Well, that goes without saying or else we wouldn't be here. I was just saying that [i:5f548b8941]some[/i:5f548b8941] people... and they are just part of the group who are being maniupated and deceived.
I wouldn't even begin to categorize all the people sitting in the pews of any given cult. Some of the finest Christians I have ever known are people who were once part of CFM - some in leadership as pastors and quite a few were just ordinary "Mary's and Joe's" whose only desire was to live for God. To a person these people did it and still are doing it without putting a religous trip on anyone. Also I am sure that some people go to church just to go along for the ride. They're spectators. In the past I am sure I have been one of those people. It's about fitting in. I never felt I fit in at a lot of churches I went to.
It's an amazing thing to me how a church can be so alienating and yet they supposedly have this agenda to get everyone in the gates of Heaven when in fact a lot of them the real agenda they have is to separate people from their hard earned money - bottom line. They do it by heaping guilt trip upon guilt trip and by demanding loyalty at the threat of becoming apostate and unredeemable if the person doesn't comply with leadership who is ultimately portrayed as God's man of the hour in the what's shakin' now arena.
I know a lot of well meaning people who are real Christians who have been used and abused by cults such as CFM and other 'movements' (that's funny... at the risk of being lewd, I had a 'movement' this AM. How fitting to call these so-called cutting edge ministries, 'movements'!) that are really renegade churches and ministries who answer to nobody!
I warned one family who were being sought after in a church I had once been a part of. They were being pursued for the purposes of "serving God" and the promise that their's was a higher calling. These poor folks are wonderful people and REAL Christians, the kind I would trust with just about anything. They were pretty well to do and very giving both of their time and money. They were grateful to God (and still are!) and willing to do what they could for the 'cause', which meant getting involved in any door that God might open, or in this case, the pastor of this church. He saw them as available and made use of that. Why did I warn them? Because I myself had been warned about things going on in that church by a former associate pastor and had personally seen things that were way whacked to say the least! For one thing the church was a revolving door for people in so called ministry to appear and disappear without so much as a word as to why they came or why they suddenly left. The tone of the place was this aura of, "Don't ask questions or you will be asked to leave." Then there was the hired help at the church. In the old days when the church was small the secretarial chores were taken care of by the pastors wife until her children demanded too much of her attention. Then ladies in the church volunteered to assist until the church got so big they had to have someone full time 5 days a week. The wife of this family was asked to become the new secretary after the previous one left. The husband was asked to take care of the sound board during services and make tapes for those who wanted them. They said they would pray about making such a commitment. I am sure they did. But they did ask me why I had reservations about being involved there and why I had left. I told them why and I warned them about the level of commitment which they had been offered. I basically told them if they felt God wanted them there, that was fine, but they had both better watch their backs. They dove in and did what was needed and I never heard much about them until a year or so down the road I heard they had suddely pulled their family out of the church and had gone off the radar. An informed source close to them, who was a mutual friend let me know that I was right because things had went sour. The reason was that the pastor had doctored the books in regards to offerings taken for a parking lot project, which the secretary noticed right off since taking care of the bookeeping was part of her duties as church secretary. He had moved funds from that account set aside for the parking lot to another unspecified account. In other words the money disappeared and the books were altered to look like the money had never came in or else had been spent when in fact it had not. Felling it was a mistake she called the pastor into her office and asked him point blank about the situation, which he blew off as unimprtant and assured her not to worry about it. She insisted it was important because what had occurred reflected on her since she was in charge of taking care of the books. He told her it was none of her business, which she stood up and told him in no uncertain terms that what he had done was dishonest and illegal, as well as sinful. The pastor then told her, "Your services are no longer required. You're fired. Pack up your desk right now and I want you off church property immediately. You and your husband are no longer welcome at this church and neither are your kids. Take your family to some other church and don't come bac!"
I don't know what else was said, but I do know this much: Neither her or her husband wanted to talk about it. They were extremely quiet about the matter. It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots and surmise that she was also told if they made a stink about it that he would bring charges against her for fraudulent bookkeeping. I know in my heart this is why she has refused to comment and I KNOW she would never lift a penny let alone alter a figure in the church bookkeeping register. I do know that this pastor has had continued problems in this area thereafter as well as before. I met one family who had once been in the inner circle there who had mysteriously gotten fired. They took the books with them when they left. I don't know that they ever gave them back.
Here is this church with the pastor playing money games behind the scenes, manipulating people to give time and money. His message was from the blab and grabbit prosperity non-gospel persuasion. He didn't micro-manage any sin in his congregation but instead told them they were blessed and would be even more blessed if they gave and the more they gave the more they would be blessed. It's a scam. He's a scam too. Sadly I remember when he used to be real. This church has a BIG turnover of people who come and stay awhile and ultimately leave bewildered, vaccating a seat that some other searching soul will gladly fill. This pastor even brags that his church is just a "filling station" explaining the ones who leave only came to get full and have taken what they received elsewhere, which is God's real plan. Scary... I can't believe the ones that are STILL there after all these years... in fact some have remained with him since he started. Only a few though and they are 'family' now, being releted by marriage.
Yep, people are often manipulated and decieved in a building they perceive to be a church, when in fact it's just a house of mirrors. Amazingly some people actually serve God in them and don't lose their faith.
You should also factor in the people who are manipulated and deceived.
Many people don't fully realize how a group is really run and what its ultimate expectations may be when they first become involved.
It is very rare that people knowingly join a "cult."
Instead, there is the element of deception and recruitment and retention of members is often something like a con game.
People can be taken in.
For example, people are taken in by "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" to "sell a couple bottles of Dr. Good," which is the old snakeoil con. And in the song the pitch begins with "preach a little Gospel."
Sadly, there a unethical destructive churches that use the Gospel to sell whatever they want to exploit people.