I can absolutely relate to all of you. In my case God’s grace was upon me when I entered the ministry of Victory Outreach. The Holy Spirit directed me through the gift of discernment. I was able to see right through the pastor and leaders in that ministry. I experienced the same situations and actions of the leadership as many of you did. I was in that ministry for two years and for two years God was revealing to me their heart and false doctrine that was being taught. I am now in a good Bible teaching ministry that’s reaching the world for Jesus. I would not recommend Victory Outreach to anyone. My prayer is that those that are in the rehabilitation homes would seek other options like “u-turn for Christ.” Where they give you the love of Jesus. That those in bondage to Victory Outreach would find another ministry that will give you Jesus. With that being said, here’s why Victory Outreach is a cult.
1. The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
This is obviously Sonny Arguinzoni, he and his vision is the focus of this ministry. I remember the pastor in the Victory Outreach I attended would express his unquestioned obedience to Sonny Arguinzoni. This was a tactic used to get everyone in the church to express the same unquestioned obedience to him. It was constantly preached you need to have your pastor’s heart. So, in order to win the respect of the pastor, people had to show their unquestioned obedience. Have any of you ever questioned Sonny’s vision? He says the promise scripture is Isaiah 45:2-3, “treasures out of darkness.” I remember taking a V.E.T.I. class on history and vision. For extra credit we had to memorize Isaiah 45:2-3. I read it over and over “treasures out of darkness.” Well, I ended up getting extra credit for that scripture. However, it now that I’m out of there, I’ve come to notice that it doesn’t say “treasures out of darkness” but “treasures of darkness.” The Lord opened my eyes to where I was blinded by their manipulation. Sonny added to God’s word. You are not to take away or add to scripture. However, cults have a tendency of doing so. ”And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.”-Jeremiah 14:14
2. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
I can’t speak for other Victory Outreach’s. However, this was a big issue in the Victory Outreach I attended. They were always focusing on how they could get more people in the church. Even to the extent of having a church growth class. They finally got a pledge going for a new church. They felt that if they had a bigger church, more people would come. It was interesting, because the little church they did have wasn’t being filled every Sunday. Victory Outreach seems to ignore the obvious in Acts 2:47. It’s God who adds to the church! Their lack of biblical knowledge is evident.
3. The group is preoccupied with making money.
Money in Victory Outreach is a major issue. In the Victory Outreach I attended, they a would dedicate a whole month every year on tithing. I agree that tithing is something every believer should do as an act of obedience and worship to the Lord. However, in Victory Outreach they would literally try to guilt you into giving “above and beyond.” The pastor would parade the highest giver in the church every month, to throw it in the faces of those who didn’t give as much. It would later spark up a “giving” competition with those trying to “win their pastor’s heart.” I remember one time Ed Morales came to the church and fed the congregation this story of how people in his church were giving “above and beyond” to further the “vision.” Even to the extent that they were selling their homes and cars etc. I knew exactly what he was doing, trying to manipulate our church to do the same. Again, it worked. Later, our pastor would feed the church this story on how he and other pastors in Victory Outreach had gathered together and bought Sonny Arguinzoni a Mercedes. This was another attempt to get the church to do the same, it worked! They bought him a Cadillac. The pastor of this Victory Outreach owns numerous houses that the church is paying for, he also gets an additional separate check. His wife gets paid by the church and also his daughter. I like the way the NLT says it, “In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money.”-2 Peter 2:3a
4. Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
Now I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. However, tongues in Victory Outreach is used and abused very often. They don’t practice tongues within the guidelines of scripture (1 Corinthians 14:6-19). Paul, makes it clear that not all will speak with tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30), I find it interesting that the whole church claims to have this gift. If so, where’s the rest of the body? 1 Corinthians 12:17. The atmosphere definitely reminds you of a cult. “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?”-1 Corinthians 14:23
5. The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).
[/i]Victory Outreach practices what is called the “Shepherding Movement.” One article describes it like this. “The Shepherding Movement arose in the early 1970s in an attempt to solve shortcomings in the modern church. Many newly converted Christians were not properly "discipled," or taught how to grow in the faith. They were largely on their own to study the Bible, learn how to pray, and to learn how to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord. Shepherding was an attempt to correct the situation by saying that each Christian should have a shepherd for everyday guidance. This shepherd became the person's spiritual leader, counseling him and even making decisions for him. It was taught that the shepherd was "God's delegated authority" and therefore his advice was always to be followed. The shepherd was like "God's ambassador" who communicated God's messages to the disciple. To disobey God's messenger would be to disobey God, and therefore a person was to trust in the shepherd's judgment rather than his own.”- [www.cephasministry.com
In the Bible the “Shepherding Movement” is referred to as “the deeds or doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” What does Jesus have to say about this practice? “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Revelation 2. This doctrine holds people in bondage. It is true that you cannot date unless you have permission. Woman are looked down upon if they wear jeans. They are required to wear skirts. “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”-1 Peter 5:2-3
There are so many more signs as to why Victory Outreach is a cult. Hopefully I could share more as well as my experience in Victory Outreach. My hope is that if you know someone in this ministry, that you would direct them to this website. So they could see the testimonies of so many people who have been misled in Victory Outreach.
Cult resource: [www.prem-rawattalk.org
In His name,