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Groups List: B

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Hot picks: Baha'i, Rob Bell, Todd Bentley, Walter Ballantyne, William Branham, Brethren, British Israelism, Buddhism


B

(The) Bab. Founder of Baha'i, actual name Mirza Ali Muhammad. Publicly executed in 1850. Bab means gate. He said he was the Madhi (Messiah) for whom the Muslims were waiting, and referred to himself as a manifestation of God. He predicted a World Teacher who "would appear to unite mankind and bring a new era of peace." Baha'u'llah later claimed that title.

Baba, Sai. Danger Sai Baba is a Hindu guru and New Age leader. He is assigned a Danger rating here because of his false teachings.

Bach Flower Remedies. Danger New Age practice.

Baha'i. False Religion False world religion founded by the Bab in 1844. Originated from Shiite Muslim. Contradicts itself, denies the essentials of Christianity. "While claiming to be the great unifier of all religions, Baha'is ironically deny all other religions by attempting to make each one conform to their concept of the universal religion of God. They have amalgamated bits and pieces of each faith into one eclectic mass of religious confusion." (David L Johnson.) A few of the contradictions in Baha'i:

  • Baha'i claims that each famous religious leader (eg, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, etc) is supposed to have been a manifestation of God. Unfortunately for Baha'i, Buddha and Confucius lived at the same time (between about 550-480 B.C.), as did the Bab and Baha'u'llah.
    Note: Watchman Fellowship in their Off SiteBaha'i Profile points out "The infallible Center of the Covenant (Abdu'l Baha) said that Confucius was a Manifestation (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.346)."
  • Baha'u'llah taught that the universe had no beginning and had no end, which contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. (One of the fundamental principles of Baha'i is that harmony must exist between religion and science.)
  • Baha'u'llah's teaching that the universe had no beginning and had no end contradicts his own teaching that God made the universe out of nothing.
  • Baha'u'llah taught that religious truth is not absolute, which is self refuting. (See the Self Refuting Statements page for some more examples.) This means Baha'u'llah was a false prophet.

For more information read this excellent Baha'i article by David L Johnson, DMin, MA, or for a closer look at some of the contradictions within Baha'i regarding the nature of God read Off SiteSome Key Issues Considered. Information can also be found at former Baha'i Eric Stetson's Off SiteBaha'i Faith site. He writes: "My instincts tell me that as the Baha'i Faith fails to keep its converts, fails to grow and in fact declines in membership, its leaders are gradually transforming it into more of a cult in order to preserve what they have." Note that we do not agree with all of Eric's theology, particularly his beliefs regarding Hell.

Baha'u'llah. Second leader of Baha'i, actual name Mirza Husayn Ali. Died in 1892 age 75. Baha'u'llah means the glory of God. In 1863 (while in prison) he declared himself to be the manifestation of God promised by the Bab. His followers became know as Baha'is. Spent the rest of his life in prison, wrote over 100 books and letters, which are considered sacred by the Baha'is.

Ballard, Michael. Michael Ballard is a member of the Local Church of Witness Lee working for Bibles For New Zealand, involved with distributing the Recovery New Testament. (FYI listing.)

Ballantyne, Walter Simpson. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Walter Simpson Ballantyne (born 16 September 1937, died 16 July 2011) led the Tauranga-based School of the Prophets, which he founded in 1997. He was a marriage celebrant and a former pastor of Gisborne New Life Fellowship Church (renamed Mega Life Church a few years after he left). He was said to not like the term Christian, using the word believer instead, and taught that believers must pray in tongues for an hour a day and that a person is not saved unless they pray in tongues. He claimed to have visions of angelic visitations (compare William Branham) and made hundreds of teaching tapes which are still in circulation. Walter Ballantyne is rated Danger for his non-biblical teachings including serious misrepresentations of the person, role and position of Jesus Christ (some evidence suggests he may even be uncomfortable with the idea that Jesus Christ is an actual person with an adult, glorified body; for example, he has taught that Christ is a child growing inside him and his followers), and especially for the detrimental impact he has personally had on relationships, particularly marriages. Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.

BASE Institute. Caution An acronym for the Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration Institute. One of several groups that make false claims such as having discovered Noah's Ark, and the "real" Mt Sinai. Led by Bob Cornuke.

Batchelor, Doug. Caution Doug Batchelor is the host of the TV show Amazing Facts and DVD series Final Events of Bible Prophecy, in both of which he teaches various dodgy doctrines and biblical teaching.

