Monday, July 12, 2010

Beware of Cell Groups and Life Groups!

Cell Groups and Life Groups seem to be in almost every church, and most often they have divided the church into groups of 12 [going along with the G-12 formula], with separate groups for men and women. Now there is nothing wrong with home churches, small Bible studies and other groups, that meet--Jesus preached He is there, whenever two or more are gathered in His name but this cell group stuff is something else insidious entirely. Never forget Satan always seeks to mimic and twist something good into evil. Also I will add the warning there are some true groups out there who have not realized what the whole "cell group" thing is about who may use the name but could be biblically based. [Hint: if they are taking weekend retreats and 100 hours of classes in how to "lead" other church members that is not a good sign!]

Around here every single church over 60 members or so, has what they called "Life Groups". I have visited several churches that had this set up when searching for a church in a new community. All of these churches had what they called "leadership" training under different names and special sleep away or camp retreats for adults and ongoing meetings for the "leaders". Some of the class names, include titles like "FOLLOWING THE VISION", as well as others.

Anyhow being the questioning sort , I thought, why are other church members supposed to be "leaders" over me? Yes the Bible talks about husbands leading their homes and elder members instructing younger but these groups are not set up that way. Why are all these groups called the same thing? Why are these folks needing hours and hours of special training, that seems more centered in psychology then on Bible? Why is this stuff so prevalent?

On the surface this stuff seems great: Life groups, cell groups, yes why not sign up?, Go get some close Christian fellowship, prayer, fellowship...what is bad about that? Anyhow taking this to prayer, something seemed very wrong with all of this. In the back recesses of my mind, I had this nagging thought, I used to be into Russian and Chinese history, I've read probably a dozen memoirs regarding Maoist China. Within all of them, the Communist plan was made pretty clear, they made use of very small groups for top down control, where every little village had one, staffed by one or two loyal party members, and they called them "cell groups" and they were used to pinpoint dissenters and use close tight knit peer pressure to keep people and community decision making in line. Considering my studies of the influence of the Hegelian Dialectic, in other areas of life, why not the churches? I definitely could not ignore these nagging thoughts.

In one church I visited {An Assembly of God, acouple years ago} the pastor did his sermon on "Connections" telling us that our 12 person cell group could be our "new family" and that it would make up for the impersonality of that 1500 or so member church. The groups were to follow the usual formula of separating the old from the young, and married couples with each gender divided. With an emphasis on "Connection", it seems these churches even want to try to program the natural affections and social ties of a genuine church where such things should come spontaneously, in other words: "play-dates" for adults. Talk about control. Talk about taking advantage of often too lonely modern life. Churches in America are becoming like spiritual fast-food joints, like Burger King's: "have it your way"-even the sermons themselves are now being franchised and sold, so why not include a side of "fellowship" with "your best life now" class? Problem is just like fast food, its not satisfying like a real home cooked meal and only a copy of what a real meal/church should be.

At the same church mentioned above, and as I have seen in others, the cell group model made a huge deal of LEADERSHIP and with the odd notion of retreat and leadership training alone giving fellow church members of seemingly equal status: "authority" over one another. In fact some church websites, call the training of those to lead the different cellgroups..."School of Leaders": who is following in the world where everyone is a leader?, but I digress. It seems to be a puffed up way to encourage people to sign up for something they should think twice about.

This appeals to human pride, and wanting to lord over others, instead of following Jesus Christ, and having Him be your MASTER. As I said above, this authority is not biblical whatsoever. Those in power know consensus thinking [the so called Delphi method] and small group peer pressure works. Those who are desiring to infiltrate the churches knows what works in leading people, and what worked for the communists is probably going to work for apostate churches of the antichrist.

The influences of those you personally know and have dealings with can be very strong. It is good to know fellow Christians, and to pray and study with them, but its disturbing to realize that your "leaders" or new "friends?" {people claiming leadership they do NOT have} in the church have taken a multiple hour study course on how to deal with you. [or lets say "influence" you] or as one class title said "How to Resolve Problems in a Group"! That alone sets up the consensus thinking formula and manages to quell the strong bible believer [who is most likely the one they are trained to see as a problem].

Let this article serve as a warning:

"But there the similarities end. Christians could be forgiven for believing that cell churches are another method - a commendable method - of avoiding heavy shepherding and making sure that elders do not take on too much authority leaving the church members nothing to do but submit and obey like sheep.
Unfortunately the very opposite is true, for as we shall see, the cell church system is actually designed to enforce stricter obedience to the new order of apostolic government, and to ensure that this obedience is spread to local communities and eventually the entire world.The purpose of cell churches is to transition the Church as a whole into a new order, to create a radical and ground-breaking reformation that will overthrow the established order and bring into being a pattern of apostolic government and prophetic revelation that will change the thinking of all Christians.

