Groups List: C
Copyright © 1999-2013, NZ Cult List (Cults.co.nz)
Hot picks: Central Auckland Church of Christ, Chiropractic, Christadelphians, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of Scientology, Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), Colloidal Silver, Cooperites (Cooperite Community), Robert/Bob Cornuke, Creation vs Evolution
Camp David. Home of the Full Gospel Mission Fellowship near Christchurch.
Camp David. Christian camp between Hastings and Waipawa, Hawkes Bay. "Camp David Adventure Centre is an outdoor education centre with a Godly emphasis."
Camping, Harold. Harold Camping (born 19 July 1921) is the founder of Family Radio. He teaches that all churches are wrong and must be abandoned. In 1992 he published a book predicting the end of the world would very likely be in September 1994. (I must have missed it - Editor.) He now teaches that judgment day and the rapture will be on 21 May 2011 and the end of the world on 21 October 2011. For more information see Cultwatch's article on Harold Camping, which includes valuable advice to those who believe the date is correct. Update: With the failure of his 12 May 2011 prediction he changed his prediction to 21 October 2011, five months later. He says the original prediction was fulfilled spiritually, and that God has now judged the world, meaning that there's no reason to warn anyone or preach the gospel any more. For this Harold Camping gets a Danger rating.
Update: In March 2012 Harold Camping (aged 90) apologised for his false predictions of the end of the world in 2011. Although he appears to be minimalising his personal responsibility by saying "we" (meaning Family Radio) not "I", he sounds a much wiser person now.
Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; ... We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically. ... we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that "of that day and hour knoweth no man" (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. ... We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in New Zealand." - Charles Schultz, cartoonist/creator of Peanuts.
Campolo, Tony. Tony Campolo is an American pastor, author and speaker. He has visited New Zealand in an evangelistic capacity. Some of his recent public statements appear to have endorsed teachings of the Emerging Church, including universalism, and he appears to now teach a mystical Christianity. This is nothing new - he was accused of heresy for stating in his book A Reasonable Faith in 1983 "Jesus is actually present in each other person." This listing is under review. Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.
Catholic Church. "Catholic" is a word meaning "universal." In other words, "the catholic church" (small "c") refers to the whole Christian church (literally the universal church) and is not technically the same as the Roman Catholic Church (with capital initials). However, in common usage people normally use "the Catholic church" (big "c") to refer to the Roman Catholics.
CCHR. See Citizen's Commission on Human Rights.
Central Auckland Church of Christ. Cult/former cult. Auckland branch of the International Church of Christ. See also Christchurch Church of Christ. The International Church of Christ is currently facing massive internal changes that may result in the "cult" designation being changed. For more information see www.rightcyberup.com.
Centrepoint Commune. A former cult/community based near Albany, a little north of Auckland, led by Bert Potter. Now disbanded.
Ceragem Massage. A massage technique supposedly "based on the principles of oriental science" and made possible by the use of high-tech massage beds which combine the principles of acupressure with modern infra-red (heat) technology. The aim of Ceragem Massage is to balance qi forces within the body, and so qualifies as a New Age practice. It does this by using chiropractic techniques, moxibustion and the semi-precious stone jade (which supposedly has an affect on qi). Another interesting (and questionable) claim is that it improves cholesterol levels in veins by dissolving the cholesterol so the blood can wash it away. (Surely this would dangerously increase cholesterol levels in the blood?) Ceragem Massage is given a Danger rating here because it involves the use of techniques Christians should stay away from, not because any physical harm is likely to result from its use (possible cholesterol problems aside).
Chadwick, Stephanie. Ms "Steve" Chadwick is a Labour list MP (ie, unelected), formerly of the Rotorua electorate. Political figure rather than religious, but assigned a Danger rating for the danger she posed to the physical well-being of New Zealand children because of a pro-abortion bill she proposed in July 2010, which would provide abortion on demand at up to 24 weeks. NZ Herald article. The change from the present 20 week limit is particularly barbaric when one considers that at that age the babies can survive outside the womb. One study showed at least 18% of babies born at just 23 weeks survive, while almost half of babies born at 24 weeks survive. Another study mentioned in the same article claims that by the late 1990s there was a 71% survival rate for babies born at 22-25 weeks.
