Bible Passages Frequently Used by the Group
The pastor who wrote the report about the recruiting efforts in her youth group also attempted to compile the Bible passages which the group likes to use. The Bible texts, or short summaries of them, are printed in italics. The direct quotes are from the former Holic member “Monika” who is mentioned in the above-named report. Notes and criticism of the group’s Biblical interpretation are shown in a different font.
In the following, I will attempt to list all the Bible passages which – judging by my conversations with Monika – are important to the cult:
- I John 1:5 ff. (This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.) with the following literal ‘interpretation’: “For me, the community in Dresden (the local residential collective of the Holic group) is the light. The [official] church’s congregation is the darkness, because it isn’t really a their lives over to Jesus. It also doesn’t have the goal of wanting to build God’s kingdom, so nothing will come of it anyway.”
Here the group confuses itself with God, who alone is the light. It fails to recognize (as it suppresses other Biblical passages), that every Christian community, as a fellowship of imperfect people, has its imperfections. The [members of the Holic group] claim perfection for themselves (at least indirectly).
- Acts 2:37-47 (the first conversion occasioned by Peter, the life of the new congregation) with the following interpretation: “We can and must live exactly this way. This is possible. We will do it.”
Here, a particular community pattern is absolutized – to the suppression of other forms of communal life whichare likewise mentioned in the NT – and then is transferred to the current era without consideration of the varying historical situation.
- Matthew 9:16-17 (9:16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the [new] patch will pull away from the [old] garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out, and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.) “If somebody wants to start something new, he cannot want to attempt to do that inside the old (=church congregation).”
This passage is a reaction by Jesus to the reproach of Pharisees, that the disciples of Jesus don’t follow certain religious traditions. Jesus makes it clear: with Him, something new has begun, which also brings forth a new spirituality. But that doesn’t mean that, in the future, continuously existing communities must be destroyed in order to start something new again. The group uses this passage in order to justify enticing [people] away from existing Christian communities – it doesn’t consider that somebody could use such an interpretation against [the group] itself: the Holic group could be among the old wineskins for those leaving the group. [Jesus is telling His audience to go beyond the Law to the Gospel; but the Holic Group is simply going from the Law to more extreme Law.]
- The high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 “The communities should be shaped by harmony and unity. Instead of that, there is disagreement in the church congregations. That doesn’t happen among us. We live in true harmony and unity.”
[The text is] a petition or an aspirational goal. Even the reality of the New Testament communities was not free of conflict, as Paul’s letters superficially experienced harmony is only obtained at a price: the loss of individuality and the presence of immense group pressure which allows no deviation. [The group] responds to [deviation] with punishment. Whoever doesn’t conform to the group in his behavior will quickly notice a lack of harmony (see the reports of former members). Further, isolation (with its reduced communication to the outside world) intensifies the group’s internal communication. [The group’s internal communication] is thereby experienced as a more intense community than in a group whose members also have more intense personal contact with people outside the group.
- John’s concept of truth plays a large role “Only now do I recognize the complete truth; previously I didn’t understand so many Bible passages. Now it is suddenly clear to me: every sentence, as it stands [written] in the Bible, is the complete truth. And you can’t imagine how much the daily communal reading of the Bible brings about growth in the truth!”
They posit their understanding of following Jesus, and their manner of interpreting the Bible (which, because it comes from humans, will always be incomplete), as absolute and place it on the [same] level as God, who is the truth. Just like other cults, they imagine themselves to be in sole possession of the entire truth.
- The calling of the disciples “They left everything behind. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to be His disciples.”
Here, too, it is again clear that only those passages which are comfortable to the group are taken literally. The application of these passages is only legitimate [in the opinion of the group] so far as they are not dangerous to the group itself: someone could, after all, feel called to fulfill a certain mission outside the Holic communal living group.
- Rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity as an invention of the church, because there isn’t such a doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible.
Note: here there seems to be an error, according to other reports about the group. As far as it is known, the doctrine of the Trinity is represented in the group.
