A Question of Origin…A Question of Claim
Excerpt: A worldwide group claims to be THE descendants of the first Christians spoken of in Acts. They claim to be THE holders of the Holy Spirit, and draw a great border between themselves and what they term the ‘religious’ world which they collectively downgrade, and the ‘world’.
MAJOR PREMISE: Workers go out two by two, claim denial of material possessions, and do it “just like it says,” say followers in serious earnest. Only the Bible is ever preached from. Said one worker from England regarding the Bible, “We don’t sugar coat it for the young or emulsify it for the old.”
MINOR PREMISE: Threaded throughout this total Bible emphasis, adherents of the no-name approach liberally use the phrase “the truth”. Much later, a new adherent may discover they are referring to themselves as “the truth” — as though it was the name of the no-name group.
CONCLUSION: It is the abuse of the word “truth” that is the key to uncovering serious errors in what, on the surface, appears to be a practically flawless, ever-harmonious group which enacts out the scenarios of the first Christians as depicted in the New Testament with extraordinary skill and devotion.
I. THE GOSPEL
The precious Gospel!” exclaimed a female worker out of the blue, as we drove away from a high rise apartment complex in the suburbs of Oslo, Norway. She had just addressed a Wednesday night Gospel Meeting. Later, this same worker wrote in a letter that a certain elderly lady was “…the only one who had heard the Gospel,” in a vast geographical area of Norway. A picture flashed of the elderly lady, dwelling amidst all kinds of denominations as well as those members of the state church which is Lutheran. One person had heard…I was puzzled.
The workers are particularly fond of verses having to do with “hearing” the Gospel (1 ). They seem to portray themselves as THE embodiment of the Gospel message on earth. That unless they utter the lessons of the Gospel, it is somehow invalid. One worker, from England, however, was heard to remark with incredulity that there may be others (Christians) that are not of this fold (i.e. meaning THE fold–the no-name group). His reference was to the group’s favored John 10, especially verse 1. The world as seen through many workers’ eyes is just that — the world, running after “false gospels” or, as they prefer to say, “counterfeit gospels”. The word “Gospel” is said as though it was their exclusive property, a word to be embraced lovingly and intimately.
Since most people in the western world won’t insult their intelligence to not having heard about the Gospels, there are occasions in Norway where no one comes, in response to Gospel Meeting invitations which have been placed in mailboxes.
Yet, for reasons unknown, Norway seems to be a place where workers like to be. One female worker hearing the authorities were going to revoke her stay here (since she had been in another country for a time) reportedly wept at the Foreign Police office; she got to stay on. There are frequent meetings amongst just workers, and, in this opinion, these meetings serve to launch them further into a specific “spiritual world” in which they, and lay members, seem to be a part of. The “spiritual world” supports, gives rich sustenance, and is so absorbing that workers are agreeably sustained through all the rejections and non-compliance of the “world”. The unison of belief among workers, the exacting similarity from one to the other from many, many countries, I at first attributed to Luke 6:40 “…every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.” Then this astounding similarity and singular devotion to their “world” which they all explain away is because they have THE right, THE one true HOLY SPIRIT, began to arouse doubts.
In this perspective, seeing the limited few who have taken this on in Norway in the last two years (1984-1986), one would think reason would make the workers cut their numbers. Instead Z- worker was engaged in dealings with authorities for permission for more workers to come in. One may ask: what ‘work’ could these people do? Yet devotees (especially those raised in this) seem keen on getting money together to support a worker out in the field somewhere to spread the Gospel. Any kind of mechanical means used by others e.g. television, radio is anathema. To the no-name group, the Gospel must be personally “heard” — thus, the great push to get workers out. Word of mouth, the quiet Christian example, pricking peoples’ curiosity by being pleasantly ‘different’ — is the credo. There appears almost pride in Z-worker’s voice in describing how quiet they are, absent of all the clamor that many religious groups resort to. Conventions, he says, have been held in some towns for decades, and few (outside of the group) even know these conventions are taking place.
By Carol Woster (Norway)
Published 1988 by Great Joy Publications
Carryduff, Belfast, Ireland BT8 8DN
Distributed by: Messrs. B. McCall Barbour 28, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
Click Here to read more of The No-Name Fellowship by Carol Woster on the Telling The Truth website