Archive for the ‘Fritz Ridenour’ Category

Has Someone You Love Had a Drastic, Unhealthy Personality Change?

July 29, 2018

 

Graphic:  passionate prayer dot org

Readers here may recall the estrangement story of Carey and Aurora that was posted several months ago.  Carey’s mom had requested to have the posts taken down.  She thought that there might be a chance at reconciliation.  So far, that has not happened.

It has been almost 8 months since that devastating estrangement from her son and daughter-in-law began.  That mom has gone through all the stages of grief.  Three months of crying almost every day and night.  Then, her grief was lifted when she showed up at their church and they rudely walked out of the church during the closing prayer time to avoid speaking with her.  Since then, she has been reading and  investigating what might have caused her son to have a 180 degree personality change that led him to completely abandon his family.

The son has also abandoned many of his friends (with whom he perceived as “siding with” his parents and sister).  Two of his three employees quit their jobs.  One said, “the last three months were not the same.”  That employee had spoken to Carey’s mom many months ago when she returned some items to her son’s office.  She purposely went there on a day when Carey usually isn’t working.  That employee admitted that Carey “wasn’t the same” and “was acting strangely.”  A few months later, Carey’s third employee also quit.

What is really sad is that Carey’s best man has also been rejected by him!  There is something really strange about all of this that probably goes beyond the original complaints given against the parents such as “unhealthy communication” and “crossing boundaries.”

Carey’s mom has suspected that there is cultish behavior behind it all.  However, Aurora and her parents consider themselves “devout Christians” (and appeared that way at first) so what kind of cult-like family members would encourage a newly married son-in-law to abandon his family, friends, and even his co-workers?

Cults are not always “so way out there.”   They can be very subtle; even non-recognizable as a cult at first.

However, they usually have one or more of the actions listed in the graphic below.

I recently recorded a People Magazine/ Investigation Discovery series on cults. [Note: Readers who are interested can view them at that link.]

So far, I have only had the opportunity to watch 2 of the episodes: Episode 5 – “The Army of God”, and Episode 6 – “The Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.”

Warning! Both are quite disturbing, especially that second one. The so-called “leader” got away with molesting children in that particular cult for over 7 years before a former member asked the FBI to investigate it! Truly awful!

Those types of cults are more recognizable (except to the victims) to outsiders.  They are more blatantly and  obviously wrong in their teachings.   In many cases, they can be seen as demonic.

However, there are cults that appear to be “good,” (at first), and are more subtle (at first) in their ways in order to hook people into them.

One of my favorite books to read and use as a reference in “So What’s The Difference” by Fritz Ridenour. I think that every Christian should read this book and have it on hand whenever questions come up regarding worldviews, faiths, religions, and cults and how they compare to Biblical Christianity.

I just happened to be re-reading chapter twelve “Nothing New Under the Sun” that exposes eleven more viewpoints that undermine, challenge or attack Biblical Christianity.

The section that describes “The International Churches of Christ (Formerly, The Boston Church of Christ)” (ICC Church) shares some details that possibly describe what Carey has gotten into through his marriage and the skewed beliefs that may have been taught to him.  Some details of the ICC Church (which has cult practices) could have been utilized by one or two persons in his life which could have possibly manipulated him to become estranged from family, former co-workers, and friends.

The chapter is too long to share everything, so I recommend getting the book! However, here are some important excerpts that reveal the typical manipulation techniques inherent in cults.

Briefly, the ICC Church is a relatively new, fast-growing and controversial church movement that has been accused by its numerous critics (many of the ex-members) of cultic practices, mind control and mental/emotional abuse. 83

As the church grew, the ICC church leader (Kip McKean) believed that all other churches were poisoned by traditions, compromised or apostate. Using an illogical interpretation of Revelation 2 and 3, he began teaching there should be only “one church in one city.” He also taught that churches not affiliated with the Boston church in each city were “not of God.” 89

Of course, biblical Christian ministries opposed McKean’s teachings. The ICC hired a church growth research firm which backfired on them because instead of showing the ICC to be a wholesome and healthy organization, the study revealed that the ICC was “producing in its members the very same pattern of unhealthy personality change” that had been observed in studies of other well-known manipulative cults, such as Hare Krishna and the Unification Church (the Moonies). 90

The study added that the data proved that a group dynamic operating in the ICC “influences members to change their personalities to conform to the group norm.” 91

Uh-oh!  That sounds exactly like what was done to Carey!

Of course, the church leader claims that the ICC was “making people over after the image of Jesus Christ.”  Mr. Yeakley’s (who did the study) reply to McKean was that Christ’s divine nature is reflected in individuals whose gifts differ, and their personality types should not change in such a way as to “become a copy of someone else.” 92

Was Carey convinced that he had to become similar to a copy of his wife, Aurora?

