Help, I think my child might be joining a cult!

March 21, 2011  |  Uncategorized
Recently my child has begun attending a new church and they are displaying some unusual behavior. They are waking up extremely early for prayer, attending church often, and is constantly sharing ideas about the bible that seem radically different than traditional orthodox religion.

Should I be worried?
- Concerned Parent

Don’t worry, you are a good parent and you have already taken a step in the right direction. How should I know if you are a good parent or not? Any parent who takes the time to research before jumping to conclusions is a good parent from my point of view. Another reason not to worry – If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or loved one has begun living up to higher standards, this is a good thing and nothing that should cause you concern. When you’ve known someone for a long time you come to know what to expect from them. When they suddenly start displaying unexpected behavior, whether good or bad, it automatically begs the question, “What outside influence has come over them?” It is natural to question, doubt, or even distrust outside influences. But if the one you love is displaying good behavior, then it is good to invest some time, do a little research, and find out about what they have suddenly taken interest in. This article and the other articles on this website were all written to thoroughly explain what Providence church is and address any concerns you might have.

Providence Church

In Providence Church we deal with this question often because our bible study does have a unique set of teachings that produce distinctively better results in young people and helps them to live up to far higher standards than those of their peers. For someone to live up to higher standards is a positive change, but as is the case with all change whether good or bad, it is not easy to deal with. Change causes difficulties for the one letting go of old habits, and change also causes difficulty for those next to them because for them the new habits and behaviors may be unexpected and even unwelcome.

2,000 years ago Jesus was also new and different. People liked that he could perform miracles, change people for the better, and they even agreed that his teachings were good. But unfortunately people often reacted in a negative way with doubt and negative criticism when it came to Jesus himself, who to them was new and unknown at the time. For this reason Jesus gave us the following advice.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit… Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. – Matthew 7:18-20

If some new and unfamiliar influence produces good results in the lives of the ones we love, then it follows that the new thing they have found must also be good.

Dealing with unexpected change

As human beings we have to deal with change all the time. But too much change makes us feel like we are losing control over our life. We often take comfort in the things we don’t expect to change because this gives a sense of stability. That is why it is often difficult to deal with changes in areas of our lives or those close to us that are totally unexpected even if it could be considered a positive change.

We are used to people developing bad habits, and we can accept that people will sometimes disappoint our expectations, but it is truly rare that we see those close to us do better than we would expect in areas of their life that they never previously explored. And because it is a rare experience, people often do not know how to handle such a situation.

The media often floods us with images of young people committing acts of juvenile delinquency, so if your young person commits such an act it may be disappointing, and maybe even unexpected, but it would not likely be a complete surprise in view of all the negative influences you know they are facing. But when a young person begins challenging themselves in ways you have never seen portrayed in movies or are on tv how do you deal with the change? On tv we see parents dealing with their children’s failures and disapointments, but how many times have you seen parents have to deal with their children suddenly praying a lot or attending bible studies?

Encouraging young people to live by higher standards

Another unfortunate side effect that results from young people living up to higher standards is the misunderstandings that young people can cause when they represent an outside influence with their own lack of maturity. With all youth comes immaturity. And in that immaturity young people often display arrogance or moral superiority after achieving positive change. For example, when a young person begins waking up early for prayer, they could easily begin looking down on any family members who wake up at a later hour. Please understand that this is not a reflection of the church. This is merely another bad character trait that every young person should overcome with time as they become more mature.

In general most people agree that this generation must learn to live up to higher standards. The moral decline, crime rate, death rate, juvenile activity, teen pregnancies, decline in physical health, and innumerous other problems teenagers face today are so much worse than generations past. Parents, teachers, and others involved try to encourage the young persons within their reach to live up to a higher standard but often with poor results. If attending church helps the young person achieve your goals, then please consider the church your ally and not your competition. As a bible study teacher, I always consider myself as a supporter of what the parents are already doing, because it would be extremely difficult for a pastor or teacher to do for children what their parents are not already doing.

Family is the foundation upon which community is built. Young people need both family and community, but they also need to see harmony and cooperation between both groups. In an ideal world all good behavior would be encouraged. But when we find ourselves getting help we didn’t ask for we instinctively begin to question, doubt, and distrust the values of the other’s influence over our child. And when the goals that the parent, child, and community have for the child are not completely aligned parents often make the mistake of discouraging the young person’s efforts. This is why communication and partnership between parents and the community are so critical. So if your child expresses excitement about attending a new bible study and church, my first suggestion is to talk to the church leaders and teachers about your goals for your child.

Bad first impressions and internet research

As we know, first impressions have a profound effect on our judgement. For the parents of our bible study participants, the children themselves are often the first impression because they often begin describing how different and new the bible study’s teachings are. They themselves may not know the content of the bible study that well having only learned it once, but then they find themselves teaching their parents and perhaps even creating many inaccurate ideas about the bible study. Then upon doing research parents often find negative criticism of our teachings online. Our teachings are not that controversial but the nature of internet research is that no matter what you look for in a search engine, controversies will often populate your search whether it is valid or not. You can do a search about the President of the United States and I’m sure you will find just as many controversies as you would find about our or any other church. When it comes to the internet, large organizations, corporations, individuals, and conspiracy theorists all have the same authority in a google search. As a rule of thumb I usually look at how professional the design is, whether there is a poor use of bright color (conspiracy theorists often use bright yellow or red for example) and use of language to discern how authoritative and trustworthy a site might be.

Other controversies surrounding Providence Church

The next step is to find out more about our church and find out for yourself what the teachings are. Providence church is an international Christian movement with a rich history and a broad cultural diversity. It is a relatively new church, founded more than 30 years ago in Korea, but has since spread to 50 nations. And like all great Christian movements Providence has had to endure a tremendous amount of persecution. Our church has especially had trouble in the Asian nations that lack the same Christian history and freedom of religion. The founder of our church was arrested while missionising in China. He endured a year of prison there and is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence in Korea. You can learn more about his difficulties and the history of Providence in the other articles of this website. I hope you will be able to share the same enthusiasm about Providence that we and your child or loved one have found.


3 Comments


  1. Who really cares if they are in a cult? It’s just as dumb as any mainstream religion. Of you are religious and concerned then you are a hypocrite. If you are a nonreligious atheist then show them other outlets and reason with them that religion is unreasonable and should be avoided.

  2. Ten years is a steep sentence for missionizing and I imagine the justice system in S.Korea is a bit more civilized than say, Myanmar? So my question is, what was the actual allegation or crime and what was the evidence that put him away? And are there transcripts from the courtroom that can be read?

    When you say “higher standards” I feel like this church is performance based, like there’s a criteria, qualifications and lots of striving which in my belief seems highly religious and defeats the purpose of the finished works of the cross.
    What are your church’s views on Jesus Words on the Cross, “It is finished!”?

    Thanks

  3. When I first join this church when I was 20 years old, I kept praying asking God why is this church being accused as cult and should I continue to be here ? Is it ur will to bring me here to learn such great words ? then the same scripture also appear on my mind : Matthew 7:18-20, and I search thru the bible and found the answer ^^ I’m now happy to grow in providence knowing the truth and being closer to Holy Trinity,hallelujah!!

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