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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Gavtaz ()
Date: July 06, 2010 02:27PM

Hi there,

I'm currently attending a new frontiers church in the UK and have been for just over two years now; I too have had few problems. In our midweek group I expressed a commonly held view which as it turn out was not what New Frontiers believed. I was surprised by the reaction from the rest of the group; let’s just say it did not go down well. The following Sunday I apologized to the group leader saying that I did not mean to upset anybody and was told that he was upset because he thought I was one of them, not sure what he meant by that. He also said that they did not know if they could trust me and that I must toe the party line. Then a few weeks after this I had a visit from one of the church leaders and his wife, wanting to know what I had said. This was not a nice meeting and made me feel like I had committed some crime, all I had done was put forward a different point of view. Now I feel very much on the outside of things, I’m glad I found this forum because I was beginning to think that I was the problem.

As I read the list above it stuck me that it sums up the NF church that I attend, there is extreme loyalty to the leaders and the NF organisation as a whole. They have said that they are the only real hope for Christianity in the UK as they are about the only group into church planting at the moment, they do not work with other churches in our area. You cannot question anything, and you have been excited about everything they do. We have had no financial statements, someone within our church has asked to see them but as yet this has not happen. Also, I know if we left the church we would be leaving with no friends or are they real friends? Had I known all this I would never have joined this church, this is a shame because not everything that they do is bad.

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: chrisjones ()
Date: July 07, 2010 01:34AM

Gavtaz, I think you have said it all as far as this organisation is concerned. as long as you go along the party line and question nothing, being totally beholden to the Pastor, Eldership and house group leader and of course not have any probs in life then you will be warmly received. I have some extraordinary accounts of how people have left and been made to feel beyond redemption for non reasons other than a perception that wrong has been done eg daughter seen talking to non-NF member in local town centre. You are quite right however that the fear of being ostracised is great.

With regard to finances NF is seriously wealthy there are a series of linked organisations and trusts that are run by the main leadership that have millions of pounds in them. You can get back access to all this info by going on the Charities Commission website. You are invited to put in name of org/church or even better if you have charity number. The parent site will take you round the linked trusts etc Not suggesting any wrong doing but they are certainly not poor, very much the reverse and large grants seem to go to the senior leaders churches. Also some pastors practise as if they are self employed so claiming all kinds of benefits and tax advantages. Nice little number and of course they are all right because they are annointed by God.

escape whilst you can and find a decent church that really cares. The older you get the more difficult, but a proper Church will welcome you whatever "evil" question yopu asked or suggested. If you can face discussing I would be interested to hear what generated such wrath. This is however all very typical behaviour.

All the best CJ

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Gavtaz ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:18AM

Yes, I'm happy to talk about it and I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has had issues like this, you start to think that it's you. On the Sunday morning the pastor talked about giving and tithing, in our cell groups we discuss what was preached on Sunday, so we talked it. The rest of the group agreed with tithing and some believed that 10% is a starting figure and that we should try and increase this year by year. The Leaders conference in Brighton also has an offering and this was discussed, the group leaders were encouraging us to support this. I then said that I believed tithing was an Old Testament principle and does not apply to us now but then went on to say that giving is important, we should give what God puts on our heart to give. I'm not quite sure what happen next but everything become very heavy. I was put on the spot and people in the group were firing bible verses at me and telling me how wrong I was.

The chat I had on the following Sunday with my group leader was strange too. I had gone up to him to apologize and say that I did not mean to upset people, I was just putting forward my point of view. He was upset and was saying things like "how sad he was, he through that I was one of them". He talked about us not having to think these issues through as leadership in NF had worked these things out before God and now had the truth, so who was I to say that they were wrong. We also talked about other issues like women in leadership and he said that I must toe the party line and how can they trust me, what would I say to new people coming into the church. I believed that was the end of the matter, how wrong I was as I had a visit from one of the elders and his wife. He wanted to know what I had said and also other people in the group had told the leaders what I had happen. We went through it all again and I was made to feel like I had committed some crime. This all sounds so silly, I just wish I had checked them out before we join the church.