(Ms) Bays, Brandon. Danger New Age teacher, founder of The Journey.

Beating Heart of the School of Higher Consciousness. Not Yet Rated A group which meets bimonthly to disseminate the teachings of the School of Higher Consciousness, also known (formerly) as New Zealand Spiritual School, now known as Soul Dynamics.

Bell, Rob. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Rob Bell is the founder and former teaching pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in the United States, is a leading teacher in the Emerging Church movement, and has made a series of videos titled Nooma. He is presently working on a television series. His book Velvet Elvis is included in Dr Norman Geisler's list of Off SiteEmerging Church literature. Rob Bell is a false teacher and his theology, while giving lip service to Christian doctrine, is sufficiently flawed for it to actually be regarded as non-Christian. For example, he rejects the necessity of the Trinity or the need for Jesus to be born of a virgin (although he claims to affirm that it happened). While he has Off Siteclaimed to affirm the Nicene Creed, one of his basic ideas is that Christianity should not depend on any fundamentals – anything that would cause Christianity to fall if they were proven to be wrong, such as the Trinity and the virgin birth of Christ. On that subject he writes:

[Without the virgin birth] is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?

He answers his own questions; referring to a trampoline analogy:

Yes, of course you can keep jumping, even if you stop believing in the Trinity or the Virgin Birth.

It's important to recognise that Rob Bell's "the way of Jesus" is not the biblical gospel message that we are all sinners with a need for repentance, and salvation from our sin made possible only by a saviour born without sin (necessarily of a virgin birth) who died in our place and was physically raised from the dead. Not for Rob Bell orthodox theology; he acknowledges the empty tomb, but doesn't believe in a physical resurrection, as Ken Silva Off Sitewrites:

And as you’ll hear Bell himself say, for him it was a Jesus resurrected with an incorporeal spiritual body; and that’s really not too much unlike that taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Instead of the biblical gospel message, Rob Bell teaches a worldview in which sin is replaced by social and political (not religious) oppression, and we aspire to liberty from that oppression. With that worldview, it is not surprising that he may also reject the essential Christian doctrine that Jesus is the only way to God the Father, apparently believing in pluralism – that all religions are valid (although he possibly believes they are not necessarily of equal effectiveness, since he has called Christ's way "the best possible way to live" – but note again that he believes "Christ's way" is something other than the biblical gospel message).

I am far more interested in jumping than I am in arguing about whose trampoline is better.

And also:

One of the lies is that truth only resides in this particular community or that particular thought system. I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it’s true, it belongs to God.

Now, living our faith and social action are good and the Bible instructs us to engage in them. However, they are not enough for salvation. Works are just as insufficient for salvation as feelings are. Read Feelings – Why subjective experiences are not enough to base one's salvation on in the Cult FAQ for an explanation. In promoting what we do over what we believe, Rob Bell teaches a works-based theology. Also, he Off Siteteaches (also Off Sitepointed out by Dr Norman Geisler) an opt-out form of universalism, where everyone is automatically saved unless they decide they don't want to be.

So this is reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross, he was reconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.” All things, everywhere.

This reality then isn’t something we make come true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making.

Correct Christian doctrine is that forgiveness is available for all, not true for all. Rob Bell has Off Siteexpressed skepticism of people who believe in a literal hell and teaches that Jesus believed hell was only a present reality – hell on earth. Other comments he has made about hell only make sense in the light of this view.

Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people.

As with Brian McLaren, Rob Bell supports the teachings of radical theological liberal ("Progressive" Christian) Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan (the former co-director of the Jesus Seminar) and Ken Wilbur (who teaches cosmic consciousness). Patrick Abendroth of Omaha Bible Church Off Sitehas this to say of Rob Bell:

Simply put, Rob Bell is a theological liberal resembling the mainline denominations of the early 1900s. The difference is that Bell is sporting a fashionable new dress or in his case, a new pair of geek-chic glasses.

If J. Gresham Machen were alive today, I suspect he would do what he did with Bell’s theological predecessors. Machen would remind him that while he has the freedom to start a new religion, he really should call it something other than Christian given that his religion does not resemble what Christ actually established as recorded in the Christian book, the Bible.

But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Rob Bell's gospel doesn't resemble Christ's teachings, as Rob Bell doesn't even believe the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God.

[The Bible is a] human product... rather than the product of divine fiat.

