What is The Family?


Posted by Matt Postiff December 29, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Cults, Etc. 

I was in the parking lot of a store this afternoon and was approached by a young man who asked me if I would take some literature about God's love and Jesus. I looked at it--a full color brochure of several pages--and asked him what it was about. He said he was a missionary from "The Family." When I questioned him about his belief in Christ and salvation by faith alone, he seemed to say some true things. When said that I was a pastor and I indicated that I would look at their website and find out more information, he wanted me to give them a donation (even a small one, he said) to offset the cost of printing the brochure. I declined, and he wanted the brochure back, and instead gave me a little piece of paper with a message supposedly from God on it. The message emphasized God's love but says nothing about sin or Jesus' death or repentance. Jesus is simply the "key" to eternal life that one needs to receive to get in at the end of one's road.

I looked them up on the Internet at www.thefamily.org. They are known officially as The Family International and call themselves a Fellowship of Independent Missionary Communities. Their doctrinal statement looks fairly evangelical upon a first glance. However, they have a number of peculiar beliefs which the reader can find here. The beliefs of note are:

  • "A believer receives a measure of the Holy Spirit when he accepts Jesus." The Baptism of the Holy Spirit "may be freely obtained by all believers who simply ask God for it, and that it is often given after the scriptural ‘laying on of hands' of other believers." It is apparently not immediately done to all believers, as 1 Cor. 12:13 teaches.
  • They believe that all the spiritual gifts are operative today, including, "wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, and prophecy." All the gifts may be "freely exercised in the congregation by both male and female members."
  • They believe that the gift of prophecy should be a daily exercise for believers.
  • They believe that physical healing is provided for in the atonement and that God desires to restore to health those who believe in Him. (They do believe it is acceptable to seek medical assistance.)
  • "God also uses the spirits of departed believers to minister to and deliver messages to His people."
  • They apparently do not believe in water baptism. It is not listed alongside of the Lord's Table as an ordinance.
  • They believe in the post-tribulation rapture of the church, meaning that believers will go through the Tribulation.
  • They believe in communal living.

One can see by perusing our website that we do not hold to these beliefs. We believe all true saints are indwelt and baptized by the Holy Spirit upon conversion; that revelatory and other miraculous spiritual gifts have ceased in this age; that physical healing is something we may request from God but cannot expect it simply on the basis of our faith nor on the basis of Jesus' immutability and that he healed many in his earthly sojourn. We do not believe that departed spirits come back to bring us messages. Those cases in the Scripture where this occurred are extremely rare and out of the ordinary. We believe in water baptism for born-again believers; and in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church.

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