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Welcome to Make Straight Paths!

This web site is dedicated to the glory of God. It was created to lift up the truth as revealed in the Bible, by examining various doctrines that are held by the religious group variously known as “the Family,” “The Family International,” the “Children of God,” or the “Family of Love.” These doctrines are compared and contrasted with Bible passages that expound on the same topics.

Latest postings

 

Tithing. Is it scriptural for the Family – or any church – to insist that tithes be paid as a condition of membership? Completely rewritten.

Rethinking Daniel 2. One of the most basic ‘endtime’ doctrines produced by the Family is its interpretation of the second chapter of the book of Daniel. Daniel 2 is often one of the first endtime studies given to new converts and in many ways lays the foundation for the interpretation of all other prophetic passages in scripture. It forms an indispensible foundation to the Family's view of Bible prophecy and future events. This page discusses several important omissions from the Family’s perspective on Daniel chapter 2 and proposes an alternative interpretation.

Obedience to Leadership. The Family has consistently functioned under an autocratic, ‘top-down’ management model, in which leadership authority is firmly held by those at the top, with limited choice given to rank and file members but when faced with a choice to accept biblical truth or the teachings of men, one must never relinquish these matters to one’s leadership. This page briefly discusses several important biblical principles of leadership as they relate to the Family.

"Believe his prophets". One Bible verse that the Family has used to support the authority ascribed to their ‘prophets’ is 2 Chronicles 20:20. The common Family interpretation of this verse is that faith in God is essential, but that he also expects his people to believe the prophets he has sent. Prosperity and fruitfulness comes from trust in and obedience to the prophets. Therefore, Family ‘prophets’ have also been anointed by God and should also be obeyed. However, a simple reading of the passage in which this verse is found reveals no such emphasis. (Revised and rewritten).

 

What's happening in the Family?

Make Straight Paths does not function as a source of current events or news about the Family itself. However, in light of the current so-called Journey to Change in the Family a couple of comments may be pertinent.

First, Make Straight Paths focuses on the biblical inaccuracies in Family teaching. Apologies for past abuses of Family members and assurances of change are therefore irrelevant for the purpose of this website.

Second, apologies and assurances that do not address reparations or alleged criminal behaviour by specific individuals appear hollow to many people in the former-member community. Repeated apologies and institution of internal safeguards will never be sufficient. Far more is required. Further, apologies that wholly lay the blame on members' misinterpretation of otherwise valid teaching are no apologies at all. Possibly some members abused others on the basis of misinterpretations, but in general the teachings that promoted sexual interaction between adults and minors were systemic and proceeded from the very top echelon of leadership. A genuine apology would therefore acknowledge the criminal liability of the leaders as well as those who put their teachings into practice.

Third, nothing short of an independent investigation of the Family will suffice. Such an audit would need to be carried out on various levels, with the goal of investigating the allegations of criminal actions, the links between those actions and the doctrines that were taught, as well as auditing the financial situation of the Family.

Fourth, admission by Family leadership that they need to re-evaluate doctrinal teaching is welcome, but does not as yet come close to the fundamental areas of concern. The pages here on Make Straight Paths clearly show that there have been major errors in Family Bible teaching since its beginning. Most of these errors continue unabated to the present day, and are of such a foundational level that minor readjustments to Family teaching would be meaningless. By way of analogy, repairing torn upholstery on a vehicle which actually needs its engine replaced is a waste of time.

A note to current Family members: the above assertions are admittedly blunt. If you take offense, we at Make Straight Paths ask you this: Conduct your own extensive Bible study, being sure to give the Bible precedence over the MLs and GNs. That is, allow God his right to judge Family writing, as well as to judge this website by elevating the Bible above all other writings. Choose any of the major unique Family teachings: sex, spirit helpers, the keys, prophecy on demand, and see what the Bible itself has to say. The question is not, 'Can I find this Family teaching somewhere in the Bible?' but rather 'If I start from a passage in the Bible, what message does it give?' In other words, would a plain reading of the Bible automatically result in Family doctrine? If not, then you need to do something about your life. If so, please explain.

 

'Leave-takers'

In an effort to address one of the severe negative issues affecting people who leave the Family, Family leadership has decided to identify such people as "leave-takers." They were previously known as "backsliders."

To 'take leave' is defined in the Free Dictionary as "to use time permitted to be away from work." In the Macmillan Dictionary, it is "a period of time away from your job." The noun 'leave' is defined in the WordWeb Dictionary as "the period of time during which you are absent from work or duty."

Defining people who leave the Family as "leave-takers" implies several things:

First, that Family membership is a valid occupation or duty. Second, that there is nothing inherently wrong with the Family. Third, that people who leave are merely taking a temporary break; they may return at a later time. Fourth, that this leave of absence has been graciously permitted by the Family. Fifth, that the reasons for people leaving are primarily personal.

Although there may be some people who leave the Family to whom this definition applies, there is a large number of people to whom it does not. There are many people who would take exception to these implications for a number of different reasons.

