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Richard Byrum

Christian Fellowship and Research (CFNR)

106 posts in this topic

I am not a part of the way but am a member of a spin-off called Christian Fellowship and Research (CFNR). It was founded by John Hendricks. All i have been able to find out about the group is that Hendricks at one point was a part of the way and saw it as his mission to continue the work of Dr Weirwille(sp?). Anyways any information anyone might have on him would be greatly appreciated as I am considering joining it and have heard alot of iffy stuff about the way. is this group safe, or just the way with another name?

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Richard,

Welcome to Gspot and I applaud you for wanting to do a little background check on any group that you are considering "joining."

I have never attended any of their fellowships, but I am an "expert" on the way (does 28 years in count?)

I knew John and his wife and I think they are personally decent people, and they THINK they are serving God in their own hearts.

THAT SAID..................their entire doctrine is based on and copied over from A CULT. Their foundation in the bible comes from what they learned from A CULT. Their structure, and teaching styles come from what they learned in A CULT. At this point in time, I hope you are asking yourself.......if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.....how can it BE anything other than a DUCK????

There are a couple of books that are available for you to read........THE CULT THAT SNAPPED, and the SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL PERSUASION, both books are a MUST READ before you make your decision, just so you know within yourself that you looked at both sides of the issue. And, here at gspot, there are many, many people whose lives and stories are great resources.

Good Luck in your search Richard.

Radar

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Richard,

I agree with what Radar said. Personally, I don't want anything to do with any part of offshoot of The Way. Anyone who feels they need to finish the works of Dr. Wierwille makes me gag.

I am sure there are several good people in that group. I sold some of my Way books to a guy who is part of it and was never in The Way. He seemed like a nice guy and seemed really caring. But there are many still in The Way who could fit that description also.

I was in The Way for 20 years. I believed all they taught without wavering until the last few years.

You are smart to check it out beforehand. If you have a friend involved who witnessed to you, would they still be your friend if you decide the group is not for you? You may ask them that. Also, do you notice if they have an attitude of "Nobody has the truth like we've been taught." That is a sure sign of a cult IMHO.

Take care and good luck.

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I am not a part of the way but am a member of a spin-off called Christian Fellowship and Research (CFNR). It was founded by John Hendricks. All i have been able to find out about the group is that Hendricks at one point was a part of the way and saw it as his mission to continue the work of Dr Weirwille(sp?). Anyways any information anyone might have on him would be greatly appreciated as I am considering joining it and have heard alot of iffy stuff about the way. is this group safe, or just the way with another name?

I recall John Hendricks from 1983-84 in Charlotte NC and regarded him then a genuinely nice guy.

Don't know much about the status of his group after he passed away awhile ago.

Danny

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Just my opinion, but it seems a tad bit injudicious to make a ruling on someone's "ministry" because of the organization they were a part of decades ago. After all, he left the cult.

I was raised Catholic, but I now am involved in a Methodist church. No one holds my background against me. Thank goodness. ;)

If you want personal testimonials on John Hendrick's organization in particular, I don't know that you will find them here, Richard.

I wish you the best.

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My good friend is a member of that fellowship. I know that John did not adhere strictly to all that DR Weirwille taught. He reworked things and greatly encouraged people to go to the Word and figure things out on their own. My friend has been a member of that fellowship for at least 11 years and I believe that the fellowship is sweet.

Bottom line - take things slow and be ready to speak up if you dont' get or trust something. I don't see anything wrong with getting involved with any group as long as you are willing to not turn your brain off.

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Anyways any information anyone might have on him would be greatly appreciated as I am considering joining it and have heard alot of iffy stuff about the way. is this group safe, or just the way with another name?

Richard -- welcome to GreaseSpot. :)

Radar has excellent advice. You're smarter than I was (research first, join later)

when I got involved with twi (the way international).

Fyi -- they hang on to some of Wierwille's teaching, but a lot of it has been

thrown out and a lot of other stuff is being taught in it's place.

So if you do join, you won't find much of what John H. was interested in. (imo)

If you like ~~~

being micro-managed

being told who you can and cannot talk to

being required to go to fellowship pert near every day of the week;

being required to *give* at least 15% of your income;

being required to stay out of debt;

being required to sell your house (house payments = debt in their eyes);

being required to drive to Headquarters for Sunday fellowship

(if you live within a 250 mile radius);

being part of an outfit that is imploding

being part of fake smiles, and hollow God-Bless-You's ---

Then The Way is for you.

John 4:23 ~~~

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father

in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.

IMO --- twi doesn't seek such, they seek suckers to add as *feathers in their cap*.

Oh -- and by the way -- They don't include Jesus in their teachings. Rarely talk about God (these days), but rather promote their heavy handed doctrine to those folks who are unfortunate enough to be in attendance.