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: chrisjones ()
Date: July 09, 2010 04:22AM

Dear Gavtaz, Let me say at the outset that you are entirely correct in your view. This behaviour is however common and huge pressure is applied to the tithing process in NF. Many of course just keep quiet and say nothing. I have never yet found out if they get special visits. Your mistake was to speak out in the mistaken belief that you were in a supportive house group that would be interested in your opinion - no chance. If you want the full biblical discussion on tithing go to [] ("The Lie of Tithing").

Applying this kind of pressure is truly beyond belief for even a quasi religious organisation accepting that the Churches do have to raise money to exist. Please believe me that normal human beings would have accepted your comment discussed with reference to the quotes as below, even arranged to discuss next time after some research and then here is the really important bit, just checked quietly if you were under any kind of financial pressure that might need some discussion on a private basis. The fact that you were then compromised by others later shows the lack of confidentiality and sensitivity. Thes are untrained or poorly people with no accountability creating havoc and chaos in the lives of usually thoroughly decent God fearing people. as I have said on an earlier post, those of us with a more sane and dare I say older more mature approach would have just laughed at the lunacy.

Others have indicated that you can tell false ministry by
1. Preaching that you can measure your standing with God by how much you have
2. Peaching for money
3. Using the concept of witchcraft (see my earlier entry on an NF in house document likening rebellion to witchcraft)
4. Operate by false authority
5. Misinterpreting scriptures or misquoting for own personal benefit
6. Controlling and manipulative attitude
7. Separatists that is separating themselves from other Christians.

Sounds like a Church movement that you and I know only too well. Of course not all NF the same , if you read many of the individual Web Sites you can tell the fideists from the normal.

What you do now is entirely up to yourself and ?family. I know what I would do but it must be your own decision. These people are removed from the love of Jesus, go and find it soonest and never accept abusive behaviour from anyone.

All the best CJ

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Pyjamas6 ()
Date: July 13, 2010 03:44AM

I am not surprised Thecla is "forgotten" as she does not appear in my NIV bible: I checked in my "exhaustive" concordance. Could you please give me a reference so I can look her up in my Greek NT? Thanks.

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Pyjamas6 ()
Date: July 13, 2010 04:54AM

Newfrontiers is a straight-down-the-line orthodox Christian church, or rather family of churches, subscribing to the historic creeds, and is a member of the Evangelical Alliance, which I do not believe would tolerate a cult. As a member of more than 22 years, I am astonished at the claims made against Newfrontiers; many of these claims describe actions or attitudes which are in direct contradiction to Newfrontiers values. Of course, there are two sides to every story and mostly only one side is available on this forum. That said, show me a church or church grouping that has never made a mistake and has never hurt anyone and I will probably be able to show you a church that is dead.

Newfrontiers aims to be at the cutting edge, so it is likely to make mistakes, and it is possible that, in its ambition to plant churches, it may be pushing people out into church plants before they are properly ready. Otherwise, the claims that leaders are unapproachable or cannot be challenged or want to grab power to themselves are the exact opposite of what should be happening.

My church teaches, that once a person has been “saved”, they cannot lose their “salvation”, so to suggest that they are “beyond redemption” if they leave is nonsense: what Newfrontiers church could possibly be teaching this? People are always leaving our church, and I am very sad for them, because I know there’s nothing else worth going to in our town, but it’s up to them. As for not allowing a daughter to talk to a non-member in town – there has to be more to it than that, as we strongly want our young people to have friends outside, whether in other churches or in no church at all. Perhaps the person was a drug dealer or other known risk to the daughter?

I can’t answer for the finances of the central organisation, but I can for my own church, as I am a trustee. I agree that we do not make the annual accounts as widely available as we should and it has been an issue which has been troubling me for some time, so I had already determined to ensure more information, including the full accounts for those who want them, is available next time. We do not have to tithe to Newfrontiers: on the contrary, we have decided to stop doing so. As for tithing by individuals, it is encouraged (you will say wrongly) but not enforced by any means; we talk more of being a “hilarious giver”, if we talk about it at all, which is rarely.