Chaitanya, Ananya. Ananya Chaitanya is the main spokesperson/teacher of the New Age, Hindu-based Foundation for Self Knowledge Inc based in Hillsborough, Auckland. She has many contradictory teachings. For example, "All these [celebrations etc] are meant to draw a person home, towards the Self" and "You should not enjoy [Deepavali] alone - in participating, in togetherness, you are not being self-centred." Yet from the first quote we can see that togetherness is counter-productive in moving toward her idea of godhood - Self. She is given a Caution rating here because of her New Age teachings, not because she as a person is necessarily someone to be cautious of.
Channeling. New Age practice.
Children of God. Cult founded by David Berg in 1968 in the USA. Now known as The Family International (listed under "The"). Infamous for encouraging free sex including adult-child sex, and techniques such as "flirty fishing" for evangelism. They say adult-child sex was banned in 1986.
Chiropractic. Alternative medical con/scam. Chiropractors "manipulate" their clients (eg, by popping neck and back vertebrae, etc) to prevent or treat real or imaginary ailments. In opposition to the scientific evidence (see this Times article), many chiropractors claim that all sorts of things can be successfully treated, including asthma, bed wetting, colds, etc, and especially a particularly dangerous - and fictitious - condition called a vertebral subluxation. Chiropractors are divided on just what a vertebral subluxation is. Some chiropractors say they are too small to see, some conveniently claim their nature means they don't show up physically. A vertebral subluxation has never been seen on an x-ray, but the complete lack of physical evidence doesn't stop chiropractors diagnosing them. Chirobase has an interesting article Chiropractic's Elusive "Subluxation" by Stephen Barrett MD:
Subluxation is also a medical term. The medical definition is incomplete or partial dislocation – a condition, visible on x-ray films, in which the bony surfaces of a joint no longer face each other exactly but remain partially aligned. No such condition can be corrected by chiropractic treatment.
(Emphasis added.) The report concludes:
My advice about "subluxations" is very simple. If a chiropractor purports to locate and fix them – "killer" or otherwise – seek treatment somewhere else.
If you're interested in following up this issue, we suggest a chiropractic research project: Call your local chiropractors and ask to see some examples of vertebral subluxations on x-rays. Let us know your results (see the Contact page).
Quotes from a television debate:
"I do not believe that anybody can manipulate the spine – and that includes physicians who claim to be able to do it – without it jumping right back because it takes several hundred pounds of pressure to manipulate the spine. You may move it temporarily, but it's gonna go back to the same position." – Dr. Reuben Hoppenstein, neurosurgeon at the Orthopedic Institute of the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City. He is co-chief of its Problem Back Service. His entire practice is devoted to microsurgery of the spine.
"Actually, it's been disproven that you can influence the nerves by manipulating the spine. An anatomist at Yale took people within a few hours after death and hooked them up to a machine and found that the only way you can twist the spine to cause the nerve to be interfered with – like chiropractors say – is to rupture the ligaments, and that would kill a person." – Dr. Stephen Barrett is a psychiatrist, a consumer advocate and a medical writer.
"... there's a lot of clearance where the nerves come out of the spine and you'd literally have to do a lot of disruption of ligaments and exert 2,000 pounds of pressure in order to try and damage that nerve or relieve any pressure on that nerve." – Dr. Reuben Hoppenstein.
The simple (and understandable) aim of chiropractors is to make money. The way most do this is to get as many clients as they can returning for regular treatments. Chiropractors don't even try to hide this, but try to avoid the question by claiming that chiropractic treatment should be regular and ongoing, and imply that serious health problems may result if treatment is not taken regularly.This is basically the opposite of a GP who (ideally) wants his/her patient to get better so they don't need to be seen again. Since most people need no special treatment, by signing on for ongoing chiropractic treatment a patient is effectively offering the chiropractor their open wallet.