It is all about them. Again (imho) they are using God as a meal ticket

for those folks in authority in the top echelons of twi.

And ya better be careful what you say, if you get in.

They have a habit of tossing out loyal followers without a moment's notice,

if you dare to think for yourself, and ask a question or two.

Not being facetious here either (ask just about anyone here,

about their experiences with *the org*)

Still want to join?? ;)

God bless ya though, for posing an honest questiion.

Seek, and ye shall find

David

Edited by dmiller
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Richard: Welcome to Greasespot Cafe. I was in the Way 18 yrs and John Hendricks CRF ministry 5 yrs. Yes, the format is very much like the Way. If you've been to fellowships and are comfortable with the people and the format you might as well see where it leads you. The reason I no longer go to a fellowship for CRF is because of problems with local leadership, not because of John Hendricks or anything he taught. What part of the country are you from?

quote: I don't see anything wrong with getting involved with any group as long as you are willing to not turn your brain off.

IMO there are people at Greasespot who are just as guilty of "turning off their brain".

Edited by johniam
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Richard,

I spent a lot of time with John and Mary Ann during the 2 years were we all in Greenville, NC in the late 70's. Rochelle was their only child at that time. Mary Ann was a lovely person, and John was a great teacher. However, I found him to often be arrogant, callous, and chauvinistic on a personal level. He put down women a lot. Once remarked that all women were the same, so he found one that was good looking and rich to marry; he wasn't saying it as a joke, he was quite serious. His demeanour may have changed greatly once he left twi, however.

I still study and appreciate the teachings of Dr. Wierwille. They hold many truths to help you learn how to study and understand the Bible, incorporate it practically into your everyday life, and build a solid foundation for an intimate relationship with God.

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johniam - just to be clear - I was saying that it is important to keep asking questions and to keep thinking - no matter what the circumstances. ( keep thinking= NOT turning off the brain)

My experience has been that if you ask questions - the answers and the answer-ers let you know a lot about the group.

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quote: johniam - just to be clear - I was saying that it is important to keep asking questions and to keep thinking - no matter what the circumstances. ( keep thinking= NOT turning off the brain)

I agree. I wanted to address the turn off the brain part and it was your quote but I do agree that people have a right to ask questions.

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I agree. I wanted to address the turn off the brain part and it was your quote but I do agree that people have a right to ask questions.

Thanks for that, John.

I also never assumed that asking questions meant *turning off the brain,*. :)

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All i have been able to find out about the group is that Hendricks at one point was a part of the way and saw it as his mission to continue the work of Dr Wierwille.

I don't know Hendricks. However, the more time I spend here,

the more complete a picture I am able to form of who and what

Dr Wierwille was, both on and off camera.

Therefore, any time I hear someone say

"this man considers it his mission to continue the work of Dr Wierwille",

my first response is to reply

"RUN!!!!!

RUN LIKE THE WIND AND DON'T LOOK BACK!"

(If you want more information on vpw himself-Dr Wierwille-

I can direct you to the 2 "Wonderland" threads,

which reveal an amazing level of details about the man.)

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Wierwille, Taught false doctrine. He taught it for his own self edification not to help people IMHO. I don't know anything about John Hendricks. If it has anything to do with the the way international as far as doctrine I would say run the other way as fast as you can. The off shoots from the way international follow so much of the destructive doctrine. It is to control you and get your money.

If you do check it out:

Keep your brain operating as so many has said. Ask a lot of questions and see where that gets you. Be prepared to leave. I would not waste my time.

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Richard, welcome to GSC. Raf will be along with the coffee and Belle your waitress will be serving danish.

Rochelle now is the president of Christian Research and Fellowship, living in Destin,FL while Lin Michaelsen

operates in Marietta,GA. John's matterial seems to be a re-working of Victor Paul Wierwille's writings, which in turn were plagarized writings of John Nelson Darby, George William Scolfield, Ruben Archer Torrey(associated with Dwight Moody), Ethelbert W. Bullinger, Arthur Larkin, Edward William Kenyon, etc. John's CD teachings make it sound that CRF was facing political scrutiny from FL and GA on money laudering accusations. Mary Ann Daly Hendricks came from Moravian background(family also at times were members of Augsburg Lutheran Church and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem before joining The Way International). I hold no grudge against them, but they do not seem interested in other legitimate non-denominational video bible classes (no money payment) like Alpha; Beginings; Christian Beleiver; Essential Bible Truth Treasury/Open Home, Open Bible; Beta; Live Worth Living; Challenging Lifestyle; Heart of Revival; Servant Evangelism; Crossways/Divine Drama. etc. which your local denomination can hold without money being exchanged. In other words, free books/materials, free meals, free childcare.

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Welcome, Richard!

