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Important Information about Christian City Church Balmain
Booted After Asking About Money
After years of attending C3 Church Balmain, four weeks after asking the Senior Pastor Ward Lucas for financial information, the church punished my family and I by hiring a security guard to expel us forever.
After six years of attendance my wife and I had reluctantly heeded the biblical call to ‘test everything’.
We tested this church by privately questioning the use of money and resources, little of which appeared to be spent on taking care of those who went. We should have followed the bible and tested this group in the first year. Instead we accepted its claims to follow the bible and the teachings of Christ.
In fact it is selective about the things in the bible it adopts. The bible is certainly used on a weekly basis to ask people for money. But more important words in it like justice and mercy are ignored making it easy to throw out people who have broken no bible principle or rule, but have questioned the use of that same money.
The Love Ran Out
It all began when my wife and I disagreed with Pastor Ward Lucas.
How someone uses their absolute authority to expel powerless people in their care with whom they’re in conflict is a good test of their character. Conflict is when you find out if some really ‘loves’ you, or is just pretending to get emotional leverage.
It started when we legitimately questioned what they were doing with church resources. Pastor Lucas made out all was well, but when we did not agree refused to speak to us about church problems.
Pastor Preaches About Issues
Weeks before throwing us out, Pastor Ward Lucas preached about things he was in conflict with us over, self-promoting himself and the church. In these sermons he claimed God wanted him to ‘take possession’ of people to ‘see them come into the Kingdom of God’. This was a special ‘revelation’ given direct by God to Pastor Lucas.
He exaggerated church attendance numbers at C3 Church Balmain to make things look better than they were, claiming the church that had an average weekly adult attendance of about 80 had ‘grown to 200 people’.
He added to the recorded words of Jesus to suggest that sometimes Jesus wanted people Pastor Lucas called ‘doubting Thomas’ (my name just happens to be Thomas) thrown out of his presence (see Senior Pastor Preaches).
When we complained to Pastor Lucas’s C3 Church superiors and asked for a financial account he denied the preaching and hired a security guard to throw us out.
We were said to be purveyors of untruth that people needed to be protected from. But if we had truly held and expressed untruths, because no one pays attention to a demonstrated liar, expulsion would hardly have been necessary. Pastor Ward Lucas and C3 Church could have just published the details for all to see and left us sitting up the back, pitied by all.
No, it was a slander of my wife and I to cover up some truths that we had recognised (see Slander). The love for us had ended.
How Do They Get Away With It?
C3 Church Balmain has some special characteristics to make it all possible.
In my opinion these characteristics are inherently un-Christian. How you assess them is up to you as is your decision to put yourself and your family into the power of C3 Church.
1. Set Up To Discriminate
It is set up by the leaders so it can unfairly discriminate against most people who go.
Sometimes principled practices could be called discriminatory and still be fair. But at C3 Church, church goers are deliberately stripped of any mechanism to protect them from abuse of authority by the paid servants of the church.
No-one who goes has any legally enforceable entitlements except the church leaders who are effectively the church owners. They are the pastors Ward Lucas and Anthony Grant, their wives and a person called Mark Kelsey who is one of the key leaders of the body known as C3 Church (see The Church that Discriminates).
No-one else gets to join C3 Church Balmain’s legally incorporated body. And there’s no other binding system of governance. So everyone else is disenfranchised from basic rights our society holds dear.
Giving no legally enforceable commitments to people, not even a commitment to follow the bible, creates an environment of zero accountability. Zero accountability is an obvious characteristic of an authoritarian system (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism).
Does it say to do this in the bible? Not really. But if one of the powerless sheep asks what you’ve done with the money, it sure makes it easy to boot them out.
2. Happy to Use Kangaroo Court
They are prepared to use the discriminatory environment they set up to expel people who have broken no rule or bible principle using a process with no characteristic of fairness.
The use of such a process reveals that when the ends (here presumably to conceal information from people) justify the means, the bible is put away and some other set of rules comes into play. The act of expulsion of my family and I was explained here by a ‘judgment’ involving the senior pastor, and according to him, two senior C3 Church leaders, Mark Kelsey and Steve Janes.