According to Consumer magazine a few New Zealand chiropractors (15 out of 300 total chiropractors in NZ) are now adhering to an American set of business practices called Waiting List Practices (WLP) to enlarge the size of their client base. The result is healthy people being conned and/or scared into paying around $2,000 for a whole year of treatment they don't need. The Caution rating is given because of the huge amount of money wasted on chiropractic treatment (for a family of four, this could be over $5,300 per year). The New Zealand Cult List acknowledges that some back treatment may be required in some circumstances, but we suggest you see your family doctor first. Let them refer you to a physiotherapist if they deem it appropriate, not a chiropractor.
See Quackwatch and Chirobase for more information. Of particular interest is Chirobase's article on the placebo effect and chiropractic. The article explains how Chiropractic also utilises the "nocebo" effect (see placebo in the Glossary) by playing on fear that a person's health may suffer if treatment is avoided. This is a mind control technique.
Of interest to those who have trouble understanding why any New Zealand tertiary institutions would offer Chiropractic degrees, is the write-up of Concerns About Chiropractic at York University. On the Introduction page they quote the British Medical Journal (editorial from 18 July 1998):
"we can conclude only that the effectiveness of chiropractic as a treatment for low back pain has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt," and, "[o]n the basis of current evidence, it seems uncertain whether chiropractic does more good than harm."
Christchurch Church of Christ. Cult/former cult. Christchurch branch of the International Church of Christ, formerly led by Angus McFarlane. Also see Central Auckland Church of Christ. The International Church of Christ is currently facing massive internal changes that may result in the "cult" designation being changed. For more information see www.rightcyberup.com.
Christadelphians. Cult. Founded in 1833 by John Thomas (b. 12 April 1805, d. 1871) in the USA, although it wasn't offically called Christadelphians until 1865, a name chosen by John Thomas which had been used by some branches before then. They're big on end-times prophecies and doom-and-gloom stuff, although in New Zealand are nowhere near as high-profile as the Seventh-Day Adventists on that topic. Each Christadelphian branch is operated independently and is called an "ecclesia" - from the Greek word meaning church. Unlike other cults of Christianity such as JWs and Mormons, Christadelphians have no formal hierarchy, and instead get things done by committee, with Christadelphian members being voted onto the committees on a yearly basis. On the theological side of things the Christadelphians think that Jesus is a created being and that he was born with a sinful nature* (and yet never actually sinned), the Holy Spirit is just the "power" of God, there is no personal devil (they believe the devil is just the impulse to do evil), no Hell, etc - all of which contradicts Christian teaching. On the practical side, Christadelphians believe people are saved by works, which means they have to do stuff such as be baptised (like the Jehovah's Witnesses' belief that JWs have to go door knocking to be saved). To be saved (or become Christadelphian members) Christadelphians have to be baptised, after an interview (described by some as a "lengthy interrogation") by other Christadelphians to see if they have an intellectual understanding in accordance with John Thomas' teachings. Some ecclesia are thought to have at times discouraged membership of groups outside of the Christadelphians (eg, women's social club, after-school sports, etc), perhaps for being too worldly, but for many New Zealand branches this has apparently not been an issue. Women are supposed to keep silent in church but are allowed to teach children. The 1996 NZ Census showed a little over 1700 members in New Zealand.
* Note that Christadelphians don't believe in original sin - that babies are born inheriting the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin. Also, in the 1880s a split occurred which resulted in some Christadelphians accepting that Jesus was born pure, which affected their beliefs regarding Jesus' sacrificial atonment. An attempt in the USA in the 1970s to reunite the two groups was unsuccessful.
Christian Club. See Christians on Campus.
Christian Science. Cult. Founded by Mary Baker Eddy on 23 August 1879. Believes evil, pain and suffering is just an illusion - an unlivable worldview. (See the Self Refuting Statements page for more on reality being an illusion.) For more information see Watchman Fellowship's Christian Science Profile or read Harriet Zimmerman's testimony of how she left Christian Science.
Christians on Campus. Also known as The Christian Club and the Meeting Place. University front group of the Local Church of Witness Lee sect/cult. Has a presence at Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch, Dunedin and possibly others. While members are reported to be "really friendly", they also have a tendency to harass other students. Members participate in various Local Church practices including "prayer reading" of the Local Church version of the Bible, the Recovery Version.
