Send a Message
to ubergenius

Comments

30

Joined

Dec 10, 2013

ubergenius Profile

Forums Owned

Recent Posts

Columbus, OH

Xenos fellowship draws seekers, disenchanted

If you go to the "Xenos is a cult" discussion forum and look at the comments by former leaders, and members, you will get the gist. They are not Charismatic in their worship, no tongues, gifts of the spirit are to be "investigated " but are not to be used in public at any of the services, even the cell groups (people have been shown the door for this type of behavior). They don't have a worship service. They jump right into a 35-45 min Bible study. Making it more of a "seeker focused" church than most would have ever encountered. They are thoroughly Evangelical in their views. They are missional, and evangelize aggressively, which can be off-putting. They have ministry houses where students and young adults rent rooms, hold Homegroup and small Bible study group meetings. There have been storied abuses by leaders at various levels surrounding these ministry houses. I lived in one for several years. The cult activities included throwing darts, watching cable TV with R rated movies, and an occasional party where people could bring beer if they wanted. In three years I never saw any underage drinking. I also never saw someone drunk at these events. Also, due to an individual who struggled with alcohol abuse who moved in 3 months after I did, we kept NO alcohol in the house whatsoever. Xenos is serious about the requirements for study. Know upfront that once you start attending a homegroup the pressure is ON. By that I mean, you will be expected to attend a small group bible study. Then attend classes. Then homegroup events. Central Teachings that require total time door-to-door of two hours. The list above often takes 4 times that amount or more. If you take any leadership role plan on doubling that again to 16 hrs per week or more. The fact that they don't tell anyone about this phenomena of increasing commitment has led to claims of cultic behavior. Statements by 3 or 4 socalled friends who all of a sudden reach out in a 2 hour time period with the same question, "I wondered if you are taking your "walk" seriously?" It is orchestrated! Dennis will know this info even if he has never met you! He will want a report back. sphere leaders, homegroup leaders, your discipler, and your small bible study group leader will all approach you within a day or two with that same question. If you are fine with those types of group dynamics then by all means go to Xenos. You will learn a lot about the Bible. There are even some Home Group Leaders who act as a buffer and refuse to manipulate their homegroup members. (I was always willing to stand up to Dennis) but few are. And the antics described above still go on regularly. Best of luck. And it is an easy place to check out without any commitments.  (Dec 16, 2015 | post #13)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

