Does Your Church Use Blackmail to Keep You in Line?

Fountain Avenue in Los Angeles is the site of a Scientology Center. Lawrence Wright examines the religion and the man who made it what it is today.

Or, Is the Factual Evidence of Christ’s Resurrection Enough to Keep Your Faith in Him Solid to the End?

            The recent HBO documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Unbelief” exposes the dark side of a cult that uses blackmail (according to the author of the book, Lawrence Wright) to keep its members in line and faithful to the church.  Its two most famous members are John Travolta and Tom Cruise who, according to an article in the Washington Post, have revealed to the church their deepest and darkest secrets in a procedure called an audit.  Those audits are not only recorded but the auditor takes copious notes of the interviews and keeps them on file for future reference should such a member, like the two mentioned above, ever decide to leave the church.

            I was alerted to this documentary when I watched Mike Rinder being interviewed on Fox News.  He was a former enforcer for the church who has now left the church and is exposing its very dark underside to the world so that people will know how evil it really is.  Shockingly, this church utilizes prison camp type facilities and practices to correct some of their members who are attempting to question the church’s motives, procedures and truth. According to the article about Tom Cruise and John Travolta in the Washington Post, the church was also responsible for the breakup of Tom Cruise’s and Nicole Kidman’s marriage, a marriage that troubled the church’s officials from the start because Nicole Kidman’s father was a psychologist and the church hates psychologists.  Perhaps that might be because psychologists typically frown upon their daughters joining a church that teaches that an intergalactic overlord by the name of Xenu once expelled humans to Earth from another planet, and now their disembodied spirits live in everyone!

            John Travolta says he remains committed to the church because he likes their views on a utopian world. “Probably my favorite concept of Scientology,” says John, “is a world without criminality, a world without war and a world without insanity, . . .And I know of no other group that their goals are that clear.” Pardon me John, but don’t you think you are bordering on insanity yourself when you believe your origins come from an intergalactic overlord by the name of Xenu? No, I’m convinced, as is the Washington Post reporter that the real reason John is remaining “faithful” is not because he is in love with their silly doctrine but that he has many secrets he wishes to keep hidden and are now buried in the vaults of Scientology headquarters.

            I paused momentarily while writing this to pray for Tom and John that God would open their hearts to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that they would be released from the prison of unconfessed sin and find the freedom that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to a hurting soul. The true church of Jesus Christ does not need to use blackmail to keep its members faithful. Nor does it rely on fabricated science fiction to capture the minds of the seekers who are looking for mental and spiritual titillation to feast their minds on.

            The true church of Jesus Christ uses the power of confessed sin and genuine forgiveness to capture the hearts of the chosen.  When a sinner comes to Christ, and acknowledges before all that he is indeed a sinner and that there are many skeletons in his closet that Jesus has forgiven him of, then there is no more need to hide. Isn’t that the crux of what Jesus meant when he said in John 8:32 that “you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free”?  Isn’t that why James encourages saints to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another” in James 5:16? You can’t blackmail a person if they have already come clean and confessed everything that needs confessing. (By the way, I recommend that James 5:16 be limited to those to whom confessing needs to be done, which means most sins are best kept to a trustworthy few who can be of the greatest help to the confessor and not to the body at large who may not be all that helpful with an intimate knowledge of an elder’s sins, or a sister’s sins, and may actually be harmful.) What a joy it is to be able to come to the cross of Jesus as we do daily, but especially on Good Friday, and know, I mean really know that our sins have been paid for in full and are no longer counted against us for all eternity.

            Nor does the true church of Jesus Christ need to rely on science fiction to capture the hearts of searchers.  Instead, it uses the rock-solid foundation of the indisputable truth of Christ’s resurrection to support Christians’ belief in a God who has the power to not only lay down his life when he wants to but the power to take it up again (once he has died) and bring it back to life. My God therefore is not an intergalactic warlord who kicked people off his home planet and sent them off to Earth, but a God who created the galaxies and numbered the stars by name. He is the One who came to this earth to rescue earthlings and bring them with him to glory and to an eternal home that will be a new earth where everything John Travolta was hoping for is actually realized under the rule and power of the reigning Messiah. His name is Yeshua, or耶稣 in Chinese, or يسوع, المسيح  in Arabic, or мессия in Russian. That’s Jesus for us English speakers.

            Would you like to know this Jesus personally? You can’t! Not unless you are willing to look at the evidence of the Resurrection and believe in your heart that God indeed did raise Jesus from the dead.  Romans 10:9 says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Only after believing that God raised Jesus literally, physically from the dead can anyone be saved.  I invite you to listen (post sermon) to Sunday’s message titled “There is No Salvation Unless One Believes Jesus Rose from the Dead” where I will be listing several evidences of the literal resurrection of Jesus whereby we Christians put our well documented faith and trust.  You are welcome to join me online at this link: on Tuesday April 7th to check the facts.

            Aren’t you glad your God doesn’t need blackmail to keep you in line, nor do his human servants employ fanciful and fictional stories to get you to buy in? I am.  What was good enough for the Apostle Paul is good enough for me.  I love the gospel. I love that it is simple, true, and freeing.  So here’s my invitation to you who feel like you can’t come to church because you are carrying way too much baggage. What did you do?  Did you have an abortion? Several abortions? Did you wreck someone’s marriage through adultery? Did you abandon your family and leave your kids without a full time mommy or daddy? All these can be forgiven, and forgotten, as well as admitted to fellow believers who are quick to admit that they have had abortions, or sins of equal guilt, and are ready to receive with open arms anyone who is willing to come to Jesus and find forgiveness and the grace of His smile. There is no better time than Easter Sunday to discover the love of a God who loves you so much He gave His Son to die for you and raised Him from the dead so that you can also have eternal life in heaven with Him. Find a local church that teaches these truths and show up on Sunday morning.  You will be very glad you did.

About Darryl Knappen

I shepherd the flock of believers called Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, MN, a family integrated Baptist Church and more importantly am married to a fabulous woman named Pati who is grandmother to our 5 wonderful grandchildren, Luke, Wyatt, Brin, Livy and Eleanor (Ellie).
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1 Response to Does Your Church Use Blackmail to Keep You in Line?

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