But there’s more very concerning issues!

New converts are not told to confess their sins directly to God, but also to their mentors who then pass the shocking and private details about their personal sins up the line to other officials in the church!  “A congregational ‘Sin List,’ if you will.” 104

Sounds more like a future blackmail list that could be used to prevent members from leaving.

Former members have reported that the typical experience for many converts is to be distanced from their old friends and even their families and drawn more and more into ICC church activities, ideas and priorities.

But there are even more lying, cult-like practices!

ICC members who tire of the constant pressure, badgering and demands to live up to ICC rules and regulations are told that, if they leave the church, they will go to hell. [HUGE LIE!]

Obviously, the ICC twists Scripture in such a way and harshly pressures members not to leave, that the victim recants the decision to leave out of guilt, fear and confusion. 105

Jesus taught His disciples to serve one another instead of “lording it over each other as the rulers of the Gentiles do” (see Matt. 20:25-28).

The Bible teaches the Christian to confess sins to God, who will cleanse and forgive (see 1 John 1:5-10).

The ICC’s skewed lessons on discipleship turns “salvation by grace through faith” into “salvation by faith plus works,” which directly contradicts Ephesians 2:8,9.

The system of one-over-one discipling and the control structures employed by Kip McKean are so fundamentally flawed and inherently corrupting that even good people with the best of intentions end up hurting others and being hurt themselves.” 113

Graphic:  Ex Church of Christ cult survivors

Carey’s mom thinks that his wife’s family practices some of the methods of the ICC church.  It doesn’t always happen in an established church environment.  Wrong-headed counseling by someone who may have just received a degree and may not be versed in the Berean way regarding discipleship, may tend to be the type to  “lord it over” someone who could be naïve or even deeply gullible.

Graphic:  hopcc dot com

H/T:  So What’s The Difference by Fritz Ridenour

*******

83  Randy Frame, “The Cost of Discipleship?”:  Despite Allegations of Abuse of Authority, the ICC Expands Rapidly,”  Christianity Today (September 1, 1997), pp. 64-66, 88; Charles Anzalone, “That New Time Religion,” Buffalo Magazine section of the Buffalo News (March 26, 1995)

89  MacKean, subsections “Introduction,”  “Restoration in Boston,”  “The Twentieth Century Church” and “The Movement of God” in “Revolutions.”  Also see Upside Down Magazine (April 1994)

90  Flabil, Yeakley, Jr, ed., The Discipling Dilemma (Nashville, TN:  Gospel Advocate Pub. Co., 1988), p. 37.

91  Yeakley, Dilemma, p. 37.  See also Cannon, “Bean Town.”

92  Ibid., subsection “The Movement of God.”

104  Rick Bauer, Toxic Christianity — The International Churches of Christ/Boston Movement Cult (Bowie, MD:  Freedom House Ministries, 1994). n.p.

105  Joanne Ruhland, “Effective Evangelism:  Witnessing to Disciples of the ICC, Christian Research Journal (Fall 1996), p. 43.

113  Bauer, Toxic Christianity, p. 18.

 

 

The Serpent’s Old Lie in an Updated Package

May 9, 2017

Yesterday I was going through the headlines on my blog reading list when suddenly, boom! the electricity in our house shut off.  As I temporarily sat in the darkness that surrounded me at my computer, I thought, “oh no…not again!”

Power outages seems to happen on our block several times a year so my husband bought a gas generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer going until it comes back on.  He contacted the utilities company and was told that it was a “planned power outage” cable  replacement in our area.  We should have received a notice about this.  Well, the notice was sitting in my husband’s mail inbox!  It would have been nice to have known about the outage ahead of time, but we made the best of the situation.

I started reading my Bible by flashlight and was drawn to the book of Colossians.  It sparked some insight into my mind which will be discussed in my next post.  Today, I need to “set the stage” so to speak, in exactly why my study in Colossians had such a profound impact on me.

The contrast of what is in that particular book of the Bible compared to what is going on in our society (often for the purpose of countering biblical Christianity) these days will become quite obvious.

When I compare the truth of Scripture with the lies being spread in the news, through haters in Hollyweird, the Democratic party (which voted God out of their political platform years ago), and the minions of “splinter groups” that are raging today (often paid to do this!)…it is obvious to me that demonic influence abounds!   They are all derived by men and women who have been influenced by the lies of that serpent of old that we read about in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible.  You will vividly see how the nefarious ideas, deeds, and plans of such individuals have been derived from what Jesus named as the enemy of our souls who comes to lie, steal, kill and destroy.

