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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: escaped_cfm ()
Date: November 02, 2006 06:23AM


Let me first say that I have no relation to any of you here and don't know any of you personally. Neither have I been to a Praise Chapel church but I'd like to stop by sometime and check out the "throw up church" in Montebello. I wasn't going to post on this until I read your last post and your attitude reeks of CFM so much that it's staggering.

Coming on here and mentioning Hawk's name and the church that he attended without doing the same for yourself is just wrong. Why don't you tell us your name, what church you attend, and how long you've attended Praise Chapel? Another thing that I would like to know is what other churches outside of Praise Chapel have you attended since you've been a christian?

I attended a CFM church here in southern california for about 10 years before I finally couldn't take their non-biblical pattern anymore. If you talk to any cfmer they will tell you that their church is as close to a new testament church as you can get today and that they're a powerful move of God in the earth today. I suspect Believerof1 that you would say the same thing about Praise Chapel.

Now let me get to my points:

One of the glaring things about your post is that you didn't address any of the issues that were brought up about your church. Instead you turned it into an attack against Hawk. This is a classic cfm and cult tactic. Ignore the issues, because the problem is not with the church but with those that left the church.

" just continue to rip pastors and churches from our fellowship, sounds just like something Jesus would do."

Do you think Jesus would stand idly by and watch and do nothing while His people are spiritually abused?

"I myself know the Pastor there and he is a good man and loves God very much..."

Just because someone is a good man and loves God doesn't mean that their good Pastors. Adding to that your church structure is such that the Pastor has absolutely NO accountability to the congregation. In most churches there's accountability by way of church members serving on the church council. At lease in cfm they have puppet church councils to make it appear that they're trying to keep the Pastor accountable.

"Tithing is biblical and it seems like to me you just don't WANT to give..."

A couple things, you have no idea whether he wants to give or not. Stop trying to assume things about other people and try talking to them and loving them like Christ does. Secondly, Tithing as practiced in your church and many other churches is not "biblical." How many times did Jesus instruct his followers to tithe? How many times did the Apostles or any authors of the new testament instruct their people to tithe? Let me help you out with the answer, ZERO. No where in the new testament, which is the church age / new covenant, do you find them teaching to observe the law of tithing. Tithing is a very specific financial system that was set up by God for the children of Israel. If you go back and study tithing you will find that it is a very detailed system that was NOT just give 10% of your increase. I don't have the time to go into that here but I encourage you to study the old testament scriptures on tithing yourself instead of just believing what you've been told for years. However, giving (not tithing) is a big thing in the new testament. You should go through and study the context for giving in the new testament. Many cult groups and controlling churches use Malachi 3 to bleed their congregations dry of all the money they have, this is certainly how cfm does it. But a thorough study of Malachi will show you that the book of Malachi was written to the Levitical priests, NOT the children of Israel. It was the Levitical priests that were robbing from the offerings, not the Children of Israel robbing God by not giving enough.

"...if you continue to worry about where it goes that WILL stop your growth in Christ Jesus."

I'm utterly shocked that you would make this statement. We shouldn't care how the money we give to the church is spent? Are you nuts! It is our duty to make sure the money is being spent for the kingdom and not abused. This is the whole point of financial accountability and a large part of what a church council does.

"Anyways you know where you need to serve God and maybe it's not there, but it needs to be somewhere."

Does Praise Chapel also believe that you are supposed to stay in the church that God saved you in?

"Like our Pastor says "SUCK IT UP AND JUST SERVE GOD". Don't matter where just serve him and quit talking so much garbage and move on."

Sometimes the biggest hinderance to people "serving God" is christians and the christians that do the most damage are those in leadership. That is why the bible says they will have a harsher judgement.

"I think i have been pretty fair with you even though you did talk smack about "my Pastor" and under other circumstances that would not be tolerated by myself, but my God says to let it go and just love you so i will."

Really? What would you have done under normal circumstances? Again this is a carbon copy cfm response.

