"The Way" is trying to recruit me and my husband


#1

My husband and I have a couple of dear friends, a married couple like ourselves. The husband grew up with my husband and they were both raised Catholic, receiving all their sacraments right on thru confirmation, but not really practicing during those younger years. But when he met his wife, she was already participating in a ministry called “The Way International” and she immediately introduced it to him. Being an open person, he was easily recruited and then they got married. What a wonderful, loving, fun couple of friends these two are. They’re really laid back, easy going people who know how to enjoy life. We have spent countless hours laughing with them and enjoying their company. But we have also been on our own spiritual journey, which by the grace of God led us back home to the Catholic church, and our dear friends are Catholic bashers and have no idea we’ve gone back. Once, during our “journey” they convinced us to attend one of their fellowship meetings, where they spoke in toungues, sang with no musical accompaniment, prayed only for abundance and prosperity, dropped a huge chunk of change into the “tithing basket,” and discussed their scriptural “evidence” that the dead are merely dust until the day Jesus returns to bring both the living and the dead to heaven. They actually told me that the notion of my deceased grandmother watching over me was a complete falsehood. By the time it was over my head was spinning. Since then I’ve read up on The Way and come to understand the truth - that it is a non-Christian cult claiming to be the only true Christian way. Our friend continue to try to recruit us, not knowing we’ve settled comfortably back into the Catholic Church. I know that when we reveal this information to them they’re going to attack or choice from every angle. They know the bible front to back, and they HATE the Catholic church. Now, I’ve prepared myself well for this, reading up on Karl Keating, Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn, and many more, and studying scripture from the Catholic viewpoint, but I’m still not sure I’m ready for this particular confrontation. Any suggestions? Here are some of the bizarre beliefs they’ve shared with me so far:

  1. Satan is always referred to as “the adversary” and nothing else.
  2. Jesus was not hung from a crucifix, but a tree, and his arms were not out to his sides, but crossed above his head. And we should never hang the symbol of the cross around our houses or necks or anywhere else because God wants us to reflect on the resurrection rather than the morbid crucifiction.
  3. Christ was merely a man sent by God to show us the way, he was not God and there is no trinity. It is also wrong to pray to anyone other than God the Father. It doesn’t say anywhere in the bible to pray to Mary or to honor particular people as saints.
  4. There is sufficient evidence in Genesis of dinosaurs and the ice age. There is also ongoing research proving original errors and misinterpretations in and of the Bible.
  5. The bible tells us that when we die we simply go to sleep and turn to dust and wait on the second coming of Christ to raise us. For the living, this concept seems long and painful but for the dead it is like the blink of an eye.
  6. Vanity, such as plastic surgery…is A-OK!
  7. Premarital sex? Drugs and alcohol? Cursing and swearing? Living for money? Lying about money? Dressing trashy? Contraception? All ok!
  8. Wife must submit to her husband, especially on the concept of sexual relations. Husband must do everything he can to give his wife the world.
  9. Tithing, giving at least 10% of your income to The Way (but more is recommended) will guarantee you prosperity.

The clincher is here. They have comitted financially to The Way, bigtime, and they have quadroupled their income over the course of only a few years. They say all their blessings are from God. My concern is this: These “blessings” are clearly not from above. So where ARE they from? And how do I convince these friends, who are so dear to me, that they are dancing with the devil? (Or should I say “the adversary”) My husband did express his concerns to them one time, and told them The Way was thought of as a cult, but they laughed at him.

Furthermore, how do I arm myself properly for defense of my Catholic faith? Any insight on this strange self-proclaimed-Christian cult?


#2

The only insight I can come up with is, “Run!!” :stuck_out_tongue:

I would keep expressing your concern to them consistently as well. They apparently don’t understand what they’re caught up in. perhaps some other posters more familiar with this type of thing could be of more help to you. God Bless you for caring about your friends so much.


