Thursday, 1 June 2023

Whose Work Is It Anyway?

The purpose of this blog is to record my thoughts on a Brazilian church group I left, called Maranatha Christian Church (in Portuguese known as Igreja Crista Maranata ).  Here I discuss its teachings, practices, as well as a major scandal, at it's highest levels of leadership, that's currently undergoing investigation. To anyone non-Christian who stumbles across this website, please read this open letter.  The reason why I named this blog "Whose Work Is It Anyway?" is in response to a false (albeit unofficial) belief, that many ICM members seem to hold - that this specific denomination is THE only "Work of The Holy Spirit" or "Faithful Church" (all else is seen as a corrupt "mixture" or "religion").

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Matthew 18:17: Are You Tolerating Unrepentant Sin?

In this article we ask an important question for those who choose to remain in Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata from Brazil ) - despite all that's been reported in relation to the major scandal that erupted in 2011.  Are these members, who submit to the Presbytery, guilty of tolerating unrepentant sin?   Consider Matthew 18:17 - the last stage of church discipline (whose interpretation, is demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 5): 

Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV) "If your brother sins... if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. "

1 Corinthians 5:1-2 (ESV) "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you,...And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you."

All sin must be repented of.   It appears all stages outlined in Matthew 18 have happened - yet still no repentance.  Members seem powerless or unwilling remove them.  What should they do, if the leadership cannot be removed?  The only other recourse is to eventually "come out of her" so not to "partake in her sins" - which is the principle we observe in the unrepentant corrupt system in Revelation 18:

Revelation 18:4 “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;"

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Maranatha & Joel's Prophecy (Dreams, Visions and Tongues?)

In this study we will examine how we "hear from the Lord" based on a recent seminar class taught by a pastor, from Maranatha Christian Church (Igreja Crista Maranata), teaching at another Pentecostal denomination.  There he focused on the "gifts" spoken of in Joel 2:28-29 "...I will pour out my spirit... your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions...".   He focused a lot on these specific manifestations.  He said very clearly and boldly how these SHOULD be quite FREQUENTLY occurring in the church today.   He attempted to do this by citing some examples from the book of Acts.   In addition, he also shared some subjective experiences from ICM.  In this article we will look at this in detail, and discuss the validity of these claims.  

Friday, 23 August 2013

How Long Will You Grieve Over Saul? -1 Samuel 16:1

1 Samuel 16:1 (ESV)
"The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

This story took place in the Old Testament times, when Israel`s first king, Saul, was rejected from being king.  Prior to that, the Lord was, for a time, able to work some mighty blessings and victories through him. Over time, however, Saul became corrupt and unfaithful - to the point that God could no longer work with him.   The Lord then began raising up a youth named David to be king - someone who, overall, would be very faithful the Lord - through whom God could work even mightier blessings.   Samuel was there to anoint both kings at the beginning of each.   Now it was David`s turn, but Samuel for some reason needed a push from God, to move forward.  He was still morning for Saul, even though he knew already that God had rejected that man from being king.  As Christians there are times when we`re stuck in the past with the old corrupt things, which could include certain people, and even church groups that have become corrupt.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Real Origins of ICM (Spiritual or Political)?

After the scandal began, a major media outlet in the state of Espirto Santo (ES), Brazil, reported about a book published in 2003, that details the possible origins of Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata ).   Up until then, I believe that most ICM members had no idea about this information.  This book is based on "official" Presbyterian Church [meeting] "minutes", from the 1960-70s.  A big section of which, chronicles the departure of several members, who went on to be the founding members of ICM.   I believe this is something very serious to consider, given that the author, since 2003 (10 years ago) has never been sued about this.  This information was especially helpful in my own decision to leave from ICM, no longer convinced they were as Spiritual as previously suggested to me.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Job 29:18 - Is Maranatha Our "Nest"?

Job 29:18 (New King James) "Then I said,  shall die in my nest, And multiply my days as the sand."

In February 2012, not that long after news of the scandal broke in Brazil, Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata ), had a "special" seminar for all the members.  This to me seemed plainly as a form of damage control, to put themselves in a better light, whilst discouraging people from leaving.  During the 2nd Class, they preached about King David & Abishag.  During that class, they compared Abishag (who was warming an aged David), with the "nest" from Job 29:18.   Both of these were being directly compared with "the Work" - which they basically showed they meant to be "Maranatha" (as I will demonstrate).  What Was Job`s Nest, and is this a correct interpretation?