Church of Christ. There are many churches in New Zealand with the words Church of Christ in their name, such as the Church of Christ New Zealand, branches of the Associated Churches of Christ, etc. Most are pretty good. A small minority has a tendency to get a little legalistic, or claim (overtly or by implication) that they are the only true church. At the extreme the International Church of Christ (with the two branches Central Auckland and Christchurch) was until recent years considered a cult - read more in their listing. If you have any concerns about a particular Church of Christ branch please read the Cult FAQ.
Church of Christ, Scientist. Cult. Formal name of Christian Science and First Church of Christ, Scientist.
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Mainstream Pentecostal church denomination, small in New Zealand - about 400 adherents in the 2001 census - but claims about 6 million members worldwide, in (variously mentioned) "nearly 150" or 166 countries. Founded in 1886 in Tennessee, USA, where its legal name is simply Church of God. However it often uses (Cleveland, Tennessee) to distinguish itself from other groups with Church of God in their name, some of which are less than desirable to be associated with, even accidentally. Led in New Zealand by Bishop Rev Ray Bloomfield, an interdenominational chaplain at Rotorua Hospital. He was ordained as a Bishop in April 2006 by foreign leaders Rev Jack Morris and Rev Thomas J Sands (both from Australia) and Dr Manning Thornton (USA). As with many Pentecostal churches, their Declaration of Faith (on their international web site) emphasises the importance of speaking in tongues and water baptism, but Rev Bloomfield points out that the Church of God does not believe either is essential for salvation, and says the Church of God is a conservative Wesleyan Holiness church. Connected with Church of God World Missions.
Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God. Cult. Often called Church of God PKG. It was founded and is led by Ronald Weinland, who believes he and his wife are the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11, and that the end of the world will be in May 2012. This is explained (or maybe not) in Ronald Weinland's book The Prophesied END-TIME. There are probably less than two dozen members in New Zealand and they do not have their own building but gather in Rotorua a few times a year to celebrate Jewish festivals. Wayne Matthews in Melbourne, Australia has been appointed as evangelist over Australia and New Zealand. Adrian Gray is an elder in New Zealand, and Associate Elders in New Zealand are Rex Blake, Cindy Gray, Pat Cameron, and Pauline Cameron.
Church of God World Missions. Do not confuse with the similarly named World Mission Society Church of God. The Church of God World Missions is the Mission Division of the Church of God (Cleveland), and operates under their organisational structure. It was started in the Bahamas in 1910 by Robert M Evans (65 years old at the time, a retired Methodist minister formerly living in Florida).
Church of God, World Mission Society. See World Mission Society Church of God.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cult through and through. Founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. Also known as Latter-day Saints or (most commonly) Mormons - a nickname they accept although they prefer their proper name. They very much want to appear to be Christians but have major differences from correct Christian doctrine. Members are subjected to extremely strong mind control. Their official books include the Bible, but they hold that as being less important than three other books - namely, The Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. It is interesting that The Book of Mormon has had about 4000 word and doctrine changes since the 1830 edition. Mormon temples never have crosses, but instead have a spire. Members do not smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine, and are known for riding bicycles (in pairs) while wearing suits. Maoris and Pacific Islanders are particularly well represented in the cult (as far as numbers go). Mormons believe that wearing special underwear will protect them from spiritual attack. For more information see the Closeup on Latter-day Saints/Mormons.
In June 2004 the Mormons sued a New Zealand individual (RS) because he registered the domain name FamilySearch.co.nz (in September 2000) for his adoption reunion web site. He changed the name of his web site but kept the FamilySearch domain name so email will still get to him. The Mormon church would not comment to TV3 because the law suit is pending. The Mormons claim that since they hold the trademark for familysearch, RS owning and using the domain name is an illegal use. It is believed RS registered the domain name six months before the Mormons registered the trademark.
Church of Scientology. Formal name of Scientology cult. Stay well clear of it.
Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). Scientology front group with a presence in New Zealand. Stay well clear of it.