I am one of the most outspoken critics of Xenos on this site and was a leader in the mid-1980s . That said Xians post is accurate up to the nothing is hidden part. If he were in leadership he would not in good conscience be able to make that claim. But thousands of parents have great things to say about Xenos youth programs and the school. Claims on this site about severe cultic brainwashing are pure crap. They often stem from over-zealous attempts by teens to share their new-found religious belief with parents who don't want to have that discussion. The teens are pressured by their fellow xenoids to attend often four separate teachings per week which can be an extreme time requirement and is seen by Xenos Leaders as a means of growth not as (read following quote in the voice of a robot), "a way to separate them from parents." Think about time commitment by Catholics attending daily mass (5 hrs per week plus transit).  (Dec 8, 2014 | post #1049)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Why so many details? Why not just say XENOS BAD! Why bore us with circumstances, context, method, theology? Oh ... I would appreciate more on tax policy if you can spare the time. Perhaps a government mandated sign posted in front of the Xenos church that says "You must be 60" to ride this ride." (Little people accepted but not Excepted you still can't attend if you are a dwarf or midget) Or perhaps parents could talk to their kids about oh ...say... How do we get meaning in life? Where did we come from? Where do we go when we die? How should we live our lives? Nah... Just writing that down was exhausting. Let your kids learn from their peers and Cable TV and don't forget the internet. Better go back to the sign idea. Not saying your a bad parent your a bad parent bad parent bad.  (Dec 8, 2014 | post #1048)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Great post! A must read to all on this blog. At Sinclair rd bldg 4 after CT and at the Weber Rd church office conference rm was where the covert (embedded in culture) became overt. The messages were passed out on tape that you swore to never let fall into the hands of a non-leader (you can't make crap up that is this good). I threw out all my old leader's tapes in the late 1980s as I left on great terms and without animosity (precluding the need for evidence and an expose)! The McCallum's and a handful of elders presided over these meetings. One thing was clear, those who didn't attend home group, cell group, central teaching, and discipleship meetings, as well as various workers meetings, were second class citizens who didn't "get it"! I once quipped at a Sinclair rd meeting that these several hundred person leaders meetings looked more like what I imaged a Erhard seminar training meeting to look like (Buddhist cult group in the 1970s for those of you under 50 yrs of age) that a church leadership seminar. Not that were teaching Buddhism (sad that I have to add that comment but lots of people drawing with crayons on this blog). But that they were exercising enormous energy on defining acceptable behaviors and establishing norming protocols. They can again be summed up as what would Dennis do (WWDD). Thx again for your incisive post Former!  (Dec 8, 2014 | post #1047)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Thanks for the current update. Although "old Timer" has tried to poison the wells to first-hand data from 30 years ago, the fact is that you were greatly discouraged from switching groups in the 1980s as well. Home group leaders, sphere leaders, elders and Dennis & Gary were all in discussions about any individual asking to switch groups. Dennis was going to scream at the homegroup leaders for being incompetent, and perhaps even the sphere leader. If the individual was in a cell group the the home group leaders were told to inform the cell group leader to talk (manipulate) the individual to stay in the home group. Once again cell and home group leaders would represent that they knew the specific will of God for the individual who wanted to switch home groups.and guess what, that will was always that the individual stay put. Further, if you stayed or moved it didn't matter because you were consider a to be a "problem " member who had to be austracized until you "got with the program!" I know this because this happenned to a couple individuals in my home group. I encouraged them to go to another group or even another church if they felt the HS calling. After all how arrogant it would be to assume that Xenos was the only church where God was working. You would not believe the tirade that resulted when I shared that at the monthly leaders meeting at Weber Rd. Office conference room. A pattern of abuse and manipulation true of Fishouse in the 1970s, Xenos all through the 1980s, and apparently (according to "Xenoid's " post) still true today.  (Oct 28, 2014 | post #1024)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Well said. Only the Dennis of the 1980s was worse on his best day than Driscoll on his worst. I continue to hold back the worst offenses, as I am one of the few on the site that think that God has not only called him but greatly gifted him (Samson might be a good biblical parallel). That said, many friends worked with him at his paint company in the 1970s and early 1980s. Routinely he would roll paint on them when they didn't move fast enough. He lived a life of great disrespect for the individual. Cussing people out was a regular occurrence. I have also documented physical attacks and threats on people's lives. I would not even be posting on this site except that his DNA has been passed down to many of the leaders and these bad behaviors still pervade. Despite "Old Timer's" claim to have not witnessed any of this behavior in 28 years, I have a friend who just left early in year after experiencing abusive behavior by relatively new home group leaders (albeit that they were in their late thirties). Another friend's teenage daughter was cussed out by the leader of the teen ministry for texting while he taught. Another friend's son was drummed out of a campus ministry house for refusing to manipulate a non-Christian friend to come to OSU (because other college campus ministries were not comparable to Xenos' ministry). Arrogance...Disres pect for the Individual...Manip ulation...flourish to this day. To be fair my oldest daughter was just like ...but then she moved on to preschool and grew out of her bad habits.  (Oct 18, 2014 | post #1015)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