#3

Believe me, my first reaction was to do just that, RUN! But something inside is telling me it’s up to me to stand up for our faith and ultimately bring them back. I feel I can’t continue to hide from this anymore.


#4

These dear people are riding for a huge fall, I’m afraid. The Way is a very damaging cult and the only reason your friends are doing so well in it is because they have lots of money to contribute. If/when their money giving dries up, so will the good feelings and support of this dreadful cult.

I agree with Ceclia. RUN! and don’t look back to save yourselves. But, be there for your friends when the merry-go-round they are on stops and the reality of how they are being used comes crashing down on their heads. They’re going to need you then.


#5

If Christ was merely a man and not God then how is he supposed to come back and raise us??
This sounds like a really dangerous group/cult your friends have got involved with. I would steer clear of them.


#6

Embrace your faith in Catholicism, share it at every opportunity with your friends.
If they back off from you, and they probably will, walk your Catholic path with joy.
I agree with Della though; when their world turns sour, be there for them with God’s Truth.


#7

When I read your post it reminded me of CS Lewis saying the smartest thing Satan ever did was to convince people he doesn’t exist. I am always worried about people joining these prosperity based ministry groups. Remember, Christ himself did not guarentee us prosperity if we follow him, he promised a hard life and eternal life. So these prosperity ministries seem to me to be the easier softer way, but not to heaven. I would feel obligated to try to convince them that their “religion” has many flaws but in no way would I ever go to their services again. Pray for your friends, ask nuns to pray for them cause they never give up until they get you!!! (Trust me my mom works with nuns…if they are praying for you, just give it up and do what they want cause they sure won’t give up!!)


#8

Hello BeautifyU;

I’ve never heard of “the Way” but many of the beliefs you documented in your first post are common protestant misperceptions. Probably, the best single book you can read is Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Patrick Madrid’s “Where is that in the Bible” is also a handy reference to use to justify may Catholic beliefs to someone who is a “bible only” sort of christian.

Another good source at “quick and dirty” Apologetics is the series by San Juan Catholic Seminars called “Beginning Apologetics.” Its a series of 7 short booklets that are really a handy framework for addressing other peoples concerns about Catholic doctrine and for responding to the beliefs of others.

My practical advice is to remember that your two friends are still your friends regardless of their new beliefs. You should talk to them just as you always have, as you would talk to anyone who is a friend. If they attack your Catholic faith, be ready to respond, but do it in charity and love. Say a quick prayer to yourself before you respond, inviting the Holy Spirit to give you the words to help you respond in a way that is caring and honest. Do not shy away from this important discussion but think of it as a way to share something with your friends. Start from the position that you, like your friends, have a sincere wish to follow Christ - and work from that perspective - rather than from an “I’m right and you’re wrong” paradigm. The former perspective gives you common ground to build on. The latter only breeds division.

Good Luck.


#9

I would not run, but be steadfast in where you are. I agree with the sentiment in running away as not getting yourself mixed up in their thoughts, but also you don’t have to be a professional to share your faith. Just as others have said be cautious and confident, just don’t let yourself get boxed in and you will be fine.

Be a source of peace for them and stick with it.

Share your love of God with them and get closer to God. If you need guidance, read and pray, attend Mass. Allow yourself to be a light in their lives and eventually share the reason for your peace is your relationship with God.

If they start attacking the Church and you don’t know how to defend it, just say I don’t know but if you would like I can find out for you and get back to you.

You don’t have to “know” everything and don’t worry about them knowing the Bible. The Bible is a Catholic book and read in context will back you up, have confidence in this and just prayerfully share your faith.

Preach the gospel always, use words if necessary.

God Bless
Scylla


#10

Oh, I don’t know about running…

I think if the OP is feeling the tug of evangelization- she should give it the good ole college try. It sounds like the Holy Spirit has been working diligently through her and her husband- maybe to plant a seed with this couple.

