctrinal truth, then you have problems. Many of these cults have done this, they see the truth in scripture about loving each other and living communally and sharing what you have with everyone else, but they don’t see the other warnings against immorality. They find polygamy taught in the old testament, or the fact that Adam and Eve’s kids had to have married each other, and they will teach incest or polygamy is for today, not realizing that the new testament speaks of being married to one wife and any thing else is adultery.

When leaders use scripture to justify sin this becomes a cult. I think we should all pray for those involved. Brother Earl Paulk has been sick [he might have even died by now?] but the latest accusation from his worship leader of many years has caused him to step down [a good thing!] but I still pray for the man. Let’s pray for all these kids still in the ‘family’ as well as those who have come out, they need our prayers.

[NOTE; I was just outside praying for you guys as a ‘community’ of people. To be honest I have added all of you as a group to my ‘prayer region’ [whole groups of people I fiercely pray over]. This is what I felt the Lord saying. Many of you have without a doubt come to know the Lord thru this time period in your lives. Many ‘regular’ Christians can’t really discern this. Much of what you see and hear in other Christian groups looks and sounds almost identical to the ‘family’ except for the ‘free love’ stuff. This dynamic has made it hard for you to relate to other Christians. They just look at you as ‘thank God you are free from that sex cult, now God brought you to us to show you all this true stuff’. The problem is many of you already know the ‘true stuff’. I felt the Lord was encouraging you as a group of people to ‘move on’ with him. Many of you are so turned off by what you have seen in other Christian groups, it’s like ‘I’ve been there’. God loves you guys so much [even this sounds abusive to you, you have heard this your whole life from the lips of people that abused you]. My heart breaks for you guys, I am so happy to read some of your stories and how some of you are still walking with ‘Jesus’ so to speak. I personally am worried that I too might come off as a religious nut. All the ‘prophecy’ and stuff I do. Teaching on Prophets and all. I do believe that God has placed Prophets in the church, but what you experienced thru Berg was almost a demonic type of Prophet. A man that had real gifts and talents, but also developed a doctrine that would justify to himself his own impulses and sinful desires that he struggled with his whole life. I believe there were aspects of David’s life that truly wanted to serve God, but like others before him [Noyes] he developed a ‘scheme’ that would appease his own conscience, and he released this evil desire on a whole community of young people. The most difficult thing for some of you is to realize that you truly do love God and have found him while being in this group. I love you guys and will continue to pray for you. As you read [or listen to our radio show] and you hear me speak on Prophets and the Prophetic movement, understand I in no way am speaking of the abusive ‘family’ that you have been involved with thru out your lives. God bless all of you and feel free to email or write me at my P.O. Box. If any of you want to get together while in the area contact me before you come and I will try and get with you. Thanks, John.]

During the time of Bergs rise to ‘Prophet’ he was in an atmosphere where other well known ministries were espousing many of the same views on end time things. You also had Hal Lindsey and many others who taught the same as Berg in the area of the Tribulation and the nearness of the end of the world. Hal wrote the bestseller ‘The Late great Planet Earth’. While Hal obviously isn’t near the category of Berg, it was common for people at the time to be living on the edge of their seats thinking that the world might end at any moment. This led to an environment amongst many well meaning followers of Jesus that had an attitude of ‘if the world will end soon, what the heck, why bother going to school or even worry about planning for a future’ This mindset would later make it hard for those who tried to get out of the cult. They found the most basic things, like writing a check, difficult.

The thing that first interested me about this group was the ‘apostolic’ concept of community. Many who have studied ‘ecclesiology’ [church government] have seen in scripture the more biblical idea of church as community. Some have tried to duplicate the early environment seen in the book of Acts. A common purse and sharing of their goods with the needy. Berg also was a student of communism like Jim Jones, a whole other story. Even though you had all believers sharing and helping each other in Acts, you didn’t see an environment where people surrendered their individual identities and ‘morphed’ into the identity of a group.

In Acts they still lived in their own homes and maintained a family idea. To be sure today’s idea of ‘church at the building on Sunday’ as being ‘the church’ did not exist, but you also didn’t have communes. I believe it is OK for believers who radically sell out to leave the comforts of a home environment and to live daily trusting God. I have met ‘homeless’ friends who were on their own serving God and surviving. But to force a communistic idea upon people, and to cause them to loose their own personal identity for the ‘cause of the group’ is cultic right from the start.