As promised, here are the fresh baked cinnamon rolls today. Please, help yourself. :)

I don't know a thing about John Hendricks, but I do know a bit about TWI and I would never get involved with a group that bases their doctrine on the things taught by TWI, but that's a personal decision. You may agree with the things they teach, believe and stand for. I don't like the way they treat people. I don't agree with how they run their business - and yes, it IS a business.

Things I would ask:

- How does VP Wierwille and TWI doctrine fit into what they teach?

- Do they open their financial records to the membership? If not, why?

- How do they handle people who disagree with the doctrine they teach?

- How do they handle questions about the organization and doctrinal issues?

- What do they teach on money, debt, the tithe, being saved, speaking in tongues?

- How much do they get involved with people's lives?

- How often is one expected to attend their meetings?

- What are the requirements for leadership?

- What are the checks and balances in place to avoid just one or three people making all the decisions?

- What are the "rules" (spoken and unspoken) for membership?

- Do they even have "membership"? If not, run - run away very quickly!

In general, I would read "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" and I would keep my eyes open, my brain in gear and ask lots of questions..... I do that with every church/religious group I visit. I've found one I like, respect and trust, but I'm not going to be lulled into sleep or busied into not being able to think again - not intentionally, anyway. ;)

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quote: I would keep my eyes open, my brain in gear and ask lots of questions..... I do that with every church/religious group I visit.

Somehow I can't picture anyone questioning a catholic priest like that.....for very long. Or any other minister.

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Somehow I can't picture anyone questioning a catholic priest like that.....for very long. Or any other minister.

Then you haven't tried. :) I have and was met with respect and a genuinely nice, eduational conversation. They know that 100% of their congregation doesn' agree with 100% of what they teach and they are okay with that - unlike TWI where you're excommunicated if you don't agree and submit details of your life and proof that you do.

My friend, Mark, has been exemplary in his character and representation of the Catholic church, which is more than I can say for most (not all) of the people on here who still hold to TWI doctrine.

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quote: Things I would ask:

- How does VP Wierwille and TWI doctrine fit into what they teach?

Quite substantially.

- Do they open their financial records to the membership? If not, why?

No. Why should they? Do you ask the gas station attendant where the money you paid for gas goes?

- How do they handle people who disagree with the doctrine they teach?

They is one leader at a time. The one I was familiar with politely tried to work with the people. A year ago when my wife and I were church shopping we told an assoc. pastor we didn't believe Jesus was God. He wasn't as willing to work with us as the John Hendricks guy was with HIS questioners.

- How do they handle questions about the organization and doctrinal issues?

The same way.

- What do they teach on money, debt, the tithe, being saved, speaking in tongues?

Not what Martindale teaches. More like TWI pre Martindale with a few new wrinkles. For example, JH teaches that all giving of money is under what he calls the 'law of giving and receiving', that ANYBODY, Christian or not, who gives of a willing heart will receive back. He used a neighbor from his childhood as an example of this. JH is very big on speaking and singing in tongues. During our 5 years with the group we were not pressured at all to give money or SIT unless you consider simply passing the horn of plenty around pressure.

- How much do they get involved with people's lives?

Only as much as people let them.

- How often is one expected to attend their meetings?

Totally voluntary.

- What are the requirements for leadership?

CRF has an estimated 1000-1500 people who attend fellowships regularly. Most fellowship coordinators are either ex way corps or people endorsed by existing leadership. No background checks or anything like that.

- What are the checks and balances in place to avoid just one or three people making all the decisions?

None.

- What are the "rules" (spoken and unspoken) for membership?

Faithful participation.

- Do they even have "membership"? If not, run - run away very quickly!

Yes, they have membership. After you've been to 2 meetings they drag you out back and brand your butt with CRF. Don't worry, they give you plenty of ointment and after 2 weeks it stops hurting.

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"During our 5 years with the group we were not pressured at all to give money or SIT unless you consider simply passing the horn of plenty around pressure."

Are you still "with" them, and if not, why not?

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Hi Richard, I was involved in TWI for 10 years and left in '96. If they treat you with dignity and respect and teach at least half of what Dr. Wierwille taught you will be super abundantly blessed at what you learn !!

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quote: Are you still "with" them, and if not, why not?

Not with them. But as I said, the reason we're not with them any more is because of local leadership, not John Hendricks directly. In my situation it was best for us to move on, but we're still quite comfortable with a TWI type fellowship and I cannot in all honesty transfer my particular problem with local leadership onto the whole CRF ministry.

I guess I got you curious now, eh? I'm not ashamed to recount what happened; just wasn't sure this was the right thread, but there might not ever be a better one.

