Jesus Christians


Jesus Christians

Jesus Christians is a small radical Christian group that practices communal living and distributes Bible-based comics and books.

History

The group was started in New South Wales, Australia, by Dave and Cherry McKay in the early 1980s. It has operated under several different names, including Christians; The Medowie Christian Volunteers; and Voices in the Wilderness. The name 'Jesus Christians' was selected in 1996. ("A Change of Name", August, 1996) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/JesusMoney/A%20Change%20of%20Name.html]

Beliefs and teachings

* God will provide the material needs of people who stop working for money, and dedicate their lives to obeying the teachings of Jesus (Luke 6:46, 12:22-23, 16:13, Matthew 6:24). (21. "A Unique Teaching", circa 1996) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/JesusMoney/A%20Unique%20Teaching.html]
* Jesus expects his followers to give up all their worldly wealth (Luke 12:33, 14:33). ("How to Be Saved") [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/JesusMoney/How%20to%20be%20Saved.html]
* Jesus (not the Bible) is the Word of God. Although holy writings may be inspired, they are all fallible. ("The Word of God", August, 1995) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Quakers/The%20Word%20of%20God.html]
* Jesus never established water baptism as a form of sacrament, nor did he ordain other sacraments as such. ("Water Baptism", January, 1991) [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Churches/Water%20Baptism.html] ("I Will Have Mercy", March, 1998) [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Quakers/I%20Will%20Have%20Mercy.html]
* Beliefs about the doctrine of the Trinity are of little consequence. ("Father and Son--Two for One", January, 1994) [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Churches/Father%20and%20Son%20-%20Two%20for%20One.html]
* The teachings of Jesus should be the basis of faith, not religious traditions. ("We Believe in Jesus Christ", circa 2000) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/JesusMoney/We%20Believe%20in%20Jesus%20Christ.html]
* Non-Christians can be saved on the basis of their faith in God, even if they have never heard of Jesus. This was made possible through the death of Jesus on the cross. See Universalism.
* Sincerity is more important than being theologically correct. ("The Good Hindu") [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Top40/The%20Good%20Hindu.html] ("In Search of Truth", November, 1986) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Quakers/In%20Search%20of%20Truth.html]
* The return of Jesus is likely to occur soon, although not until after the Great Tribulation. ("Signs of the Times", June, 1986) [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Endtime_sex/Signs%20of%20the%20Times.html]
* Christians will judge the world after Jesus returns, and Jesus will reign over the world for a thousand years. [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/The%20Cross/Penal%20Implications.html] [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=53&chapter=6&verse=2&version=50&context=verse]
* There are spiritual advantages to remaining single; however marriage is not forbidden even though it is regarded as an inferior option to celibacy. [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Endtime_sex/The%20Virgin%20Army,%20part%202.html]
* There is nothing sinful about masturbation. ("Wanking, the Last Taboo") [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Top40/Wanking%20-%20The%20Last%20Taboo.html]
* When an individual rejects the teachings of Jesus, they are in fact rejecting God. [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Strong%20Meat/Reject%20Us,%20Reject%20God.html]
* Technology which will one day be used to implement the "Mark of the Beast", is on the earth now in the form of subdermal RFID chips. [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/Requested%20Studies/Endtime_sex/Don't%20Take%20the%20Mark.html]

Practices

Members forsake all private ownership, handing over all of their earthly possessions to the Jesus Christian community. ("Forsaking All", from Jesus and Money) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Top40/Forsaking%20All.html] The group teaches that all members must have equal say in how funds are to be used. ("Power--Good or Evil" [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/teach/Leadership/Power%20-%20Good%20or%20Evil.html] , and "Setting Up Your Own Community" [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/Recent_studies/Setting%20Up%20Your%20Own%20Community.html] ) Although there have rarely been more than 30 members of the community, in 2005, the community was broken up into two and three-person teams, with equal portions of the group's funds going to each member. Those teams continue to function autonomously, although members occasionally transfer by mutual consent from one team to another.

tructure

As of 2006 there was an ongoing team operating in Kenya which receives and disperses funds from other traveling teams in Australia, America and the United Kingdom. The co-founders (Dave & Cherry McKay) are considered to be part of that team.

