Anonymous

Columbus, OH

#456 May 24, 2013
Anonymus

Grove City, OH

#457 May 24, 2013
Anonymous wrote:
www.nbc4i.com/video?clipId=890 0304&autostart=true
Thank God they found his body. Hopefully his parents can now attempt to have some form of solace from this tragedy.
Anonymous

Columbus, OH

#458 May 25, 2013
It's absolutely sickening that some of you have the audacity to say that Xenos had something to do with Kwesi's death. He drowned in the Ocean and the church is suffering immensely. Instead of bitching about the church being a cult, why don't you go and check it out? Why is Xenos a "cult" when churches like World Harvest have twice as much people. The reasoning behind your claims are elementary and have no weight. Nobody fucking tells you to leave your family lol. If you want to commit to living for God then you have the option to do that. It's no different then the majority of parents shoving the idea of school and material success down your kids throat. Xenos is not a church where you go once a week and live as a hypocrite the rest of the week.
Anonymus

Grove City, OH

#459 May 26, 2013
^

Is the cursing necessary?

Also that last statement can be applied to all religious factions. Xenos is not exempt contrary to what you believe in. I don't think you guys are a cult and I don't blame you at all for that poor young mans death, but don't put your church on a pedestal. There is a lot of crap that gets swept under the rug.
Anonymus

Grove City, OH

#460 May 26, 2013
For the record Xenos is not a cult to me. They're a little weird but they are basically a massive over-glorified Frat and Sorrority group posing as a church.

“animis opibusque parati”

Since: Oct 12

Location hidden

#461 May 26, 2013
Anonymous wrote:
...Xenos is not a church where you go once a week and live as a hypocrite the rest of the week.
What a naive statement.
Wait what

Dublin, OH

#462 May 26, 2013
Anonymus wrote:
but they are basically a massive over-glorified Frat and Sorrority group posing as a church.
You can say that about some of the other Christian umbrella groups around here, including the Central Ohio Christian colleges. Have you noticed that even as the years go on, they stay within their own groups and have little diversity among them?
Anonymus

Grove City, OH

#463 May 26, 2013
Wait what wrote:
<quoted text>
You can say that about some of the other Christian umbrella groups around here, including the Central Ohio Christian colleges. Have you noticed that even as the years go on, they stay within their own groups and have little diversity among them?
Being honest, I don't know what goes on at these Christian Colleges.
Wait what

Dublin, OH

#464 May 26, 2013
Anonymus wrote:
<quoted text>
Being honest, I don't know what goes on at these Christian Colleges.
I'm not saying anything "goes on". What I am saying is that they seem to stick together as the years go on, even graduation, without really branching out to get to know others who are more diverse or who think differently. And they continue with the fraternity/sorority mindset well into their 30's.
Jen

Columbus, OH

#465 May 27, 2013
This is from one of our pastors:
Yeah, I've heard this sort of thing, too. When people make this sort of claim, I usually ask them what they mean by the term "cult." Classical Christians believe cults contain a number of different features:
1. NEW REVELATION: Cult leaders will usually claim that they have a direct pipeline to God—separate from (or even in contradiction to) the Bible. This would include adding any Scriptures or teachings above the authority of Scripture alone. Obviously, Xenos is completely Bible based, and we don’t hold to anything bizarre like this. Here is our statement of faith which affirms core, orthodox Christian doctrine.
2. A DISTORTED VIEW OF JESUS OR GOD: Cultists usually deny core doctrine like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, or other essential issues. We affirm all of these historic doctrines. For example, we affirm the Apostle’s Creed and all of the affirmations that it makes, as well as the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy and Hermeneutics. This was a classic document written by the top 200 evangelical scholars alive today. No cult would affirm all the doctrines articulated in statements like these.
3. DENIAL OF GRACE: Cults always seem to bring works back into a relationship with God, rather than just grace alone. Whenever a “Christian” group claims that you need works plus grace, this is cultic. Of course, other legalistic churches give us a hard time, because we’re so big on grace alone! It seems like we’re going to get criticized no matter what we do!
4. EXCLUSIVISM: Cults are infamous for saying that “we alone have the truth.” For example, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are this way, thinking that they are the only true “Christian” church on Earth. This is suspicious. Of course, I think our church is unique and awesome. But, I wouldn’t say that we’re the only true Christian church on Earth. That would be cultic.
Because of our love for the church abroad, Xenos has the Xenos Summer Institute every year, where we welcome believers from all over the world to our church. We invite some of the most famous Christian scholars and practitioners from all over the world to come and speak here. In other words, none of these top Christian leaders from around the world think we are a cult.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School also has an extension site at our main campus. Trinity is one of the top evangelical seminaries in the world, and they vetted us for over a year before they agreed to come have an extension at our church. In other words, the professors and faculty at Trinity (a top evangelical seminary) do NOT think we are a cult. In fact, the professors love our church and love coming here.
Our senior pastors are members of the Gospel Coalition, where they meet monthly with the other Evangelical church leaders in the area to talk about important Christian issues. None of these local pastors think that we are a cult, either.
5. DISCOURAGE LEARNING: Most cults discourage their people from learning about other views. They brainwash people by inculcating them with their dogma alone. By contrast, at Xenos, we offer classes that help educate our leaders and teachers about multiple different perspectives. We also have a seminary at our church to get teaching from outside instructors and professors. We also take yearly trips to other churches to learn about how they do things and get a different perspective. We also have all of our material for our classes and teaching on our website, where everyone can see it. We don’t feel like we have anything to hide in what we teach or practice. In fact, our website gets roughly 6 million hits per year. Roughly 60% of the hits come from outside of the state of Ohio. That is, Christians from all over the world use it.
Jen