The only time I would advise anyone to RUN vs. offer the Catholic perspective is if it would divide a family unit, if it would create volatile situation where harm may come by speaking their mind, or if she and her husband were not “solid” in the faith- and may be easily swayed into the new religion.

But it doesn’t sound like any of these things apply to this situation. We aren’t dealing with a complex family situation. They are just very good friends. They do not sound like violent people, and the OP sounds like she has done her homework.

I would advise that they set up a regular time to get together with the couple at their home for a nice dinner and conversation. The OP and her husband can let them know, gently, of their decision to follow Catholicism. They should tell their friends that they understand their feelings about Catholicsm, and that if they choose not to be friends anymore- the OP and her husband understands.

I would approach it from a ‘friendship’ perspective first- rather than an apologetics perspective. If there is no friendship beyond that point, there really is no reason to worry about the apologetics side of it (though it is wonderful to know anyway!).

If they realize that you have a friendship that is beyond your respective faiths, then you should first set up some general ‘rules’ for the apologetics side of it. I’m sure they will attempt to “shotgun” you with many different ‘heresies’ that they will ask you to prove. Just make sure to stay on task with one idea at a time.

In debate, it is up to the person who makes the claim to defend their point. I field questions- I try not to make claims. It is easier for me to refute someone else’s assertions rather than attempt to prove a claim. I don’t get quite as flustered and it is just more intuitive for me to be on the defensive than the offensive.

You can decide whether you and your husband are better off on the offensive or defensive. The relationship you have with your friends after you tell them about your new found faith in the Catholic Church will dictate this- as well as your comfort level with apologetics.

I always approach apologetic work from the perspective that my job is to be open to the teachings of the Church, and to be in the know of where to research basic questions. Beyond that, I just pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the right words to say.

You will make mistakes, and some questions you won’t be able to answer on the fly. Just be honest, and let them know that with 2000 years of history, you might need to look a FEW things up… :wink:

But I think, if they remain your good friends, that you should do as your heart is compelling you to do. Evangelize! :slight_smile:


#11

Your friends are involved in cult that is part of the Kingdom of the World (i.e. Satan’s kingdom). The ruler of the Kingdom of the World can give material wealth to those who serve him, and he often times does.

The desire for material wealth in an ungodly desire, and in this life, we are either serving mammon or serving God. Many people think that they can compromise on this point, but they are only deceiving themselves. When people sell out and give into the ungodly desire to be rich, they are serving Satan, even if they are doing it unknowingly.But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
1Tim 6:9.

Furthermore, how do I arm myself properly for defense of my Catholic faith? Any insight on this strange self-proclaimed-Christian cult?

You need to arm yourself by putting on the whole armor of God. As a Catholic, you are vested with spiritual authority over demons, and you can use your authority to intercede for your friends for their deliverance from their spiritual bondage to Satan’s Kingdom.

Pray and fast for your friends for their deliverance from evil. Your husband can do this with you. You are involved in spiritual warfare against the Kingdom of the World, and you need to use the spiritual weapons that destroy stongholds. For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
2Cor. 10:3-4


#12

EASY ANSWER :RUN FORREST, RUN!!!


#13

Thanks so much to all of you for your sincere insight and advice. I have already read “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” and it is a great guide book for such confrontations. I only hope I have it handy when the time comes to defend my faith!


#14

Scary. Sounds like they’ve been sort of brainwashed. What I would suggest is letting them know that you have found the truth in the Catholic faith, that you understand they have strong opinions of their own, but that you find their attacks on your faith to be highly offensive and damaging to your friendship. Second, I would see if they would be open to dialogue on one topic at a time. The Holy Spirit may convert them one day, but you may be able to assist with a steady drip of the truth versus the drinking from the firehose approach that they tend to use. Keep them focused on one subject at a time. Learn that subject backwards and forwards before hand so you can defend it.