God wants us to be more than ‘pew warmers who are preached at every week’ he wants us to experience this Journey with him as being part of a wonderful Christian family, with many wonderful brothers and sisters. Seeing the ‘other churches’ not as the institutionalized monster, but as sincere Christian’s in the Lord. I know there are times in my own writing that I seem to be hard on ‘the church’ but I do not hold to the view that they are all of the devil!

Berg seemed to confuse the ‘religions of men’ and the establishment with the true boundaries put down in scripture. He would view his own feelings of guilt about his sexual weakness and failure and eventually blame the ‘established church’ for his ‘guilt feelings’. He would develop a doctrine that fit in well with the ‘anti church’ atmosphere of the time. He would see all the free loving hippies and how they jumped in to the open love of the 60’s and 70’s sexual revolution, and then compare that to his own struggle of trying to suppress his sexual desires for many years under what he saw to be the authoritarian religious morals that he heard time and again thru his mothers preaching. It was natural for Berg to view the ‘established religions of men’ as the cause for all the years he spent repressing his sexual urges. Hey, he thought, if God created me [and others] to be able to enjoy the feelings of sex from a young age, then why do I feel guilty if I act out sexually in a way that society deems wrong?

Berg would challenge the mindset of minors being sexually active. He thought it was society that caused the guilt, not his sin. So in the California environment of ‘church religion’ being deceived, he thought ‘they must also be wrong on the sex part too’. Well if Berg was a true student of scripture, he would not have come to this conclusion. Scripture most definitely speaks of God as the creator of sex, but it also puts down definite parameters. ‘Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. But adulterers and whoremongers God will judge’ [Hebrews]. Berg thought for sure his belief in open sex with anyone at anytime was a true revelation from God, as opposed to the ‘moral old time religion’ of the past.

His great experiment would be to raise a child from day one in a hyper sexualized atmosphere and to then have the child diagnosed by professionals to see if any emotional damage was done. This experiment was what happened with ‘Davidito’. As Ricky grew older they tested him and others to see if they were harmed emotionally in any way. The ‘family’ found doctors to go along with their belief and to testify that the children were emotionally healthy. Later when Ricky [Davidito] would leave the group and kill one of the ladies who abused him as a child, the group tried to explain that when Ricky was in the group he harbored no ill feelings. It was when he got out and then ‘society’ taught him that what he did was wrong, that at that time he had guilt.

This diabolical social experiment that Berg thought would surely justify his sexual indiscretions did not work the way the family thought. While there are obvious problems with ‘organized religion’ we have to make sure we are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Many of the old churches have carried the true gospel of Christ for centuries before us. Scripture says we ‘shouldn’t remove the ancient landmarks that out fathers have set down’. This speaks of being very careful when we critique older religious churches that have been serving God for centuries. There were many ‘Jesus Freaks’ that left the old time churches of their fathers and have done well, they are still serving God and have never went back to the old church model. Others have gone back and even become ‘part of the old church’. But regardless of where you find yourself today, you must be careful that the things you think are ‘just religion making me feel guilty’ aren’t really things that the bible says are wrong. Many people ‘feel guilty’ because they are guilty! The way to get over the guilt is to receive Gods forgiveness and ask him to help you ‘sin no more’.

NOTE; I am not speaking about the guilt that some one might experience as a result of being abused in this group. It is common for victims of sexual abuse to ‘feel guilty’ even though they were victims. In some cases people feel guilty because they might have responded sexually while being abused, thinking that they in some way condoned the abuse, this is not so! Many of you guys have had to deal with this, maybe this had something to do with Ricky’s rage? So I just wanted to release you guys from this.

Let me mention some other stuff on cults and prophets. I have studied various cults over the years, some of them have definitely had demonic powers behind the leadership. When studying ‘heavens gate’ there were things that people experienced that fall under the category of demonic power. People who had a sense of being ‘mesmerized’ while listening to the leader. Or the leader’s ability to actually know what happened or predict future events. A fake imitation of a true prophetic gift.

Others, like David Korresh with the group ‘the branch davidians’ which were an offshoot of the seventh Day Adventist Church would come under the ‘spell’ of Korresh and begin viewing him as one of the end time witnesses spoken of in the book of Revelation. They would eventually see themselves as directly being referenced in scripture. They fulfilled their own ‘prophecy’ about being destroyed at the end of the world. Other ‘non cult’ prophets have also had this strong influence over people. William Brahnam was a very gifted Prophet in the middle of the last century, he without a doubt had extraordinary gifts, some till this day see him as either one of the seven angels in Revelation, or as one of the 2 witnesses in chapter 11.

