Hello, new to the forum but I know the religious group known as "Church of Wells" or the YMBBA ministries has been discussed on this forum. I did not see a current thread on this topic.
I was hoping for some updates and feedback from parents of members of this group. I am from Wells originally and concerned for the community... I know that the group is growing. Also, know that the community concern has grown with information and presence of the Grove family
As time has permitted me over the spring and summer of this year, I have listened to a number of the sermons that can be found YMBBA's website called the Church of Wells. I have read a few of their writings, and have searched the internet for any information on what these people teach. I have concluded that they are a small group of people which strive to live by their convictions. And yet they are held in vast disfavor by popular opinion. What I have found has caused me to conclude that these people are not a cult, but are teaching and preaching according to their own convictions. Some of the questions I had toward the beginning of this year have now been answered. Other answers are still being unraveled as I listen to their own sermons which are very telling in what they believe. Some of the things I have been told are profoundly untrue. For example, I have been informed that they believe they are the only true church in America, that in order to be saved you must be a part of their group. What I have listened to in their sermons has confirmed that these are indeed false accusations. One might not agree with everything they find on their website, but I do wish to point out that a lot of what the critics are saying is different, if not opposite, of what they are actually teaching. I would encourage the reader to check out what they have written and recorded on their website, hear what they have to say for themselves before passing judgment on this group according to what others have said.
Alight-Here is a response from some who has intensely studied this group...you can go to faith.boardhost.com if you would like to have a discussion with him or others.
"And he is partially true: upon listening to their sermons, they could be considered a radical puritanical/reform expression of Christianity. However, it's not one's theology ALONE that brings about the label of "cult." One has to consider how that theology works itself out in practice. In the case of our friends at CoW, their theology has worked itself out in such a way that they behave like a cult.
I would urge that author to see things through the eyes of loved ones on this site and then reasses his or her judgement.
Does the author of that post provide any credentials other than "I read it all?" Are you a theologian? A pastor? Educated in the social sciences?"
It's a shame that the previous posts dating back three or so years ago are unavailable. There was a lot of good information and posts from family members who have written about how their adult children are now estranged from them because of the "Church of Wells."
I researched it several years ago and in my opinion, it met the criteria for a thought reform environment.
Maybe we can hear from some of the parents or former members?
Ronald Enroth, in Recovering from Churches that Abuse, identifies 11 questions to help discern if your church is an abusive or healthy church (p.13-16).
1. Does a member’s personality generally become stronger, happier, more confident as a result of contact with the group? 2. Do members of the group seek to strengthen their family commitments? 3. Does the group encourage independent thinking and the development of discernment skills? 4. Does the group allow for individual differences of belief and behavior, particularly on issues of secondary importance? 5. Does the group encourage high moral standards both among members and between members and nonmembers? 6. Does the group’s leadership invite dialogue, advice, and evaluation from outside its immediate circle? 7. Does the group allow for development of theological beliefs? 8. Are group members encouraged to ask hard questions of any kind? 9. Do members appreciate truth wherever it is found, even if it is outside their group? 10. Is the group honest in dealing with nonmembers, especially as it tries to win them to the group? 11. Does the group foster relationships and connections with the larger society that are more than self-serving?
A couple years ago I wrote a few messages giving my support to the Church of Wells. This was before I had actually met any of the members. Since I gave such a favorable account, I felt it was encumbent on me now to say, with sincere grief, that I withdraw any support and approval for this group. Let me just state that things are very different in real life than what is presented over the internet. Scripture says that those who worship the Lord must worship Him in spirit and in truth, and that Satan is the father of lies. I urge any one who intends to have contact with any one in this group to use extreme caution, and remember that Christ will never contradict the written word of God. Keep in mind the following scriptures: Matt. 24:4,5 & 23,24; Mk.13:5,6 & 21-23; Lk. 21:8; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; and 1 Jo.4:1.