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Twelve symptoms of a counterfeit church.


  1. Authoritarian, oppressive leadership; no room for other ideas and independent action.
  2. Lack of accountability at the top; leaders don't need or want to answer for their actions.
  3. Pyramid of power; the further from the top, the less power and influence the members have.
  4. Belief that members and their families are inferior to the leader and his circle.
  5. Belief that the leader is closer to God and can hear him better than the lay people.
  6. Strong pressure to conform to the manner, dress, speech etc of those in power.
  7. Financial needs of the church (or its leaders) placed above those of members' families.
  8. Pressure to give undue amounts of time to the church, to neglect other responsibilities.
  9. An ‘us versus them' mentality; distrust of all other churches / groups / persuasions.
  10. Narrow doctrines and teachings so unique that only this group has the ‘right path'.
  11. Discouragement of frank and open discussion about the group, its doctrine, or its leaders
  12. Ostracism of former members; prejudice against those no longer ‘choosing to belong'.
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