I recently visited Michael Basham’s youtube channel and watched some videos he did about the end time church. Michael believes that, The Family International (TFI), may play a principle role in the end time church and also possibly lead it. According to Michael Basham, he believes the leaders of the end time church will be people outside the church system. Another issue Michael Basham discusses, is that he recently received persecution from church people, because he believes David Brandt Berg (former TFI leader and founder) was a prophet. I do not think it’s right to judge Michael Basham or any TFI member, and it does upset me that a brother in Christ is getting this kind of persecution. No church or Christian group is perfect, and I really think the negative comments directed towards TFI are blown way out of proportion. Controversy and scandals surround the lives of every Christian believer and church (Technically TFI is a church, because the word church comes from the word, ‘ecclesia’, which is defined as an assembly or group of people.) Any group gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ is a church.
Regarding TFI (formerly known as the Children of God), you cannot deny that they evangelized the gospel in a fashion, that was far more effective and prosperous than anyone had seen in a longtime. TFI reached out to the youth who the traditional churches could simply not reach. In the 1960’s and 70’s, TFI led thousands of young troubled drug users to Jesus Christ, and many of these young people became full time missionaries for Jesus Christ. There has been a lot of negative media attention and persecution of TFI, but people should really put this into a correct perspective. The founder and leader of TFI, David Brandt Berg (a.k.a: Moses David), did preach a lot of doctrinal truth and was one of the few preachers, who preached against the pre-tribulation rapture lie. Berg was definitely a unique shining light of truth in the world of theological eschatology. The current trend of preaching a pre-trib rapture is doing much damage in the body of Christ, because this is a false doctrine of the devil, designed to destroy the faith of Christians when they realize they have not been raptured out of the tribulation. Preaching this pre-trib rapture doctrine is a travesty, because it’s setting believers up for a great fall and disastrous shock. With the exception of a few people on youtube, the main rapture doctrine preached today, is the false pre-trib rapture belief. I think David Berg did many Christians a good service, by preaching the correct doctrine of a post-trib rapture to the world. Those who read David Brandt Berg’s MO letters, can clearly observe that preaching a post-tribulation rapture, was a key part of his ministry duties. I certainly commend Berg for preaching this doctrinal truth, and I also commend TFI members for preaching this truth in their various publications (Activated magazine etc). Love him or hate him, Berg’s post-tribulation rapture theology was absolutely correct and ahead of it’s time. Berg also seemed to be the first person who preached that the mark of the beast was going to be some kind of microchip. This microchip prediction by Berg also seems to be coming to pass.
TFI is definitely not as evil as their critics would have you believe, as TFI is clearly a Christian group who have been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ for decades. You cannot deny their good fruit. I have personally observed a genuine anointing of God upon TFI members and their ministry. When I first came across the video and blog ministries of Michael Basham after he initiated contact with me, I was definitely blessed and comforted by the anointing on this mans life. Recently, I was actually going through a difficult time and was thinking about walking away from Christianity, I had just suffered so many losses in life, however I managed to get my hands on some TFI/COG (Children of God) musical songs from Michael Basham’s ministry, and this music actually lifted a lot of darkness from my life. The music definitely empowered me and I felt like I could actually do something for Jesus Christ, I definitely believe this TFI/COG music had a deliverance anointing upon it, that pushed out a lot of demonic activity from my life. This seems to be confirm that TFI may have a similar anointing to what King David had. King David was able to play the harp instrument, and his musical abilities were anointed by God. This King David musical anointing was able to remove the devils which were tormenting King Saul.
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” (1 Samuel 16:23)
From a personal perspective, I can honestly say that I have observed the King David anointing on TFI/COG musicians. Berg has stated in the past that he and his group (TFI) have a King David anointing, and this could be true. There is definitely something unique and special about TFI/COG, and I would encourage people to listen to some of their music.
Many people seem shocked by TFI/COG doctrines with regard to sex. TFI does have some controversial sexual belief’s that come from their 1960’s hippy roots. During the 1960’s and 70’s, there was a lot of free sex and free love being practiced in the hippy movement, and a lot of these ideas moved into the theology and culture of TFI/COG. Most of the original TFI/COG members came out of the hippy/woodstock/drug culture, so naturally a lot of these sexual hippy practices, made their way into the TFI/COG culture. I think the most important thing to realize here, is that TFI/COG, played a major role in bringing people into God’s Kingdom, who most churches could simply not reach. To judge people and persecute them for having some alternative views on sex is simply not fair, and I think discarding a group of Christians for one doctrine they have is really not fair. It would be like me discarding a Christian friend for believing in a pre-trib rapture. If I disregarded every church that had sexual controversy involved with it, I would simply have nowhere to fellowship. It is wrong to throw the baby out with the bath water, and I think that even if you don’t agree with all of TFI’s doctrines, that you should at least give it’s members and leaders a chance, by evaluating their teachings and giving them a fair evaluation. Persecuting TFI members and calling them evil because of a couple of media reports is ignorant and unfair. I think the best way to evaluate TFI, is to actually get to know them and read some of their teachings. I am currently friends with a couple of TFI members and have read a variety of their teachings, and have found it to be a rewarding and blessed experience. I can honestly say that TFI members and their resources, have helped me to become a better Christian. Clearly this is good fruit and clearly God is with these people.
