Monday, December 29, 2008

Who is this Jesus Mark Duke Teaches and Preaches? A Different Jesus From the Bible, That's Who!

What does Mark Duke and the House of God really teach about Jesus Christ, and why does it matter?

Click the Play Button above to hear Mark Duke preaching to The House of God and the Freedom Foundation about Jesus and God the Father and faith. From sermon recorded 2/20/2004.

Click the Play Button above to hear House of God and Freedom Foundation member Matt Skelton, speaking about Jesus "overcoming" and not being God. From sermon recorded 12/12/2006.

Analysis and commentary coming soon...

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Cult? Are you sure? Yes - it's a Different Jesus and a Different Gospel and Ohh So Much More....

I have, and will continue to publicly claim that the House of God is a cult. But what is a cult? Below are concise and professionally accepted definitions of cults. And yes, Mark Duke's church, the House of God, is a cult. Mark Duke and its leaders proclaim a different Jesus and gospel from the biblically orthodox and historical Christian Faith.

Additionally, this group falls in line, to some degree, with each of the ten traits listed below. Evidence of connection with these traits will be discussed in future posts.

Click the Play Button above to hear Deborah Layton - "Nobody Joins a Cult" audio clip from the PBS Documentary DVD - Jonestown: Life and Death of Peoples Temple
© copyright 2007 WGBH Educational Foundation and Firelight Media

The following general definitions related to cults are excerpted from the book, The Concise Guide to Today's Religions and Spirituality, © copyright 2007 by Watchman Fellowship, Inc.:

The term cult comes from the Latin word cultus, which is found in English and agrarian terms such as cultivation and the word culture. The root is also used in a religious context to refer to any system of belief and worship. In a Christian context, the word is used to denote an inauthentic alternative to the Christian faith. That usage can probably be traced to the early twentieth-century with Ernst Troeltsch’s The Social Teaching of the Christian Church, in which he defined a cult as a mystical religion that appeals to the intelligentsia.

The term cult has also evolved in the work of psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists, who frequently use the word to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines.

Another usage for the word cult is found in the secular cult-awareness movement – sometimes referred to as the anti-cult movement. The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA – formerly the American Family Foundation) of Bonita Springs, Florida, is an interdisciplinary network of academicians, professionals, former group members, and families who study and educate the public about religious groups and cults.

Specifically, they provide information about social-psychological influence and control, authoritarianism, and zealotry found in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments. They use the word cult within the context of the following ten traits:

1. Submission to Leadership - Leaders tend to exert absolute control, frequently portraying themselves as prophets of God (or even God Himself). Such individuals demand submission even if changes or conflicts occur in ideology or behavior.

2. Polarized Worldview – Cults usually view the outside world through a paradigm of existential conflict, in which the group must be isolated from the hostile and contaminated world outside.

3. Emphasizing Emotion Over Thought – Emotions, intuitions, and mystical insights are typically given priority over rational conclusions.

4. Emotional Manipulation – Cult leaders frequently manipulate group and interpersonal dynamics to influence responses. (This type of manipulation may be very subtle and take the form of questions or suggestions that evoke emotional responses such as fear, guilt or a false sense of obligation designed to trigger compliance with the leaders’ desires.)

5. Denigration of Critical Thinking – Some cults characterize any independent thought as selfish and rational use of intellect as evil.

6. Restrictive Soteriology – Salvation, enlightenment, or fulfillment can only be realized in the group.

7. Situational Ethics – Any action or behavior is justifiable as long as it furthers the group’s goals. The group (or leader) determines absolute truth, which then supersedes all outside juridical laws.

8. Preeminence of the Group – The group’s concerns typically supersede an individual’s goals, needs aspirations, and concerns. Tremendous pressure is exerted upon individual members to conform to the norms of the group.

9. Condemnations of Apostates and Critics – Members are frequently allowed no contact with former members or critics of the group. This prohibition is often even levied against members who make critical comments of the group or its leaders.

10. Isolation from Nonmembers – Contact with nonmembers, even family, is frequently restricted to proselytic encounters.

Some Christian Definitions:

Cult: In addition to the usages mentioned above, mainstream Christians often define a cult as a group who presents an inauthentic form of Christianity that seriously deviates from the essential doctrines of classical Christianity. In most cases, the group in question claims to be Christian or compatible with Christianity but the organization’s aberrant beliefs concerning central doctrines of the faith result in the group be classified as unorthodox or cultic. In this sense, the term cult primarily has a doctrinal or theological meaning and could be used to describe pseudo-Christian groups or forms of counterfeit Christianity. Most often, Watchman Fellowship uses this theological meaning when using the word cult.

For almost 30-years at Watchman Fellowship, we have used the following “mathematical formula” to identify four patterns often evident in the cults in terms of theological deviation:

1. Addition – Pseudo-Christian groups often add to Scripture, either by introducing additional works to the canon of Scripture (e.g., the Book of Mormon), receiving additional “revelations” from God (e.g., the apocalyptic revelations of the Branch Davidians’ David Koresh), or declaring that the Bible cannot be understood apart from the indispensable literature or teaching of the group (e.g., the reliance of Jehovah’s Witnesses upon literature from the Watchtower Society). See Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18

2. Subtraction - Pseudo-Christian groups subtract from the humanity of Christ (e.g., the Gnostic heresy) or the deity of Jesus Christ, either through an Arian denial of His deity (e.g., the Jehovah’s Witnesses) or by claiming that all humans are either gods or united with God (e.g., New Age devotees who attempt to achieve Christ-consciousness). See 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.

3. Multiplication - Pseudo-Christian groups multiply the requirements for salvation, teaching that Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross and resurrection is not sufficient. Good works, law keeping and earning favor are also required for one to receive eternal life – rather than salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (e.g., the sabbatarian groups who require observance of Jewish Sabbaths, dietary laws, tithing, etc., as preconditions for receiving eternal life). See Galatians 1:6-8; 2:16.

4. Division - Pseudo-Christian groups often divide their followers’ loyalties by teaching that one cannot be loyal to God without being loyal to their leader, group, or organization. This characteristics, sometimes called the “only true church syndrome,” leads followers to believe that there is no salvation outside of that organization or leader. This creates another “mediator between God and men” besides Jesus. This condition often results in the worst kind of spiritual abuse, as followers feel they must stay and endure whatever the group demands because there is no salvation elsewhere. See 1Timothy 2:5.

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The Main Thing - Exposing Mark Duke and the House of God

Hello, my name is Allan McConnell, and this is the first of many posts related to the cultic doctrines and practices of a church known as the House of God (Parker, Colorado and Selma, Alabama), its founder Mark S. Duke and other leaders.

The "Spiritual Rights Movement," the House of God's bizarre effort to recreate the United States Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's from a spiritual perspective and its ancillary organization the Freedom Foundation will also be discussed.

The main purpose of this blog is to expose the true teachings of the House of God, thereby encouraging Christians to respond to its spiritual error and abuse by speaking the Truth in Love.

My prayer is that concerned individuals and family members will see the need and develop the desire to get their loved ones free from the spiritual danger that exists with this group.

Initially, I am not allowing readers to post responses that will be shown publicly, but I may revise that policy as time goes on. I will however, accept and respond to comments - both pro and con - sent to me at

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