Testimony: My experiences as a NAR-church-member – Part 1 (David Choiniere)

by David Choiniere – Guatemala / Guatemala-City site: Dominionismo en todas sus formas 03/01/2014

ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR „NAR“ MEANS OF RECRUITMENT… THROUGH CELL GROUPS… See if the testimony described below sounds familiar to you…

I remember when I was in a NAR church. It was bad and I left but I can also recall many things which attracted me to it. I was in a cell group there and they were well organized. They started with an icebreaker and made an effort to make newbies welcome. They constantly repeated their names at every group and try to make sure that the new members‘ names are learned by older members. The session ended with a socializing time and there were always refreshments and snack foods and birthdays were always celebrated. You would not believe how this impresses new people when their birthdays are celebrated.

We did many things as a group—went on outings and had home barbecues. Everything seemed hip and they seemed not to be encumbered by petty rules which are based on legalism and having nothing to do with producing holiness. The church had elaborate theatrical productions, many conferences.

NAR-„Pastor“ Cash Luna

On the downside in the end you sensed a pushiness and a controlling attitude. You could not voice your own opinions if they contradicted group doctrine. All the cell groups were set up in a pyramid structure that emanated from the pastor with he being on top. It alienated you from the pastor and made him inaccessible. All your concerns were dealt with through your group leaders who ignored your concerns while pretending to want to help you. It was secretive and they never revealed their latest doctrinal teaching until they thought you had been through the previous doctrinal teachings and had accepted them.

I also found it cliquish as they rewarded people who were more enthusiastic to their doctrines and snubbed you ever so subtly if you were resisting. In the end there was no room for dissent, not even any question of the pastor’s teachings—you had to accept everything or leave—there was no middle ground. You became a cog on the wheel, only as useful as you were to carry out their programs. If you were not carrying out their programs as they wanted you to you were reprimanded (actually, I left before I got more involved so I avoided some of their direct reprimands).

I’m not saying that all NAR churches operate the same way but it is interesting the similarity in the abuse in most of their churches. They interpreted the bible in strange ways and claimed they were following the New Testament pattern for discipleship even I could not see that at all. They claimed Jesus used this method but that later the methods were lost until they discovered them through revelation. Yes, the pastor was an extremely gifted speaker and very charismatic but most of these leaders are like that. A lot of this charisma is a façade to cover up the authoritarianism that prevails. The pastor becomes a god to be obeyed at all costs. He is set on a pedestal where he can say ‚God told me…‘ and that was never to be questioned. He had a hotline with God that was to be envied. In the end, I figured out his game and saw his ‚God told me…‘ as just a manipulative gimmick, a way to control people and teach false doctrine. Still, there are many people trapped in these churches who have not yet figured this out. Let’s hope God reveals the truth to them.

posted by Siegfried Schad © David Choiniere all rights reserved.


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