Stay out of a church that has groups like this!


Akin Akinboyewa said...

Very fascinating indeed. I have had this kind of conversation very recently with some loved ones, and some are of the opinion that it is the evolution of the Church as we now know it. This notion of the evolution of the Church is often supported by such claims that the church that existed in the time of Paul is not what we have today, and that because our societies have evolved so must our religious views- even if this could possibly be interpreted as our doing away with doctrines that define our christian beliefs; hence the possibility of the theory of evolution of the church.
Unfortunately many people today are forgetting scriptural doctrine, and probably due to the misinformation we see today in our very own small societies. Probably largely due to the embrace of the many world doctrines in the church all because the twist in the notion embodied in getting along with possibly all men, race, ethnicity, and even the need to stay away from preaching to people of differing sexual orientation-- all wrapped around religious tolerance. Hence the superimposition of an "oppressed body of people" and the enactment of their rights over those who either do not ascribe to their beliefs or the pseudo-scientific fact(s) earmarked as 'the stamp of approval.'
Whether we like it or not, As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matt 24:37). The time leading up to the Great Flood was a lot like our time in that it was characterized by a deliberate and increasing disregard for the ways of God. Finally “the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). As I pencil this in, there is a movement to actually either rewrite or write a bible for the reign of the anti-Christ. Just go to your neighborhood Christian book store and you'll be amazed at the plethora of so-called new age philosophy or doctrine. Since the advent of the school of leadership 'cults' I have been very wary of the messages that spew forth from christian TV stations or even the 'Moody Christian radio' station, just to name a few. I suspect all of this is a cataclysmic synthesis derived from the social-engineering that has been practiced on the human population- particularly directed at re-indoctrinating Christians in the Western hemisphere. Christians in places like Russia and China, even some places in Africa have come to see the 'transfer of the communist manifesto wrapped in socialism and ribboned as capitalism. If you find this concept perturbing just stop and read some of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn's quote (1918- 2008)--Russian novelist & historian who documented the horrors of the Gulags, 1970 Nobel Prize winner for Literature.
Christians in the West, particularly the US and UK, have been told many lies about the Christian God- likened unto a 'father Christmas.' Christians in China and the East understand the persecutions that come with being a Christian. At any rate, this plague of a pagan-like image of the Christian God permeates throughout our societies and has found itself in many areas of Latin America and Africa thanks to the CFR-member aka New age pastor, Evangelist Rick Warren. Don't take my word for it. Here him declare himself as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in Davos, at the World Economic Summit, 2009 or 1010. Christians are obviously dying for leadership, but they must realize what the early Church looked like is a complete juxtaposition of where their pastors are leading them with trickery and manipulations only second to witchcraft.
I intend on forwarding this article to as many as I can just to make them aware of the "sound-good feel-good doctrine of the new and emerging church."

Bible Believer said...

Akin, I am glad you tried to warn your loved ones. The Emergent movement really has pushed this idea of Christianity "evolving" and it has infested all the churches. If the Bible tells us God is always the same, why would things change? They are not supposed to. By this, they can bring in all sorts of new trends and fads, it really also is following the Catholic formula, the so called "development of doctrine" where they teach new things are to "evolve" as well and have with new doctrines even into the 1800s {Mary as Coredemptrix being one of the "new" ones on the table}

The church should be seeking to be most like the book of Acts along with rest of Bible of course, and the example of the apostles instead of following "new trends", which include New Age, paganism, meditation, and preachers claiming false authority. The false tolerance messages combined with various politically based "liberation theologies" have led to people who are of this world. Good works are part of a Christian's life as fruits but many are being led to be of this world.

I agree with you, that it is just like the time of Noah. Yes they have rewritten many Bibles, I am not "KJV Only" {do not follow Ruckman etc}--read KJV as best English translation but believe many Bibles like NIV, etc, have been polluted and comparing verses like Romans 13 is very interesting.

We have a local Christian bookstore here, and it's scary, very little on Bible prophecy, much on New Age, every Emergent book you'd want, and a Roman Catholic section as well. You are right the "School of Leadership" cult stuff has their influence. Just so you know the "leadership" stuff comes right out of Rome too, google Cursillo and School of Leaders. {here's one link}. The similarities to me are no accident.