Columbus, OH

#466 May 27, 2013
6. EXCLUSION FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY: I’ve seen cults try to form a wedge between the cult members and their families. This is suspicious, because it usually causes the people to become more dependent on the cult. By contrast, we encourage our new believers to love and honor their parents and reach them with the gospel.
Why are we accused of separating people from their family if we don’t teach this? I’m not sure, but often, when new believers come to Christ from dysfunctional families, they often don’t want to spend as much time with their families. Being plugged into the Body of Christ can be really thrilling (as you’ve been experiencing and I have too!), and new believers often don’t like to spend as much time with their dysfunctional families. I hate to say that, but I’ve seen it happen. Therefore, I think a lot of parents get suspicious at our church, when their kid wants to spend more time at church than with the family. But this is their own choice (if they are a grown adult)—not something we teach or even encourage. I’ve seen this happen with new believers, and I always counsel them NOT to separate from their families but to love and reach their families with the gospel.
Xenos is also attacked because we are a high commitment church. We’ve never thought that going to church once a week on Sunday morning is what the Bible teaches for believers who really want to dedicate their lives to Christ. In fact, we think that our culture’s values are bizarre and unhealthy (e.g. zoning out in front of the TV for hours on end, never spending time with friends, placing career and money over people, etc.). The early Christians met “daily” with one another (Acts 2:46), and Jesus said that his disciples should put him first in life (Lk. 9:23-24).
I think a Christian’s commitment level is always going to be criticized by people in the world. If we have low commitment to Christ, people in the world will say,“These Christians must not really believe that this stuff is true… otherwise, it would be having a bigger impact in their lives.” However, if we have high commitment, they will say,“These Christians are fanatics and cultic!” I think it’s a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Regarding the anti-Catholic comments, I would say that we do have doctrinal disagreements with the Catholic church. For instance, I’m really strong on the importance of grace alone in salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:16; Titus 3:5), while Roman Catholicism would place a high emphasis on having perpetual good works in order to be saved. I grew up in the Catholic church, and I never came to faith in Christ until I reached the age of 20, because the message of grace was never clearly taught there. Therefore, we do have some fundamental disagreements. However, on the other hand, I would say that I actually have a lot in common with Catholics. We share a lot of similarities on core doctrine (e.g. the Trinity, deity of Christ, incarnation, inspiration of the Bible, etc.); however, I feel like the disagreements in doctrine are so serious on some issues that I can’t in good conscience call myself a Catholic. To this, I would just encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and figure out where you stand on these doctrinal issues. I have some good resources I can give you, but I think it’s actually best just to read the Bible yourself and make up your own mind. Of course, I’d be happy to help you with any questions you’d have on this stuff, and would be willing to talk through any of your questions. I know the other guys would say the same.
Jen

Columbus, OH

#467 May 27, 2013
If it’s any encouragement, the early Christian church was called a cult! Ha, ha! Christians were thought to be atheists, cannibals, and incestuous (Jose Gonzalez The Story of Christianity pp.49-50). As I’ve dialogued with other church leaders, I’ve been astounded at how much this “cult” label is being tossed around at good Christian churches all over the country. That is, I think other churches get this treatment, too. Even Baptist and Presbyterian churches are being called “cults” these days! I think it’s part of the persecution that Christians are going to be continually getting in our post-Christian, secular culture.

The New Testament also predicted that we will undergo persecution from people in the world like this. These kind of accusations can be pretty intimidating, but I like to go back to some of the Scriptures that speak to this sort of thing:

(Jn. 15:18) If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

(2 Tim. 3:12) Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

(1 Pet. 2:12) Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

(1 Pet. 2:15) For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

(1 Cor. 4:13) When we are slandered, we try to reconcile.