First, the Family has such self-serving structures in place that it can hardly be called a duty, or even an occupation. Second, serious allegations of systemic criminal behaviour have been made against the Family. This website, Make Straight Paths, documents systemic abuse of biblical truths. Third, many people leave the Family with no intention to ever return, due to a number of reasons. Fourth, people either choose to leave the Family or they are excommunicated from the Family. In general, people don't apply for a leave of absence. Fifth, some reasons for leaving may be personal, others may be doctrinal, or even due to a perception of widespread wrongdoing.

In short, the label "leave-takers" appears arrogant and condescending.

 

What to read first

If you are unfamiliar with the Family and want to know general information, you could read the history of  the Family, then the pages about its government and marriage and family relationships. If you are researching a particular topic, a brief summary of each page is given on the 'Topical Studies' page. If there is a specific Bible verse you want to look up, you could try the Scripture Index. If your verse is not there, contact us and we'll add it to our 'to-do' list!

If you are thinking about joining the Family, you should start with What Potential Members Should Know.

If you are a current member of the Family, please read the Introductory Letter specifically addressed to you. There is also a special explanation for people who used to be in the Family.

 

The best pages

Highly recommended pages include:

Basic Bible Interpretation

Proof-texting

Christian Freedom

Judging on the Basis of Love

God is Love... Love is God?

The Two Builders

Deceivers Yet True

The Just Shall Live By Faith.

 

Target readership

This site has been created specifically for three groups of people:

  1. Current Family members, regardless of status or position who wish to take an honest look at ‘those doctrines’ in the light of the Bible. Your faith is founded on the Bible. You know you have salvation because of what the Bible says. You know the Bible is the truth of God and contains the mind and heart of God. You are unafraid to study what the Bible says about the Family doctrines because you know that if those doctrines are right, they will stand. It is the Bible on which faith is built, so studying the Bible can never shake true faith. Any teaching that crumbles and falls upon cross-examination by the Bible cannot be true. Are you willing to study the Bible? Please also read the introductory letter written to you.

  2. Former members who want to find peace in the Word. You gave years of your life in the Family out of love for the Lord. You knew the Bible was true. Now, however, sometimes you get confused, especially when Family doctrines surface. Some of these doctrines seem so logical, and easy to accept. Are they true? You want peace in your heart. You want the Word you can stand on, to justify to yourself or to others why you do or do not believe certain things. You want the truth that sets you free from the confusion that sometimes besieges you. Or perhaps you have rejected Christianity on the basis of what you saw in the Family, but would still like to make a comparison between the Family and genuine faith. There is an introductory letter written to you.

  3. Prospective members who wish to compare specific Family doctrines with the Bible before making the decision whether or not to join the Family. You love the Lord, perhaps you are recently born again and are filled with zeal to serve the Lord. Perhaps you are tired of the complacency and spiritual lethargy you have found in mainstream Christianity. Your ultimate desire is to serve the Lord in truth. You have no wish to live for the world, you don’t want to live a self-centred existence, you want to give your life for Jesus. Yet you also know that Jesus Himself warned us not to be deceived. Many of the Family doctrines appear appealing, logical and convincing. What does the Bible actually say about those doctrines? Note that the decision to join or not to join the Family is yours and yours alone. Neither we nor Family members can take that from you. The purpose of this site is to examine the beliefs you would be expected to hold to in the perfect light of the Bible. You can get an overall view of the main differences between the Family and other churches in the page What Potential Members Should Know. It's a good place to start.

 

No personal attacks

The articles published on this site will not contain personal attacks on any person in the Family, including past or present leadership. The focus here is the Bible, not who is to blame, or what should be done to them. We are all accountable before God to follow Him in truth, and these articles are dedicated to lift up the truth. If you wish to read accounts of ex-members’ personal experiences in the Family, you could try one of the other sites. However, the Bible says that if you believe someone is doing the wrong thing, “you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted”. (Gal. 6:1 NKJ) The articles published here are written with that principle in mind. Having said that, there are places on this site where reference to Family leadership is unavoidable, usually as the authors or propagators of a particular teaching. For the most part, past and present leadership publicly have taken full responsibility for the teachings they disseminate. They do not always take responsibility for their followers' application of those teachings, but they do stand behind the teachings themselves. Therefore, no offence should be taken if a page on this site names David Berg as the author of a particular doctrine, even if the study concludes that the doctrine is unbiblical.

Disclaimer

This web site does not attempt to provide a well-rounded theology, exposition or explanation of all the verses cited. The purpose of this website is to examine the doctrines of the Family, and the particular interpretations the Family gives to certain Bible verses. All pages should be seen in this light.

The question that initiated most pages was not, "What is the message of the book of Hebrews?" or "How does the Bible develop an evangelical theme through the Old and New Testaments?" but rather, "The Family believes, teaches and practises a certain doctrine. Is this doctrine correct, according to the Bible?" The result of this approach is a rather narrow focus. There are volumes that can and should be written on each topic, in order to present a well-rounded thorough teaching that is applicable to all Christians in all situations. Therefore, if you feel that a particular study is lacking in some regard, please bear in mind that the purpose of this site is narrow, in that it is designed to examine Family doctrines, and then, if you wish,  contact us.

 

 

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