As a Catholic teen and youth, I had the retreats with the rap sessions, psycho-babble and personality tests [they gave me the DISC but probably do Meyers Briggs nowadays] and personal questions. So really when they want to take people out for a weekend for "training", it's all familiar. You are right about the special emphasis on the West. I agree about the other Christians watching what is happening especially to America. One book, I read warned about this encroachement of Commmunism, years ago, not saying I agree with every facet of this book: "None Dare Call It Conspiracy" but when you watch the massive nationalization of industry in the USA [now probably the oil industry], you can see where it is all going. Global socialism is the aim of the United Nations. [Soon I'll be posting things on the Pope's call for world government via the UN, and with almost every evangelical denomination signed on in various ways, putting these puzzle pieces together is of interest]Agree with you about the false views of God. The American churches do not realize the warnings that history has even given, trust in pretrib rapture escapism, and many have trusted in a false premises over all : Dominionism and the world system. A false global spirituality being formed, and Rick Warren is one of the pied pipers for it all. {yes a CFR member}. Another interesting group that many American evangelicals belong to is CNP "Council of National Policy" which oddly has connections to Reverend Moon [antichrist in nature since he declares himself as the messiah] and the Knights of Malta. Basically the numbers of wolves in sheep's clothing is astounding but we were warned by Jesus. Believe we are now in the great falling away of 2 Thess. 2:3-4. Of course the pastors all preach this as being show via reduced church membership but it is the churches themselves as well. Thanks for forwarding my article, people do need to be warned about this stuff.

CAmport said...

I emailed you yesterday about Ray Comfort and our introduction of his book to our "life group." Ha! After reading this, our concerns have been validated. We ignorantly thought it was just a few couples, getting together for dinner, discussing the Bible. Lately, we've found our issues discussed amongst the group brought up in Sunday sermons by the preacher. Seemed a little odd. All the red flags have been raised. We are currently devising our exodus from the church and lifegroup!

Bible Believer said...

I am glad my article helped you see through what was being done and to help you see through the red flags. Obviously the leaders of the cell groups are interacting with the pastors, it is not like having a spontaneous group of friends. Sad to hear that but glad you are departing from it. Ray Comfort is a known ecumenist and I have mentioned him on other articles. Thanks so much for sharing what you have gone through, thanks.

Christian Cerna said...

i do not have a problem with home groups or small bible study groups. rather, i think there is a more evil or dangerous thing going on. i attend what would be considered a mega-church. it has a couple thousand members. i visited just to check it out. but the only reason i decided to stay, was because when i first began attending, someone took the time to invite me to a small group bible study. and once i began attending the small groups, i made friends, and enjoyed good fellowship. i do not doubt that these are true believers. i actually stopped going to the services on sunday(because they were to big and impersonal) and instead just went to the small group meetings. the bad part is that, even though i am getting my spiritual nourishment/fellowship with this small group of believers, and do not really attend the church, i feel pressured to tithe and contribute financially to the church. i believe this is a great evil that affects most churches today- that although many of us are learning about the bible on our own, or online or other resources, there is still this false idea being pushed, that unless you contribute money to a local church, you are being a bad steward with your money. i believe most people only tithe in order to appease other people or their own consciouncess. but when i read the bible, i see that there is no mention in the new testament of giving 10%. or of pastors receiving regular salaries(sometimes making a comfortable living compared to the rest of the members). whenever the new testament speaks of offerings, they were always organic, as the need arose, and voluntary. but now it is one of those things that people do more because of tradition, and because they are taught that it is biblical, than because that is what we are really required to do.

Bible Believer said...

I think if one can find a small study or bible group for fellowship with fellow believers that is a good thing.

Just realize they are trying to use and manipulate these groups. Are they sending any of your group members to leadership camp to try and train them how to direct the group? Are you following any planned materials? The more independent the group the better, many you can start bringing up questions among your group members. Maybe some of them are like minded in knowing something is "off" with the church.
Tithing is false...

Ive written against it here, maybe explore that message with your group members.

So you are right about the 10% being false or the pastors living all of of this.

I hope you can be a good influence in your small group. Are there are others in the group that have departed from the megachurch services?

Bible Believer said...

I think if one can find a small study or bible group for fellowship with fellow believers that is a good thing.

Just realize they are trying to use and manipulate these groups. Are they sending any of your group members to leadership camp to try and train them how to direct the group? Are you following any planned materials? The more independent the group the better, many you can start bringing up questions among your group members. Maybe some of them are like minded in knowing something is "off" with the church.
Tithing is false...

Ive written against it here, maybe explore that message with your group members.