With reference to your last seven points, Chris:
1. Absolutely not.
2. Asking for money? Occasionally. Being paid to preach? No.
3. I’d have to check the context.. The ultimate authority is Scripture, not any man (or woman).
4. Whatever that means. Absolutely not.
5. Absolutely not. Any member of the church can challenge misuse of Scripture. The whole Bible.
6. Utterly to be avoided.
7. Yes, we probably have been so engrossed in our own busy-ness that we have tended to be somewhat separate, but I’ve known that in mainstream churches too. However, the latest magazine contained an article (not included in the on-line version) establishing as a value that we must work with the other churches in our locality.

This site would be useful if the errors identified could be referred to the churches involved for comment and correction, but as everything is anonymous there is little that can be done. I can only repeat that the complaints bear little relation to the Newfrontiers churches I know.

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: chrisjones ()
Date: July 22, 2010 01:44AM

Re Thecla, then other commentary:
The Acts of Thecla: A Pauline Tradition Linked to Women
by Nancy A. Carter*
| About Paul | Pastoral Epistles | Links | Acts of Xanthippe | Acts of Thecla |


Women, Paul and Early Christianity
A Contemporary Christian Icon of Saint Thecla

The Acts of Paul and Thecla is part of a Pauline tradition that provided apostolic blessing for women's leadership roles in the church. Although the events related in the Acts are legendary, a real Thecla may have lived in Asia Minor. Like many stories about Jesus and the Apostles, originally her tales were told orally. The content of the book, with its wealth of women characters, most of whom support each other (including a lioness who protects Thecla!), suggests Thecla's adventures were popular in women's circles.

An orthodox Christian, probably from Asia Minor, penned the Acts of Thecla between 160-190. The book circulated in several languages, including Greek, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Armenian. The Syrian and Armenian churches included the Acts of Thecla in their early biblical canons. It is now a part of the Christian apocrypha.

The extant manuscripts reflect masculine editing that probably de-emphasized Paul's support of women's leadership. No longer present are references to Thecla's baptizing others, which were most likely in the earliest stories. Even so, the Acts of Thecla includes a story about Thecla baptizing herself with Paul's blessing! Later Paul commissions her to return to her home town Iconium to teach and evangelize.

A Women's Tradition
Although Thecla's adventures were popular, particularly in Asia Minor, the stories angered some of the church's best known opponents to women's leadership. The African church father Tertullian (160-230) complained that some Christians were using the example of Thecla to legitimate women's roles of teaching and baptizing in the church (On Baptism 17).

The controversy among different Christian groups about women's roles is reflected in the Bible. For example, 1 Timothy 4:7 warned, "Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives tales." Quite possibly "old wives tales" alludes to stories told by women that supported female leadership roles.1

By the turn of the first century, the landscape and expectations of the church had changed. Paul and other church leaders had believed that the end of the world was coming soon, in their lifetime. For this reason, certain institutions, such as marriage, were de-emphasized in order to prepare for the Christ's return. Christians were preparing for a different kind of "marriage"-- to the Heavenly Bridegroom. Now Christian leadership realized that the time of Jesus' return could not be known and that they needed to approach life differently.

The Pastoral Epistles, I & II Timothy and Titus, rejected ascetic values like those embodied by Thecla and the women prophets in Corinth. I Timothy (100 -110 C.E.) proclaimed that teachings which forbade marriage and demanded abstinence from certain foods came from "deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (4:1-3). In the Acts of Paul, those who became Christian also chose chastity. Paul and Thecla were vegetarians and teetotalers, perhaps because of a cultural belief that meat and alcohol inflamed sexual passion. The author of I Timothy instructed, "No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (5:23). 2

In the second century, the women's ascetic movement had become too strong for the taste some of the male leadership. In stark contrast to the letters of Paul, I Timothy declared that women would not be saved by living chaste lives but rather through bearing children (2:15). Paul had proposed in his first letter to the Corinthians (7:9) that it was better to marry than "burn" ("be aflame with passion," NRSV); he preferred but did not insist that Christians choose sexual continence. Calvin Roetzel observes that "in spite of Paul's preference for celibacy as a divine gift (I Cor. 7:7), scholars have paid surprisingly little attention to this historical datum of the apostle's life."3