So it seems to be a theme in some of these groups to come under the ‘mesmerizing’ influence of the gifted leader and to begin to view him in a way that associates him with actual biblical figures. The early church had some doubts about putting the book of Revelation in the New Testament, one of the reasons for this was they feared individuals might interpret it in a way that could cause trouble, a bit prophetic don’t you think? While reading about David Berg I have come to believe he had demonic powers working with him. You might think ‘no kidding man’. I don’t always believe this to be the case, I feel many contemporary Christians have a tendency to over do the ‘demon possession’ thing, always trying to cast a demon out of someone ‘I cast the demon of Marlboro cigarettes out of you’ or the ‘demon of poverty’ and silly stuff like that. I think in some of these cases we should cast the ‘demon of thinking that everything is a demon’ out of them! But in Bergs case there have been some leaders who ran into him thru out their lives and sensed a ‘presence’ that was strange. The brother who had a commune in Texas that Berg would eventually take over and call it ‘The Texas Soul Clinic’ felt like the group had a force behind them that was unstoppable, he till this day has never gotten over his impact with ‘the family’.

So it is more than likely that Berg had some demonic stuff going on. I am asked sometimes about people like John Edwards of the show ‘crossing over’ or other people who seem to have true gifts. I try to distinguish between out right fakers, and those who are really operating with a supernatural ‘element’. I believe many of the Psychics actually have a connection with the ‘spirit world’ that would simply be in the category of ‘soothsayer’ or like the witch of Endor spoken of in the bible. In her story she is requested by King Saul to bring back the Prophet Samuel from the dead. God’s people were forbidden to consult a soothsayer or ‘psychic’. The fact was she was well known, sort of like all these ‘card readers’ and stuff I see as I travel thru South Texas. Well this witch does bring back Samuels spirit, to the amazement of Saul and herself! She actually is portrayed as being afraid when her ‘soothsaying’ works. She was surprised he came back! Some think this was because she knew her gift was fake, and when it worked she scared herself. It’s also possible that the usual ‘spirits’ that did come thru for her were not there this time, she really got Samuel.

The point is in some of the people that are doing these things it is possible that they are ‘picking up’ something in the ‘spirit’, it’s just not what they think! In Edwards’s case he feels he is ‘crossing over’ and contacting the spirits of dead relatives, he might really believe that this is who is speaking to him during his shows. The truth is scripture speaks of ‘familiar spirits’ and demons. A person might have some real gifting going on, but it might not be what they think.

Edgar Casey [sp? It might be Cayce] is another example of a famous ‘prophet’. He was dubbed the ‘sleeping prophet’ because he would give readings while lying down and falling asleep and going into a trance. In all of these cases Christians are forbidden to delve into the ‘unknown’ thru these means. Some believers have gone too far in rejecting ‘prophets’. They do not see the true biblical gift as spoken of in the New Testament. God has clearly placed Prophets in the church, the book of Ephesians says this [as well as Corinthians and other references]. Some Christians believe it is because of the lack of biblical Prophets today, that this is why the world runs to the psychics, that if the church just functioned in the real gift, then you wouldn’t have all the popular psychics. Some who say this have some truth, but then I get a little worried because they seem to espouse the idea that true prophets should have their own call in shows and stuff, sort of ‘1-800-prophecy’ and stuff like that. I don’t think so!

So anyway I think Berg had some demonic stuff going on, as believers we should ‘test the spirits, for every spirit is not of God’ it says this in 1st John. If you read it in context it is not speaking of ‘disembodied spirits’ that are floating around in the sky [which is another off balanced teaching in the Church, Christians starting whole spiritual warfare movements and going around casting these spirits out of the sky. Jesus never cast demons out of the sky, but out of people!] But this verse is speaking of ‘testing spirits’ that are operating in people! That is whether people are ‘true prophets’ or’ false’. Don’t allow the strong giftings of leaders ‘pull you in’ but test everything by Gods Spirit. Be open to true prophetic gifts, don’t reject all prophecy, but be discerning.