On the other hand if you don’t care if you lose the friendship…RUN, RUN LIKE THE WIND! :slight_smile:


#15

You could also point out how patient and kind you have been this entire time, listening to their point of view and how now you would like them to do the same and perhaps attend Mass with you once, or Adoration. I also think praying and fasing for them is very good and like Blest one said, have Nuns pray for them, they won’t stand a chance then.
Read through all the questions and answers on this site in the Apologitics forum and the one on www.ewtn.com, they will help you to brush up on your faith, and it wouldnt hurt to ask them what they know about this “way”, perhaps they can assist you there too.
So for your part, go to daily Mass if possible, go to Adoration, pray the rosary with your spouse daily, fast for them and offer up small things for their salvation. God is good, call upon the Holy Spirit, all the angels and Saints and most of all, our dear Blessed Mother. Tell Jesus when you receive Holy Communion and when you are at Adoration that you need His help. We will keep you in our prayers too (and them.)


#16

“2. Jesus was not hung from a crucifix, but a tree, and his arms were not out to his sides, but crossed above his head. And we should never hang the symbol of the cross around our houses or necks or anywhere else because God wants us to reflect on the resurrection rather than the morbid crucifiction”

there are catholic crucifixes that portray it like that, too, I’ve seen it both ways- not a big deal.

As for the second part, what about St. Paul,

“1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ.
For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ: and him crucified.
.” 1 cor 2:3


#17

Hi BeautifyU,

I came across The Way International a few weeks ago but cannot find my research at the moment.

You have described some of the theology of the Prosperity Gospel which is previlent in some Assemblies of God Churches. An apologetics approach to this error may help but I really think at this stage, apologetics won’t get you anywhere with people who are behaving as under the influence of a coercive and persuasive group.

The problem you have is that the ideology of “The Way” has been fused into the ego of your friends. to attack “The Way” is attacking them so they may shut down. Do not refer to their religion as a cult or suggest they have been brainwashed. They will cut you off.

Here is some reading material on thought reform:

  1. Dr Margaret T Singer - 6 Conditions for Thought Reform – short check list to determine brainwashing
    dike.de/SINUSsekteninfo/lec/psycho/singerne.htm

  2. **Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism **
    The University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill and London
    By Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.
    rickross.com/reference/brainwashing/brainwashing19.html

  3. The Battle for Your Mind – Dick Sutphen
    ctyme.com/bwash/bwash.htm

  4. Thought reform
    wellspringretreat.org/thought_reform.html

Here is a link to a Cult Exit Counsellor that offers advice on how to communicate with a cult member:
rickross.com/coping.html

From personal experience, I have found that passing links 1 to 3 to the cult affected person causes them to reflect in what they have been participating in. This tends to work because rather than condeming the group, (and in essence, them), you are passing to them a 3rd party paper that is not attacking or threatening.

I would also suggest praying the rossary daily for your friends as the rossary has strength in breaking strongholds or false beliefs.

Luke


#18

Some additional information on “The Way International”, contaning their contraversial history, group structure and faulty doctrine.

watchman.org/profile/waypro.htm

AND

empirenet.com/~messiah7/cultsthe.htm

Also, have your friends done “Momentus” Training. it is a weekend training package. it is important to know this as it somewhat changes the strategy in setting them free. Many “Way” people do this training though it is not exclusive to them.

Luke


#19

Wow, thank you so much for all the links and references!I look forward to arming myself well and handling the battle with as much love and patience as possible. God Bless!


#20

[quote=BeautifyU] There is also ongoing research proving original errors and misinterpretations in and of the Bible.
5. The bible tells us that when we die we simply go to sleep and turn to dust and wait on the second coming of Christ to raise us. For the living, this concept seems long and painful but for the dead it is like the blink of an eye.

[/quote]

This has me a bit confused. If they believe that there are original errors and mininterpretations in and of the Bible…then why are they quoting it?

Not logical.

#5 Sounds like the Seventh Day Adventists.


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