Source : 08/09/1988 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
The writer of the letter (Readers Write September 1) is well known for her unwarranted attacks on the Jesus Fellowship or Jesus Army.
Few of your readers will be misled by what she says. The facts are:
The Jesus Fellowship does not 'lure the vulnerable and emotionally disturbed into a cult'. We do preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and give practical and spiritual support to many thousands of people each year. The majority of them do not, in fact, join us, nor would we expect them to. We are a genuine, orthodox Christian church, not a cult. Some who come into our houses do so temporarily. The writers' talk of 'escape' is the sign of a deluded mind. People come and go according to their choice.
The pictures you printed in your August 24 issue resulted from an open invitation to your photographers. Christian praying and phenomena of this kind has been found in churches of every denomination, including Church of England, Roman Catholic, Baptist and Methodist, over the past 20 years. In Christian terms is has become known as the charismatic movement and embraces churches of all persuasions.
As regards 'the current massive media investigation' most of this results from our own press releases as we campaign around the country. We co-operate with the media and, although some of the programmes produced are inclined to the sensationally slanted, we feel the media is there to help us display what we are and that the public wants to know this.
As for being 'one of the most dangerous cults in the country', let your readers come and see us and find out for themselves. Christian community houses are an acceptable Biblical and historical form of Christianity. Of course, many of our members live in their own houses. There is no brain-washing! There are the holy ethics of the faith, which not everyone can accept! But nothing is dangerous!
The writer speaks of 'coercing vulnerable people even as young as 16'. We help people of all ages. There is no coercion! But there is the love and power of God. It is always made clear that those desiring to join us should carefully make their choice. They can be Baptised into the Christian faith in another church. Your readers will know that to bring teenagers to the Christian faith with a desire to live good and holy lives is a great need in Britain today.
David Lantsbery, Elder, Jesus Fellowship Church (Baptist),
Furnace Lane, Nether Heyford.