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It is a cult, both theologically and sociologically. Theologically it is a cult of Christianity -- and as such cannot be considered to be Christian in nature.
Brisbane Christian Fellowship operates branches under various names -- usually including the name 'Christian Fellowship' along with the name of the place where the church is located.
Branches include, but are not limited to:
The Brisbane Christian Fellowship (sometimes known as BCF), and other related “Christian Fellowships” e.g. Stanthorpe Christian Fellowship, Sydney Christian Fellowship and Melbourne Christian Fellowship are a Christian sect. They have teachings which run counter to the clear teaching of the Word of God. They believe the only alternative to death for those who do not join with them in their doctrines and practices is to “deny the Lord”.
The Christian Fellowship denomination believes God has just one true Church in every town and city to which he is calling all Christians. Only those who join themselves to this true Church will be made perfect, as Christ himself, before Christ comes again.
“... if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).
The above statement is relevant to our discussion. If righteousness could be gained through belonging to the Christian Fellowship denomination, then Christ died for nothing. Christians need to be on guard against error. The apostle Paul warned the Galatians not to turn to another gospel, “which is really no gospel at all...” (1:7). Jesus warned, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matt. 7:15). To the casual observer they appear to be harmless, but they are far from harmless if they get their way.
The apostle Paul warned, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30).
The distortion of the truth by BCF, has the effect of drawing many people after themselves in a spirit of fear. They dare not leave BCF because of the fear that they may not be purified ready for the coming of Christ. Christians need to carefully study the Word of God so as not to be deceived by those who distort the truth.
The truth sets us free (John 8:32). The truth is that we can not stand before God with the righteousness which is required of Him by attending a particular Church or denomination; nor by involvement in a particular movement, no matter how extraordinary the claims which it might make for itself. We can only stand safe and secure in the presence of God on judgment day through the work of Christ; through his righteousness, not our own.
- Source: Who are the Brisbane Christian Fellowship? by David Holden
Former cult members have spoken out to warn others of a Brisbane church they say is emotionally abusing its followers.
Former followers have told ABC’s Four Corners program, to air tonight, the Brisbane Christian Fellowship, in the north Brisbane suburb of Stafford, was ripping apart families under a veil of secrecy.
They said elders, including leader Victor Hall, made all members’ decisions and drove wedges between couples, siblings and parents and children to create fear and control followers.
Followers are banished if they disobey directions.
The church is linked to others worldwide, including the Melbourne Christian Fellowship, and has been operating under different names in Australian since the 1950s.
- Source: Ex-cult members speak out over abuse, AAP, via News.com.au (Australia), June 23, 2008, quoted at Religion News Blog
In opinion of the publishers of Apologetics Index the Brisbane Christian Fellowship is:
In other words, we consider the Brisbane Christian Fellowship to be an abusive church, both theologically and sociologically.
Does this Church accurately preach the gospel as revealed in the Bible? Does this Church accept the Bible as supreme over every other authority under God, and a complete, final and sufficient revelation from Him? Does it accept another revelation at odds with the final and complete revelation? Does this Church accept the ranking on doctrine which Christ gave us. “‘... ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matt. 22:37-40), or does it reject Christians who do not adhere to certain minor doctrines and practices?
My research indicates that BCF fails the above test. I invite you to read the article with a Bible to check what I have written. All things must be measured against the word of God (Acts 17:11).
This is the story of a Pentecostal church that emerged in Melbourne in the 1950s and has developed into a nationwide perfectionist cult damaging hundreds of lives. Its cruel and divisive approach to the Christian gospel was highlighted in an ABC Four Corners documentary aired in June 2008.
The benign sounding Melbourne Christian Fellowship, Brisbane Christian Fellowship, etc will woo you with their fine music, embrace you into their 'family of families', but then introduce you to their peculiar brand of gnosticism mixed with perfectionism.
Leaving may cost you everything
- Source: Publisher's book description
Morag has done a good job of exposing the abuse and theological errors of this group. The extreme authoritarianism and intrusion into families that she writes about, especially at BCF, is just awful. Having left 'Immanuel' in Melbourne when I was 10 years old, I have had no direct experience with them as a group since then, although I have heard similar stories of people who have left MCF. It is a very sad story overall and I trust that the book will help bring these people to account, help those who are still trapped in this cult, and give hope and healing to those who have already left.
- Source: Review by Mark Conner
Four Corners has presented several reports dealing with emotional abuse by other church groups such as the Exclusive Brethren. Despite exposure, some groups persist in doing harm – while governments and mainstream churches are loathe to interfere.
Chris Masters' compelling report asks whether some self-proclaimed houses of God really deserve the freedom and protection they are getting.
Our primary focus is restoration – the restoration of the individual, the family, the church and the community according to God’s purpose. We believe that we can be restored as we hear and heed God’s word from true messengers.
This means that we are committed to the restoration of the church to its original vitality – in terms of true discipleship, vibrant growth, genuine unity and life-changing power.
 About Us, Brisbane Christian Fellowship. Last accessed Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 2:25 PM CET
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