Jeffrey Wu <email@example.com> wrote this description of his time in the San Francisco Church of Christ on 16 October 1996:
I was a former member of the SFCC-Berkeley Sector Campus Ministry. Actually I was a former assistant bible-talk leader to the Evangelist of our sector.
Cal is considered to be the flagship for the campus movement. I left the church because my loss of faith and not because of the structure of the church. However, upon reflecting on my experience the church, I've come to see the deceit and flaws of the ICC.
[Editorial note -- Jeffry is referring to the International Church of Christ (ICC), NOT to any other groups which go by the name, "Church of Christ." There are several such groups, none of which are, to our knowledge, cults in any way. -- REVEAL Webmaster]
When I was a member we were told that at U.C.L.A. the ministry had been going under great persecution. It was presented to us that things at Cal weren't so bad. We were able to rent rooms on campus and actually receive some funding from the student government; we were established as a campus group.
Now I don't know why the thought never crossed my mind, but How in the heck did we get permission to remain as a campus organization?
Answer: We didn't. The Church quickly changed the name of the Campus organization to Cal Advance. By disguising their identity they were able to continue preaching and utilizing campus facilities. Now I think there is a problem here. Since when is deceit and deception ever a good tool for promoting God's word. The campus ministry has been doing very poorly in its evangelistic efforts as of lately. If there is a God, this may be due to the fact there is "sin" behind the whole movement.
From my experience at Cal, the majority of those who become "Christians" are those who are not doing well at school; either academically or socially. I was surrounded by leaders and fellow brothers and sisters who were "struggling" academically and socially before hand. There weren't too many "Sharp" people as Russ Ewell would say. [Russ Ewell is the evangelist/ top leader of the San Francisco Church of Christ. -- REVEAL webmaster]
During the summer we were instructed to be prepared to evangelize the incoming freshman class. Why freshmen? Because they are impressionable. There is nothing wrong with this if the intent is to help another human being find God or spiritual enlightenment, but the means by which this is done is so bogus.
We make friends with freshmen, rather we try to become that friend that they are desperately seeking. Then we pressure our new friends to become Christians. Now, the reason why I find this to be so messed up is because, the instant that a person no longer wants to study the Bible, that person is dropped like dead weight. So much for that "loving friendship" I myself was guilty of this act. However I realized this "sin" and I tried to make amends. "Love Bombing" ends when the studies stop. Now if this isn't manipulative, I don't know what is.
Helping students out, praying with them, consoling them, guiding them, these are all things that are done if and only if there is a potential Baptism.
It was explained to me that I shouldn't waste my time with those where "hard hearted." 'They aren't ready...you should pray for them to have a humble heart' At the same time I was encouraged to move on and focus my attentions on the next unsuspecting soul.
The person who studies with the ICC is always instructed to examine the lives of the members. However, they should say, "examine the our lives only as long as you study the Bible with us." Because afterwards, you will find that we only cared about "saving" you now.
A good example to a non-Christian would be for a Christian to extend their friendship even further. It is not necessarily a friendship based on "worldly experience." I've become good friends with people who I studied the Bible with since my departure from the church. I felt that I owed it them and myself, because I truly wanted to be a good friend.
Some people will say that the Berkeley Sector is not a good example of the Campus Ministry, but I think it is. It was once the pride and joy of the ICC. Great expectations are made of disciples from the campus ministry. They are to be the future leaders; 'they are sharp because they go to Cal.'
Now these are characteristics of the 30 some students at Cal. Did they truly seek God out of love, or was it desperation?
The fastest growing ministries are those from Junior Colleges, and not so reputable State Schools. It might be elitist for me to say, but it seems as though only the under educated turn to the ICC. Students from unfortunate backgrounds will join the church. They love "God" for giving them some hope. However, I hope that they realize some day that this is an artificial hope created by Kip and not of God.
Why is it that so many people are academic probation either before or after they get involved with the ICC.
It just seems really lame to me.
So many college members stay until their graduation...I haven't met too many who stay in church afterwards. At least not at Cal. What happens? They wake up and realize that the ICC was a crutch that was necessary for them to cope with whatever it was that they were struggling with.
An ICC reason for why there are so many messed up people is because they were "humbled by God" and that was the only way that he could get through to him. Well I see a flaw in that. This means that a person with everything going for him will never become a Christian. He will only become a church member if he undergoes some traumatic events.
A time for collection for the church. Is this bad? No not really, I contributed around $15- $20 a week. Other students varied from $5-15. Now how is this justified? The majority of the members at Cal didn't hold jobs. In fact many were struggling with their incomes. So how can they afford this? Answer: they couldn't. But they find ways anyway. They take more money from their parents...which they give to the ICC. Now how many of these students disclose to their parents how much money they actually give to church. I think a lot of parents would be upset and rightly so. I gave money each week that I didn't have, but I knew that the Berkeley secor was in desperate need. I spent a lot of loan money as well as my savings to maintain the dues. A lot of students are still doing this.
Question: How many members of the Campus Ministry can claim that they are not financially in debt.
In other words that they don't owe money to Credit Card Companies. Almost every household that I know of is constantly struggling to make ends meet.
Have you ever noticed how scummy the households are? Gosh, may its just at Cal, but I always find them to be full of Mildew, a cantankerous odor, and stuff all over the place. I know I'm looking at worldly things, but don't you think this is reflective of their character.
You are encouraged to live with your brothers and sisters. But how can you? When your household is basically grand central station and smells like it too.
It is my sincerely hope that members of the Campus Ministry become aware of the problems around them.
If you are in the Cal Ministry...have you ever wondered why there was so much mystery about those who "fall away?"
I always found it odd how the leaders keep information about Bible talk leaders who mess up big time. They simply pull them out and change the leader. There is no discussion or explanation to a regular member, because that would cause one to struggle. The fear is that if the leaders are sinning then faith will be lost. So much for trust and being part of a family. Errors should be shared among family members and not covered up.
I have many examples of where this occurred.
(I feel that many turn to the ICC as a last resort...when they have no where else to turn so they force themselves to believe. Is this true faith?")
The Cal Ministry runs from persecution. It hides from it will a veil of deception. Persecution is part of being a Christian. It seemed as though we were popping out of the woodwork like ghosts "frightening" and "humbling" some poor person with low-self-esteem into joining our "loving"/uncaring family.
Well I'm tired of typing now so I'll end this session.
My word of advice to the SFCC is take a challenge and make it known that Campus Advance is really an International Church of Christ sponsored group. Why hide it? Surely it would be better if you exposed yourself than for someone else outside of the church to do so. I hope sincerely hope that my challenge will be accepted soon, because I know that either way the issue will be brought to the attention of the university sometime in the near near future.
I'd appreciate any feedback and any questions.
I wrote this not out of bitterness, but rather concern. I have some friends still in Church who I know are staying for the wrong reasons. If I were vengeful or "hard hearted" or "bitter" then I would have done something long ago when I fell away. My conscience and heart has been bothering me these last 12 months. As a Senior I see freshmen being led astray...I don't want another person to ever come out of college having felt that they had wasted such a precious time.
-- Jeffrey Wu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
©1996 by Jeffry Wu <email@example.com>. All rights reserved.
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