From a Biblical perspective, TFI/COG are actually a church. The greek word for church in the Bible is ecclesia, and ecclesia means, ‘assembly.’ Any group that organizes themselves as an organized group of Christian believers, and who have a governing body and leadership, are actually a church from a Biblical perspective. TFI is a church with a difference. TFI have departed from the traditional church setup, and instead of meeting on a weekly basis at a building and being shepherded through Sunday sermons, they are mainly shepherded through letters, articles and online resources. In the past TFI members lived together in homes and fellow-shipped at family houses, and were shepherded and instructed by leadership through MO letters and letters from Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly. Receiving sermons in building meetups were very rare for TFI, although sometimes TFI had spiritual conferences, where Karen Zerby and other leaders would deliver speeches and teachings. TFI also had music meetups where TFI/COG members would play music. The TFI setup is certainly much different than the traditional church, and I think a lot of people could learn from their history and methods.
The current communication and shepherding methods of TFI seem to be dominated by the internet. TFI seems to have shifted into a more online fellowship, where their main form of communication and shepherding is done over the internet. The physical meetups of TFI seem to mainly consist of missionary and charity work. The leadership of TFI seem to lead their members through the internet, and TFI members mainly connect into TFI through the online TFI membership portal. The TFI community website is where TFI members connect into the TFI community, and receive instructions and shepherding. The TFI community membership website is located at: http://tfionline.com/
Below is a quote from the tfionline.com website.
“TFI Online is a community site for members of The Family International. TFI is an international Christian fellowship committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe.”
In summary, the present state of TFI consists of a large group of people who work secular jobs or run businesses. They are predominantly shepherded and taught through online resources, and often meet up to perform charitable and missionary work. The leadership of the group is mainly defined through online platforms, as opposed to traditional church platforms, and they definitely operate in a system far different from the traditional church. TFI’s doctrines consist of: salvation through faith in Jesus Christ only, a post-tribulation rapture, the mark of the beast being some kind of microchip, heaven and hell, spiritual warfare, the reality of demons and angels, the reality of the spiritual realm, the King James Bible being the inerrant word of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, miracles, it’s a duty for all members to preach the gospel in public, missionary and charity work, and so forth.
According to TFI member, Michael Basham (who is a personal friend of mine), TFI practiced some alternative sexual beliefs in the past, which included women having sex with men in order to persuade them to receive Jesus Christ. This occurred when the groups members came out of the free sex hippy movement back in the 1970’s and 60’s. Even if you don’t agree with some of the groups past sexual practices, you have to admit, that many of these women did go the extra mile, in persuading men to receive Jesus Christ. You also must realize that in the free sex hippy movement, sex was a normal part of the culture, so I guess many of these newly converted Christian females, brought this sexual culture into the TFI/COG movement. Jesus did preach to not judge other people and to just accept people for who they were, so I think the best thing to do, is to not judge these people, and realize that they were just Christians who love Jesus. God is the only judge, so people should really leave the judging to God. You cannot deny the good fruit of TFI and the amount of people they brought to Christ, so it’s quiet possible God was with these women during their sexual experiences and evangelism. According to Michael Basham (TFI member), TFI is a more conservative organization at present.
I think the end time church will be a lot different than the church we see today. I think the end time church will use the internet a lot to get a lot of truth out, and I think many of it’s members will have to have an IT background. The antichrist is going to try and shut down a lot of Christian websites promoting truth, so I think there will be a cyber-war waged online between the antichrist and the end time church. Many Christians with an IT background will be involved in getting truth out through the dark internet, as the antichrist seeks to stop this information from getting out.
There is definitely an information war being waged now, and this will get more intense in the future. I think we will see a church that is more missionary and work focused, as opposed to sitting down and just hearing a sermon focused. I do not think sitting down and listening to a sermon is a service to God, I really think meeting up in the name of Jesus, should be more about serving him and doing something for his Kingdom. I think the future end time church will be more about mobilizing people to perform exploits for God, and to participate in evangelism, as opposed to just sitting down and hearing a speaker. Could TFI and it’s leaders become the end time church? Or could they become a principle part of a united group of churches who resist the antichrist in the latter days? I think anything is possible, and I think TFI does have the missionary and evangelism background, to preach the gospel in the circumstances of the end time. People can certainly learn a lot from the history of TFI/COG and David Brand Berg (Moses David). Berg was on the cutting edge of end time theology and he received a prophecy about the mark of the beast, that was the first of it’s kind back in those days. It was clear this man heard from God and had some kind of spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. After reading some of the MO letters, and observing their accuracy related to end time events, it seemed clear to me that Berg had a very clear understanding of what would happen in the latter days. In a Christian world full of false eschatology (False doctrine related to end time events. Eg: timing of the rapture etc), Berg definitely had a correct interpretation of Bible prophecy. I think the above points do entertain the possibility, that it’s quiet possible, TFI, could play a major role in the end time church. Those wishing to read my article about David Brandt Berg possibly being a prophet, can do so by clicking this link.
Those wishing to view the two videos produced by Michael Basham, which relate to TFI possibly being the end time church, can view his videos below.