Clairvoyance. New Age practice.
Clonaid. In 1997 the Raëlians founded Clonaid in the Bahamas (a tax haven) with the stated aim of cloning people for the purpose of Raëlians living forever. Clonaid - which turns out to be a product, not a company name - made international headlines at the end of 2002 for claiming they had successfully cloned a human, then again several more times in following years. In total twelve cloned humans have been claimed, allegedly born in such places as Israel, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and Australia. However, Clonaid provided no evidence even that any births had occurred, let alone that they were clones, and no one believed the claims. The Raëlian founder (known as Raël) claims not to be privy to what's going on at Clonaid, thus avoiding difficult questions about whether clones have really been made.
College for International Cooperation and Development. A front group for Tvind based in East Yorkshire, England.
Colloidal silver. Alternative medicine made from very fine (possibly ionic) silver particles in suspension in water. Many of the claims made for colloidal silver are straight from the New Age Movement. Colloidal silver is very often marketed as having no side effects. Actually there are no proven health benefits to taking colloidal silver and it provides no help to the body's immune system, but partakers risk a serious side effect called argyria (from argentum, Latin for silver), a condition in which a person's skin takes on a bluish-silver colouration. The discolouring is permanent and while apparently not harmful in itself, it wreaks havoc with a sufferer's social life. Rosemary Jacobs is one American argyria sufferer who has been living with the condition for approximately 50 years. See also Quackwatch's Colloidal Silver: Risk Without Benefit by Stephen Barrett, MD.
Some promotors of colloidal silver claim that silver is an essential trace element and that even a small amount can fend off disease and prevent serious illness. The truth is that it is not essential (see What does the human body use silver for?) and the human body normally contains about 0.25 to 0.5 grams of silver anyway. Silver is a heavy metal is not easily eliminated or passed out of the body, but instead builds up over time in the skin and internal organs (including the brain). The amount of extra silver (ingested by drinking colloidal silver) required to produce argyria may be as little as 1 gram. It can take as little as a week of silver ingestion to produce discolouring, noticeable as little as a month later. In its colloidal silver article Wikipedia says "Advocates of colloidal silver ... assert that, under careful use of properly produced colloidal silver, argyria is virtually impossible. These claims are anecdotal, and have not yet been confirmed or refuted by scientific study."
Colloidal silver is illegal in Canada and under laws covering alternative medicines may not be sold in the USA (since 1999) or Australia (since 2002) if any unproven health benefits (therapeutic benefits) are claimed for it. In New Zealand colloidal silver is legal to be sold without prescription only if less than 10ppm (parts per million), however the ESR has tested samples of New Zealand colloidal silver and found they exceeded this legal limit. For more information read the health warning from a Waikato University chemist, or student researcher Christine Traversi's Miracle Elixir or Plague of the Living Dead?
This news article lists some of the side effects of colloidal silver consumption:
There are many side effects. Yes, one of the listed side effects is blue skin. This side effect is called angyria. Angryria is an irreversible condition that causes skin, nails, and gums to turn a blue-gray color.
There are many other side effects such as seizures, kidney damage, indigestion, headaches, fatigue, and skin irritation.
An interesting article titled Systemic argyria associated with ingestion of colloidal silver explains several medical conditions resulting from silver exposure, including the most common ocular argyrosis (argyria of the eyes), argyria, and intestinal ulcers, with higher doses of colloidal silver possibly causing coma, pleural oedema, hemolysis, is toxic to bone marrow and may be associated with agranulocytosis. (The article also explains that higher amounts of silver may result in death, cellular necrosis, and damage of the central nervous system and cardiac conduction system.) It concludes (emphasis added):
In the early 1900s argyria was seen more commonly because it was associated with silver being used in various medications. However, with an increasing number of reports of problems associated with silver ingestion (including intestinal ulcers and argyria) and with the development of more effective pharmacologic alternatives, physician-directed use of silver-containing products declined. The official drug guidebooks (United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary) have not listed colloidal silver products since 1975. On the basis of its studies, the FDA concluded that the risk of using silver products exceeds any currently understood benefits; in August 1999 FDA issued its final ruling to ban the use of colloidal silver or silver salts in over-the-counter products.