CRF usually has Advanced Classes in early to mid December at Destin, Fla. For $430.00 you get.......

to stay in luxury condos that sleep 6 near the ocean

class session morning and evening/ free time all afternoon

oh, and they happen to be on a resort with golf courses, beaches, shopping, restaurants, and, oh yeah, the AC

There is no way CRF didn't have to foot some of the bill for everybody who comes. My wife and I were in such a condo in Dec of '04 with 4 others (the house coordinator and his wife, both STL people we knew, and 2 single guys from south Fla.). Typically, you arrive Friday night, meet your roommates, and decide who gets which bedroom. People from CRF bring everybody (about 300 people) snacks and sandwich fixings for the first night. Then on Saturday everybody pools together and plans meals for the week, who cooks, and whatever else anybody wants and 2 people go shopping. It usually costs between $50 and $60 per person. Overall, not bad price for a week in paradise. Lot better atmosphere than the TWI AC I attended, anyway.

Well, on that Saturday at around 4PM I had been taking a nap in our bedroom, my wife and one of the single guys were shopping for the food, the house coordinator had to be at the class location for something, which left the coordinator's wife and the other single guy in the kitchen talking. I woke up and was just about to put on clothes and join them when I heard the cordo's wife talking to the guy about my wife and kids. She said some very unflattering things about them...to a total stranger....at the Advanced class...where I thought you were supposed to focus on the Christ in each other. Silly me.

At one point the guy walked over and rattled the door handle to my bedroom to test if I was sleeping or not there. Maybe his conscience bothered him; maybe God was trying to do something. He didn't reprove her though; she's the house coordinator's wife. I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. Felt betrayed.

So I packed my suitcase, waited for my wife to return, bit my tongue during dinner, and made sure we were the last to leave for the class session, then told her what happened. I wanted to just leave the class right then, but she wanted to confront this person so we told the STL area cordo and he arranged for a meeting at our condo after the class session.

The meeting was handled so that everybody could air out their side of the issue. The house cordo's wife apologized profusely. I still wanted to go home so I said I didn't buy her apology and was told to "move past this emotionally or go home". My wife wanted to stay so I thought about it for maybe a minute, but we left. The meeting didn't end till about midnight and we had to turn in our parking pass and get our phone deposit back and of course gas up so we didn't get on the road in earnest until about 1AM. We rolled into Montgomery, Ala. at quarter to 4AM. It was actually kind of a sweet drive through those sleepy Fla. and Ala. towns in the dead of night. It was like my wife and I had a bonding experience similar to when we were dating before marriage and kids. We just talked about stuff. It was really cool.

A week after the class ended we got a letter from the STL cordo. His position was that we were unforgiving and THAT was worse than what the house cordo's wife did. He said we couldn't go to fellowship until we worked it out with the house cordo and his wife. I returned his letter saying thanks but no thanks and we started looking for a church.

Our position is that first, there is a difference between being a gossip and being a talebearer. The word 'gossip' does not appear in the bible. EVERYBODY gossips. Everybody exchanges facts and opinions about people they know. But when gossip includes malice and/or slander, then it becomes talebearing. The book of Proverbs has severe things to say about talebearers and the effect they have on those around them. I believe what the house cordo's wife did qualifies as the act of a talebearer.

Does this mean I can't forgive her or that I'm not capable of "sinning to that degree"? Hell no. But she specifically told this guy that my wife was hard to get along with and her husband was "good with her" but not many others were. Then she said my kids were "really unruly" without bothering to mention that 2 of them are autistic. I admit we aren't an easy family, but OK, so my wife is this "problem believer", right?

In TWI even way back they wouldn't let just anybody take the AC. Even if you passed the written exam you could still be excluded if leadership thought you weren't ready. But if me and my wife can pay cash, who cares, right? What else am I to think?

We now go to a fellowship associated with Chris geer. There is no children's fellowship and my kids like it. Even one of the autistic ones talks positively about fellowship at his school. We are still in contact with a few of the John Hendricks people, but over a year later, I'm still glad we made the move we made. Like I said, this doesn't automatically transfer to the whole CRF ministry. There's a 6th corps woman in STL who was on staff with her husband in 1989 and got the boot from TWI for not properly responding to LCM's loyalty letter. She told me she was very soured and cynical about everything until she went to a CRF Advanced Class which healed her heart and possibly saved her marriage. So my initial advice to Richard Byrum, who started this thread was to see where it leads him. Just because it didn't work out for me doesn't mean it won't work out for him.

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Sounds like TWI to me. IF they were an upstanding, ethical "Christian" organization, this situation would have been handled differently and those leaders would no longer be responsible for pastoring God's flock. You chalk it up to individual, local leadership, but individual local leadership is allowed to continue by the top level leadership, no?

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quote: individual local leadership is allowed to continue by the top level leadership, no?

That doesn't mean they can be held responsible for every decision every one of their leaders makes. How absurd. But of course, if top level leadership's feces didn't give off an odor like your's doesn't and if top level leadership was perfect like you are, then who knows?

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