I just reviewed the family photos of Ricky Rodriguez on the site ‘moving on’ he looked like such a wonderful kid. Go check them out, they give a face to this whole sad story. A few years ago someone wrote a book on dangerous communal groups, I believe the author was Ron Enroth [churches that abuse?] while the book served a good purpose, they drew some heat over the fact they included some Christian groups that seemed to be serving the Lord. One of the groups they singled out responded in defense of their faith. They answered their critics well [not like the official response of those still in the family. I have read some of the articles from their web site and something seems ‘off’ sort of like a ‘stepford wives’ type response] They explained while it is true that many cults have embraced communal living, Christians have also experimented with these models. They showed that those living in this type of atmosphere, where you are always together [sort of like my job as a firefighter in a way, when you live in 24 hour shifts with people, you get on each others nerves] lends to the complaints of authoritarianism and control.

The fact that the average Christian only spends an hour on Sunday with other believers, while those in a communal atmosphere live all the time with other believers, then you are going to get more complaints from those living together, it’s only natural. So I didn’t want to group every ‘communal group’ as being bad, though they do have a tendency to ‘lord it over the people’. The Boston Churches of Christ [a specific movement, not all the churches of Christ in Boston] are not communal, but they practice a fierce ‘shepherding’ doctrine, where the people must answer to the shepherds in a way that is dangerous.

This was the error of the ‘discipling movement’ also know as the shepherding movement. Berg’s group most definitely had this going on. This type of idea teaches a strong accountability to ‘over shepherds’ in a way that violates the true freedom that we have in Christ. So you don’t have to be living communally to be cultic, you can be ‘doing church’ the Sunday way and also be ‘cultic’.

I am a little hesitant to put this in, but will take the chance. I believe in God giving us prophetic signs and stuff, but many have used ‘signs’ and ‘prophecy’ as a tool of abuse. Yesterday I was out among a lot of my friends who are homeless. Ran into a Pastor friend and some other old friends. For some reason they were calling me ‘David’ and then they realized my name is John. I kinda felt this to be a little strange. I have been praying for the ‘moving on’ group as a Father would pray over his ‘spiritual children’. Now stick with me, I AM NOT SAYING THAT I AM CHANNELING THE DAVID BERG SPIRIT! In a strange way when leaders oversee a group of people they become a ‘Father’ to the group. They carry a special responsibility to lead the people. Berg had this ‘fathering’ responsibility, and he became a ‘child abuser’ towards a whole family of people. So I just felt the ‘sign’ of people calling me David, the day after I spent time praying and trying to speak into the community was in a sense prophetic. Sort of like God saying ‘One by the name of David abused these people severely, I will raise up other ‘spiritual fathers’ who will make up for the abuse they have received, David’s who are men after my own heart’ [King David in scripture is called a man after Gods own heart].

Just felt like the Lord was saying this about multiple people, those who will care for you in the original way God intended, as representative in some way I would like to say ‘please forgive us [Christian leadership] I am so sorry for what I have done to you’. ‘I am the good shepherd, all that ever came before me were thieves and robbers. I come that you might have life. The robber came to steal, kill and destroy you. I am the good shepherd, I have given my life for the sheep’ Jesus Christ.