Even if we were so bad we had to be thrown out to protect people (which I strenuously deny), you can see the process here by which they punished us and it does not lie. It was a classic kangaroo court with no element of justice or fairness. Read about it here, and you be the judge (see Kangaroo Court).
3. It is Covered Up
They won’t tell you about it.
Little information about their operating practices is made available as a matter of course to church people or the public. Not much is recorded so you can’t assess for yourself why things are done. No financial budgets or accounts are prepared and given out. Legitimate questions can be met with a security guard.
Hiding information from you takes away your ability to make informed choices about participating and effectively conceals the true mission or purpose of C3 Church. I went for seven years and was never told they selectively apply the bible to their conduct, and that they deliberately give church people no legally enforceable commitments of any kind.
They certainly didn’t tell me if I asked about their use of the money, or did any particular thing, they’d boot me out having broken no bible principle or church rule. Not telling me about this took away from me my choice to end my participation.
You won’t read about any of this on the many, many internet based advertisements or website of C3 Church Balmain. Check it out at www.c3balmain.org.au/. You will see smiling happy faces, and words like ‘fun’, ‘friends’, ‘God’ and also the word ‘tithe’ (give us your money and ‘open the way for financial blessing’). I only found out these things after seven years of attendance when I legitimately asked about how the money was used and complained.
Then it became clear the commitment to bible principles was a thin veneer. Behind it was an iron clad commitment to controlling the flow of certain information at all costs. No rules broken. No bible principles broken. But we don’t want people asking about money or discussing the facts, so out you go.
No Protection For The Powerless at C3 Church
Jesus isn’t reported as speaking of the unforgiveable sin of asking about money, or questioning or disagreeing with religious leaders.
Instead he blasted religious leaders who neglected justice and mercy and threw those making money out of the temple. And then the religious leaders crucified him. Pastor Lucas claims that this same Jesus ‘built’ C3 Church Balmain.
But at C3 Church Balmain there is no enforceable commitment to be treated fairly. No commitment to be allowed to have free access to the financials, an essential legal obligation of all secular charitable organizations in NSW (see www.olgr.nsw.gov.au/charitable_home.asp). Not even a commitment to follow the bible. Let’s just keep it nice and loose, like a private business. So we can do what we like.
Senior Pastor Ward Lucas worked diligently to remove us. The assistant pastor Anthony Grant helped put it into effect. Their ‘love’ for us proclaimed so often before we asked about their use of other people’s money had become something else entirely. I’ve had more genuine enemies who at least didn’t pretend for years to ‘love’ me.
The C3 Church overseers Steve Janes and Mark Kelsey did not even speak to us before reportedly judging us to be liars, and recommending our forced removal.
No one protected us, or our kids. Why would they protect you?
NOTE: ALL SCREEN GRABS WERE TAKEN BEFORE 03/04/2012
Antony G said:
I am so sorry to hear that C3 and Phil Pringle’s ministry has led to the hurting of so many thousands of Christians. I worked in C3 Oxford falls for one year. In this year I met some wonderful people and would like to add what I found about what I saw in C3 Church Oxford Falls.
I believe strongly that Phil Pringle is a false prophet dressed in sheeps clothing, although I do not believe this applies to all at C3 Church. I believe that he has manipulated the minds of many, including the top pastors in C3 to believe that God will bless us abundantly in our finances and circumstances if we give our money to C3 Church. I challenge those who believe this teaching to give their money to people who need it, to charities, and to the poor, but not to C3 Church, who don’t need any more money!! I guarantee that Phil Pringle will not be so supportive of this.
There is a definite prosperity gospel vibe deeply rooted in the C3 Church movement. The rich are treated as the holiest, and if you are poor, it must be because you don’t have enough faith. I remember setting up the room for Phil Pringle’s Breakfast meeting. At this special meeting with mr Pringle, top executives and businessmen came to listen to his motivational talks. Aston Martin cars were parked in the car park and the rich were treated as royalty.
I have also been to Phil Pringle’s beautiful house, which is situated in one of the wealthiest places in the Northern beaches of Sydney over looking incredible beauty. There is nothing wrong with living in a place like this, but to think that a lot of his wealth has come from the tithes of honest hard working men and women of God, needing a miracle in their lives, would be painfully sad. (I hope not!!!)
