What an IFB Cult Leader Sounds Like When Demanding Money

If one says the name Colonial Hills Baptist Church (Indianapolis, IN), then you might remember having seen the 20/20 news report about the church’s publicly blaming/shaming and shunning a statutory rape victim, while failing to properly report her perpetrator. Chuck Phelps was the presiding pastor at that time, and he still is the senior pastor. If you think the church bettered after the debacle, then you are sadly mistaken.

Colonial Hills recently brought on a new international ministries development consultant, who is associated strongly with the cult known as Falls Baptist Church (FBC) in Menomonee Falls, WI.Matthew Barfield, also a VP at IPM, recently spoke (February 19, 2017) at FBC’s annual Faith Promise Giving special meeting, and his sermon is a proper example of what a cult leader sounds like when demanding money.

One can listen to the audio recording HERE, if FBC will not remove the recording. I provide a correctional critique of his “sermon” below. The text of his message is Matthew 26. [See also John 12, Luke 7 & Mark 14]

>>Barfield’s sermon is not bringing out of the text what is there, but he is using the text as a platform to preach his own talking points… which include some self-given accolades on his mastery of language(s) and ministerial exploits.

  • The full context of the biblical account is not focused on Mary’s gift or on the doctrine of giving (contrary to what Barfield’s sermon leads one to believe) but on her great love for and belief of Jesus. Mary knew that she had been forgiven much by Jesus; and she was moved to loving action, due to her believing Jesus’ death would be soon. That was a thing even the Disciples themselves did not believe at that time. Ironically, the disciples were the ones misfocused on the gift and “giving,” just like Barfield.
  • Mary had been a prostitute. Would many churches like FBC or Colonial Hills allow a suddenly repentant prostitute to give the result of her “wages” to Jesus, let alone command that she be remembered all over the world for it? Jesus did.
  • She did what she could” to Barfield means she sacrificed greatly in her gift giving. Contextually, it means nothing other than, A: this was a pre-purchased supply, out of what she already possessed, not what she did not have; B: Mary could not prevent His death, but she could honor His death!! She did what she could.
  • Mary’s anointing Jesus was indeed costly as Barfield notes, but the modern-day equivalent would be to give Jesus embalming fluid. That’s shockingly practical & not exactly flattering. The act sent a poignant, albeit worshipful message. The ointment Mary poured out was used in ancient days to keep stink of death down, but she used it to anoint Him before His death. In contrast, the Pharisees and disciples did not believe; and so, they did not offer to customarily wash & dry Jesus’s feet. The context draws great attention to this contrast. She believed He would die, so she anointed Him is burial ointment. They believed he would not die as Messiah, so they gave Him no common courtesy at all. The only application to be drawn from this context is that disbelievers today still refuse to give Jesus honor… not that believers must give extravagantly, to prove they are truly believers.
  • Mary was giving directly to Jesus’ physical body. Mary was NOT giving to fund missions or raise the budget via “faith promise” (pledging what she did not have on “faith”). In fact, Jesus rebuked the Disciples (particularly Judas) for making the suggestion that the money should have been used for the “Jesus mission fund.” [It is doubly ironic that Barfield is raising funds for missions by using the same context that disapproves of turning honoring Jesus into a monetary fund. He is more Judas than he knows.]
  • Jesus clearly states the purpose of the passage, when He commands that Mary should be remembered for what she did, after saying she did it for His burial (v. 13). In contrast and in illogic, Barfield charges the audience to give, or they may not be a true believer. If they truly believe in Christ’s return, then they should give extravagantly in light of Jesus’ return, just as Mary gave extravagantly (in light of His death). There’s nothing like a cult leader telling people to give, or else they may not truly be a believer (i.e. headed for Hell & damnation); and by the chance they are a genuine believer, then they certainly won’t have rewards in Heaven unless they give like Mary—extravagantly.

>>Barfield—with his many appeals for “surrender”—creates (as a cult always does) a false dichotomy between the sacred & the secular, between “the ministry / mission field” and a secular profession… which—in reality—leads to the discontent Barfield describes as a common thought pattern among clergy, when people are not giving enough to missions. Instead, missionaries should just hold “tent-making” jobs like the Apostle Paul.