(585) John 8- The Pharisees catch the woman in adultery and bring her to Jesus ‘Moses in the law says kill her, what about it Jesus?’ Religion digressed into this conservative moral crusade that went and found people in sin and singled them out for judgment. Jesus doesn’t say ‘oh, don’t worry about that silly law of Moses’ he says in essence ‘you guys are right, justice demands strict holiness, you got me now’ instead he agrees that justice does require her death, and he says ‘go ahead, start stoning’. One thing ‘you must be free of sin in order to carry out this punishment’. The law required total righteousness from everyone, even the moral crusaders! When religion digresses to the point where all it does is go out into society and find fault, then this type of religion is powerless to change the ‘fault finders’. Jesus doesn’t side with the ultra liberals either, you don’t see him marching for the right for homosexuals to marry. He tells the woman ‘neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more’. Jesus said this to the guy he healed a few chapters ago. ‘Go and sin no more less a worse thing happen to thee’. Was Jesus simply telling them the same thing that they heard from the religious right their whole lives? Was he simply saying ‘watch out, if you sin again you will get in trouble’ not really. Jesus words had tremendous power and authority, he told people who couldn’t see ‘see’ and they would! People who couldn’t walk ‘get up’ and they did. He was empowering these people by his words. When he said ‘sin no more’ he was giving them the first freedom from years of bondage that they ever had. He also was saying ‘I don’t condone sin’ but he was saying much more! Jesus tells the Jews who ‘believe in him’ if you continue in my word ye shall be free. In the next chapter [9] we will read of the guy Jesus heals, who also says ‘Jesus healed me’ but doesn’t know who Jesus is yet, then later he believes in him as Messiah. This is the type of belief that Israel and Islam and other religions have about Jesus. They accept him as a good man, prophet even. But not the Son of God. To these he says ‘if ye continue in my word then you will know the truth and be free’ if they stick around long enough they might just see that Jesus is for real! Truth is progressive, often times I will give a book to someone, or teach something over the radio. People will see things that they haven’t seen before. A few years go by and they ‘fall back’ into the old mindset. They sincerely forgot that some of the questions they have now have actually been answered already. ‘Go read the first book I wrote, it explains it’ oh yhea, I see now. People need to ‘continue in the word’ in order to be changed. It is not just the one time ‘revelation’ of a certain doctrine that changes you, it is continuing in Gods truth and knowing him, that is Jesus, who is the way and truth and life. Knowing doctrine does not set people free, knowing Jesus does.
(586) John 8-9 before I cover this, last night I was watching a preacher from a classic type ministry. Not the flamboyant ‘prosperity’ type with gold hanging off and all. I was a bit surprised [let down] to hear him teach the classic errors of the prosperity movement. He took the verse in Corinthians where it says ‘though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor’ and taught that Jesus died to make you rich financially [ a direct violation of 1st Timothy 6]. He went to Genesis and showed how Abraham was rich, then jumped to Galatians 3 and taught ‘we are Abrahams kids, therefore we get his blessings[stuff]’ a classic mistake in doctrine. I explained this in the book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ in the chapter ‘The Abrahamic Blessing’[you can read this book on this site!]. This stuff shouldn’t have been coming from this program, they are not the type that teach this stuff. You could tell from the look on the faces of the audience that they were feeling uncomfortable with what this guy was teaching! Now John 8-9. Jesus says ‘you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth that I heard from God’ often times when people are reproved, they don’t like it. It’s not that what the ‘reprover’ is saying is wrong, it’s just we don’t like being confronted with truth. We usually take it out on the messenger. Jesus says ‘before Abraham was, I AM’ this is the name of God in the Old Testament ‘the I AM’. Jesus is the ‘I AM’ in Johns gospel. I AM the door, I AM the resurrection, I AM the way and the truth and the life. I believe you find 7 different ‘I AM’s’ of Jesus in this gospel. Jesus now heals the man who was blind from birth. They ask him ‘who sinned, this man or his parents’? They had a mentality that always wanted to place blame on someone for sickness, sort of like some in the healing movements of today. Jesus said ‘neither’. He simply said ‘this happened to him so I would heal him and God would get glory’. He heals the man and the leaders are mad. ‘Who healed you’? A man called Jesus. They get the guys parents and say ‘you say he was blind, then how come he can see?’

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from Corpus Outreach
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 04:13

I think I was a little out of line on my last comment. Sorry about that. Getting tired of asking you all to forgive me! After the first week or so on you guys site, I knew I made a bad mistake by me underestimating the anti religion mindset that many of you have. I was ignorant about this. I had no idea I was even going to be involved with you guys at all. When I saw 'Jesus Freaks' come out, I ordered the book and after reading it wrote the 'run on' article on my site. I thought 'what the heck, maybe ex family people would be interested?' Then it's only natural to draw back from real criticism, some that was honest even. I at that time figured to just go away. But I am such an amateur I probably couldn't even figure out how to stop the email notification that sends me an email every time someone posts a comment! [I am kidding a little]. So this whole involvement was way more than I really expected. To be honest I don't really have the time to even write these 'run on' comments. But I thought just 'going away' after I shoved my blog on you guys was wrong. So anyway thats how this all got started. Way too much involvement than I bargained for. thanks, John
(reply to this comment)
from Fish
Monday, November 19, 2007 - 07:48

I would dare say that not a single member of this site read or will ever read your article. Please fellow backsliders, correct me if I'm wrong.
(reply to this comment)
From sar
Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 04:24

I haven't read it and don't intend to, but simply for the lack of paragraphing. Ewe! I have no idea what point is being made by the article.(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Thursday, November 22, 2007, 03:56

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I just added a bunch of paragraphs, but when I posted it, they didnt come out right. I know they are saved on the original?(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 10:49