Both the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts of Paul and Thecla drew upon material in Paul's letters and other sources. In reality, Paul certainly did not teach that women must birth children in order to be saved; neither did he insist that women remain virgins or cease sexual activity in marriage in order to be saved. "The only passages in the Acts of Thecla which explicitly condemn marriage (the Encratite heresy) are 2:16 and 4:2, and it will be noted that the speaker is not Paul himself but his accuser attributing this view to the Apostle" [Pachomius Library Notes]. In this instance, the noncanonical writing is truer to Paul's teaching than the canonical one.

The Power of Thecla and Her Story
In the Early Church
Without a doubt, Thecla and Paul were key symbols for the ideals of early Christian ascetic movements, especially in Egypt, Syria, and Armenia. Obviously the women's ascetic movement did not end, even though the Pastoral Epistles declared women's salvation was bearing children. Christian ascetic practices by both men and women continue to this day.

The power of Thecla's story spread throughout early Christianity. Following are just a few illustrations. Several early church fathers from both the East and West praised Thecla as a model of feminine chastity. She became "venerated from the shores of the Caspian almost to the shores of the Atlantic. In the fourth century a church in Antioch of Syria was dedicated to Thecla. Another church in Eschamiadzin, Iberia, from the fifth century has a wall design showing Paul preaching to her. In Egypt [are several examples of art]. In Rome, scholars found a sarcophagus graced by a relief portraying Paul and Thecla traveling together in a boat."4 At least three places claim her burial place: Meryemlik [Ayatekla], Turkey; Maalula, Syria; and Rome, Italy.

Tradition says that Thecla traveled with Paul to Spain. Another apocryphal Acts which mentions Thecla is the Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca (c. 270). Some women in Spain hear Paul's preaching and leave their husbands to follow him.

In the Modern Church
Called "Equal to the Apostles," Thecla is especially revered in the Eastern church. In Maalula, Syria, the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Thecla, built near a cave said to be the martyr's, the nuns and novices continue in her tradition, which included care of orphans and assisting those who were poor. Santa Tecla (Spanish for "Saint Thecla") is the patron saint of Tarragona, Spain.

In the early 1980s, interest in the Acts of Thecla revived in Christian scholarship, particularly though not exclusively among women scholars. Whereas Thecla's virginity was her most praised aspect by early church fathers such as Methodius (c. 300), some modern writings emphasize how sexual continence provided a means for early Christian women take leadership in the church.

In modern times, virginity is viewed as a conservative value but, in early Christianity, abstention from sex empowered women in new ways. They became the "feminists" of their day, no longer participating in the traditional hierarchy of the household where the patriarch was in charge and woman's primary role was childbearing. For example, one way the ascetic women prophets in Corinth celebrated their new life in Christ was through ecstatic prayer and prophesy. In Christ there was no male or female; all were of equal status.

Today the figure of Thecla is seen as reflecting primarily traditional values that the post-apostolic church encouraged in women, including prayer and contemplation, but also challenging opposition to women's leadership in other aspects of early Christian life. For example, Margaret Y. MacDonald says, "Even if Thecla's life is purely fictional, it remains significant that in second-century Pauline circles, a woman could be depicted as a teacher and evangelist in her own right.... Moreover, her story sheds light on how women who chose to remain unmarried or who dissolved engagements and marriages to unbelievers may have contributed to growing hostility between early Christian groups and Greco-Roman society."5 Gail Corrington Streete observes that some women in the Christian apocryphal literature are given "a place in the line of apostolic authority" in that they exercise leadership even when male apostles are not present, such as Thecla. She, with Paul's blessing, baptized herself and was commissioned as a missionary in her own right."6