Obviously this is not how I would view all the pastors at C3, and I want to make it very clear that there are many pastors in C3 who are Jesus following, God loving men and women of God. Even at the top of the heirarchical structure built by Phil Pringle, there are amazing Godly men and women. For example, Mark Kelsey, who is a top executive Pastor in C3 appears to be a very loving and godly man. His son Josh and the youth movement at C3 is also extremely God loving and honest. I have even seen them speaking against this prosperity gospel!! Amen!
However, even though these pastors and leaders are godly, many are under the spell of this heresy started my Phil pringle. They are brainwashed and you will find them say things like, “God is waiting to pour out his blessings on you today.” This is in someways true, so it is hard to spot the heresy here. But it has been twisted to mean if you give to C3 finanically, God will bless you financially. This is heresy!
The pastors and leaders of C3 need to come on their knees before God and honestly seek the truth of God. So many verses have been twisted and taken out of context. If we put our faith in God, he probably wont want us to become rich, he probably won’t want to fix all your problems instantly. He will want to mould your character and make you into his servant, crafting you to be more and more like Jesus Christ, his son.
And what did Jesus think of money and material possessions?
… you shoud read the gospels some time.. it’s a good read!
For all those hurt by C3 or by Phil Pringle, on behalf of all honest christians, I am so sorry!!!!
please know that his church’s teaching is not what Jesus teaching is. Jesus loves you and wants you as you are. He will want you to give up things for him, put your trust in him, and follow him with all your heart. He will bless you and he will give you amazing gifts. But this giving will not be into wealthy people’d pockets but to the poor and needy. And these gifts will not be Ipads or hundred dollar bills, but Love, Joy, Peace Patience and Self Control.
Gary macDougall said:
“The pastors and leaders of C3 need to come on their knees before God and honestly seek the truth of God. So many verses have been twisted and taken out of context. If we put our faith in God, he probably wont want us to become rich, he probably won’t want to fix all your problems instantly. He will want to mould your character and make you into his servant, crafting you to be more and more like Jesus Christ, his son.
And what did Jesus think of money and material possessions?”
It bears repeating…well said!
You casn’t be a servant of God and mammon. It’s obvious where Phil’s heart and treasure is.
Gary macDougall said:
“A THEOLOGICAL DEFINITION OF “CULT” MUST BE BASED ON A STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY. USING THE BIBLE’S TEACHING AS A FOCAL POINT. A CULT IS ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP THAT CLAIMS TO BE CHRISTIAN (OR MAY NOT BE) IS DISTINCT AND HAS DOCTRINES AND PRACTICES THAT CONTRADICT THOSE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS INTERPRETED BY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY. THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN UPHELD IN HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY .
ORTHODOXY IS REPRESENTED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH, AND IS EXPRESSED IN STATEMENTS SUCH AS THE APOSTLES CREED WHICH ARE DENIED . THEY WILL DENY THE BIBLE AS THE COMPLETE BOOK OF REVELATION AND OUR GUIDE TO KNOWING GOD. THEY WILL DISTORT THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS CHRIST BEING THE SAVIOR ALONE. THEY WILL DENY HIS DEITY AND DISTORT HIS NATURE. THEY FORM THEIR GROUP AROUND A SINGLE PERSONS INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE, OR CHRIST USUALLY BY A NEW REVELATION. THEY REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM THE LARGER BODY AND OPERATE AUTONOMOUSLY. A CULT IS ORGANIZED HERESY. THEY WILL DISTORT ONE OR MORE OF THE FUNDAMENTALS.
Walter Martin described a cult like this: “as a group of people gathered about a specific persons interpretation of the bible… from a theological view point, the cults contain not only a few major deviations from historic Christianity. They paradoxically, they continue to insist that they are entitled to be classified as Christians.” (Kingdom of the cults p.11)
In his book The New Cults, Walter Martin defines a cult as “a group religious in nature which surrounds a leader, or a group which either denies or misinterprets essential biblical
A cult is also a person, or group, who has mind control as a weapon. He/they, force their will, or, own agenda on people. You don’t just have to be out of step with scripture to be called a cult in born again churches. Watch out for the New Spiritualality embedded in the church. Test all things..!
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