Here are some excerpts from an article written by a former COG member. Its food for thought for those sincerely seeking to follow their God. From Biblesafety.com by Richard of Decatur - Beware the Leaven of the Pharisees
Over forty years ago, I got involved with an organization in which I was initially miss-lead by its literature and ministry concerning its top leadership. The membership was "conditioned‟ to not read or listen to any negative information concerning the church or its leadership. After ten years, I finally discovered irrefutable proof that its founder was perhaps one of the most ungodly men who ever walked this earth. Yet, nearly everyone in that organization, ministers and members alike were "brainwashed‟ into reverencing that evil man. The shock I felt when I heard of the hypocrisy and ungodly behavior of the leadership of that whole organization literally made me sick then and even now as I remember what I learned was taking place at headquarters while I kept to a very tight budget and continually gave all I could to that organization.
When I left that evil corrupt church organization,my faith was almost in shambles. I honestly was not sure of which beliefs I had accepted while associated with that organization that were really of God and which ones were the false teaching of a man? Only as I learned that the top leader had plagiarized and stolen Biblical truths from others and other organizations and then claimed them as his own was I able to begin to sift through God‟s Word trying to hold on to those that I could independently justify apart from that organization. No one needs to experience something like that. Sad to say, I have seen that many people who eventually learned the terrible truth and left that organization had their faith and trust in God destroyed. They were so damaged spiritually they could never recover. Truth is the faith of many was really in a man and an organization and not in God and His Word.
- The first thing we should learn from this scripture is to be wary of the leadership of religious organizations.You want to get other‟s attention. Make some comments about the leadership that might be possibly construed as not flattering or is downright negative. It does not matter that the comment is absolutely the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is applicable to virtually all organizations. Do this while a member of the armed forces and you could get yourself court-martialed. Do this at work and you might be fired. Do this in many religious church organizations and you will probably be excommunicated, marked,and kicked out.
Let us further consider the last situation. In addition to being kicked out of your church organization, you will find out that no one still in the organization will be allowed to have any further contact with you under penalty of having the same thing happen to him or her. This creates a very difficult situation because often those still in the organization you were removed from had been for years your dearest and closest friends and some might even be family members. Almost always, sad to say, these people will chose the organization and reject you. Individuals in many church organizations are systematically brainwashed to think that membership in that organization is synonymous with salvation. They fear the church leadership and are compelled to forsake those who leave rather than be subject to also being kicked out and losing their salvation. This kind of teaching and behavior in church organizations is absolute proof they are not serving God and have become an abusive church and possibly a cult.
- Many religious leaders say they have compassion on others but they sorely lack actual works to that effect. Some ride in limousines and expensive airplanes. Others live in mansions full of luxurious amenities. Many dine in elegant and expensive restaurants. There are some religious leaders who have secretaries and outer offices full of an inner circle of elite who guard access to them almost as extensive as the President of the United States has. Am I the only one that thinks something is seriously wrong when leaders of a religious organization have as their closest friends and advisers those who are not members of that organization? How can the membership support leaders who generally keep themselves from direct contact with rank and file members of their own organization?If you see the leader of a religious organization when coming before groups of the church‟s membership,enter at the last moment and leave immediately after they speak amid an entourage of their inner circle, flags should start waving in your head, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THIS ORGANIZATION! When it becomes customary for everyone to stand and applaud religious leaders as they enter or leave pompously strutting not even feigning any signs of humility as they wave to the audience like nobility, alarms should be sounding, SUCH LEADERS ARE NOT OF GOD! Let me be clear, if you ever witness anything even remotely, like what I have just described, you are seeing the workings of a cult. If you are a member of a church organization with any characteristics of this kind of leadership, GET OUT NOW!
- The second aspect of the warning against the „leaven of Herod‟ relates to heredity. Often we see the spouse and children of leaders treated with the same regard as the leader. Usually we are speaking of men and their sons but this can also be characteristic of women and daughters who are leaders. It is common practice in many leadership roles that a son automatically inherits the throne, title, or ownership. While there is usually some kind of preparation as the son is "trained‟ as heir apparent to assume the leadership role, often it is not sufficient.In business, this inheritance often results in the total collapse and bankruptcy of the business as the heirs run the company "into the ground.‟ From the Bible we find the kings of Israel and Judah generally brought the nations to destruction and slavery. This scenario repeats itself so often it makes one think that there should be some kind of law that actually prevents this from happening. The heir must be able and prove they have been prepared and are of the same kind of ability to rule as their father. Of course, we are talking about good leaders, no one would want lousy leaders to be followed in kind by lousy heirs.