Next: The Acts of Paul and Thecla
The Read the Short Book

Learn More About Thecla
Acts of Paul and Thecla, Translated probably by Jeremiah Jones (1693-1724), Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
This version ends with Thecla's assumption in Syria; the Roberts & Donaldson version below ends with Thecla's dying in Rome and also provides the alternate ending
Acts of Paul and Thecla, Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325, Volume VIII, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors
The Acts of Thecla: A Pauline Tradition Linked to Women by Nancy A. Carter, Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
The Acts of Paul and Thecla is part of a Pauline tradition that provided apostolic blessing for women's leadership roles in the church.
Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca
Some women in Spain hear Paul's preaching and leave their husbands to follow him. Thecla is mentioned too.
An Antiochene Legacy: Greek Orthodox in Syria Catholic Near East magazine, Volume 25, Number 1
The long-standing tradition of Syrian monastic life continues at the monastery of St. Tekla in Maaloula. A destination for both Christian and Muslim pilgrims, the monastery is named for an early Christian saint — Brikhta, or "the blessed" in Aramaic — who embraced Christianity after hearing of the words and deeds of St. Paul the Apostle.
The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Or, Concerning Chastity by Methodius, bishop of Olympus in Lycia, Asia Minor (c. 300)
Persons of the Dialogue are: Euboulios, Gregorion, Arete; Marcella, Theophila, Thaleia, Theopatra, Thallousa, Agathe, Procilla, Thekla, Tusiane, Domnina. Thecla is held up as the chief of virgins and leads them in song.
BOOK REVIEW: Stephen J. Davis, The Cult of St. Thecla: a Tradition of Women's Piety in Late Antiquity, by Catherine Burris, Vol. 5, No. 2, July 2002.
Stephen Davis' recent book . . . is an important and substantial contribution to our study of the cult of saints in ancient Christianity, and further, to our reconstruction of women's piety during the late antique period.
Discovery of St. Paul's Grotto in Ephesus, Some Recent Archeological Findings by Professor Renate Pillinger of Austria, translated by Peri Chapar
St. Thekla the Protomartyr
According to ancient Syrian and Greek manuscripts, Saint Thekla was born into a prosperous pagan family in the Lycaonian city of Iconium (present-day south central Turkey) in A.D. 16.... Because of her many sufferings for the Faith the Orthodox Church counts her as a "Protomartyr". And because she converted so many people to Christianity she is also known as an "Equal-to-the-Apostles."
Portrait of Paul in Ephesus Cave, Zenit News Agency, May 11, 2000
Inside the cave, there are paintings depicting the Transfiguration and a sequence inspired in the Acts of the Apostles, referring to St. Thecla and St. Paul's preaching. Paul's portrait is one of the best preserved frescoes in the cave.
Some Further Notes on Thecla in Syriac Christianity, by Catherine Burris and Lucas Van Rompay, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, July 2003.
This paper is a follow up to an earlier publication in which data related to the Syriac Acts of Thecla and to the cult of Thecla in Syria were provisionally collected and surveyed. Some further data are presented here. They are taken from Syriac literary sources: the letters of Severus of Antioch, a liturgical hymn, and the biography of John of Tella. In addition, the Armenian tradition of the Acts of Thecla is briefly mentioned as a witness to the early Syriac text.
Stronghold Aainst Time , Cairo Times, January 13-19 2000
Maaloula is one of 3 villages in the world where Aramaic--widely known as the language of Jesus Christ--is still spoken.... A Convent of St. Thecla is located here.
Women Evangelists in the Early Church by Katherine Riss
Begins with some general background about women in the early church; goes most in depth about Thecla.
Next: The Acts of Paul and Thecla
Read the Short Book


Paul's Letters to the Corinthians
| Theme | Paul | Maps | Corinth | Church | Video | Order Study |
| Bibliography | Glossary | Links | Timeline | Site Map |

Thecla highly regarded as being significant in role of women in spiritual matters. Regarded as Saint in Catholic Church and a number of towns named after her etc Over the years male interrpretations have diminished her role and that of women generally. Any knowledge of Middle East at that time would reveal minimal education of women at that time and no role in leadership. Not so different to Afghanistan and Iran of today. Current NT has been modified by "man" usually I recall from memory 11th and 12th century popes mainly, none of whom had much regard for women - why should they? Worth doing some simple historical research on this. It just shows how we can be so easily manipulated by leaders if they so choose. Regards CJ