If I defended my claims as well as you do, I too would post as "Anonymous! " Thanks for the catalog of logical fallacies. Particularly good use of the ad hominem argument. Clearly anyone who disagrees with you is being "abused" , "brainwashed ", "obsessed ", "manipulative ", "far-right ", "cultic" . Nice use of logical extension fallacy as well. But your lack of facts and fallacious rant give you away... You must be none other than Rachel Maddow. Come on admit it...if not then by all means put together a promo tape and send it to MSNBC. They would eat this crap up.  (Oct 13, 2014 | post #1013)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Perhaps the most absurd post yet! I was a former home group leader who has posted a couple dozen detailed posts about the typical behavior I witnessed in my 7 yrs of attendance back in the 1980s. No one had ever been kidnapped! No one has ever been brainwashed. Your college-aged child is actually not a child but an adult learning to think for herself. I have pulled no punches condemning the bad practices I saw in the 1980s. That said anyone is able to, not only listen to the teaching (so-called indoctrination), but also see the details of their finances! No churches do this! Certainly not cult groups! How many decades did the Catholic Church hide pedophelia amongst the preists? Both John Paul 2 and Bennedict new about it! In the 1970s and 1980s homosexuality at Students of the Pontifical College (Joshephinum) was over 25% according to one former priest who taught and counseled there. Yet it was shrouded in secrecy and to complain was to be asked to leave. Xenos is much more open than most churches and we need to stop the "just so stories" and stick to the facts. Now if your post said "we raised our child to believe in God, but not take Jesus' claims seriously, and we are ticked off that Xenos is teaching that Jesus should be taken seriously including studying the Biblical claims!" That would be a believable claim! In fact the source of many of the false claims about Xenos is that the Biblical claims are replacing parental arguments from authority. Nothing is so infuriating to a parent than to be shown that their religious tradition turned out to be based on the "traditions of men" not based on the Bible. College-age adults often have this conversation in an abrupt fashion and lacking in tact, but they rightly see themselves as the aggrieved party having been misled by parents about the claims of he Bible. Easy solution to cult-proofing your children: 1.study the Bibles claims 2. Teach those claims to your children 3. Teach your children how to study scripture 4. Teach your children that they, not the church, are responsible to understand, evaluate, and implement truth claims in scripture in their own lives Now for some practical advise (I know I have been beating you up mercilessly): 1. Send an email or letter asking what your daughter is learning. 2. Ask where in scripture it says the things she claims. 3. Study the basis for her claims. 4. Engage in thoughtful converstion about those things. 5. Recognize that "mere" Christianity (the cross-section of beliefs held by Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians) are the only real issues worth debating. Perhaps, like Mike N, you are holding on too tightly to small points of theology that don't matter (the way the Pharasees did in Jesus' time). Even if your daughter is in a dreaded ministry house (as I was for 3 years) what is so wrong with praying with your roommates instead of going out to get drunk and have sex with some guy at a bar as most of her CCAD fellow female students are doing? Getting together studying scripture? Reading books about discipleship? That is what they do in these houses and yet you are inferring kidnapping and brainwashing.  (Oct 13, 2014 | post #1012)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Lol...strike a nerve did I. Read your posts. You are way too upset about minor theological points that don't mean much in terms of how we live our Christian life. Move on already and find a mature loving Christian community. Having been at Xenos for 7 years, the last couple as a home group leader, I have more experience than most on this sight with the exception of "Old Timer." I have pulled no punches in criticizing Xenos and Dennis (or the Dennis I knew in the 1980s). That said I have tried to be even-handed giving them their due. Your continued tirade accompanied by that of "Concerned Brother" seem to focus on facts that either are unimportant (antimonianism...r eally) or an outright misrepresentation of the facts. I get why parents might do this out of fear and ignorance but why the hell are you doing it? Again see the DSM 4 for the answer to that question.  (Oct 8, 2014 | post #1009)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Wow Mike N a few quick questions: Do you find you often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) ? Do you have a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love? Do you believe you are "special " and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)? Do you require excessive admiration? Your comments seem to be that of someone with narcissistic personality disorder. For more explanatory info on your worldview limitations see the DSM 4. What you will find is that emotionally healthy adults don't pick hour-long battles over MINOR points of theology. You find a more legalistic reading of scripture to be the most reasonable, well then go live it and try and compel others who are neutral on the matter. But your name calling is emotionally and intellectually undeveloped. Antimonianism? Are you unfamiliar with what the first church council was about? Not putting Gentiles under the law. Certainly with the church fathers and reformers writings on the purpose of the law just being to point us to the cross, you must struggle just a little to justify yourself by the law "as weak as it was!" Just kidding. Was being a hypocrite because narcissist don't change their view on anything! What makes your post so much more ironic is that Dennis also is a classic narcissist!  (Sep 29, 2014 | post #987)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Step one : understand Jesus' claims about who he was and why he came Step two: decide if there is justification to believe his claims Step three: engage in conversation about steps one and two and how Xenos either supports or twists those claims. Note: there is some hard work required to judge truth claims of a religious nature. But if you care about you sister you will do the work.  (Sep 29, 2014 | post #986)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Although the majority of my remarks have been dispariging of leadership in the 1970s and 1980s, one might reasonable ask, "why on Earth would anyone ever spend one minute longer than they had to, let alone years or decades in such a place?" The answer is that at Xenos people experience deep community at the home and cell group, deep study of scripture and theology, discipleship and evangelism training. These experiences are counter-cultural to American church culture (identified, largely anyways, by Jesus as "luke warm")! The alternatives were so inferior that people would often return to Xenos after months of failed searching for committed Christian community. There are acceptions of course, but rare. My hope was that the eldors, including Gary, would have dealt wth the immaturity of Dennis and demanded of him what they did of home group leaders, namely a baseline maturity in Christ. Dennis' arrogance and manipulation was replicating into a cancer or pride, arrogance, control and manipulation at every level in the 80s. I was hoping that something like gene therapy could have cured Xenos. This gene therapy involves inserting a healthy gene into the genome to replace, or more commonly, mitigate the negative effects of the mutated gene. This would have been as simple as putting Gary as senior pastor and Dennis as teaching pastor. Just as corporations fire founders that stand in the way of progress so to churches should marginalize bad actors who are causing as much damage by their leadership as they are creating good by it. A short leash for several years or until Dennis found even a modicum of Christly humility might have done the trick. However I recognize (probably this one time only), that it is arrogant to presume on God's administration of his church body. Also to build a garden takes skill, creativity, and decades of hard work. To tear that garden down takes a few hours, a chainsaw, no imagination or creativity, no hard work, and little intellect. While Dennis is analogous to the gardener, I am clearly the one with the chainsaw!  (Sep 15, 2014 | post #971)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Think I misunderstood your statement from your earlier post. We're you claiming that you were or are a homegroup leader and have missed your numbers and were treated with respect by Dennis in a similar fashion as I represented in my earlier post? If so then that data would go to the point that Dennis has matured immeasurably. Also if you were in conversation with Dennis where he no longer represented Xenos as the penultimate expression of Christianity. Also I have got to believe that the large leaders meetings must be different as well. Does he reject The old methodology articulated by Martha about how to obfuscate claims of "cult-like " abuse and manipulation? Whether he has or hasn't matured is somewhat moot. Old Timer, in your case it seems clear that the ministry you are involved in is producing fruit. Further, you don't feel abused. I only ask people to consider God maybe calling them to a different church when they have experienced abuse. Enjoy Gary, and mature Dennis, and take the best of Xenos and leave the rest behind.  (Sep 15, 2014 | post #970)