So you are right about the 10% being false or the pastors living all of of this.

I hope you can be a good influence in your small group. Are there are others in the group that have departed from the megachurch services?

Christian Cerna said...

well, now that you mention it, one thing I did notice is that the Bible studies are usually very simple studies based off of pre-selected questions written by the pastor, based on whatever the sermon is that week. We tend to jump around a lot, and never really go to deep into any topic. The bad thing about attending a church that does not hold to any theological creeds, besides the most basic creeds, is that you can never really discuss deep theological issues, because each person will have a different view on things-often times without biblical support- and you cannot really press your view too much, for fear of the other person getting offended. I think the smaller the group the better. Otherwise there are too many differing views, and then it becomes a matter of which view has the majority consensus, vs. which view is scriptural. or worse, there is no consensus. it just becomes every person 'sharing' what they think, and not really trying to find out which view is more correct than the others. so it almost makes one not want to bother trying to much to explain your thoughts, because you know that no matter how well thought out it is, it will be treated like all the other opinions.

Leahlive said...

I had been a Christian for about 2 years and my new church was pushing for members to open their homes to "life groups". I think the picture in the post was exactly the same??? Anyhow, it sounded like a good idea as I was looking to form some kind of relationships with people from "my new life".

I often say that God protected me for the 1st 2 years from the kind of confrontations that I had expected and was waiting for so that I could call Christianity all a bunch of @#%$^ and walk away. Well my first experience like that occurred at this “LIFE GROUP”. Praise God that He had cemented me in Him because what I experienced would have made me run and never look back from ever being a Christian, had He not.

I still shudder. The situation started with a conversation about the KJV as opposed to the NIV. Well, the fellow that had gone to Bible College and "knows so much" became so vicious and adamant that the NIV was the book to go with that I got thrown out and told I was never allowed back in their home around their children, in the end. There is much more to the story but that was the end result and I lost a friend who was my first Christian girlfriend that I adored as it was at her house.

I mean I showed up at church and this guy (who was best friends with the home owner) was waiting for me to walk through the door so he could confront me about his findings on the NIV being a "good bible" to use.

Months later I received a phone call from the 3 of them saying that the person with the NIV knowledge needed to get together with me to apologize and repent. I had been through a lot the first 2 yrs., because when Jesus plucked me out of the darkness my life was a mess. I had left an abusive situation and was just moving out of a Woman's Shelter into my own apartment when they called. So I said I was trying to focus on that and pray through the apartment and prepare mentally and asked if they could give me 2 weeks to get sorted out and then we could get together.
Sounded fair to me??? Especially asking supportive, caring, patient so called Christians, I thought they would understand and say "no problem is there anything we can do to help?" Oh no, this is what I got:

Leahlive said...

i know you are going through alot . i'm sorry about this. A and i actually were going to help you financially but i don't know anymore.

bottom line is this. first of all, its ok to interupt someones prayer if it is appropriate. (My first time standing up and praying in front of people was interrupted by P correcting me). P could of been more sensitve and this is what he wants to say sorry for. what P said though was actually true, just not done in love. should of waited for a better time. thats why i didn't correct you.

leah you bound the devil 5 times , you only have to do it once.

the next thing is that when there is a problem between two believers and its not resolved, bitterness comes in and takes a hold.

this would take 15 minutes of your time. yet you use your problems to mask the obvious. it sounds like your to prideful to resolve the situation. i don't know why you hesitate. is it pride, is it something else. this is how i see it and thats why i'm taking a harsh stand. i don't want people who don't have humility around my family. its my job to protect and protect it i will by any means. your attitude is a threat to my family.

leah i had a demon in my house because of this situation. you think i'm taking this lightly, i don't think so. deal with P and make peace. its that simple but if you want to make it complicated, it will just hurt many in the process.

we can go back and forth but its a waiste of time. i'm tired of this situation. sounds like grade 2 if you ask me. deal with P or not. if you don't, stay away. if you do , we'll go through the process of healing between you and i. this issue has brought issues where i can't trust you with my kid if you can't say your sorry and work something simple out.

WOW in the end he is stating that I needed to say sorry...LOL In the end again I thank God that He had revealed Himself to me in such a profound way that even this "LIFE GROUP" experience could not have kept me from Him. It has kept me from "Life Groups" and I have left the church system too but not until last year.

God is so good even when people aren't so much. Just thought this would be an "eye opening" experience to share!

BB You may wanna go back and read your response to Akin on July 16 2010. It is bang on for what we are seeing today!

Blessings folks