Hi all. I recently joined this site.
Over the years I looked into a few churches, and the worst I've seen is The Potter's House, which I found bizarre.
It wasn't until April 2018 I became a committed Christian (Baptist) and aligned my beliefs with Australian Baptists Ministries, which I'm very happy with.
I found the church I joined (Crossway
) was very transparent, community focused, and has a great leadership team.
Before that, I was an atheist who often read Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sam Harris literature. Years before that I explored Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, Scientology, and the like. My first wife and third (current) wives were/are Roman Catholic.
I find the common theme in controlling/destructive churches are (in no particular order):
- threats of excommunication and/or damnation, including cutting off other family members;
- excessive compulsory "training";
- enforcement of tithes, and access to family wills and estates;
- senior Pastor(s) at the top for years, and usually with a self appointed title such as "Global Pastor";
- senior Pastor(s) with excessive wealth, estates, clothing, etc;
- non-ecumenical and believe other christian denominations are damned;
- disallowing members to take up tertiary study in ministry/theology at external institutions such as universities and colleges;
- non-transparency of church budgets;
- lack of or non spending of monies on community and welfare services;
- a disdain for women in teachings, and non (or lack of) women in leadership roles within the church;
- a strict use of a certain bible edition, such as KJV, or a special version written for own use within the church, and rejection of other versions;
- marriage only to others within the congregation permitted;
If there are others I have missed, feel free to add in the replies.