>>Barfield’s allusion to 2 Corinthians 8 and the example of the Apostle Paul receiving gifts from the Corinthians vs. Macedonians is stretched beyond the context. The context is DISASTER RELIEF for fellow churches to relieve the suffering of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:4). It was a one-time offering asked to be received… not an every year or even every month or week collection. In fact, the Bible never commands the New Testament believer to give a tithe. The passage actually teaches that churches are supposed to note when other churches have endure peril, and then, seek to relieve their plight by whatever means possible. More importantly, Mary’s gift (Matthew 26) was also a 1 time gift… not an annual thing.

>>Barfield forgets verses 12-13 of 2 Corinthians 8, which state believers should give out of what they have AND not give in a way that causes themselves to be in need… which also happens to make Faith Promise Giving unbiblical.

>>Barfield directly implies—near the end of the sermon—that if someone does not give like Mary, then he/she does not love Jesus the way He loves us… and is on the side of Judas. That is a twisting of the Scriptures!

Conclusion:

Thankfully, the Bible does not teach anything close to “Faith Promise Giving.” In fact, the New Testament believer is never instructed to give a “tithe.” Rather, the Bible teaches free-will & joy-filled giving to those who are in need, but not in such a way as to put the giver in need. There may be ocaisions where disaster strikes and sacrifices are warranted, so that others may have food and shelter and clothing; but to state that extravagant giving is expected regularly by God… or, to say that one may not truly believe if he does not give extravagantly… is sheer cult tactic by a cult leader.

3 thoughts on “What an IFB Cult Leader Sounds Like When Demanding Money

  1. Pingback: What Christians Mean by “Surrender Your Rights” to God – Lamb's Harbinger

  2. Sam

    Oh wow! My Uncle and his kids (my cousins obviously) went to Falls Baptist Church in Menomonee Falls, WI about 20 years ago and I as a “sinful” 7 year old at the time had the misfortune of going with my cousins to the Vacation Bible School they have every summer. If course I was told it would be fun, it wasn’t. Anyway, that awful cult, in many ways ruined my aunt and uncle’s family even though they went there for only about 10 years and got out when my oldest cousin was about 13. The reason was because that same cousin, my cousin Rachel, was sexually assaulted at age 12 or 13 by another boy that went to the same Church and instead of my cousin getting justice and treated like a victim, the cult church only made things worse. See, the older boy who sexually assaulted her was from a well-to-do family that was one of the Church’s biggest cash cows! Conversely my Aunt and Uncle at the time were barely making ends meet and were in fact really poor because my Uncle was so under their spell that they convinced him that my 4 cousins had to also goto the Falls Baptist school which was basically a part of the church that was the big money maker because tuition for this school that didn’t even have the bare necessities was ridiculously expensive! So my Uncle had them goto this school even though they could not afford it! As a result of this you can imagine my Uncle could not afford to give much at all to the Church and he certainly couldn’t give as much as the family of this boy who sexually assaulted her! So, what do you think these God fearing people did? They didn’t want to lose that family and the money they gave so they first convinced my Uncle to not call the police and told him they would “take care of it with-in the Cult/Church.” Well as you can imagine they did absolutely nothing to the boy and told my cousin about the ways she could not get herself into that situation in the future! As if it was her fault! That place was crazy back then I can’t imagine what it’s like now.

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    1. Please know you are not alone in the abuses and crimes (not reporting assault) that your family endured. Your story is tragically an all-too-common occurrence, and I wish there were some sort of justice, particularly for your female cousin. These kinds of churches like to sweep things under the rug in hopes they’ll just go away… whether it is to keep up appearances for the organisation as being “perfect,” or for protecting money sources (from those who give more). Whatever the motive, it is criminal; and for the sake of children, I pray God would disband such evil.

      The only recourse I have found at present is to report their coverup of the assault to police. While there may be no action to be taken on your family’s behalf, you can add the incident to a long list of such reports against the place, and police can build a file… which, given the right information over time, can lead to the further investigation and/or arrest of perpetrators.

      Thank you for your comment. May you and your family gain measures of peace. I know first hand it can take years, even a lifetime.

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