Fish I think I really offended you. that was totally wrong on my part. I am sorry for doing that, you seem like a really good 'kid' [if you are not a kid forgive me!] I really was out of line getting into this whole thing. John(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 10:43

well here I go. First, when I first got into this whole thing about posting my article, I was suprised about the bad response, to be real honest I got a little depressed about the whole deal. Then when I got the email from the editors, I thought 'these poor guys, who have been burned by Christianty are actually putting up with my 'crap' made me feel bad. Like I can't believe after all the crap they have been thru, thier mature enough to even post my article. Why would people that have been thru so much crap even post some 'preachers' stuff! I felt depressed over the whole deal. Then, after some bad comments, people actually tried to help me! Can you believe that. I felt bad about that too. People having sympathy for me, after all the crap that they have been thru![I felt like saying sh-t, but that would be wrong] So today I had a very bad day, I still struggle with a lot of the things you might read about on my site, after all these years I still struggle. then the poor editors have to put up with my 'crap' and email me and tell me 'you can update your own article' like these poor guys that started this whole site to help people leaving religion have the courtesy to even go thru this with me, why do they even allow me to be on this site! they are so mature in their willingness to allow a christian to even be here! I also felt bad after a few bad comments, some people wrote good comments, Like I am getting people to sympathize with me, this can be so manipulative, that also made me feel like crap. How can I expect people who have been abused by christianity to sympahtize with a christian, where do they find it in them selves to feel sorry for me! I dont desrve it! I just had a terrible day, nothing like what you guys have been thru. I debated whether or not to even share this stuff, then I felt like I should. Dont feel sorry for me at all. thank you so much for even giving me tips on how to run the blog site, can you believe people would even be trying to help in this! I cant. When the editors emailed me and spent time trying to help me, wow, why would the people that started this site, a very noble thing indeed, even care about some guy who is doing 'ministry' that was so unselfish! they should have just banned me from this whole site. I would ask you guys to 'pray for me' but that would be too offensive! Thanks for the good and bad comments. when I get a bad comment, I dont take it personal, I think 'these poor kids have put up with so much crap, why the hell would they even read my stuff' thats how I feel about this whole thing. I respect the people who went out of their way to start this site, they did such a good thing, I cant believe it! I respect all the comments that you guys have made, even the obvious 'sympathy' ones, I hold nothing against any of you. Sometimes I regret getting into this whole thing with you, I intruded into a safe haven. Someone said 'DOESNT HE KNOW WE ARE KIND OF ANTI RELIGION ON THIS SITE' even that comment was mercifull, it's like the kid was being so honest. He did not have to even deal with me. the guys who outright cussed me out, some really tried to give me an honest chance, I respect that so much! It's like they didnt even have to put up with me, but they really read the article and all. How can I even expect this! they go out of thier way to give a christian a shot. Today I blew it! I am dealing with stuff that I shoudnt even be telling you about, but to be fair I needed to be real. I 'exploded' into your world without any consideration about your bad past, I really am sorry! I thank you guys for even trying to help me with the blog and all, can you believe people that have been thru all that you have been thru would even care about all this! Just had to express this to you, thanks for putting up wih me being really inconsiderate about your whole situation. Dont feel sorry for me! John. (reply to this comment
From Lemmiwinks
Monday, November 19, 2007, 14:01

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(

How about trying to write a very brief personal reflection on the book Jesus Freaks? You might start your first sentence with the stem, "When I read about Rick's life, I felt..." Limit yourself to writing no more than nine setences, and hit the paragraph return key after every three to four sentences you write.

It's really, really important to break up lines of text if you want people to actually read what you have to say. It's also important to keep your articles and comments brief and to the point, particularly in an online forum like this. (reply to this comment

From Corpus Outreach
Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 05:45

Dear 'Lemmiwinks' Why dont you email me, I will send you the article and you can clean it up for me? Then email it back to me and I will post it again? John. [I dont really want to change content, juft fix it up?] my email is on the site.(reply to this comment
From afflick
Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 07:59

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Corpus: you sure have been on this site a lot lately. I thought it was because you wanted to learn more about us, but after reading some of your comments, I see it is actually because you are trying to "save us" (see: your comment within 'God is Not Great' thread.) And now you realize the truth: we should be saving you--from bad grammar and format!

Casually asking a member of this site to re-write your extremely badly written "reaction" to Lattin's book is a bit arrogant. And when you discuss scientific reasoning, as you did in the God is Not Great thread, it is much more believable if you cite sources. Websites or authors or scientific papers. Even just a link would suffice (although I know at this stage, that's tough for you).