Activities

Over the years the Jesus Christians have featured in numerous news and documentary reports, often because of unusual activities undertaken by members. In 1983 they made headlines in Sydney when members of the community offered to do free work for one day for any family or business which requested their assistance. ("Excommunicated" Chapt. 5) [http://www.welikejesus.com/Library/excomm/chap5.html] In 1984 six of the youngest members of the community, headed by 15-year-old Christine McKay, walked 1,000 miles across the Nullarbor Desert in the interior of Australia without taking any provisions for their journey. Their success, after seven weeks on the road, led to a front page photo in the Sun-Herald newspaper which was chosen as the news photo of the year for Australia. ("The Walk of Faith", 1984) [http://www.welikejesus.com/Library/Walk_of_Faith/06.html]

They have made headlines for such things as burning money, painting miles of religious / philosophical graffiti and for donating kidneys to strangers. Over half of the members have donated a kidney to a needy person, thus earning them the nickname 'the kidney cult'. [http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/kidney-cult-accused-of-pressuring-donor/2007/06/04/1180809387667.html]

Controversy

In 2000 the group made front-page headlines in the British tabloids, which declared that they had kidnapped a 16-year-old boy, Bobby Kelly. The boy, who members of the community in England claim had written permission from his grandmother to travel with them, was made a ward of the state in an effort to pry him away from the group. When the Jesus Christians refused to hand the boy over to the authorities, and when Bobby started doing telephone interviews with the media declaring that he had not been kidnapped, the courts imposed a national media ban on any interviews with either Bobby or members of the Jesus Christians until Bobby turned 18. Bobby was eventually located and placed in a foster home. No members of the Jesus Christians were charged with kidnapping and a charge of contempt of court (for failing to hand Bobby over) was dropped against two members of the community. ("Boy found safe..." Guardian, 28 July, 2000) [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4045112,00.html]

In 2005 another charge of kidnapping was made against members of the group in Kenya, this time by the father of a 23-year-old woman who had joined the community. The woman released a video on the group's website declaring that she had not been kidnapped. One member of the community was arrested, however, and held for several weeks in a prison in Nairobi until a worldwide letter writing campaign convinced the Attorney General of Kenya that the charge should be dropped. On release it was learned that the member had contracted tuberculosis while in prison. He and his wife and child left Kenya shortly after release and have not returned since. ("Persecution in Kenya", Pine Rivers World News, 3 September, 2005) [http://www.angelfire.com/wi2/ULCds/BlogDM20050718.html]

In October 2006 the group held a mock trial in Long Beach, California where they charged the parents and two brothers of one of their members with attempted murder and with aiding and abetting others in doing this. It followed an attack on one of their members in which he received a fractured spine, bleeding on the brain, broken teeth and numerous cuts to the head and face. Although the family did not attend the trial, various sentences of 5-25 lashes of the whip were carried out on volunteers from the Jesus Christians themselves, as an attempt to illustrate their understanding of the cross of Christ. "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner", they said, in an effort to summarise what they were doing. ("The Trial") [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/The%20Cross/The%20Cross%20Index.html]

This family also went to the police, claiming that their son, a top student and basketball player with a scholarship to Yale University, had been kidnapped. The FBI acted on the report for a while but when the son turned up at a police station in Kentucky, stating that he had not been kidnapped, the missing persons report was dropped.