Jhn 10:10

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

See Romans 1

1Jo 1:6

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Previously, I had been reading a book entitled, “So What’s The Difference” by Fritz Ridenour.  In the past, I had the habit of skipping over the cults and false religions pages, but this time I wanted to read the details about Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Age, and many others that are briefly, but succinctly detailed in the book.  When I got to the New Age section, it can be hard to define because of its far-reaching claims, lack of formal structure and organization and it’s adherents being interested in “hoping to transform society by bringing about reawakening that will emphasize self-discovery, spiritual growth and enlightenment.”  The truth is, New Age thinking isn’t really new because it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the serpent asked Eve if God really said that she couldn’t eat from that tree (see Genesis 3:1-5).

It was interesting to read about the “founder” of New Age, Alice Bailey.  New Agers have their own definition of God, find “salvation” in themselves, use “channeling” (the New Age version of contacting spirits), often believe in reincarnation, believe in syncretism (all religions lead to the same place), and many are into the plan for a worldwide government led by one great leader.

Shirley McLaine was a high-powered NAM (New Age Movement) adherent with great media exposure due to her “star” status in Hollyweird.  She lied in her book, claiming that the Fifth Ecumenical Council struck down the idea of reincarnation from the Bible.  Author Fritz Ridenour said it well when he wrote:

Contrary to New Age thinking, the Bible overwhelmingly teaches resurrection, not reincarnation (see Psalms 49:15, John 5:25; 6:40; 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).  New Agers like to think they have all kinds of time to “get it right” as they progress toward some kind of self-induced salvation.  The Bible clearly says you get one chance and after that comes the judgment (see Hebrews 9:27).

Much of today’s “progressive movement and thinking”  is derived from one or many of the errors of the NAM.  They may not call themselves New Agers, but their beliefs certainly line up with the NAM!

Ridenour writes:

Ever since Satan told Eve, “Eat the fruit; become like God Himself,” men and women have been trying to “do it on their own,” or at least with the help of spirits and demons–what Paul calls “the powers of this dark world and … the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).  It is no coincidence that the Bible firmly forbids contacting spirits or getting in touch with the dead (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-13).  Other New Age concepts or practices condemned or countered in the Scriptures include:

  •  many gods, goddesses, spirits and demons:  see Gen. 1:1; Exodus 15:11; 20:2-6; Deut. 6:4; Isaiah 45:5,6,21,22.

  •  manipulating or bartering with the spirit world:  see Deut. 13:1-5, 18:9-14; 1 Kings 11:33.

  •  continuing blood sacrifice rituals:  see Hebrews 7:27; 10:10-13; 1 Peter 3:18.

  •  mythological, unhistorical legends:  see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-19; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Peter 1:16.

  •  secret knowledge only for elite “knowers”:  see John 1:12; 3:16; Colossians 2:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:4.

  •  magic arts, spells, taboos, astrology:  see 2 Kings 17:16-18; Isaiah 47:12-15; Acts 8:9-24.

  •  confusion of identity between the creator and the created:  see 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 8:1-9; 24:1-10; 89:5-14; Isaiah 40:12-17; 1 Peter 1:24, 25.

  •  ethics and morals derived from humans or the self; no absolutes, everything is relative:  see 1 Kings 8:46; Psalms 51:1-4; 143:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 2:14-16; 1 John 1:5-10.

  •  reincarnation:  see Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27.

  •  salvation by human effort:  see Romans 4:3; Galatians 2:15,16.

  •  picking and choosing among religions:  see Exodus 20:2-5; 23:13; John 1:7-9.

  •  worshipping other gods, especially fertility religions:  see 2 Kings 17:9-12; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 6:13.

  •  the idea that Christ is optional, only one of many spiritual masters:  see John 14:6-8; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.

I realize that’s a lot of reading to do, but if you, dear reader, happen to be caught up into any one of these errors, I urge you to find out the truth that is only contained in the Bible!

Ridenour’s book was originally written back in 1967, updated in 1979 and then updated again in 2001.  It is interesting to me that he wrote:

Because the New Age seems to be everywhere and in practically everything, it would seem logical to see all of the NAM as taboo and dangerous.  But there are some things New Agers talk about that Christians can agree with, to a point. (bold, italics mine)  Saving the environment is one.  Trying to end war, terrorism, bigotry and racial and gender discrimination are others.  The New Age solution to these problems, however, is found only in fallen mankind, and that is doomed to a dead end.

That paragraph is almost prophetic!  Now, in 2017 we see such things ratcheted up into such a frenzy that the so-called “solutions” are being used to demonize people who don’t agree with their “methods” to help “solve” such problems!  This is just another “updated package” being spewed through individuals who don’t know God and are (either knowingly or unknowingly) being influenced by the enemy of our souls!

