14 November, 2008

The Heresy of Mind Control---Recognizing Con Artists in Leadership

A free e-book by Steven Martin, The Heresy of Mind Control, is available at http://recognizeheresy.com/default.aspx

FROM THE INTRODUCTION: Suppose you move to a different area, and are keeping your eyes open for a good group to belong to (a social club, a church, a synagogue, or service organization). You visit one such group where the people are very friendly, loving, and give you individual attention. The group has a variety of programs: a rehabilitation program for drug addicts, services and nursing homes for the elderly, help for the poor, and free clinics. The leader inspires the disillusioned, the disenchanted, and those who have been rejected elsewhere. He is well-known and respected in the area, and the mayor gave him a position as Director of the City Housing Authority. Would you join this group? Suppose you spend four years in college and nearly two years in graduate school to prepare for a career in Christian music. Then the ministers of your home church tell you that you are not needed in their music program. Shortly afterward, you find a new group that welcomes you with open arms. They really care for people. The leader of this group has fascinating Bible studies. You and everyone else are able to sit and listen to him for several hours at a time. Would you stay in this group?

If you answered "yes" to the first situation, you joined the church led by Jim Jones who led over 900 of his followers into a mass suicide murder. If you liked the second group, you became a follower of David Koresh who led over 80 of his followers to die in a blaze of fire. A wolf in sheep's clothing is a short and simple description of a cult leader – as these men were. Are there any warning signs that a group and its leader are dangerous? That’s largely what this book is about.


Clellie said...

This was on my mind this week, with it being the anniversary of the mass murder/suicide of Jim Jones' cult!

I was particularly thinking about my own little neck of the woods and how when we left Scott Brown's church, there were numerous people who completely overlooked the o.b.v.i.o.u.s evidence of his manipulation and tyrannical rule over Trinity. They focused not on the testimony of his fellow elders (who said in part he was a "desperate man willing to resort to desperate measures") but instead focused on all the "good things" he was doing.

I just did not "get it!" And then this week, I read some more about the Jim Jones tragedy and read the letters left behind by those who died. Even to the very end, they were praising him as one of the "kindest" men ever to live!

I'm not calling Scott a "Jim Jones", it is just that the principle is similar.

How sad.

Looking forward to reading this book.

Lin said...

Hi Clellie, Just because it does not lead to mass suicide does not mean it is not dangerous to the soul or eternal life.

I still hear today about all the 'good things' so called elders were doing at the same time they went to great lengths to avoid truth, ignore evil (even to the point of promoting it!)and hurt many people. (I include the hurt people as those who were allowed to continue propagating evil. What about their eternal life?)

Is there a measuring stick somewhere in Christendom I do not know about that good works automatically negate evil works? Isn't the goal, Holiness?

Paul Martin has an interesting view on doctrine and behavior from a biblical standpoint. A friend of mine sent me this from one of his seminars. (as usual, be a Berean):

Dr. Paul Martin on Doctrine/Behavior

Dr. Martin also included some interesting information about what the Bible has to say about false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing.

Of the 210 verses that refer to false prophets, priests, elders and Pharisees, here is a summary of their content:

•99 verses (47%) concern Behavior
•66 verses (31%) concern Fruit
•24 verses (13%) concern Motives
•21 verses (10%) concern Doctrine

It is interesting that most Christians who deal with apologetics, false teachers and Bible-based cults are most concerned with doctrine only. When discussing the patriarchy movement on SharperIron.com and ibelieve.com earlier last year, I was told by many that it was not appropriate to discuss much of anything save these folks' misuse of Scripture. But doctrine represents only a small portion of what Bible speaks about concerning false teachers, essentially only 23% of what the Bible points out as problematic.

According to the Scriptures, we should be very concerned with both the behaviors and the fruit of spiritual leadership in the church and in parachurch organizations. This is not gossip or mean-spirited criticism but what Scripture actually teaches us to observe.

(Dr. Paul Martin (an evangelical Christian) is CEO and Founder of the Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center)

Clellie, I think it is no coincidence that we are told often to only to focus on the good things and ignore the evil. Some are even accused of gossip if they dare mention some of the evil that goes on bysome well known leaders.

But, we know that Christ will present a pure Bride to Himself. That should give us all pause. If some had just spoken out on Jones' behavior some lives may have been saved for eternity. But they were told it was a sin to do so.