As we begin a new century with the increased interest in food supplements, alternative medicine, and the availability of information over the Internet, argyria may again be seen more frequently. Also, the FDA ruling did not apply to products being marketed as dietary supplements, and some health-food manufacturers promote colloidal-silver products as a cure-alls. With the proliferation of the Internet, it has become much easier for these manufacturers to market their products to consumers using claims of effectiveness against major illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, arthritis, and infectious diseases.
The claims of effectiveness, of course, are quite bogus. Any improvement at all in patient condition can easily be attributed to the placebo effect. Those alternative people looking for a "natural" anti-bacterial/anti-microbial agent should probably stick (no pun intended) to New Zealand honey instead, preferrably after consultation with a doctor. But as for colloidal silver, with known serious side effects and nothing going for it, it well deserves its Danger rating.
Conservative Friends. Christian sect. One of the three main branches of Quakers (formally known as the Religious Society of Friends), along with Evangelical Friends and Liberal Friends. Both Conservative Quakers and Evangelical Quakers are a distinct minority of Quakers in New Zealand.
Cooneyites (Coonyites). Cult. Registered in New Zealand and Australia as The United Christian Conventions and known internationally by various names such as the "Nameless Ones" or Two by Twos, or The Way (not to be confused with The Way International) and many other names. For more info go to MM Outreach Inc's Two by Two page or Research and Information Services or Apologetics Index' Two-by-twos page.
Cooper, Neville. Neville Cooper, aka Hopeful Christian, an Australian who founded the Cooperites. In 1994 he was convicted on 10 counts of indecent assault. He denied the charges.
Cooperite Community, Cooperites. The Cooperites are a self-sufficient group of about 400 members at Gloriavale Christian Community on the West Coast of the South Island), where they moved in 1991 from their former location at Springbank Christian Community near Cust, North Canterbury (also known at that time as Cust Christian Community and Christian Community Church). Founded in the 1960s by Neville Cooper, who is now known as Hopeful Christian. His second-in-command is Fervent Stedfast. The contact person for the Gloriavale Christian Community School is Faithful Pilgrim. The community is self-sufficient, and runs at least four export businesses including sphagnum moss. Businesses are directed by Steady Standtrue. The Cooperites hold very conservative Christian principles, apparently with an emphasis on sex within marriage. They strongly restrict contact with the outside world, especially contact with former members (a mind control technique known as shunning). Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.
Copeland, Kenneth and Gloria. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland are leading Word Faith Movement preachers who lead Kenneth Copeland Ministries. They have many seriously heretical teachings. They have had a show (The Believer's Voice of Victory) on early-morning NZ television. When listening to them keep in mind that not everything they say is backed up by sound doctrine, and some of their teaching is definitely not Christian.
Cornuke, Robert. Robert Cornuke (also known as Bob Cornuke) is, like Ron Wyatt (who is now deceased), a self-styled "Indiana Jones" of biblical archaeology. Although not directly associated with Ron Wyatt or Wyatt Archaeological Research, Bob Cornuke, like Ron Wyatt, makes false claims such as having discovered the real Mt Sinai* - after entering Saudi Arabia illegally. Bob Cornuke also claims to have found the wreck of Paul's ship from Acts - then got sued for breaking "all aspects" of an oral contract with a former US ambassador to Malta (Bob Cornuke apparently forgetting the Christian teaching of "Let your 'yes' be yes" in Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12)**. Like Ron Wyatt, Bob Cornuke claims to have discovered the site of Noah's Ark (in a different location to Ron Wyatt's "discovery") - it's refuted by prominent geologists, creationist groups, and at least one dendrochronologist (ancient timber specialist). Wikipedia highlights more controversy:
Cornuke ... relies heavily on one alleged eyewitness of Noah's Ark, Ed Davis, in which there are problems with him being in Iran let alone at this site when he claimed to see Noah's Ark in 1943.