Off SiteThis review of Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis looks at some of his incorrect theology and its consequences. If a person relied only on Rob Bell's teachings he or she would never hear a full gospel message and would probably never come to a saving knowledge of what Christ did for them on the Cross. Out of the six essentials of Christianity, Rob Bell either denies or rejects as being essential all of them (except possibly that Jesus was God in human form). Reviewing Rob Bell's Nooma video Love Wins, Todd Friel says:

This [Rob Bell] is another fellow who doesn't understand the gospel. I'm not kidding. He doesn't understand the gospel. He doesn't understand propitiation, he doesn't understand justification. Or if he does, he's clearly rejecting it.

The false and confusing teachings of Rob Bell and of those he supports (including emerging church proponent Brian McLaren, who has criticised Christians who believe in a literal return of Christ) firmly earn Rob Bell a Danger rating.

Bentley, Todd. Danger Hot Topic Printable version Todd Bentley is a charismania leader (of Canadian origin) in Lakeland, Florida, USA, and has visited New Zealand (February 2008). His ministry is basically Toronto (Holy Laughter Movement) repackaged, with many added occult practices thrown in such as necromancy and astral travel. He makes claims of being assisted by female angels in his money-collecting efforts, and that gold dust appears during his meetings. Todd Bentley supports false prophets such as Bob Jones and William Branham (deceased). A NZ Cult List researcher points out that apart from Zechariah 5:8-11 there are no biblical instances of female angels. (The two winged women of Zechariah are apparently evil since they fly off to build a temple for wickedness. Compare this to Todd Bentley's floating female angel "Emma" – the name being a contraction of Emmanuel, "God With Us".) Our researcher also has serious concerns about Todd Bentley's preoccupation with money, angels collecting money, gold dust in meetings, people roaring like lions and/or clucking like chickens, etc. Many of the manifestations of the Holy Laughter Movement are the same as the New Age, occult Kundalini. For more information see Off SiteTodd Bentley, Fires of Kundalini or Off SiteComparison between Kundalini and Toronto Movement. Todd Bentley is assigned a Danger rating because of his charismania (Holy Laughter Movement, etc), unbiblical experiences and practices, misquoting of and misuse of the Bible, connections with and support of false prophets, and spiritual danger he poses in deceiving the wider Christian church, including the deception involved regarding the veracity of healing and especially resurrection miracles. From his own claims, it seems he's either a liar or Off Sitephysically dangerous (broken link), too.

Colossians 2:18-19 is a warning for us:

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Ezekiel 22:23-31 puts it even more strongly:

Again the word of the LORD came to me:
“Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’ There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says ’—when the LORD has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Beth El (NZ). Caution A couple who promote Ellen G White and Seventh-day Adventist teachings.

Bethel Church Whangarei. Danger A church plant from Bethel Church in Redding, California, USA, where its leaders were trained and thus embrace unbiblical Bethel activities such as Sozo prayer, Manifest Presence practices including fire tunnels, and false signs including feathers, gold dust, and glory clouds. See the book The Physics of Heaven in which Bethel leaders promote Christians looking to the New Age and occult for lost treasure. See this quote from the blog of Matt Landownie Senior associate leader at Bethel Church NZ, and Director of Kingdom Life School:

If you've read my previous two blogs it will have become clear that Santa lived a full, radical, transformative, and history shaping life. But it didn't stop there... the flow of God's miracle power didn't stop with his death. For example it is widely known that his grave excreted an oily substance known as the manna of Saint Nicolas. When the "manna" would get on a sick person they would be healed. This happened for many years after his death along with many other amazing demonstrations of kingdom power.

We note the parallels of this little known and highly questionable historical matter (ignoring the matter of Santa having more fictitious than historical origins) with the practice of Bethel leader Beni Johnson with Bethel students to lie on graves to absorb the annointing of dead people.

Bethlehem Mission Trust. Caution A trust founded by Tauranga House of Prayer and YWAM. Rated Caution for its links to the New Apostolic Reformation.

Beyond Tolerable Recovery. See the Books page here.

Bible Believers. Danger A name used by some William Branham churches around the world, possibly not used in New Zealand.

Bibles For New Zealand. Caution Started by Bibles for America with the aim of distributing free copies of the Recovery New Testament throughout New Zealand in an apparent attempt to get new converts to the Local Church of Witness Lee, a Christian sect. Bibles For New Zealand claims to be not associated with any church. While this may be true on paper it is certainly not true in practice and is an example of the mind control technique deception. Also deceptive is why they have called their version the Recovery Bible. Although they claim it is simply a name, "recovery" has a particular meaning in Local Church theology.