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: chrisjones ()
Date: July 22, 2010 02:21AM

Hi, Welcome to the forum. I am just a contributor but have been helping people for years who have suffered all kinds of abuse in many settings. It was purely by chance that NFI emerged as a possible problem Church in some settings. Obviously I have no idea if you are locally based or part of the wider leadership. What is apparent unfortunately is that there are a number of NFI ministries that would appear to function differently to presumably your own community. The difficulty however is as the moderator above discussed with an American pastor brave enough to put head above parapet, namely there seem to be no controls on what may well be rogue Pastors and or Elderships. Poorly qualified leaders with little training take on communities and then effectively continue to "lead" (I cringe at the word) in there own style, almost using an Arian "Perfect approach" so that any one who does not quite fit the "Blue Eyed, blonde model" diminishes the community in the eyes of God and is therefore rejected.

Cult is a difficult definition. I doubt if NFI is a cult but at times it behaves very closely to whatever definition would be applied. I have so many examples it is scary. Remember we are talking about a Jesus loving Church movement here not the 3rd Reich, Zimbabwe or any political party!

You say the claims are contrary to NFI values but have you seen the internal article as quoted above - many would find that seriously challenging as they do the financial arrangements of some pastors and possibly the movement as a whole.

I truly cannot believe you have publicly stated that a Church hurts people, that is quite different to making mistakes. My "Victims" of spiritual abuse were certainly not being pushed out in to plants, they were just forced to leave or left because they suddenly woke up to the religious fideism that they were having inflicted on them.

Why are people always leaving your church? What do you mean there is nothing else worth going to in your town? Is that fact, opinion or judgemnt? With proper accountability each one of those members should be asked confidentially to discuss by outside regulator why they are leaving in order to determine that no abuse has taken place. Any regulator would ignore a single complaint but what if there was a pattern to the complaints? questions could be asked and a close watch maintained.

In the example the boy in question was not a drug dealer he was a Christian going to another Church (of course not good enough to NFI pastor) and probably part of the not worth going to churches in the town)

You acknowledge being a trustee and not acting properly in the distribution of accounts, I have no idea what you mean but if you are a Trustee you carry huge legal responsibility and if you have got it wrong you shopuld seek legal advice and consider resigning like any other trustee has to do or face massive censure even prosecution in any trustee situation out of Church land.

If Tithing is not mandatory why was that individual GavTaz so challenged, again it suggests different NFI communities function differently.

Why anonymous, I did wonder why myself. My long journey through human abusive behaviour explains. People are really seriously damaged, on the whole it is good people, Jesus loving caring people who are abused. They find it difficult to re establish themselves. They really believe that they are now God forsaken, they are diminshed in their own eyes. Even in UK courts now people are allowed to give evidence behind screens - the anonymity is equivalent to being behind screens.

If you with great self reflection and honesty look around your own community and perceive that all is as loving and inclusive as Jesus always preached then forget this site you are fortunate as is your community. It means your Leadership Team is doing well. Sadly that is not always the case and as i will spell out in my book currently being written, narcissistic abusers and similar personality disordered individuals are attracted to ministry - why? These people (90% male) know they are always right, when wrong it is always the fault of others. They pick on people their "source supply" They have the gift of the gab usually and carry sycophants with them. If they have God on their side they become impossibly powerful in their narcissism - beware, and safe travelling. CJ

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: chrisjones ()
Date: July 22, 2010 02:28AM

I also forgot about post from May 2009, now repeated below:

Hi Chris and thanks for your reply. I've looked in to this further (partly thanks to an Alpha Course which I couldn't finish) and although I don't want to speak for the entire organisation I do find this particular church worrying.

A few of the problems that I've witnessed are:

1. The leader of this particular church exerts (in my opinion) far too much control over the members' personal lives. Everything my friend does seems to be monitored and it has to be 'approved'. I'm always amazed when I hear about how much the church needs to know about this person's personal life - it's definitely not healthy.

