Apologetics Index

The Fellowship (Australia)

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The Fellowship is a movement that formed over 50 years ago within the Angelican and Presbyterian churches of Victoria, Australia. The movement is a cult, both sociologically and theologically. [See: Sociological vs. Theological Definitions]

Theologically The Fellowship is a cult of Christianity.

An unusual aspect of The Fellowship is that – rather than separating itself from existing churches – the movement grew within the churches its followers were part of.

Christian history is full of breakaway Protestant sects that seek to live by strict rules of purity. It’s a rarity when such a group actually exists within a mainstream church as an exclusive enclave. That’s the story of The Fellowship, which began over 50 years ago within the Anglican and Presbyterian communities of Victoria.

They looked like everyone else, but they lived by a different rule, because they believed they walked in the light. About ten years ago, The Fellowship came to dominate selected Presbyterian congregations in Melbourne, which alarmed sections of the church. There were allegations of exclusivism, hurtful practices like shunning, as well as an overbearing doctrine of personal sin.
– Source: The Fellowship, Inside Out, Transcript. The Spirit of Things, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia,
Dec. 18, 2006 Transcript

The Presbyterian Church has excommunicated all 15 elders of one of its largest Melbourne congregations because of their conduct as members of a cult known as the Fellowship.

At 2.15am on Thursday, the Presbytery of Melbourne East dismissed the session (group of elders) of Trinity, Camberwell, and removed them from membership of the Presbyterian Church in Australia.

The Fellowship is a secretive cult operating inside the church, whose members usually deny it exists. Victims say it maintains strong control over members.

Church leaders have tried to tackle the Fellowship for years. Former Trinity minister Robert Humphreys first complained to the presbytery in 1989. In 1998 the state assembly produced a booklet, Fractured Fellowship, attacking Fellowship teachings. In 2002 it dislodged the group from the Mount Evelyn Church.

Mr Humphreys’ story and that of other victims was described in a bookFractured Families, the Story of a Melbourne Church Cult — by Morag Zwartz in November 2004, which first exposed the Fellowship as a cult and named the leaders.
– Source: Church excommunicates 15 for cult membership, The Age, Australia, Feb. 25, 2006

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First published (or major update) on Friday, February 24, 2006.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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