Groups List: C
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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 (Gloriavale, 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 (19 July 1921 – 15 December 2013) was the founder of Family Radio. He taught 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 then taught that judgment day and the rapture would be on 21 May 2011 followed by 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 21 May 2011 prediction he changed his prediction to 21 October 2011, five months later. He said the original prediction was fulfilled spiritually, and that God had 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 (then aged 90) apologised for his false predictions of the end of the world in 2011. Although he appeared to be minimalising his personal responsibility by saying "we" (meaning Family Radio) not "I", he sounded a much wiser person.
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."
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 24 weeks 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."
In July 2018 Stuff reported that New Zealand "Taxpayers are forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars treating sprains, fractures and bruises suffered at the hands of chiropractors." Richard Street, president of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association, is quoted in the article saying "It's a very difficult area because chiropractors effectively speak a slightly different medical language to orthopaedic surgeons. Their belief in what causes pathology is different than the traditional western medical approach and it doesn't have the same evidence-based, critical scientific analysis behind it."
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 Church Community Trust. The name of the charitable trust on which the Cooperites operate.
Christian Club. See Christians on Campus.
Christian, Hopeful. See Neville Cooper.
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 or read Feelings – Why subjective experiences are not enough to base one's salvation on.
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.
Circle. A "gifting circle" scheme which basically works out to a scam with cult-like traits. Cult characteristics include secrecy (members are instructed to not tell outsiders – especially men – and not to talk about Circle in public where they might be overheard), while mind control techniques it employs include deceptive recruitment (many members join thinking it is an investment without knowing how it really works; lawyers are typically not invited to join), information control (members are told to not investigate on the Internet), loaded language (cult-specific jargon), love bombing. One former member called it "a spiritually transmitted disease" in this Stuff investigation, which states Circle is present in New Zealand (Soreya James is one leader is this country), the United States of America, Indonesia, Peru, Argentina, and Sweden. They are probably pyramid schemes, as reported in this Stuff article:
The Commerce Commission says the gifting circles have the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme. ...
"... we strongly advise New Zealanders not join up. Hallmarks of pyramid schemes are that they require continued recruitment of new members, who have to pay to join, and there is an expectation members will eventually profit from being involved. These schemes collapse and those at the bottom lose their money. In addition, anyone operating or promoting a pyramid scheme risks prosecution."
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.
Clayton, Ian. Ian Clayton is a New Age mystic who practices some very occult activities, and uses the ministry name Son of Thunder. He gets a Danger rating for the risk his teachings pose to undiscerning Christians. Associated with and tours with other mystics, including Patricia King, Jason Westerfield and Justin Abraham, who are also heavily into the occult.
Clements, Sam. Sam Clements is a prominently featured writer of anti-religious sentiment in the NZ Herald, campaigning against religion with a religious fervour. He is featured in the self refuting statements page in the Cult FAQ.
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 and 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.
Cook, Graham. Graham Cooke is a false prophet originally from England, now based in California. Founder and director of the School of Prophecy (not thought to be in NZ). Has associated with Patricia King and other false prophets, has spoken at a conference at Bill Johnson's Bethel Church. For more information see this Graham Cooke article which pulls no punches with its summary:
Graham Cooke is a false teacher, a deceived and theologically ignorant man who deceives others, and a man with no scriptural right to be in the ministry of Christian leadership. Looking at the tragedy of his marriage, the rubbish he teaches certainly did not do him any good. Neither will it profit others, only deceive them with un-scriptural foolishness they imagine to be Christian by thinking with their emotions and confusing their feelings with authentic scriptural spirituality.
As James' epistle warns us: "Let few of you be teachers for teachers will be judged more strictly than the rest". (James 3:1)
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, was born ~1926 in Australia and arrived in New Zealand in 1967 (age ~41). He founded the Cooperites in 1969 in what was called Springbank Christian Community at Cust near Rangiora, and changed his name to Hopeful Christian after that. From 1991 to 1995 he moved the Cooperites to Gloriavale on the West Coast, naming their new home after his first wife Gloria. Sadly it wasn't long before it was clear things weren't going as planned. The Sensible Sentencing Trust's (SST) summary:
The troubles began in 1993, two years after the Haupiri sect was founded, when girls and boys complained to the police that they had been sexually assaulted at the Cust Christian Community. The complainants were aged between 12 and 19 at the time. A jury found Hopeful Christian guilty of 10 of the 11 charges and he was sentenced to six years. That was overturned by the Court of Appeal the following year, and a new trial ordered.
He was retried on three charges in December 1995, and again found guilty. However, the charges, the drawn-out trials, and his eventual incarceration did nothing to shake the bonds of the Christian Community or the trust its members stored in their father figure, Hopeful Christian.