2. If I try to present an alternative perspective on an issue to do with the church's teachings she gets very defensive which, again, is out of character. There is no room for disagreement on any of the teachings. You said they take a literal view of the bible but I've actually found that they take a very open view of the bible's teachings and can therefore change their opinions on things quite quickly. They are very good at evading direct questioning.

3. They place much emphasis on miracles, prophecy, healing and the holy spirit. I don't know how I feel about this. Perhaps it isn't all bad, but it detracts from the purpose of being in church; surely the worship should be focused on God as opposed to his 'gifts'.

4. There seems to be more gloss than substance.

5. There is a strong sense of community which is a great thing, but the people from the church hardly mix with people outside of the church. For example, the young people in the youth groups - despite attending different schools - spend more time with their friends from church than they do with anyone else. It's just slightly claustrophobic, as though everyone knows everyone else's business. I'd imagine it would be hard to leave somewhere like this.

6. There is nothing wrong with being strongly religious but in this case I've seen it get a bit too...extreme. A lot of the members I've spoken to are practically hysterical about their beliefs. It's difficult to explain how this is a problem. I think it's one of those things that you'd have to see for yourself.

7. Ah yes, the views on women are quite frightening. Despite what they claim, they do send out a message to women that they are inferior. There seems to be a lot of pressure to be demure, ultra-feminine and subservient. I've also noticed a pressure on all members to conform.

My friend is a good person and is skilled at many things, but the church does nothing to support this. Instead of encouraging talents, they've been highly critical and they undermine any potential for leadership that this person has. It's awful to watch someone who could be so successful have all of their self-belief and ambition eroded. What's even sadder is I don't think she even notices it's happening. Now there's nothing wrong with having family values etc, but this person wanted to do great things and have a career; now she says she can't have a career and should only have a family because that is supposedly the role God has given her. There have been lots of other things like this but this post is already too long so I'll stop...

One last thing - when you said you have other case histories, what do you mean exactly?

Thank you if you manage to read all of this. Unfortunately, it has turned into a bit of a rant.

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May 05, 2009 05:03PM

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Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Pyjamas6 ()
Date: July 25, 2010 04:38AM

my group leader ... was saying things like "how sad he was, he thought I was one of them". ... I just wish I had checked them out before we joined the church.
Hi, Gavtaz,

I am sorry you have been having problems with your church. I am a bit confused: have you joined the church, are you a member? I ask because if so I would have expected you to have gone through a membership or introductory course, which would have been the opportunity for the church to explain where they are coming from, and Newfrontiers values generally, and for you to raise any issues of concern or whatever; as a matter of fact, this website would have been a good source of useful questions for you to ask.

If so, issues such as male eldership and giving must have been discussed; I would think it very remiss if they were not. Male eldership is a Newfrontiers value, which has been endlessly gone over in talks and articles. I don’t see why you shouldn’t try to discuss it, but if it’s a big issue for you, if you don’t agree with it, you should not join a Newfrontiers church; it’s no good making an issue of it after you have joined. All the same, you should never have been told you do “not have to think these issues through as leadership in NF had worked these things out before God and now had the truth;” that is a bad stance to find in a Newfrontiers church. Do you see the distinction I am making? There are other similar streams, e.g. C-Net and I believe Pioneer, which do allow women elders, so you should seek out one of them, if you like our kind of church (not everyone does).

The membership course would also have been the place to discuss your contribution to finances; it is reasonable to expect that you, as a member, would give regularly to the church (unless your financial position is extremely bad) as unfortunately churches do not run on thin air. From the way you describe the discussion in your cell group, I tend to agree with both sides, so I am not sure what the big problem was. It’s a pity the issues of “tithing” or giving “10%” were not sorted out for you in the membership course. You can be very correct and say tithing is OT, which of course it is, but I suspect many of us weaker brethren appreciate a baseline from which to start.

We’re only human, especially cell leaders; I’ve been in house groups where people have shot their mouths off – I’ve done it myself, unfortunately, – so this seems to me to have been badly handled, including sadly by the elder. I am sorry if it has put you off what is basically an excellent family of churches.

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