Bicom Bioresonance Therapy. Caution Started in Germany in 1977, now operating in Takapuna, Auckland, where it is led by managing director Warren Pearson. As there is no scientific explanation of how it works (or any way that it could possibly work) it looks suspiciously like quackery, but IF it works as claimed – 85% success rate for stopping smoking and getting rid of nicotine addiction in Europe, particularly Germany – it's a very strong placebo effect. Cost $450 for a normally one-time treatment (repeats if needed are free). See Wikipedia's Off Sitebioresonance therapy listing for more information, including references of numerous scientific studies that have concluded it's no more effective than a placebo.

BioActive Technologies International. Not Yet Rated Manufacturers of "value added" colostrum products: "Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced from the mother's mammary glands during the first 36 hours after birth." Their claims of all sorts of benefits for the stuff may or may not be well substantiated. Submissions for this listing are now being accepted. Please see the Contact page.

BioLogos Foundation. Caution A Christian organisation based in the United States that markets a Bible curriculum for homeschoolers. It promotes theistic evolution, a non-literal Adam and Eve, etc. A recent creation is not one of the fundamentals of Christianity but theistic evolution seriously misrepresents the nature of God, in that it necessitates God using billions of years of death and decay to produce everything which He called "very good" (Genesis 1:31). The Bible teaches that death is a result of sin, not pre-existing it by billions of years – "sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin" (Romans 5:12). This is very important because it is one reason how Jesus Christ was able to pay for our sins on the cross. The article Off SiteIt's not Christianity examines some of the teachings and consequences of BioLogos.

Bioresonance. See Bicom Bioresonance Therapy.

Blake, Roger. Danger Scammer. Roger Blake is the distributor of Miracle Mineral Solution, and has marketed it by claiming it "to be effective against the flu, HIV and cancer" – making it a clear scam – but which Off SiteMedsafe has warned (see NZ Herald Off Sitearticle) could cause "severe harm to health". He thinks there are more than 100 distributors for it in New Zealand, some of whom make their own bogus claims for the product, such as boosting the immune system.

Blavatski, Helena Petrovna. Danger Helena Petrovna Blavatski founded Theosophy in New York, USA, around 1875. Her writings also strongly influenced esoteric teachings such as Ageless Wisdom. She was born 12 August 1831 in Russia and died 8 May 1891.

Boston Movement. See International Church of Christ.

Bowen Technique, aka Bowen Therapy. Caution A New Age/occult alternative health treatment that is practiced in New Zealand. Do not confuse with Bowen Technique (sheep shearing). Bowen Technique was founded by Tom Bowen (b. 1916, d. 1982) from Geelong, Australia. Tom Bowen didn't try to explain how the Technique worked, but asserted that it was effective. However, no rigorous scientific studies have shown it is any more effective than a placebo. It is primarily marketed by anecdotal evidence – a warning sign that it is not as effective as claimed. Practitioners since Tom Bowen have explained it as manipulating a patient's qi, or life energy, using acupuncture meridians, making Bowen Technique a New Age practice. (It could be argued that without that New Age explanation – as originally practiced by Tom Bowen – and without any scientific explanation, it was an occult practice. Ironically he claimed it was "a gift from God". There is no indication he credited God as the source of any healing.) About.com Off Sitepoints out its lack of specificity in treatment – another warning sign of its ineffectiveness (unless appealing to occult sources):

The actual method of the Bowen Technique generally involves movements of muscles and various connective tissues in the body with the hands and fingers. These movements follow a pre-determined pattern regardless of what the patient actually complains of and regardless of what the physical problems actually are. This is, then, a one-size-fits all cure – sure to help, whatever ails you.

Bowen Technique (sheep shearing). Neutral Sheep shearing technique jointly pioneered by Off SiteGodfrey and Ivan Bowen. Do not confuse with Bowen Technique, aka Bowen Therapy. Godfrey Bowen, MBE, was a Christian who wrote a short book Why the Shepherd explaining Psalm 23. See Off SiteBlow by Blow for Country Calendar's 1984 tribute to the New Zealand legend.