Boards like these are here so that people won't be abused. If you want to come on here and try to tackle the issues that former members bring up then do that. This is not a place for flaming other people because their opinions or experiences are different from yours.

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: believerof1 ()
Date: November 02, 2006 07:29AM

To whom this will concern,

I wrote a blog a few minutes ago and i need to reply to it myself. I would first of all like to apologize to "Hawk" For some things that i might have said that were harsh in my last blog. Although i never onced lied, i still said some things that are just not sitting right in my spirit and for this i apologize to all Pastors of Praise Chapel and to PCCF itself. I will no longer blog on this forum anymore concerning PCCF being a "cult".

I am a man of God, someone who loves his wife and kids and my church and as a leader of my church i have failed, so for this i do apologize. I can no longer be part of this discussion.

"Hawk" i would like you to know that i would never associate myself with any "cult" or organization like that. My family and i are ones who just want to serve God anyway we can, so we choose to make ourselves available to him and our friends, family and our Pastor. Praise Chapel is truly a fellowship that we (family) have found rest and assurety in and we have never been taken advantage of in any form or fashion.

God has taught me to listen to my spririt and i feel that i may have upset you, that was not my intention. Look i would just like to see you and your family serve God no matter where it is.

As far as healing and deliverance is concerned, this is something that i truly believe in and know from experience that these things are true. These things did not stop when Jesus hung on the cross, he told us that his power has been given to us and i believe him. He also said that we would go and do greater things than him and i plan to.

Praise Chapel has given me the oppurtunity to be discipled through my Pastor and fellowship and i choose to. Look i'm not going to perhaps someday get up and relocate somewhere with family on a whim to preach the gospel, Because of what i might get out of it, but its to see souls saved and serve God, thats it JUST SERVE GOD.

So "Hawk" if you were offended by anything i said im truly sorry and hope someday you will serve God again if your not already.

Praise Chapel has taught me to act in a better manner than i have and by no means has anyone encouraged me to write this, i did it on my own.

Lastly, let me say to my Pastor and our Baby church Pastor, also to include your ex-Pastor (Hawk) that i am truly sorry for my actions and statements and i hope you can forgive me, because right now i can't forgive myself.

To the overall Fellowship i do apologize once again to anyone that has seen my blogs, the things i said were totally uncalled for, i guess my flesh got the better of me.

Jason S.

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: Preacherman ()
Date: November 02, 2006 02:19PM

To Hawk,

It seems that you have been legitamely hurt. For that I am sorry. However do you really believe that you are helping by slandering so many churches by a bad experience at one?

I feel it is very judgemental for you to call all praise chapels a cult. All of our churches are independently run we are part of a fellowship not denomination. If one has done wrong that does not incriminate all.

I think you could be hurting a lot of vulnerable believers with your irresponsible comments.

To the moderator,

We are a 501 c 3 non profit organization with all the necessary accountability. Many of outr churches are pioneered churches which means they are new, for instance the church I serve in is only 3 years old. It is sometimes difficult to have a democratic system when you have all new members that are just learning about church organization. There is plenty of accountability.

Again we have no affiliation with any Potter's House churches.

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: Preacherman ()
Date: November 02, 2006 05:10PM

moderator do you consider Calvary Chapel to be a cult. The following is how they run their churches:

Clvary Chapels are organized differently. Church government at Calvary Chapel is very simple, not a complex bureaucracy, committees and sub-committees are essentially non-existent. Basically, at Calvary Chapel we believe that the pastor is responsible for the church, responsible to hear from God, and responsible to feed and love His people faithfully. Elders are appointed in the larger churches to help the pastor care for the spiritual needs of the congregation, as are deacons to help the pastor care for the material needs of the church.

In addition, our churches have church boards as required by most states which vary in size depending on the size of the church, and which usually are made up of mature Christian businessmen who can advise the pastor with respect to the business operations and decisions of the church such as property management and investments. At Calvary Chapel, church organization is de-emphasized, and only the organization that is needed to run the church is instituted. The pastor guides the church as he is lead by the Holy Spirit, and we trust God to put pastors where He wants them to be.

