Is the ECO a real Christian denomination or a cult?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. 63dot, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #1
    Often when a church splits with a known entity like the Southern Baptists, Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Episcopalians, or Orthodox, they may or may not have the same religion. ECO appears to be a benign offshoot of the well-known Presbyterians but I am not so sure. It has cultish megachurch tendencies from what I have seen.

    A famous example of a cult offshoot of traditional religion is Jim Jones who had a church near me. He was accepted by a lot of powerful people (S.F. Mayor Willie Brown, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and Governor and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown) before his real nature was uncovered. But part of what a lot of big name church spinoffs have in common with Jones is that the pay of a business driven, mind bending cult has a much better set of perks (millions in pay, mansions, etc) than pastoring a proper church.

    I have no answer yet as to if the new ECO are a religion (with focus on faith and helping people) or a cult (bordering on being a very successful business like People's Temple or similar). One parishoner complained that guys like this made hundreds of thousands. While it may not be Joel Olsteen and his 10 million dollar mansion, something stinks to high heaven here. I always thought a part of the faith was a vow of poverty (or at least very low comparative pay) to clergy who often have advanced degrees. I know six to eight years of a private theological college can't be easy to pay off, but what's with these rock star pastors?

    If hundreds of years of church history didn't make such a big deal about individual pastors with a call not to receive riches like politicians, business owners, or some others, I wouldn't have a problem. We all know a chef who started a restaurant and then a few others and if things went well, he/she became a millionaire. Same with contractors, dentists, accountants, and many other fields. But religion was never designed with this same profit motive in mind (in its policy). Yes, there were rich and powerful Popes and a few very well off Protestant Reformists, but that was not the main focus. It's not like mommy told you to become a minister so you can be rich. LOL.

    Any experiences good or bad?
     
  2. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #2
    figuring that you are talking specifically only about christianity, which hundreds out of its roughly 2000 years were those? and then, are you saying that without that history, it would be okay for priests to get rich off of their congregation?
     
  3. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #3
    I disagree with you there. Religion is just another way of exerting power and influence. The basis for authority is delegated to mythical beings who can't be questioned. It's not important whether you call this one a cult, as they all have negative elements.
     
  4. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #4
    I think there's a definite difference between let's say Christian Mother Teresa versus complete hate mongers like Christian Franklin Graham or Christian Pat Robertson.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2016 ---
    If getting rich off of followers were a teaching of Jesus, I may not agree in any way but I could see where later followers would get it from. Start a religion, make money, have it be a business model! But in what universe is Joel Olsteen a good representative of Christ's teachings? The way some so-called Christians try to do the opposite of church teachings and get rich paints a bad picture for the whole faith. It's sickening.

    http://meme.stevepiper.net/2014/06/joel-olsteen-has-net-worth-of-40-million.html
     
  5. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    It's probably too soon to tell. Some things starts with good intentions in mind, sometimes even to escape perceived injustices, only to spin off into something horrible. Other things begin from the start with profit motive in mind. Either way, any substantial religious institution can surrive without money, there are operating costs.
     
  6. jerwin macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    #6
    From good old wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECO_(denomination)
     
  7. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #7
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    Mother Teresa has been accused of fraudulent behavior on a number of occasions. Overall she has a lot in common with prior cult leaders. Here's an amusing piece of her life.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1997/sep/06/news/mn-29425/3
    She refused to hand over a jet that was purchased with embezzled funds. She didn't seem to really help sick people. She gave them a place to die, and no amount of donations encouraged her organization to improve those conditions. I don't know what people see in her. Note that I'm not quoting the 2013 study. It has very few citations, which makes me wonder how much others have really dug through it.
     
  9. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #9
    It's simply a branch of the Presbyterian church. There are branches of nearly every denomination, typically split on theological lines. When a significant number of churches feel the primary church has lost its way, they will often break off. Doesn't mean you stop being a Presbyterian. The Lutheran Church in the US went through something similar in the 1970's. This lead to the formation of the socially liberal, theologically loose ELCA. They left the LCMS, and the LCMS rightly told them not to let the door hit ya where God split ya.
     
  10. 63dot, Sep 25, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #10
    Snoopy,

    Great post and usually right on about spinoffs (I would say what you just posted is right 99% percent of the time), but I ask you to talk to current or former members of the Compass movement. I am an evangelical, however that small 20% percent that vote democratic or green, but many friends of all political stripes had just escaped a scheister self made spinoff in the last decade only to fall victim to the spinoff today. The same things are happening but this time the Pres Church USA made some very harsh legal guidelines to keep spinoff pastor from making power play on $25 million dollars in real estate related to the original Presbyterian church. Pres church says it's OK to be spinoff but there is to be no non-denominational hanky panky with opening up "independent" churches using Pres church USA monies or properties for the next ten years. Spinoff has good rent if they hold their part of the lease and not try and make a cult out of hiding behind the common, safe, ambiguous title of "independent Bible church". Many independents are so that they aren't under the microscope of actual denominational churches who have oversight.

    That being said there are plenty of people who think Catholics and Protestants are just as corrupt and that the Arch Bishop of Canterbury or the Pope are simple corporations themselves.

    Originally I thought that in that the spinoff was just that. They have some amazing ties and have three American Idol stars in their choir and the press here eats it up. They went from 400 members to 4000 members after getting those reality TV show singers. Compass took a page out of the Scientology playbook. I hate to say it but some true fans of the church seem just like Tom Cruise. It's a vibe and while impossible to pin a definition of cult, you know it when you see it. But the Pres church USA doesn't condone making congregations cash cows out of congregations. It should never be this way, imho and I hope they can keep from seeing 4000 people simply be the bank account for a minister who pays himself more than our governor.

    My former church and one I still hold in high regard, Church of Christ, had a few well known spinoffs and originally people said in the early days, "Oh, it's just a theological spinoff". Well the first was People's Temple and the other was the ICOC. Both turned out to be pretty rotten spinoffs and more of a power play to make a cult to make money for the leader.

    People's Temple was thought to be slightly more liberal than the politically center-right Church of Christ and Jim Jones was brilliant in how he enlisted local liberal leaders like Willie Brown and Governor Jerry Brown to be allies. Many on the left thought that People's Temple was justified to be left wing in a left wing area. It turned out in the end it was not about being left wing or liberal at all. Jones went on about greedy conservatives and the evils of capitalism but in the end Jones was the money master. Jones got their minds, and later their money before it all self-destructed. It was terribly sad but not really unexpected. Far left or far right spinoff$ usually have an agenda that has little to do with politics or theology. It's surprising though that Kip McKean and his ICOC church didn't all end up the same way.
     

Share This Page