Brahma Kumaris. Danger Eastern cult with a presence in New Zealand. Beliefs and practices include karma, reincarnation, meditation, yoga etc. Followers believe founder is a god, reject the idea that Jesus Christ can save us, etc. Name means "Brahma's Daughters" (or "Brahma's Virgins" – Brahma is the Hindu creator of the world). Also known as Raj Yoga and Worldwide Spiritual University. True universities reject the claim that it is a university and the UN rejects the Brahma Kumari claim that Brahma Kumaris operates under UN auspices (they just rent a room for meetings in the UN building). Wikipedia's Off SiteBrahma Kumaris article gives an indication how seriously they are viewed internationally:

The Brahma Kumaris were declared an "enemy of the state" by the government of Greece in 1993 and classified as dangerous by the government of France in 1996. The Brahma Kumaris were listed as a "cult movement" in the 1995 French government report on "Cults in France".

The article also explains how they believe time is cyclical and gives more cause for concern:

The Confluence Age is said to be 100 years long, and believed to have begun again in 1936 with the descent of Shiva, during which present day civilization is to be completely destroyed by natural disasters, civil and nuclear war. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi states this information is generally hidden from non-members.

In other words, civilisation will be destroyed by 2036. Hiding beliefs is an indication of a cult; putting a date on the end of the world is another. For more information about Brahma Kumaris read this Off SiteOverview or this Off Sitetestimony from a former member.

Branham, William Marrion. Danger William Marrion Branham (William Branham, 1909-1965) was a false prophet. Born on 6 April 1909 near Burkesville, Kentucky, USA. Died 24 December 1965. Denied the Trinity and denied that Jesus is eternally God, in that he believed in modalism. Claimed to be aided in healing by angels. Taught Word Faith. Early ministry greatly influenced by "Jesus only" Pentecostals. He is assigned a Danger rating here because of his seriously bad doctrine (including Seed of the Serpent), extremely strong occult practices, and false prophecies (eg, predicting that America would be destroyed in 1977, and that the milleni[al reign of Christ] would start in 1977). For more information see the Off SiteTruthwatch William Branham profile or the Off SiteWatchman Expositor William Branham profile.

Breakthrough To Excellence (BTE). Caution A course for young people run by The Pacific Institute. Possible New Age content.

Brethren. See Exclusive Brethren or Open Brethren.

Bridal Paradigm. Danger A false teaching originating in the false revival movement that states we can individually be Brides of Christ and he will be our lover.

British Israelism. Caution False doctrine which states believers are descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel and that the British monarchs sit on the throne of David. The British Israel World Federation (a para-church organisation) has a bookshop in Auckland. See Off SiteWikipedia's British Israelism article.

Buddhism. False Religion Major world religion, increasingly popular in NZ as the number of Asian immigrants increases (in Auckland especially). Buddhism is a religion based around suffering rather than the Christian idea of sin (wrongdoing), with the basic idea that suffering is caused by greed or selfish desire. The objective of Buddhism is to get to nirvana, a state of freedom from desire, not a location. Unfortunately, in a self-contradictory way the desire to get to nirvana will keep one from nirvana. (And if a person doesn't want nirvana why would they achieve it?) In Buddhism there is no God or creator, and the universe has come about through completely natural mechanisms. Karma and reincarnation are integral parts of Buddhism. See Off SiteBasic Buddhism for a Buddhism outline including a listing of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path by which Buddhists believe desire is eliminated. Buddhism in the news: A major Buddhist temple was erected a few years ago in Ellerslie, Auckland, with the (separate) purchase in 2000 of the former Auckland Christian Assembly building in Eaglehurst Rd, Ellerslie for a Buddhist resource centre or book room, for a reported $1.6 million. Update November 2012; this is apparently run by SGINZ as a community centre. In October 2007 the largest yet Buddhist temple (on a 3.6ha site) was opened in East Tamaki Heights, Flat Bush. The building itself is valued at more than $20 million. Suggested reading is Steve Cioccolanti's book Off SiteFrom Buddha to Jesus: An Insider's View of Buddhism & Christianity.

Bush Aflame International. OK Christian ministry which organises trips to Romanian orphanages for volunteers – about the only NZ ministry that seems to do this. Based in Warkworth (north of Auckland).

Buteyko Method. Neutral A set of breathing techniques that are claimed to reduce the incidence and severity of asthma. We believe it to be non-New Age.

Byrne, Rhonda. Caution Rhonda Byrne is the producer of a 2006 film The Secret and author of a self-help book also called The Secret, along with several book sequels.

 
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