And in this Stuff article "Hopeful Christian was sentenced to six years prison on eleven charges of indecent assault in 1994 but the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences and his convictions and ordered a new trial. He was found guilty on three charges of sexual abuse on young community members at his second trial in December 1995." He spent 11 months in prison and denied the charges. In April 2015 a former member claimed that members do not know why he was imprisoned, and believe it was for preaching the gospel. Stuff says in this article "Christian was thought to have at least 19 children with three different wives." The NZ Herald reports that of Neville Cooper's 16 children born to Gloria only four are still in Gloriavale, while ten have left and two have died. The SST again: "He had 15 children in 1994, shortly after marrying his third wife, who was 17 at the time." Neville Cooper would have been around 68, four times her age. Neville Cooper died of cancer on 15 May 2018, age 91 ("nearly 92" according to his second-in-command Fervent Stedfast).
Cooperite Community, Cooperites. The Cooperites are a self-sufficient group, possibly best regarded as a sect (although that is being reviewed), of about 520 members. They are based at Gloriavale Christian Community on the West Coast of the South Island, where they moved in 1991 (the move continuing through to 1995) 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). The group was founded in 1969 by Neville Cooper (deceased), who changed his name to Hopeful Christian. His second-in-command and secretary/treasurer is Fervent Stedfast (formerly Alistaire Barret), and "Overseeing Shepherd's Appointed Successor" is Howard Temple (formerly Smitherman). The contact person for the Gloriavale Christian Community School is Faithful Pilgrim. The community is mostly self-sufficient, and under the auspices of Christian Church Community Trust is said to run at least four export businesses selling products such as sphagnum moss and cervine meal. Businesses and building projects were directed by Steady Standtrue (deceased). The Cooperites hold very conservative Christian principles, apparently with an emphasis on sex within marriage. The median age of the community is 15.
The group has been labelled a sect ("sectarian religious movement") by Dr Nick Thompson, a lecturer in theology at the University of Auckland, because of the way they have separated themselves from the outside world, and the New Zealand Cult List agrees. However, there are strong signs the community may be a cult, including a single unquestionable leader (the now deceased Neville Cooper/Hopeful Christian), exclusivism (salvation is only possible within the group, although they officially say they tolerate other churches; the outside world is evil; members who have left have fallen away from truth and will not be seen in Heaven – all of these points are theologically incorrect), fear, guilt and intimidation (leaders are not to be questioned, members are made to feel guilty for having doubts), information control (restricted access to newspapers and Internet; no knowledge of common technology such as cellphones or ATMs; members do not know why the founder was imprisoned; teaching the KJV is superior to other Bible versions), relationship control and shunning (birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas are not celebrated; members are named/renamed with names very unusual outside the group thereby reinforcing group identity; restricted contact with the opposite sex and the outside world; completely barred contact with former members, even spouses and parents of young children). Interviews with former members from April 2015 highlight some of this. As mentioned in this NZ Herald article, Campbell Live (reporter John Sellwood) also asked former members "a series of questions related to the definition of a cult, to which they responded "yes" to each one in relation to Gloriavale." The interview is here on the 3 News site. The group incorrectly believes "Baptism [by immersion] is essential to salvation from sin", and calls it "the start of a person’s life in Christ." See the PDFs Waterworks and Water Baptism and Salvation for refutation.
Contradicting this (media driven?) view of the Cooperites being a cult is sociologist Andrew Sepie of the University of Canterbury, who has visited the community, and is reported as saying it cannot be described as a cult because its ideology is based on the Bible and Christianity. He is quoted as saying "The main fundamental rule of a cult is it must develop its own ideology and religious doctrine, they [Gloriavale] are using Christianity – that excludes them from being a cult ... By a technical definition they could never be a cult." In saying this, it is clear that Mr Sepie has a very different understanding of what a cult is to many cult researchers and the New Zealand Cult List: The main way that a religious or non religious group is classed a cult is because it has significant detrimental sociological impact on its members through widespread use of mind control techniques to manipulate and control its members. Sociological definitions of cults started developing in the early 1930s and are now widely accepted. A group's Christian theology being doctrinally sound does not preclude it from being a cult. This particular group's religious views (however orthodox or heretical they may be) and its social practices are seldom far apart. For example, very sadly the group uses religious justification for the way it affects relationships. Apologetics Index states "In our opinion this organization is a cult, both theologically and sociologically."
The Cooperites are now rated Danger for their use of mind control techniques, especially (but not limited to) the breaking up of families because of the total separation involved with shunning.
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 sound doctrine backed up by the Bible, and some of their teaching is definitely not Christian. Further, Gloria Copeland has encouraged her cancer-stricken followers to not take anti-cancer medication, so Kenneth and Gloria Copeland are rated Danger for both their false teaching and for their teaching being physically dangerous.
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 and attention 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.