A WOLF AMONG THE FLOCK
Matthew 7:15-16 says“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grape from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (NLT)
My home received a very unsettling phone call tonight. This is not the first time these people have contacted us. They called the house last night and place a flyer on my door a few days ago. All bearing the heretical message insisting we are all doomed to eternal damnation without the enlightenment of his particular church.
This “church” belongs to “The Right Way to Follow Christ Church and Political Party” (but I have nicknamed it “Hellfire Church”) and it has taken root in my small hometown of Rosamond, California. These alleged cultists have insulted enough of the people in my community that it prompted this news article.
After vigorous study on Hellfire Church, all I was able to uncover was a YouTube video reciting a very dull introduction, the news article, and a picture of the same flyer left at my door. There is in fact a website and Facebook page, but they are completely inaccessible to nonmembers.
For the sake of my research, I was tempted to sign up. However, I didn’t want to compromise my own ministry by associating my good name with this awful message.
Not only is it a complete contradiction of how a real church should minister, but it is also a massive red flag indicating that this is nothing more than a scam.
In fact, there are several indicators that Hellfire Church is more of a scam than a church:
No official phone number or address.
There is no contact information on either their website or their Facebook page. In fact, there is no information available anywhere online. According to their flyer, they don’t have a building. They hold their sermons in Rosamond Park.
I am not even an official member of the church I’ve been attending for the past four years. Personally, I don’t believe in church memberships.
While it is true that, churches offer membership to their attendees, churches still FREELY provide many resources and opportunities to non-member attendees. The fact that Hellfire Church blocks any access to even view their website unless they sign up for “free membership” is so far from Christian, I don’t even know where to begin.
It is the mere fact that they need to mention “free” that is especially scammy. It means they intend to charge people for something else. However, I can’t imagine how anyone would want anything they have to offer.
Automated Phone Calls.
We’ve all received unwanted phone calls from people making unwanted sales pitches. Sometimes, they don’t even have the decency to give us the ability to request not to be bothered again. Instead, we are stuck listening through an entire recording before we can press 2. It’s an insulting waste of time.
The phone call my husband received was no better. It was a cowardly recording of this pastor basically saying, “You’re going to Hell. Visit this website find out more.”
No ability to ask questions. No ability to press 2. No ability to say “Your hate message is not welcome in my home.” Of course, I wouldn’t want to personally face anyone after spewing such a hostile message either.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a complete contradiction of the message given by a loving God? We should be able to proudly shout it from the rooftops. Be available to answer questions and offer support. Earn trust with the community. Develop meaningful, lasting relationships.
Not Hellfire Church:
A blocked website.
Flyers on our doors.
Threats on our phones.
The only promise of human interaction is in a small park once a week.
The only goal of a scammer is to get money by any means necessary. Harassment, intimidation, even threats. They are shameless, and they leave more people angry than they do intimidated.
I can’t think of anything more shameless than the message of Hellfire Church. It is also insulting to the intelligence of my community. Most of all, it is desperate, so desperate it’s sad. It has made a lot of people angry and eager to avoid that little park like the plague.
This entire experience has been odd and insulting. However, I am not angry. What I feel is great concern that people will fall for this heresy. That this is the impression unsaved souls will associate with the Christian name. This is not the kind of behavior that comes from a true house of God and true followers of Christ.
True followers of Christ are able to own their messages. True followers understand that God is Love. True followers are able to embody that love.
Residents of Rosamond, I urge you not to be fooled by this wolf in sheep’s clothing. I am ashamed to associate myself with Hellfire Church, its leaders, and any followers it may attract.
I also pray for them. I pray their message crumbles. I pray that not a single person falls for their heresy. I pray that they one day see the light and the error of their ways. I pray they experience God’s true message of love and openness.
God is Love.
Any person who contradicts that message is His enemy.