2 Chronicles 20:17a - Stand Firm... See The Salvation Of The Lord

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord" (2 Chronicles 20:17a)

In Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata), this was the 2013 theme verse, during the time of the scandal.   When I heard this verse I understood that ICM was possibly using this verse as a way of saying, that it's being persecuted unfairly (e.g. by the authorities and media, who are investigating things), but that the Lord will vindicate this group and it's leaders.  Indeed, I've observed online that many zealous members seem confident that they will be victorious,  and that God will be behind them in this victory.  While it's true that God supports those who have been unfairly persecuted (who are serving Him faithfully), we must not forget that the authorities and medias coverage of a scandal is not necessarily unjust.  Among Neo-Pentecostal groups, scandals are sadly quite common.  Consider also Romans 13, which shows that God expects us to obey our country's laws, and for those laws to be encorced.  If we are suffering because of sin, then we have no one to blame but ourselves (see 1 Peter 2:13-20 - " is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?...").

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Scandal Media Headlines - Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata )

Here is a listing of a lot of the media coverage of the scandal someone posted recently on facebook.   Please send me more links if you see any missing.  To read the links in English, go to this Google translated version of this page.   Alternatively, go to and copy and paste the individual links below. Finally I have written about this scandal in my previous post, which you can read if you needed more info.   Here are the media links:

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Scandalous Persecution?

Maranatha Christian Church ( Igreja Crista Maranata )'s leadership has been in the midst of a major scandal since 2011.  That year someone inside/near the leadership ( Presbytery  /  PES - located in Vila Vehla, ES, Brazil), discovered the misuse of a lot of money (tithes).  At some point an internal audit was held.  There was also an internal document that was leaked to the public.  Which happened first?  I'm not sure.  There are conflicting stories.  ICM claims THEY were the ones to take the initiative, and disapprove of the leak.  Others disagree saying, ICM was trying to cover things up, that a leak was necessary, and that ICM was forced to react.  Whatever the case may be, this reached the media.

While this was happening, ICM underwent some major internal restructuring, administratively, to prevent future crimes.   The court also ruled for them to choose a new president.  Since then there have been disturbing reports and allegations of espionage, coercion and intimidation of witnesses.  As of the time of writing this (July 2013), the case is still on-going.  By now it has reached national news in Brazil, and arrests have been made (including jail time).  Go here to read some of the media reports in English.

Meanwhile many members have left from ICM, and at least two new denominations have formed since. ICM has lost the confidence of a lot of many people, including a number of, still undecided members.   Up until then they were given the impression that everything was done "by revelation", and that something this huge could never happen.  Their façade of their Christian utopia forever shattered. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Absalom Opposing The Work? -2 Samuel 15:1-6

2nd Samuel 15:1-6 (ESV) "15 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate... Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.... Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. "

This text in Igreja Crista Maranata (Maranatha Christian Church) is the kind subtly used to warn people, not to go against the "the Work" (by which they mean ICM - albeit unofficially).  Someone who goes against the Presbytery (PES) might be seen as an "Absalom" - someone who, in the end, will die spiritually, because of evil thoughts from their head - stuck in human reasoning (just as Absalom physically died, after getting his head/hair stuck in a tree).   So who was Absalom historically, and what could this mean for us today?

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Letter Kills! -2 Corinthians 3:4-6

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 "...our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

In Igreja Crista Maranata (Maranatha Christian Church) there is a lot of sayings and jargon.   One in particular is the phrase "in the letter", which is in reference to the Apostle Paul's words to the Corinthians.  In ICM to be "in the letter" is a pejorative term for not doing things ICM's way (which they claim is by the "Spirit" who in turn "gives life").   This includes "orientations" from the Presbytery (PES) in ICM's headquarters in Brazil.  Anything outside this context "kills" - which is what seems to be suggested... 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Uzzah Touches The Ark (Touching The Work?) - 2 Samuel 6:3-7

2 Samuel 6:3-7 (ESV) "...And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.  And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God."

Introduction - In these verses, we see someone being struck down by God.  It's the kind of text that cult and sect leaders use to scare its members into submission.  As a result, many there dare not question nor disobey them (e.g. to do so, would be to "touch the Work").  That was the scary effect this kind of text had on me, when I heard it preached during my time in Igreja Crista Maranata (Maranatha Christian Church).   I, and many others, understood that the Ark was symbolic of "the Work" - synonymous with ICM...

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Gifts Of The Spirit In ICM

As a former member of Maranatha Christian Church (Igreja Crista Maranata), I find myself looking back on what I was taught about the "9 Gifts Of The Spirit".  Spiritual Gifts, are the way that we're taught in ICM, that God empowers, and communicates with the church.   Personally, I still believe that the gifts in general have not ceased today.   I believe this because God spoke to Christians at the beginning of church history about personal and specific things related to their locality and individual situations.   I see no reason why this would have ceased, nor anything in the bible to support such an idea.  As for what ICM teaches, I am re-evaluating these things...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Why Do People Stay In ICM?

Why do people continue to stay in Maranatha Christian Church (Igreja Crista Maranata), in light of the huge scandal that erupted in 2011?  After all they have been told about the negative experiences of so many former members?  Please send me your own input here, and I will consider including those thoughts as well.