(1 Thess. 4:11–12) Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business… 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

(Col. 4:5) Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

Anyways, I hope all of this stuff helps, bro! Don’t let this stuff get you down and distract you from getting your walk going with God. I know I’ve been really happy to see you getting your walk going with Christ, and it’s been a HUGE encouragement to the whole group, too!

God bless,

James

--
James Rochford
www.evidenceunseen.com
Tess

United States

#468 May 27, 2013
I agree with the church taking responsibility for allowing these young adults to swim in an area which was known to be dangerous.
Anon wrote:
I am sick of hearing what Xenos thinks and how Xenos feels in the press and otherwise. They act like its their tragedy alone. Frankly, I think that's shameful. This kid had a family and friends, I am sure. It's nice they had a service and raised money. ANY church or worplace would do the same (Christian or not) so sorry but it ridiculous to pat yourselves on the back for that. Maybe Xenos should stop giving interveiws. As for these kids doing more dangerous things outside of the church, that's one thing. But please tell me the fact these kids were swimming in a dangerous area on a CHURCH retreat is not an example of doing less dangerous things while in church. Young kids do stupid things, yes. But I'm sorry. If Xenos took more responsibility for these kids and had a zero tolerance policy this would have been less likely to happen. Instead they're led by other foolish young adults. Plenty of bad behavior and dangerous behavior goes on in that church in Columbus and at Holden. I suspect the reason is lack of church responsibility and being led by other equally young and easily influenced kids. Stuff has gone on for years. And I'm sorry, but the excuse that we're mortal is just another line. Please tell me you're not suggesting that his death was positive because now these kids won't be irresponsible and because other kids joined up with the church. Lastly, no other mega churches in CBus have the reputation Xenos has. Not Rod Parselys church. Not Vineyard. Etc. If it was just an attack on I I I i churches, then those other mega churches would come up too. No one is denying the tragedy. But saying the church (mainly leadership- not all the people) issome innocent bustander is foolish. The wheels of the Xenos PR machine are actively moving. It's naive to think they aren't. Any group in this situation would do the same, but only Xenos seems to have the rep they do. I wouldn't be shocked if some of the elders have met with attorneys.
Ichthus

Columbus, OH

#469 May 27, 2013
Jen wrote:
Regarding the anti-Catholic comments, I would say that we do have doctrinal disagreements with the Catholic church. For instance, I’m really strong on the importance of grace alone in salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:16; Titus 3:5), while Roman Catholicism would place a high emphasis on having perpetual good works in order to be saved. I grew up in the Catholic church, and I never came to faith in Christ until I reached the age of 20, because the message of grace was never clearly taught there. Therefore, we do have some fundamental disagreements. However, on the other hand, I would say that I actually have a lot in common with Catholics. We share a lot of similarities on core doctrine (e.g. the Trinity, deity of Christ, incarnation, inspiration of the Bible, etc.)
The Catholic church has never taught works as a criteria for salvation. According to the teaching of the Catholic church there is no action a person can do to merit the initial grace they receive from God. It is a free gift. The church teaches works as a result of faith. That is if you have faith in Jesus Christ your faith will manifest itself by doing good deeds.

Xenos people often have misconceptions about the Catholic church. If you want to know what the Catholic church teaches, why not ask an educated Catholic instead of Xenos?

If you grew up Catholic you would have had your confirmation when you were about 14 or 15 years old. You would have professed faith in Jesus Christ at your confirmation. Isn't that sufficient for Justification?
Ichthus

Columbus, OH

#470 May 27, 2013
Jen wrote:
Xenos is also attacked because we are a high commitment church. We’ve never thought that going to church once a week on Sunday morning is what the Bible teaches for believers who really want to dedicate their lives to Christ. In fact, we think that our culture’s values are bizarre and unhealthy
Really? Did someone criticize Xenos peoples' commitment? I didn't notice any comments about their commitment. I did find criticism about deceptive recruiting strategies, irresponsible behaviors, pressure tactics, suspiciousness, manipulation, and so on. Do you really think Xenos is criticized for no reason at all?
Ichthus

Columbus, OH

#471 May 27, 2013
Jen wrote:
The New Testament also predicted that we will undergo persecution from people in the world like this. These kind of accusations can be pretty intimidating, but I like to go back to some of the Scriptures that speak to this sort of thing:
(Jn. 15:18) If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
Just because someone disagrees with your church, that does not mean you're being persecuted. The Apostle Peter was crucified upside down, the Apostle Paul was beheaded, because they preached Christianity. That is persecution.
Ichthus