Does this make them a cult?

They believe that the Pastor is responsible to guide and lead the people.That is what a shepherd is suppposed to do isn't it?

This is how they feel about the government you think should be present in all churches:

"he congregational form of church government is an American invention and appeals to our American sense of democracy. Basically, the congregation as a whole makes all decisions in these churches by voting on matters of importance and appointing committees from its ranks to run the daily operation of the church. Most Congregational, Baptist, Pentecostal, Brethren, and non-denominational churches are organized in this fashion. The congregation votes on hiring a pastor, votes on how to spend the money, and on anything else of importance. Although democratic people like the idea, congregational forms of church government often wind up at best causing the pastor to be directed by the sheep he is supposed to lead, and at worst reducing the pastor to a hireling."

Moderator are you a Christian? Or is this just a hobby of yours?

Pastor Jason

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 02, 2006 10:08PM


You are making the same false argument over and over again.

I have never said that Praise Chapel is a "cult."

What I have pointed out and you have verififed repeatedly, is that Praise Chapels do not have meaningful accountability through democratic church government, i.e. boards and officers elected by the general membership.

And also as you have verified Praise Chapels do not have independently audited and published financial statements that provide detailed budgets regarding salaries, compensation and expenses paid out from church funds.

As you know the IRS doesn't require such detailed disclosure.

But the overwhelming majority of Protestant churches have both democratic safeguards as mentioned regarding church government and also published detailed disclosure to congregants as outlined.

Calvary Chapel, like Praise Chapel, does not have democratically elected church government to provide meaningful accountability or financial transparency through audited and published reports.

I receive complaints about Calvary Chapel. Most of these complaints revolve around issues regarding accountability, which could have been avoided through the same provisions previously cited.

See []

The Ross Institute, which is the sponsor of this message board, is an educational not a relgious nonprofit.

See []

I do not consider Calvary Chapel a "cult."

Again see []

The disclaimer specifically states...

[b:9d10b8c5a5]"the mention and/or inclusion of a group or leader within this archive does not define that group as a "cult" and/or an individual mentioned as either destructive and/or harmful. Instead, such inclusion simply reflects that archived articles and/or research is available about a group or person that has generated some interest and/or controversy.

All the information archived must be evaluated critically, through a process of independent and individual judgment. Please note that there are links often prominently posted to a group or movement's own official website, which reflect their views. It is important to see what they have to say." [/b:9d10b8c5a5]

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: Preacherman ()
Date: November 03, 2006 12:07PM

Moderator are you a Christian? Or is this just a hobby of yours?

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 03, 2006 10:30PM


First of all, my religion and work and not the subject of this thread.

You are attempting to change the focus, rather than address the issue, which is ironically what Scientologists often do.

I am Jewish and my full-time work has been dealing with cults, controversial groups and movments for more than 20 years.

The people posting here about Praise Chapel are Christians and this message board is non-sectarian.

It's interesting to note your apparent support for the position taken by Calvary Chapel.


"God to put pastors where He wants them to be...congregational form of church government is an American invention and appeals to our American sense of democracy...causing the pastor to be directed by the sheep he is supposed to lead, and at worst reducing the pastor to a hireling."

Please undestand that most congregations in America do have "government" that is based upon "democracy" and that's a good thing that insures meaningful accountability.

You seem to think that is a bad thing.

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: Preacherman ()
Date: November 04, 2006 11:21AM

You earleir posted that you did not believe Calvary Chapel to be a cult. Yet they practice the very same form of government you condemn to be cultish. I do not think Calvary Chapel is a cult either. I never posted that I support that kind of government, I simply read a publication of theirs and shared their views I never expressed my views.

Although I think if more churches ran their churches with Christ as their headship like Clavary Chapel and Praise Chapel they might be experiencing the kind of revival some of these churches are.