The worst problem with these false and questionable claims and discoveries is not that they are not entertaining (they are if you ignore the misinformation and half-truths) but that they are promoted as important evidence for believing the Bible. This is disappointing when even the best claims are highly questionable. From a promotional pamphlet - "What your children are taught at Sunday School or church may not suffice them in a world so oppositional to God's way of seeing things. Bob Cornuke offers a unique answer..." What happens to those Sunday School children when they find that the alleged evidence is quite bogus? They tend to start to disbelieve any evidence, including firm historical evidence and logical reasoning. It's known as throwing the baby out with the bath water. People like Bob Cornuke and Ron Wyatt seem to be more interested in the money to be gained from their claims than in providing genuine, reliable evidence for anything. Sadly, Bob Cornuke was promoted on his June 2004 and March 2005 tours of New Zealand by Focus on the Family and Radio Rhema.
It seems as though Bob Cornuke's recent (2005) PhD is dodgy as well. According to Wikipedia's Bob Cornuke entry:
Bob Cornuke's Ph.D. in Biblical Studies was received in 2005 from Louisiana Baptist University, an unaccredited Baptist school, where he also serves as an adjunct speaker. There is no record or claim made by Cornuke for having any undergraduate degree. ... Robert Morey [another controversial Christian figure] has a PhD from the unaccredited Louisiana Baptist University in Islamic Studies, but the school does not have an islamic studies program.
The Wikipedia entry for Louisiana Baptist University (LBU) is also telling:
LBU is not accredited by any recognised accreditation body. As such, its degrees may not be acceptable to employers or other institutions, and use of degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.
The New Zealand Cult List does not recognise degree titles from Louisiana Baptist University, or Mr Cornuke's claim to have a valid PhD. Wikipedia also points out:
Louisiana Baptist University is alleged to match several of the criteria for diploma mills, as defined by the United States Department of Education (USDE).
LBU is recognised by the Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools, an organisation Credential Watch includes in a list of Nonrecognized Accreditation Agencies to which it says:
... any so-called “accreditation” by these entities should be considered meaningless.
* Ron Wyatt claimed to have discovered "the REAL Mt Sinai" in 1984, four years before Robert Cornuke "discovered" the same site in 1988. Ron Wyatt's companion on his second trip in 1985, David Fasold, is also reported to have given information to Robert Cornuke's associate James Irwin (yes, the Apollo astronaut and long-time Noah's Ark hunter) about how to find the site. If that is true, Robert Cornuke's claim to be the discoverer is clearly a lie. Also, the actual claim that the site is the real Mt Sinai has been soundly debunked by people with more biblical and archaeological knowledge (and common sense) than either Robert Cornuke or Ron Wyatt. To quote researcher Gordon Franz:
As popular as this idea may be in certain evangelical (and even Jewish) circles, there is no credible historical, geographical, archaeological or biblical evidence for the thesis that Mt Sinai is at Jebel al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia.
Brad Sparks has compiled a summary of the problems of the alleged Mt Sinai site.
** A friend of Bob Cornuke has objected to the implication (by the reference to "let your 'yes' be 'yes'") that Bob was guilty simply because he was sued. No such implication was intended. If Bob did at some point break his word, it is especially regrettable for a high-profile Christian. Christianity Today explained Reuters' angle of a no-doubt very complicated case, in a 1 May 2003 article:
But it's Co[r]nuke's search for the apostle Paul's shipwreck that landed him in court.
According to a lawsuit, Cornuke found a Maltese fisherman with ancient lead anchors that the explorer/archaeologist believed were from the apostle's ship. But the fisherman wouldn't talk; confessing to owning the anchors could land him in prison under Malta's antiquities laws.
That's when Cornuke turned to Kathryn Proffitt, the former U.S. ambassador to the country. She arranged for the Maltese government to pardon the fisherman, but there were strings attached. Cornuke couldn't reveal the pardon arrangement, and he would have to allow Proffitt and the Maltese government to edit the book. He would also be required to encourage tourists to visit ancient temples.
Proffitt says when Cornuke reneged on all aspects of the deal, she sued to stop distribution of the book, The Lost Shipwreck of Paul.
"I felt duty bound to make sure these promises were kept," she testified, according to Reuters. Cornuke denied that he handed over editorial control of the book.