If you feel I am picking on you, I'm not. Well, not just you. I have been a member of movingon for five years and during that time many outsiders have tried to "pull up a chair" and make wiggle-room for themselves in our forum. Some have been more respectful than others but those who regularly voice their opinion through postings annoy me. What makes you think we regularly want to hear from you? What Christian perspective do you think you impart that we have not already heard?

Perhaps your conception of our parents' cult is that we were taught nothing but David Berg's rantings. Well, yes, that was a large part. But another large part was Bible memorization. While most Christians do not know specifically what is in their Bibles (or even the names of all the chapters), we were raised more like Muslims in that we had to memorize hundreds, sometimes thousands of Bible verses and discuss them while witnessing. Most of us probably know the Bible better than you, and still you are here on this site, asking us to read your functionally unreadable website, and more, to correct it and re-send it to you to post again. Can you see how I find this arrogant?

I hope you will continue to come to this site, Corpus, but to read, not post. I hope you will become more knowlegable of our previous and current lifestyles before you opine your recommendations to us. If ever.

(reply to this comment

From Corpus Outreach
Friday, November 23, 2007, 05:05


I really wasn't going to respond again, but felt like I should [while praying! eeek!] I noticed this comment came from some one who read my comments from 'god is not great' book review.

When I left those comments, I kinda felt like the articles were from guys 'my age' [45]. Sort of like the good debates that Atheists and Christians have while respecting each others views. Then when I read this comment I realized that even what I said there was still offensive!

For some reason I made a false distinction. I saw those in my section [book review] as younger kids that I offended wrongfully. Like fish. Then I 'saw' the guys on the other section like the debaters that I am familiar with. I made a wrong distinction. I also never thought that asking 'Limmiwinks' to help was arrogant, maybe becuase of the way I do 'ministry' we always help others for free.

Then I realized [felt bad] that maybe you guys thought I was some type of 'preacher stalker' trying to get peoples email! trust me, I am so knew at emailing, I never save and 'mass email' things out. I dont even write letters back to people who write my ministry P.O. box! [unless they need help or something]

So I felt I needed to calrify this. My comments on 'god is not great' were intended for 'atheists' that like getting into intellectual stuff. Didn't mean to offend a younger crowd.(reply to this comment

From Corpus Outreach
Thursday, November 22, 2007, 04:08


Thank you for the insight! To be honest, I really didn't intend [at the start] to try to impose my stuff on you guys [though I realize i did do this].

You are also right about probably knowing more chapters and stuff. I actually never even memorized the books of the bible in order. I find it strange being i wasn't raised in a strong church enviornment, that I find lots of kids who know the books in order, and I dont. It's allright, it keeps me humble.

I found this comment to be honest criticism, I aprreciate that. I really do not plan on doing much more commenting at all. Today I came back to look at the spelling of some names to finish my article update. But I will have to 're update' because the paragraphs didn't show! But I dont think it's usefull for any Christian to really start loading a site like this with religious perspective. I will try and visit and learn more about you guys over time. Your comment [and fish also] on how you were taught like Muslims to legalistically memorize scripture was very helpfull. Thanks for being honest. John(reply to this comment

From Fish
Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 20:58


"...we were raised more like Muslims (than Christians) in that we had to memorize hundreds, sometimes thousands of Bible verses..."

That's absolutely brilliant! Its so true. I cant believe I never thought of that.(reply to this comment

from Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007 - 03:26

I hate to admit this, but I must! Every time I tried to update this article by adding the complete article to the review, I would submit a new article. Or if I wanted to tell the editors of your site something I just sent it by way of 'new article' and gave them the message. Well your editors finally emailed me and said 'if you want to update your own article, you can'. I got the feeling they wanted to say 'you bible belt idiot!' but held back!
(reply to this comment)
from Lemmiwinks
Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 13:13

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Jeez, Louise. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt by reading your article. Did you ever hear of a thing called a paragraph break? Or pointless digression? Or a run-on sentence? Not knowing how to handle links is the least of your problems with written communication. You might want to work on finding a way to avoid giving people the impression that born-again Christians living in the Bible belt are functionally illiterate.
(reply to this comment)
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 03:44

I forgot to say something. this article comes from a section of my blog that is like a 'run on' sentence/journal. This entry [584] was added to over a few day period. After I stuck it on your site I re read it and realized that if you don't know that it's coming off a journal type thing with lots of ad on entries, then it does look like a run on thing with no stops. I do agree I need help at times, but thought I would throw this little defense in [feeling a little defensive? Probably](reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 02:41

