The Jesus Christians - offshoot of COG?
compiled by WC
Dec 2002

The Jesus Christians
Offshoot of the COG?

This group has recently come to the attention of several exmembers, and is thought to be an offshoot of the COG movement. They were accused of kidnapping a teenaged boy in the UK. More information about them can be found on Rick Ross' site:

From the Evening Standard - London - April 8, 2002
Nomadic sect accused of brainwashing children

The Jesus Christians are a nomadic religious cult that calls on members to forsake their job, boss, family and friends in order to show pure devotion to God, writes David Taylor.

Despite having a base in Sydney, Australia, the international missionaries are constantly on the move, living and travelling in a white Leyland DAF van.

The cult was formed in Australia by a charismatic figure named David Mackay.

The group is very small, comprising of 17 members worldwide, four of whom are usually in Britain.

It is an offshoot of the US Children of God sect, later known as the Family, which was notorious for enticing converts with the promise of sex.

Jesus Christians have staged publicity stunts in Australia, calling for Christians to reject mainstream religion and focus on the word of the New Testament.

They combine preaching in public places with leaflet distribution to attract followers. Members, including Susan and Roland Gianstefani, also hand out copies of The Liberator, a religious cartoon book, to lure youngsters.

Converts believe that Aids, UFO sightings, earthquakes and the persecution of Jesus Christians by the media are all signs of an impending apocalypse.

Graham Baldwin, a campaigner who runs Catalyst, a charity that helps families who have lost children to cults, claims the Jesus Christians target impressionable teenagers and manipulate them with mind-control techniques.

Parents agree, saying their children have been brainwashed.

The Jesus Christians deny this, saying they merely present a simple and enlightened view of the Bible that shows the truth of Jesus's teachings and encourages a lifestyle based on a commitment to these doctrines.

They do not have rituals, a regimented lifestyle or any ceremonies. And they do not attend church.

Instead, Jesus Christians debate theological issues, adhere to a communal life based on poverty and live by certain biblical passages which, they claim, are the key to true Christianity.

One such passage is Luke 14.33, which says: "Whoever does not give up everything they own cannot be a Christian."

From the Daily Express, July 14, 2000

Sinister Groups That Take Over The Lives Of Their Disciples

The Jesus Christians are an Australian-based cult. Their leader is David McKay, who is thought to have been a member of the notorious Children of God sect before setting up the group.

The number of members in this country or worldwide is not known because members are secretive and reluctant to talk about their activities.

But one of its basic rules is that members have to break contact with their families and friends. They are also expected to hand over all their worldly goods.

It was significant that within hours of involving teenager Bobby Kelly, from Romford, the group had taken his TV and video and then wanted to strip his room of his other belongings.

In that they are similar to the Children of God, now called The Family. The late David Berg, an American who founded the Children of God in 1968, preached free sex to his followers. He also preached child abuse.

A British woman, Sylvia Padilla, has described how she and her family were members of the Children of God for 18 years before they escaped.

She said she decided to get out when she discovered her children - five daughters and two sons - had been the victims of sex abuse by members. One of her daughters, Victoria, told how she was brainwashed from the age of seven to believe that sex with adults was normal. Her mother described how she was required to trawl bars and restaurants offering sex to try to win recruits.

Graham Baldwin, who monitors the activities of cult groups, reckons there have been at least 1,000 set up in this country in the last 50 years. Some are quite small with only a handful of followers. Others have members around the world.

One that has been known to leave some adherents with serious psychiatric problems is the Church of Christ.

It has branches around the country and its members believe they are the only true Christians. Every member has a discipler, another member who is consulted about every decision.

Graham Baldwin said: "The effect is that everyone is controlled by the cult and everyone is expected to hand over ten per cent of their income."

He added:"There has been an explosion of pseudo Christian cults. They use mind-control tactics."I was involved in one case where a young Australian had abandoned his fiancee in this country with no money and no friends. We rescued him and helped him recover and he could not believe he had done those things. He had been taken over."

From the Daily Express, July 14, 2000
By Alex Hendry

"The Jesus Christians are a breakaway group of the discredited Children of God cult. It is a small group headed by Australian David McKay. It has its own web site which is monitored by Mr Baldwin of Catalyst."

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