In fact, many are using either the “ostrich mentality” regarding radical Islamic terrorism; while perpetuating bigotry towards people of faith in Christ and biblical Christianity; as well as exploding racial division and gender identity issues to an extreme!  Don’t even get me started on the “man-made global warming (or, is it now just called ‘climate change?’) hysteria” where celebrities and “scientists” often use pollution producing jets to go and lecture us all about carbon dioxide emissions!

Readers, can you now see why biblical Christianity is so extremely hated by the leftists?  They scheme against Christians on all levels and we are often targeted by them through lawsuits meant to impose huge financial fines with the goal of putting Christian business owners out of business.  Through purposely targeting Christians and utilizing phony “discrimination” claims; as well as perpetuating constant violent demonstrations towards speech suppression at universities and spewing hateful rhetoric through late night “comedians” and in the leftist led alphabet news networks, they demean and  trample upon the First Amendment rights of Christians that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

So, what is their ultimate goal?

Could it be to eradicate our beliefs from public, political, social, freedom of conscience/speech/association of thought…and ultimately from existence in our nation?

Notice, also, the FACT that the NAM proponents idea of “syncretism:  all religions lead to the same place” cannot, and does not,  include biblical Christian faith?

They don’t attack the lukewarm churches that agree with the NAM’s agenda, so what are biblically-based Christians supposed to do?

Ridenour writes:

In response to New Age thinking, Christians must have a thorough understanding of their own faith.  To know what God’s Word teaches is imperative.  Even more important is to know the Living Word –His Son–in a personal, vibrant way.  A favorite response of the New Ager to the Christian who tries to point out the absolute truth of the Bible is, “That’s your reality, but it’s not mine.”  Christians can only respond confidently but humbly that, in the end, only one reality will turn out to be real:  Jesus Christ –the only way, the only absolute truth and the only source of life.

Reference:  “So What’s the Difference?” by Fritz Ridenour, Bethany House, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001 pp. 147-159

Next up:  The difference between man-made religion and man’s attempt to find God vs. biblical Christianity which affirms that true faith is the result of God’s successful efforts to reach out to man through the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jorgé Bergoglio, whose job title is Pope Francis, knows better than the Gospel of Mark? – Dr. Eowyn

January 20, 2016

Wow! Just when I think that Jorg’e Bergoglio could not be more heretical against biblical Christianity than when he stated: And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in September, 2015; we also see that in her post entitled, “Pope Francis is ashamed of the Cross, knows better than the Gospels”, Dr. Eowyn over at Fellowship of the Minds has exposed even more disturbing information about this wolf in sheep’s clothing!

Please go to the link, read it all and view the photos. An excerpt here is simply not enough. It is important to read it all!

There is much that could be discussed regarding that post, but today I wanted to zero in on a post in the comment section, written by Steven Broiles, that mentions the infiltration of Freemasonry into Catholicism.

The fact is that Freemasonry has several tentacles that attempt to infiltrate and destroy true Christian foundational truths.

Anyone who is interested in a brief but informative explanation of Freemasonry, I recommend reading Fritz Ridenour’s book, “So What’s The Difference?” (Get the updated version published in 2001.) You will also see the comparison of other religions, cults, and viewpoints that attempt to undermine, challenge or attack biblical Christianity.  Personally, I think that it is VERY important for those of us who adhere to the importance of  biblical Christianity and biblical worldview to be armed with information that is needed to recognize ideologies that are vying for the hearts and minds of people today.

Perhaps many Christians may think that Freemasonry is relatively harmless and that as a networking arrangement for businessmen, it has an added benefit of service to humanity through the Shriner’s hospitals and other good works. But the truth is that Freemasonry, while being a diverse movement, teaches several tenets (listed below) that undermine, challenge and attack biblical Christianity.

1. The Bible is not the unique Word of God.
2. The God of the Bible is identified with other false gods (like “Jah” – Syriac name, Bel “Baal,” “On” – Egyptian god). They even give God a “new” name combining all three of those false gods – “Jabulon.” This Masonic identification of the God of the Bible with pagan deities is blasphemy and is therefore under His condemnation.
3. Jesus is not God the Son, nor is He the Savior of the world.
4. Humans are basically good, even divine, and human nature is perfectible.
5. Freemasonry uses the Bible but deletes Jesus’ name from Scripture references.
6. There is one more where Freemasonry describes itself as being “the universal, eternal, immutable religion” and claims that all religions had a basis of truth and all have overlaid that truth with errors.
Compare John 1:14, 14:6; 18:37; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 John 2:22, for the source of real truth and Scripture’s condemnation of those who claim otherwise.

This post serves as only a very brief overview of Freemasonry.  I encourage all Christians to do their own research on this subject!

~ Christine


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