- Deuteronomy 13:1-12, specially verses 6-8 (warning about falling away)
The double strategy is interesting, that one must bring people to [the point of] leaving their prior congregation (which is Biblically “justified” and presented as a positive step). But simultaneously, [the group] must prevent [members], once gained, from later leaving the Holic group. (In contrast to their departure from their original congregation), that would then be seen as falling away, which would bring about serious consequences.
- Ezekiel 3:18-21 (Responsibility for the spiritual well-being of others, see above)
They [hope to] justify the strong pressure to evangelize with this [passage]. Illogically, however, this applies almost exclusively to youth who are already socialized [in a] Christian [community], where [the group] can reckon with some success. [The Holic group] apparently doesn’t feel responsible for the spiritual well-being of people outside of this narrow demographic segment.
- Matthew 10:14 (If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.) ([This is a] justification for separating from everyone who doesn’t want to listen to [the group]: “To be sure, Jesus had initiated contact with sinners, but He never remained with them.”) i.e., for this reason, one may not remain with the church congregations, because they are almost completely infected with sinners. I have also observed the contempt which they use as a punishment for those who are quite plainly sinners, e.g., her oldest sister who is going through a divorce. (She’s an adulteress!)
[This text] is a specific instruction for missionary journeys by the Apostles which He sent out. One can’t make instructions for other situations out of it.
- Matthew 10:34-38 as a prediction that separations from parents and other relatives or acquaintances will be necessary;
Jesus wants to make it clear that a person must decide entirely for Him. The group misuses this passage in order to bind its followers to itself and to prevent personal relationships outside of the group. A former member said, essentially, “We proclaimed Christ less [and] much more our own lifestyle and ”
- Luke 9:62 (No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.) “After a person has come into the light, he can’t allow himself to be pulled back again. Jesus tolerates no compromises.”
This passage is often used in order to limit or discontinue contact with the family and with the previous social environment. In this way the member is socially isolated (except contacts inside the Holic Group) and is bound even closer to the group.
- Matthew 7:1-6 and verses 15-22 (about judging, about false prophets) The ‘interpretation’ is not clear to me here, but much worth is laid on verse 6 (don’t give what is holy to dogs and don’t throw your pearls to the swine.)
Presumably [this text] is used in order to justify a certain secrecy about the internal processes of the group and about its evasive answers (primarily [given] during recruiting efforts).
- Matthew 15:15-20 (about purity and impurity) [is cited] as a justification for the absolute necessity of keeping the community pure from sinners; then it is not so bad that only a few remain – a type of downsizing.
[The original context] deals with Jesus confronting the Jewish purity laws.
- Matthew 7:13-14 (The narrow gate to life and the wide gate to destruction) [This text is cited] in response to the charge that it really couldn’t be that, of all people, this small group [and nobody else] has gotten ahold of divine truth. Additionally, the group adds that, since the time of Jesus, there have always been these small groups and that they’ve always been persecuted by the institutional church.
They’re simply making the lack of a large membership, and their largely unsuccessful missionary efforts, into an ideology. [The fact] that a group is small says nothing about its quality and its truth.
- I Corinthians 5 generally (bad states of affairs in the community), but especially verses 9-13 “Are you not to judge those inside?” Therefore: judging and condemning are required inside a church community.
The group is always seeking a loophole in order to get around the imperative by Jesus “Don’t judge, lest you be judged.” They call that simply “assessing” – and seek a Biblical justification for it.
- I Corinthians 2, the last verses [of that chapter] (The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, or, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.) “Logically, those who are outside the group cannot understand what we know, because they can’t judge such things as natural humans.”
On the one hand, a certain elite consciousness is groomed with this [wording], which is supposed to make amends for the rejection [by other people] and for the largely fruitless missionary efforts. Rejection and criticism are used in order to prove the truth of the group. On the other hand, a certain immunity to critical reasoning from the outside is achieved.
- Hebrews 5:14 (But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.) “A person obtains expert meanings only through constant use [of the text].”