On December 11 2007 Dave and Cherry McKay were interviewed on stage as part of a two day feature on religious cults on the UK television programme The Jeremy Kyle Show. The show attempted to link the Jesus Christians with such groups as Jim Jones' People's Temple, and the Children of God sex cult. Dave and Cherry and two other members of the Jesus Christians were challenged by Jeremy Kyle, several opponents of the Jesus Christians, and members of the audience. Even though the Jeremy Kyle show is one of arguably high pressure questioning, both members were rarely able to give a straight answer to the question at hand. Throughout the duration of the show McKay's responses became more aggressive & defensive, eventually leading to McKay asking Jeremy an extremely rude question about his private life with his first wife (Exactly what was said was not allowed to be broadcast), sparking a huge response from the audience. One woman in the studio shouted out something to McKay in retaliation to his verbal attack on Jeremy. At one point members refused to answer any more questions and Mckay walked out of the interview. In spite of the seemingly negative report by Jeremy Kyle, the Jesus Christians have reported an increased number of sympathetic inquiries. [http://welikejesus.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=21129#21129]

In February 2008 a Jesus Christian family was featured on the Channel 4 program [http://www.channel4.com/life/microsites/W/wifeswap/episodes_s9_1.html WifeSwap] , where the freegan wife of the Jesus-Christian family went to live with the millionaire family of an IT consultant, living the capitalistic dream.

Publications

Members of the Jesus Christians have, for many years, distributed religious literature, much of it written by Dave McKay. In recent years they have primarily distributed copies of novels written by McKay, the main one being "Survivors" (ISBN 9966-755-00-4) [http://cust.idl.net.au/fold/survivors/index.html] , in exchange for "a few cents to help with the cost of printing them". They reported, in 2006, that their sales for this one book alone had topped one-million. [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=fqyj82dHj3IC&dq=%22one%20million%20copies%20in%20print%22&pg=PP1&ots=i7DCtB7DPq&sig=cdDWIwFXXkMGJXNO-d5zNLy0zQo&prev=http://www.google.com.au/search%3Fq%3Dsurvivors%2Bzion%2Bben%2Bjonah%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26aq%3Dt%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-GB:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail#PPA1,M1]

"Survivors" is a response to the popular "Left Behind series" of novels on Bible prophecy, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. In its own words, "Survivors" attempts to include material that was left out of the LaHaye-Jenkins series. Mckay has also published a second book in the series entitled "Listening". It purports to be an "equel" to "Survivors", taking place during the same time period, though from another viewpoint. A third book, also set during the same time period as the first two, is entitled "Destroyers". It is available on the JC website [http://welikejesus.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2109] , and is due in print by Christmas, 2008. The story for that mostly takes place in Kenya and is told through the perspective of someone who takes the mark of the beast.

Books by David McKay

* "Armageddon for Beginners", copyright 1999 ISBN 9966-755-14-4.
* "Survivors", copyright 2002 ISBN 9966-755-00-4.
* "Strong Meat", copyright 2003.
* "Listening", copyright 2008 ISBN 9966-755-40-3.

Jesus Christian Pamphlets

*Jeremiah's Lament - A modern paraphrase of the book of Jeremiah.
*Christian...but NOT religious!
*Radical Christian Truths. ISBN 9966-755-15-2
*Churchianity vs Christianity.

External links

Favorable opinions

* [http://www.jesuschristians.com Official Site]
* [http://www.jesus-teachings.com/music.php Jesus Christians Music]
* [http://www.welikejesus.com/phpBB2/ Jesus Christians Official Discussion Forum.]

Unfavorable opinions

* [http://www.rickross.com/groups/jesuschristians.html Rick Ross] – Information about Jesus Christians on Rick Ross anti-cult website
* [http://www.caic.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=3&id=30&Itemid= Cult Awareness and Information Centre, Australia]
* [http://jcs.xjcs.org/phpBB3/ JCs.xJCs] – Alternative site for dialogue between JCs and former JCs and supporters.

Media reports

* [http://www.abc.net.au/austory/specials/ashanatomy/default.htm 'Ash's Anatomy'] "Australian Story", ABC TV, aired June 4 2007 Television program on the group, and the decision of one member to donate his kidney.
* [http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=9e3d1ae0-7618-4e47-b630-108850a82f51&k=75406 'Kidney cult' man's donation refused] . CanWest News Service. June 05 2007.
* [http://dose.canada.com/news/story.html?id=294432d3-be34-4bd4-97fc-f85d623d1b42 Australia might OK kidney transplant barred in Canada] . CanWest News Service. June 08 2007.


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