Christian Educational Services
Christian Educational Services
First posted: Sep. 1, 1996
One of several splinter groups of The Way International.
Christian Educational Services (CES) has maintained a good deal of influence with ex-Way members. CES deals with people who are suspicious, angry and disdain organized religion because they were disillusioned by TWI and its president, whom they felt was "the man of God." To make headway with them, CES must emphasize that it is entirely different from TWI, even while it retains the "Truth" of the Word of God its audience learned in TWI.
(...) Outside the topic of authority, CES is like TWI in many important ways. It is ironic that the book STTIL [Speaking The Truth In Love] which was intended to show the uniqueness of CES actually reveals how very much CES is like TWI.
First, even the name CES shows how similar CES' thrust is to the purposes of TWI.
Second, the core teachings, or doctrine, of CES and TWI are the same.
In fact, STTIL does not list any CES teaching with which TWI would disagree.
(...) Like TWI, CES teaches ''one God''(an anti-Trinitarian view of God), holds that Jesus Christ is lord but has no Divine nature, distinguishes between ''the Holy Spirit'' (another name for God the Father, as Dick is another name for Richard) and ''holy spirit'' (a believer’s own spirit which God creates in him when he is born again), rejects water baptism, and opposes church ceremony including Holy Communion. It holds that the soul ceases to exist at death (similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses).
(...) Third, they have a common view of church history.
Both CES and TWI believe that the Church went into widespread apostasy and heresy by the time the Apostle John died at the end of the first century. By that time, most all Christians had rejected true doctrine (which CES and TWI now teach) and substituted false and pagan teachings, like those believed by Christians today.
(...) Fourth, CES and TWI share the same idea of their group’s place in history.
Since everyone who has ever claimed to be Christian is, in fact, in the dark (the truth is “totally obscured” by tradition), those in CES and TWI are the only people in the last 1,900 years to have the truth. Like most cults, they think that God has been so weak that only a few thousand people in the last 1,900 years (most of whom are alive today) understand the truth.
(...) Fifth, they claim not to be a church or denomination, yet act just like one.
(...) Sixth, CES is steeped in TWI tradition and style (and doesn’t notice it). (...) The items listed above show the close similarities between TWI and CES. Other similar traditions they have include: their stated purpose, specific Bible interpretations (for instance, teaching that Christ was crucified with four, not two, criminals), emphasis on figures of speech, structure, dependence on regional conferences, audio tapes and classes, rejection of tradition, and so forth. As a whole, CES relates more to TWI/ex-TWI people than it does to the Christian Church, and the Christian Church recognizes that CES has more in common with TWI than with the Church. If there weren’t a TWI, there wouldn’t be a CES.
(...) CES attracts ex-Way members not because it is unlike TWI, but because it is so much like TWI. In fact, every Christian group is much more different from TWI than is CES. But ex-Way members feel comfortable in CES because it is so much like TWI in teaching, style, structure, personnel, terminology and thought. TWI emphasizes the ''renewing of the mind.'' This unique Way mindset which TWI cultivates in its adherents also resides in CES to a great extent.
(...) CES believes itself to be far different from TWI. While Christians can appreciate some differences, we need to be discerning enough to see how the central character and teachings of CES is still very much like TWI. Therefore, we must steer ex-Way members away from CES, and take advantage of opportunities to share the truth of God's Word with both groups.
Christian Educational Services (Official Site)
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