Columbus, OH

#472 May 27, 2013
Jen wrote:
This is from one of our pastors:
Yeah, I've heard this sort of thing, too. When people make this sort of claim, I usually ask them what they mean by the term "cult." Classical Christians believe cults contain a number of different features: 1. NEW REVELATION:... 2. A DISTORTED VIEW OF JESUS OR GOD:... 3. DENIAL OF GRACE:... EXCLUSIVISM:
Has anyone criticized Xenos for these particular reasons? I never saw these points brought up before. This is specious and irrelevant. Why not respond to the criticisms that were brought up?
Ichthus

Columbus, OH

#473 May 27, 2013
Ichthus wrote:
<quoted text>
Just because someone disagrees with your church, that does not mean you're being persecuted. The Apostle Peter was crucified upside down, the Apostle Paul was beheaded, because they preached Christianity. That is persecution.
You could develop an unhealthy psychology or persecution complex if you take this kind of thing too far. You don't have to respond to these things by trying to invalidate every criticism. Use it constructively.
CAT

Pataskala, OH

#474 May 28, 2013
friend of the family wrote:
The young man named Kwesi Sample died with this group on Tuesday May 14, 2013. According to the detectives he was playing a game with 6 other members in the water when he lost his footing and was pulled under. This is certainly a Cult according to the following actions.
No one attempted to go out to him in the water to try to save him although there were 6 other people including his house leader in the water with him
No one with the group ever called his parents
The group would not speak to the grandmother who went down to North Carolina the day he disappeared
The Pastor (I use that word losely) has yet to contact the parents
None of the other kids showed any emotions (they're not allowed to show emotion) not even his so called girlfriend
And the worst thing of all
The group contained their retreat until Saturday May 18th
kwesi's body came ashore on Sunday May 19th
They might not be a Cult but they certainly are not good people.
Talk to your kids before they go off to college, this is where they are being recruited. These people are about to find out how much Kwesi was loved and cared for. <quoted text>
Wow – I don’t know how you got your information, but you’ve received some bad information. Kwesi told a young girl on the trip that he was not a good swimmer. He thought he was safe on a sandbar, but the current at the mouth of that river is very strong. Actually, the strongest swimmer dove after him and searched for him and the other boys went to shore to call the coast guard, which arrived in a couple minutes, as there is a coast guard station in that area. There were only a couple people with Kwesi and the other boy who dove for him. And the rest were not strong swimmers either. Which is why they were wading on a sandbar.

The next day, Wednesday, there was a service for Kwesi. More than 1500 people attended, this includes his Grandma. Everyone there was heartbroken. I was chatting with a guest that was on the trip and she said it was so sad because she had never seen that many people in one place sobbing. The pastor who you are referring to, was beside himself. He and everyone else was devastated.

And of course the group stayed on the retreat. How awful would that feel if you were to leave, and later feel like you’ve left a friend behind, and left him alone. I know they struggled with the decision to stay, but ultimately, it would have been worse to leave. If they would have left, by how I see that you rationalize, I think you would also criticize them for leaving him behind.

And people did talk to his Grandmother. And for those who didn’t: to that I’d say that for the most part, this group was comprised of teenagers and young adults. In situations like this, you lose your words and sometimes you just don’t know what to say. People there were stunned and they can only imagine a fraction of what his Grandmother is suffering. Those people wanted nothing more than comfort for the family. That is half the anguish: knowing that the family is about to go through hell.

And I’m not sure what you mean by his so called girlfriend. She is a very sweet and timid girl who lost someone she loved. She has a broken heart. She lost a gem of a boy. And you have no way of knowing how much she has or has not cried. She has cried – and she has cried a lot – being that she’s lost someone she loved. I am curious why your remarks are so hateful? That is probably the strangest and creepiest thing I have heard anyone assert; that no one was allowed to show their emotions.

This was no one’s fault. It was a terrible situation. People are crushed. Death is horrible and confusing – especially when it happens to someone like Kwesi. It doesn’t make sense. But it was no one’s fault.
Anonymous

Columbus, OH

#475 May 28, 2013
A lot of the people commenting HAVE been to Xenos and seem to speak from experience. As stated by another poster, the rumors don't exist about World Harvest as they do with Xenos. Since when do the majority of parents teach their kids materialism? Oh, only ones not in Xenos? Tell us, what church, in your esteemed opinion , is full of hypocrites? The ones that only have one meeting a week?
Anonymous wrote:
It's absolutely sickening that some of you have the audacity to say that Xenos had something to do with Kwesi's death. He drowned in the Ocean and the church is suffering immensely. Instead of bitching about the church being a cult, why don't you go and check it out? Why is Xenos a "cult" when churches like World Harvest have twice as much people. The reasoning behind your claims are elementary and have no weight. Nobody fucking tells you to leave your family lol. If you want to commit to living for God then you have the option to do that. It's no different then the majority of parents shoving the idea of school and material success down your kids throat. Xenos is not a church where you go once a week and live as a hypocrite the rest of the week.

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