Yesterday, however, a federal judge ruled against Proffitt, noting that the book is already on shelves and that her agreement with Cor[n]uke was only an oral contract.
Bob Cornuke's friend provides some more details:
The truth is the lawsuit was predicated on two witnesses who have since retracted their statements. One of these witnesses even admitted she lied...
This seems to imply an interpreter was used between him and Ms Proffitt, so perhaps it's their fault the contract was broken. Or perhaps Ms Proffitt was mistaken in thinking there was a contract. Either way, as previously stated, it's a regrettable situation for a high-profile Christian to be in. It's also regrettable that a high profile Christian would even think of entering Saudi Arabia illegally, let alone actually do it and use the story for promotion purposes.
Cranial Osteopathy. Alternative medical treatment, also called craniosacral therapy. Wikipedia's craniosacral therapy article maintains "There is no scientific support for major elements of the underlying model, there is little scientific evidence to support the therapy, and research methods that could conclusively evaluate the therapy's effectiveness have not been applied." Little or no scientific support for cranial rhythms has been found, such as interreliability between operators. Cranial osteopathy has critics both in the established medical field and within osteopathy.
Creation, Creationism. Also known as special creation, the belief that the universe was specially created. All origins worldviews depend on certain presuppositions, and this one is no different. For information about this topic see Answers in Genesis or Creation on the Web.
Creme, Benjamin. Benjamin Creme is the spokesman of the New Age cult Masters of Wisdom and its front group Share International. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1922. Studied Helena P Blavatski's teachings and Theosophy. Also see Ageless Wisdom. Possible fruit loop, albeit a very charismatic one. He is given a Danger rating here because of his teachings, not because he is necessarily a dangerous person.
Crowder, John. John Crowder is a false prophet and false teacher. Founder of Sons of Thunder Ministries and Publications. John Crowder claims he met Jesus on an acid trip. He combines drug culture with the Holy Laughter Movement, and is without question one of the worst manifestation ministry and False Revival Movement leaders in the world today. He has held "Drunken Glory" tours in the USA and has been brought to New Zealand at least once, in February 2010. He is specifically mentioned in Part 3 of Andrew Strom's Kundalini documentary.
Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, in "LIFE AFTER LAKELAND: Sorting Out the Confusion" writes about the false Lakeland revival led by Todd Bentley (with emphasis added):
Why did so many people flock to Lakeland from around the world to rally behind an evangelist who had serious credibility issues from the beginning?
To put it bluntly, we're just plain gullible.
From the first week of the Lakeland revival, many discerning Christians raised questions about Bentley's beliefs and practices. They felt uneasy when he said he talked to an angel in his hotel room. They sensed something amiss when he wore a T-shirt with a skeleton on it. They wondered why a man of God would cover himself with tattoos. They were horrified when they heard him describe how he tackled a man and knocked his tooth out during prayer.
But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow. The message was clear: "This is God. Don't question." So before we could all say, "Sheeka Boomba" (as Bentley often prayed from his pulpit), many people went home, prayed for people and shoved them to the floor with reckless abandon, Bentley-style.
I blame this lack of discernment, partly, on raw zeal for God. We're spiritual hungry - which can be a good thing. But sometimes, hungry people will eat anything.
Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It's way past time for us to grow up.
FWIW Lee Grady has apparently learned from the Todd Bentley saga. On 27 October 2009 he wrote about John Crowder, saying "Let's put the childish things behind us. It's time for us to grow up and sober up." (More of his article is quoted in the Drunken Revival Movement listing.)
It staggers belief that anyone would fall for John Crowder's "tokin' on the Holy Spirit" (a reference to cannabis use) and the occultism that he preaches, and yet many of the same people who very publicly supported Todd Bentley are lining up to support another false revival preacher.
Crystal Healing. New Age practice.
Cult Awareness Network. An American cult-fighting organisation bankrupted and taken over by the Scientology cult in 1996. They were never represented in New Zealand.
Cust Christian Community. One of the former names of the Cooperites, from when they were based at Cust in North Canterbury.