The first time people from the Branch Davidians came to our church they seemed inoffensive enough. Dressed in their black suits and carrying several EGW books they arrived early and joined a Sabbath school class (and promptly took it over). I found out from another colleague how they had to discipline several members because of the work of these people. They don’t do evangelism. They prey on your people. We asked them not to return, to no avail so we had them removed by authorities. It caused a bit of a stir and even some push back. We lost no members.
According to what I hear literally every week we have three major groups (there are more) that present insidious content and bring trauma to the church.
1. 2520 Prophecy http://the2520.com/
2. Branch Davidians/Shepherds Rod
3. Jesus was created. (I know its not the right name, but you know what I mean)
1. Pastor bad. Church bad. Us good.
2. We are the only ones that have new light.
3. Usually have a leader that can’t be questioned.
4. Use Ellen White to prove their point.
What to do:
1. Past history. Look and ask where they came from. 90% of the time, they had issues there.
2. Get on it early. It will get awkward and messy. Your choice is awkward and messy now for a bit or later with more victims, pain, and loss. Start interceding early so God exposes the lies.
3. Stop being Jesus. Let me ask you a question. Have you heard all those testimonies of people in these groups that because of the pastor’s work changed course? Yeah, me either. Some have. Sure. However, I do not want to live my life making decisions as if I am always the exception to the rule. Usually they are good leaders so you wonder what could have been if they would just change. They will not. God hasn’t been able to, but you can? Ok.
4. Inform your leadership and church administration. Do this early and often. Stop trying to fix everything without letting your administration know. One thing administrations hate is surprises when the bomb has already detonated and they have to come in and clean the mess.
5. Invite guests. Use your conference officials, seminary professors and university teachers to teach the church on these things. You won’t save everyone, but you will save many undecided.
6. Preach solid, biblical, Adventist sermons. They will still criticize them but reasonable people will see the lies. (you should have been doing this anyway)
7. Ask them to leave, especially the Shepherd’s Rod. Church is not a public space. The earlier you do this the better.
Roger Hernandez is the Ministerial and Evangelism Director for the Southern Union Conference