Hey, thanks for giving me the chance! I dont want to use my 'lack of education' as an excuse. You are right about my immature writing, I realize I am not in the better class. Actaully I am trying to be honest with you guys and all, thats why I answer these comments. I too feel that christians come across as idiots at times, 'bible belt' right wingers and stuff. I am trying to do better, thanks anyway. John(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 02:57

P.S. I am so bad at this, I cant even get the spell check to work. I think I did it, then I read my comment and realize it 'actually' did not work!(reply to this comment
From Samuel
Monday, November 19, 2007, 05:20


That is one thing that is beyond your control. Our "spell checker" has not worked in since some time last year.(reply to this comment

From Samuel
Saturday, November 17, 2007, 16:59


Maybe you could use Front Page. Does anyone know if that would work with blogs? (Usually it's used for websites)

(reply to this comment

from cheeks
Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 09:05

What part of go away do you not understand? We do not need religion here, certainly not yours. You and every other false prophet think by coming here you can some how change what we believe. You can't. Go throw your pearls elsewhere.
(reply to this comment)
From Corpus Outreach
Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 05:45

Guys and girls Real sorry for offending you guys, I kinda realise that I intruded into a place of refuge for people who have been burned by religion. Hope if you are interested in some overview of the family you will read the blog # 584, I am critical of Berg and do view him as a false prophet. I also do not take any offerings for anything at all. I pay for everything out of pocket as a full time firefighter. I do make this clear on my blog, sorry again, please forgive me. Thanks John(reply to this comment
from smashingrrl
Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 07:38



So you left the Family, or did you? So you started your own fucking religious cult? Did you want us to go to your site and donate? Was that the point?
(reply to this comment)

From Corpus Outreach
Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 05:49

Sorry I am sorry for offending you, really. I have never been in the family. I am a firefighter living in Texas. I dont take money at all, please forgive me. John.(reply to this comment
From Phoenixkidd
Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 12:36


What the hell? I couldn't find any blogs you need some more html practice on creating links...Doesn't everyone know we are kind of anti-religion on this site? All those fundies on this site need to get a life and stop using this site to preach their "message"!!!

(reply to this comment

From Corpus Outreach
Thursday, November 15, 2007, 05:37

Sorry about the link thing, you actually have to type in the site. I realise that talking about religion on you guys site was a mistake. I have looked at 'the family' before and also agree that they were/are a cult. So I thought [wrongly] that those who were abused in this group would benefit from me overviewing the book. But after all the comments I really feel bad that I did this! The ministry stuff I do is without any outside money, I pay for it myself. I noticed how asking for money is offensive, so we dont ask or accept donations, ever. Please forgive me for getting into this whole thing with you guys. Thanks, John(reply to this comment
From exfamily
Thursday, November 15, 2007, 09:05

I personally think some people have overreacted to it. Yes, the review was done from a religious viewpoint which many may not like, but his intentions seem good.

John, you definitely need to use links. It's extremely user-unfriendly as it currently is.(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Friday, November 16, 2007, 06:47

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Thanks for the good comment [or for not cussing me out!] I have to admit that I didnt even know hot to email until his year, so to even get the blog up was hard. One of my homeless friends actually saw the site and liked the content but also said it is user unfriendly, he was helping me do a web site, he is very talented, but I need to be able to update the site myself, I cant depend on some one else having to do it. I asked him why I cant create links and stuff from the blog, he kinda told me you cant. Is this true? I have seen other blogs that have them. Anyway this is my excuse, I am bad at doing this stuff! I just 'copied and pasted' the article to a friend from you guys site, he couldnt find the atricle! So thanks anyway, the whole article should be on the above 'book review' soon. Thanks again 'exfamily'. John.(reply to this comment
From neez
Friday, November 16, 2007, 15:15

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(
The internet(that technical thingy you're using to read this) is all about links. You might want to punch your very talented hobo friend in the face for suggesting otherwise. At least cuss him out for a bit.

But I really wouldn't bother. The phrase "you can't polish a turd" comes to mind.(reply to this comment
From Corpus Outreach
Monday, November 19, 2007, 02:48

I went to a couple of sites on how to create links and stuff, a little too much for me! But thanks for telling me that at least it's possible. I just 'cut and paste' the article to some guy from your site that couldnt find it, it's the first time I used that 'technical thingy'. I'll pass on your advice to knock my buddy out, thanks anyway. John(reply to this comment

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