House Church Talk - Cults: Works of the Devil and Works of the Flesh

Scott Dowlen scottdowlen at
Fri Aug 20 12:13:37 EDT 2004

Hi, Claire.  I think you are quite right about needing 'participative
relational faith' as the defense against wolves and enslavement.  There are
some animals that will surround the young and the weak with the stronger
members of the herd. Wolves will not often risk death or injury if the
likelihood of getting prey is low.

We do need watchmen, and we need people with loving discernment able to
communicate warnings to our herd. We also need each sheep to so know the
Good Shepherd's voice that we stop responding to every voice that calls out.
Even watchmen shouldn't make up our mind for us, but instead alert us to
weigh more carefully and cautiously everything we see and hear. There are
lots of self-appointed watchmen crying wolf at every difference of opinion
they see. Eventually, the body should begin to recognize knee-jerk
watchmen - who are often really just guardians of a denominational view.

And we need to remember that this kingdom in which we pasture is known for
changing wolves into sheep. Saul/Paul comes to mind, and even a few of the
Florida Five (Derek Prince, for sure, and I think one or two others)
repented deeply of their participation. I know Mr. Prince said that his
belief was that 'what began in the spirit' became a work of the flesh that
resulted in damage to people.

I don't have the experience of having been hurt in an ARG, but I did grow up
in extreme legalism.  I read recently about a man gifted in prophetic and
healing areas who eventually was surrounded by folks who praised him highly
and gradually convinced him he could almost do no wrong. He stepped into
areas where he was not gifted, because of pride, and really made a mess of
his life and hindered the message of repentance and grace that had flowed
freely before his deception.  There are always the lust of the eye and the
pride of life waiting to ensnare us.  If we are surrounded by strong,
confident believers who don't feel the need to be 'yes men' but who can
speak truth into our lives, we are less likely to believe the kiss-ups and
opportunists who flock to anything that looks like success - especially
where money and/or authority are involved.

So our goal should be to see our fellow sheep come to maturity, knowing good
from evil, hearing the voice of the Shepherd, confident in the gifts given
by the Spirit, and deeply honest and real with other members of the body.
This will not happen in spectator religion. It only happens in the trenches
of real life.

Thanks, Claire!


> -----Original Message-----
> From: House Church Talk -bounces at
> [mailto:House Church Talk -bounces at]On Behalf Of Claire Bennett
> Sent: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004 11:38 AM
> To: House Church Talk  at
> Subject: House Church Talk -  Cults: Works of the Devil and Works of the Flesh
> I thought there was an interesting comment here about abusive
> religious groups (ARGS) how's that for an acronym?  What
> about those who honestly believe they are servants following
> their vision?  I've seen a lot of varieties of ARGS.  Some
> appear to be purposefully and diabolically designed to
> recruit, retain, exploit and spit out.  L.. Ron Hubbard and
> Herbert Armstrong set out to create a religion as a business
> enterprise.  Then I have seen good works that are not God's.
> I'm sure the Florida Five and those involved believed they
> were benefiting the churches they dragged into submission.
> Also, works that begin in the ways of the Lord, but fail to
> purge out the leaven through self-inspection are doomed to be
> led astray through pride, greed and lust.
> My experiences in being in the inner circle of a ministry and
> discussions with others reveals that so-called servants are
> merely self-serving.  The only unforgivable sin is to reveal
> the sins of the leadership to the rank and file sheep.
> So, I see the only hope is truely participative relational
> faith.  That is our only protection against being again
> subject to a yoke of bondage.  Thoughts?

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