Revival is what we need not committees about committees.

Too many churches are dead today because they are more concerned about committees than the will of God. Christ is to be head of the church.

Moderator you are not part of the Body although I pray you will become. Your arguments have no merit. Who are you to say what is best about what you don't know?

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 04, 2006 10:41PM


Read the rules you agreed to before posting here.

Preaching your religious beliefs here and posting personal attacks is not permitted within the guidelines.

Your comments have been edited accordingly.

See []

These are "warning signs" about behavior not belief.

See []

[b:116ecfc74a]Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability[/b:116ecfc74a]

[b:116ecfc74a]Accountability, independent oversight and financial disclosure are important to me, but I don't see my favorite charities listed with ECFA. What can I do to obtain a greater comfort level when giving to them? [/b:116ecfc74a]

If the factors mentioned above are important to you, but you do not see your favorite organization among ECFA's members, ask them the following suggested questions, and expect a timely, courteous and informative response. ECFA firmly believes that good charities willingly answer tough questions:

Does the organization have a clear and strong commitment to a certain project area?

Is there an independent board that accepts responsibility for the activities of the organization and oversees its operations?

Are the financial records audited annually by certified public accountants?

Are copies of the audited financial statements provided to anyone who requests them?

Is information provided to donors about any program that the donors have supported?

How does the organization avoid conflicts of interest?
What are its guidelines and standards for fund-raising?

Is there a review procedure to assure compliance with fund-raising standards and guidelines?

[b:116ecfc74a]The Donor's Bill of Rights[/b:116ecfc74a]

See []

By supporting "headship," denigrating "committees" and calling other churches "dead" you have made your sentiments clear.

You have no meaningful accountabitly to boards or "committees" elected democratically by your church members and you don't believe churches should have democracy, but rather a form of dictatorship.

You don't disclose your finances as outlined by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

And you attack people when they question you.

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Praise chapel...a cult?
Posted by: Hawk ()
Date: November 07, 2006 02:36AM

"And you attack people when they question you."

Done in classic Praise Chapel/Potter's House fashion I might add. Sounds to me like, "A defensiveness that results in intolerance of member-critics."

Dr. James Dobson described it so eloquently the other day when describing cults who hide behind the bible to push their agenda. After he mentioned the false phrophets, the wolves in sheep's clothing the bible warns us about he said in essence the following:

When you are asleep, you don't know that you're asleep until you wake up. Then you realize that you had been sleeping. While you're asleep, you may have dreams and nightmares. You do things [in the dream or nightmare] that you would never consider doing if you were awake. But when you wake up, the dream had all been so real and so vivid to you. That's what it's like to be brainwashed while you're in a cult.

That best describes my experience in Praise Chapel. To have finally gotten out of there is like waking up from a horrid nightmare. And, for the record, I have attended more than one, more that two, more than three Praise Chapel churches, all in the Los Angeles area. I have friends who went to other PC's. Not all of them are "throw up churches" like the one in Montebello, but they are all cults, and are all fashioned exactly from the CFM/Potter's House mold from which they originated.

It appears that some may be under the impression that in order to qualify as a cult, then the members need to be wearing black hooded robes, lighting candles and incense, and chanting around a guru. Well, sorry to burst your bubbles for the PC Pastors and defenders out there, but just because you claim the Name of Jesus and hold a bible in front of you does not exclude you from being classified as a cult. After all, if you would have asked any of the loyal Branch Davidians and their pastor David Koresh, are you a cult? Of course they would have said no. But here are qualifiers:

An emphasis on spiritual experiences.

An increased focus on the role of demons.

A large proportion of members with personal, emotional, and dependency needs.

A teaching emphasis on attitudinal sins (such as rebelliousness, lack of submission, pride, and self-centeredness.)

An unhealthy dependence on those in authority.

Few checks and balances.

Minimal leadership accountability.

A defensiveness that results in intolerance of member-critics.

Now I know what it was that Jesus wrote in the sand:


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