Columbus, OH

Xenos Christian Fellowship is a CULT!

Rich Nathan has never made a negative comparison between Vineyard and another church publically in 35 years that I'm aware of. He could care less why people left Xenos and just wanted to help them with their spiritual journey. So no I don't expect he did the slightest investigation of why there was a mass-exodus. He more likely pointed out all the good things they gained from their Xenos experience (discipleship, evangelism, prayer, bible study, teaching sound doctrine) rather than focusing on their pain and the reasons for them leaving (this was my approach as well as several other ex-xenoids who had left in late 80s or early 90s. Your point on currency of my complaints about Dennis is fair. Although I have posted about abuses of two close friends within the last year that followed the same patterns, neither involved Dennis. Further, I recall posting of an incident that occurred a few years ago where a friend of my daughters was texting during a teaching at Xenos's youth meeting. The leader cornered her after the meeting (several hundred teenagers) and threatened to smash her f'n (he did use the real word not my abreviation) phone if he ever caught her texting during one of the meetings. This is "Vintage Dennis" egomaniacal abusive manipulation. These demonstrate at least some toleration for behavior that would never exist for a minute in most churches accross the world. Finally, your point that we can extend Gary's reputation to infer that he must not have seen the things talked about. This claims seems fallacious. We are using the lack of manipulation in Gary's character traits to prove that he confronted those who are above him in authority. Gary was not known as confrontational. Further one took one's physical safety into account before confronting Dennis in the 1980s. Further the evidence of 1000s of complaints of leadership abuse pointing to Dennis were not ever dealt with. So here, Gary will answer for his complacency to God. That said, Danny never confronted Rich at the Vineyard. And John MacArthur's, Benny Hinn's and Rod Parsley's number two pastors don't appear to be doing much confronting either. Perhaps it is why they were chosen as assistant pastors, they exuded the quality of complacency! So my point about leadership KPIs is this, in order to determine if these types of claims made of Dennis in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, are stilling going on we would need data from a homegroup leader who had Dennis as an overseer. Further they would have to miss their growth numbers, attendance number goals, discipleship goals, etc. to elicit the immature base manipulation that occurred earlier. Further these individuals would have to leave Xenos and find this blog and post. That may be why we don't have the data. Or it may be that Dennis has matured with age which seems reasonable. But even Keith McCallum doesn't deny the tantrums that happened in the seventies,eighties , and early-to-mid nineties. And he has been Dennis' "bulldog " for the last 30 years.  (Sep 15, 2014 | post #969)