Saturday, 18 October 2008

In a nutshell, what admissions from the JA would satisfy me?

Circa's comment that there would never be any terms which would satisfy me made me wonder what three admissions would make me willing to let go. I think in essence, these three would do it:


In the past the Jesus Fellowhip taught openly and without shame, self-conciousness or embarrassment that they were the Kingdom of God on Earth and called themselves Zion. They regarded all other christian churches as worldly, compromising, backslidden, uncommitted etc. They believed that such Christians lived under grace alone and that the only excuse such people had for not being in Zion (in the JFC) too was the fact that they had not met the JFC. They believed that any person who met the JFC but did not join it, must be judged by God as disobeying the call to covenant community.


Any person who left the JFC was said to be en-route for apostasy, that leaving the fellowship was not merely leaving one church with the possibility of going to another, but was actually an act of rebellion against God and that such people must be judged by God accordingly; judged for breaking their life-long covenants. Noel taught unselfconsciously about people who left committing the sin against the Holy Spirit, with the danger that in the moment of rebellion that person risked God not only never being able to forgive them (the sinner having committed the unforgivable sin), but actually actively hardening their hearts against Him, himself. People who left, even if they claimed to be leaving with their faith intact, were encouraged to believe that they would forever live as spiritual orphans who would never find their spiritual homes. Some of us were even told that if we became sick, we would not recover because we would not have the covering of God.


People like me who spoke out about the JFC had some really horrible lies made up about us in order to blacken our reputations among people who might otherwise believe us. One sympathetic member of the press (now a very highly admired author and correspondent for the New Statesman, The Observer etc) rang me after doing a piece on the JA to advise me that they had suggested to him that I had been forced to leave the fellowship for trying to have sex with under-age members!

That was probably their worst mistake in dealing with me, for far from making me afraid to speak out, it made me more certain than before what sort of people I was dealing with; and more sure of just how spooked they must be by my efforts. Noel rang my minister and told him I was mentally unstable and unreliable. As I have said before, a sister was contacted this year and told that every churchman in her town would be contacted and told she was a treacherous jezebel. We are always painted as bitter misfits who never fitted in, who were always trouble-makers etc, even though two fellow critics in the 1980s had been elders and had lived in fellowship for many years.So, there you go. In essence, I would be satisfied if there was an admission that in the past the JA regarded itself as the Kingdom of God, that people feared losing their salvations if they left and that those of us who spoke out were blackened with the sorts of lies that could easily have destroyed weaker people.

Perhaps the scale of the things that trouble me most about the JA will help put in perspective just why leaving the fellowship had such a life-affecting impact on me, and why it is hard for me to let go.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Today I flew solo.


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Secondary Sources found to support claims about cult lists

See wiki for the new section on the finding of two secondary sources which confirm the existence of CIC and FAIR, in the former of which John Campbell is actually quoted as denying what the CIC are saying. The latter (about FAIR) is a book which I think John has successfully cited himself (certainly the author is), so he won't want to discredit this one. And since the tone of the quote from Chryssides is pro-JA, John will have trouble arguing that it is a bit of anti-cult polemic.

Many thanks to Mike Aldrich.

You judge for yourself - are the JA "mainstream"?

Following pressure from me to include an edit on the wikipedia article about the JA that acknowledged that the JA is regarded by some as a cult, John replaced one I had put about the CIC, setting that allegation against an academic article that gives the impression that at the same time, others regard them now as mainstream.

John wrote:
"Despite the entry of the Jesus Army into the charismatic mainstream[18], the church continued to attract a range of views[19] and anti-cult groups like the Cult Information Centre, FAIR and Reachout Trust still included the Jesus Army on their lists.[citation needed]"

But having put it, in order to nullify my claim about the cult organisations, he is using wiki rules to push for the complete removal of the allegation from the article. I am pretty sure the paragraph will disappear any minute now.

We discussed this here. On the issue of the "citation needed" to back the allegation about the JA's cultism, here is what was said.

My feeling, as you can see from the discussion, is that wikipedia rules are being used to suppress the truth, rather than to document it. I am not sure I agree with John Campbell's interpretation of rules of evidence, but he is clearly not going to let this go, and anything I add to the article will just be "reverted" anyway. It is John's full time job responding to people like me. I don't have the time or inclination to fight this endlessly.

By leaving these links here I want to leave it to you, the reader, to decide whether the JA are just grasping at whatever straw will allow them to suppress the fact that they are regarded by a lot of people as a cult and are not, as they would have us believe, now just part of the Christian mainstream.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Andy Overturner demonstrates that leaving the JA is leaving God

It is hard to credit the naivety of the man, that Andy Overturner was willing to demonstrate on the Sheffield Forum just the sort of language that the JA use when speaking of people who have left the fellowship. I have to admit to having been absolutely delighted because he was so open about it, and even justified it by referring to the fact that Jesus used such language:

"Can't you see your actions validate you being described as a 'snake in the grass', pouncing (perhaps unwittingly, by mere instinct) on vulnerable prey? (Yes, you, not us!)Jesus talked about His opponents as being snakes. And also as wolves, looking for a stray sheep to devour. You have been an opponent of our cause, seeking to keep folk away from us. Shouldn't we warn people to be careful? In words that Jesus has taught us?"

The context of all this, as you can see for yourself on the link, was me describing how unpleasant the JA became towards me because, when someone in the JA had asked me if he could stay with me if he left the JA and I had put him up. They had ignored the fact that I had not led the man away but simply done the decent thing when he had asked, rather desperately, for help.

I had told him that the best bet would be not to run away but go and tell his house leader why he wanted to leave, explain his reasons and try to keep lines of communication friendly...and that if he phoned me, I would then come and collect him. I had gone and seen the House leader, then, myself and said that I had hoped that we would remain friends, accepting that the man had acted on his own volition, not mine.

I think what is so wonderful about Andy's comments is that it demonstrates the fact that he thinks that I could have controlled this man's actions; by implication it shows that he believes that it should be possible for people to be controlled this way and that I should not have helped him leave.

It also demonstrates the fact that leaving the JA is automatically associated in the minds of the JA with leaving God. Why, otherwise, would my helping this man be described as a thief stealing an unguarded sheep?...or as a wolf devouring a vulnerable, stray sheep?...or me as a snake pouncing on vulnerable prey?....all terms which Jesus apparently used of his opponents.

The funny thing is that if I had claimed that they use such language, they'd have denied it. Here we have Andy proudly justifying such behaviour as perfectly reasonable.

When the man asked me to take him in, because he knew he would be leaving the JA penniless, Andy says that I "would have done better to stay out of it altogether". Hard to see how any decent person could have done nothing and left this poor chap with people who imagine they have the right to exert such controls over him.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Flying is the best therapy!

If I could afford it, I'd fly every available bookable hour! That would soon break the compulsion to argue with the JA :) I am flying in the morning, so ought to get to bed. Last weekend's "therapy" worked a treat. You feel so ALIVE up there. Can't wait to get up again. I have three days solid ahead.....wonderful.

Next time anyone tells you they are hooked on anything, tell them to go flying.