Recent Contradictions

*All quotes on this page can be viewed in their entirty in the sub page "references" (click here) and are also provided a link to view them at their respective web addresses.

 

On November 26, 2018, the Columbus Dispatch ran a frontpage article titled “Xenos critics say church is controlling”, and unlike some of the “puff” pieces that XCF has had the luxury of promoting from local media outlets in the past, the unavoidable cry of apparent XCF victims has reached an audible and printable volume. Needless to say, Xenos immediately reacted with a response to the article on their website, defending their honor and integrity as a trustworthy and upstanding church in the central Ohio area. However, one can hardly miss the obvious disconnect of the author(s) to the pain of XCF victims, or the apparent contradictions of disclaimers in the XCF response that have become the subject of this and other critical readers.

One of the first statements the XCF response puts forward is;

“There was a consistent theme that people have been hurt by our church in some way and we are grieved that these individuals are suffering. Finding a church that best fits you or serves your needs is very difficult but worth the effort in the end."

Unfortunately, this is as close to any kind of apology that XCF ever even gets close to.  While seemingly sympathetic of the hurt experienced by these people, they take no responsibility for the injuries caused, and practically blame these victims for choosing the wrong church to attend in the first place! Once again, the complete lack of biblical humility is obviously apparent here and is reminiscent of the catholic church’s initial denial of the priest sex scandals.

  The second point that this paper has already touched upon (see “Downside” link) is the claim that XCF alienates people from their families by promoting and attempting to control members lives through extensive time requirements via meetings with the specific complaints quoted here from the Dispatch;

“The number and intensity of the meetings can be beyond overwhelming; the former members told The Dispatch.”

“It totally sucks you away from all other aspects of your life,” McKenna said. “It doesn’t allow you to enjoy your life.”

From which the response in the Dispatch from XCF is;

Leaders of Xenos, which has about 6,000 members in Columbus, reject claims that it attempts to control or pressure its members. “We’re the furthest thing from that,” said Conrad Hilario, a teaching pastor at Xenos. “It’s due to people’s misunderstandings.”

And their web site response;

We wish to be very clear. We do not want our members to withdraw from family as implied in the article —in fact, exactly the opposite. We do offer times of fellowship throughout the week and teach people to dedicate time to growing their relationship with God, deepening their friendships and helping others in need. Everything is voluntary at Xenos. People come and go as they please. As a community, it is true that we are not interested in low-commitment versions of Christianity. Xenos is for people who really want to make friends and learn how to grow spiritually together while serving God.

 

However, one can’t help but notice the discrepancies with these claims in contrast to this statement in the Dispatch by XCF itself;

“The church bucks the notion of “Sunday-only” services, Hale (the pastoral support division coordinator for Xenos) said. Members are encouraged each week to attend a large group teaching (central teaching); a Bible study of about 60 people (home church meeting); a smaller same-sex Bible study (cell group meeting); and a meeting with a spiritual mentor called a “discipler,” he said... To move up in the church, members must attend more than 200 hours of leadership training classes, which include graded exams and homework and cost between $25 and $75, Hale said.

As well as this statement from the Xenos Ministry House Agreement which members who live in their ministry houses are expected to live by;

Specifically, we expect members to:

  • Participate in the house meeting once a week.
  • Regularly attend the appropriate home church, Central Teaching and discipleship group as a regular diet of Body Life (Heb. 10:24,25 and Acts 2:42).

According to XCF, normal membership is at a minimum of 4 meetings per week, and 6 or more for those living in their “ministry” houses and dedicated to advancing in the XCF hierarchy.  This doesn’t even account for what time constraints are required for personal and individual study times and homework. Considering whole families within XCF, anyone who has raised a family of even one child knows that the idea of squeezing in quality family time between normal daily life and extensive church demands is a fantasy at best, and unfortunately the 1 to 3 days allotted by XCF for families will never be in accordance with the standard crisis and intervention occasions that family life entails. For those outside of XCF who’s high school or pre-college age child has been recruited by XCF, they probably already know the anxiety of wondering just where is and what is happening to their child. And once again one of the consistent complaints about XCF even amongst college students, which make up the majority of their population, is often that students will choose to accept lower grades and even drop classes in order to devote more time to Xenos Christian Fellowship. One has to wonder, if a college student can’t even find the time for college, when exactly are they going to spend time with their family, especially since Xenos (contrary to their claim above) doesn’t designate a meeting or time for that.

Much like the first point presented here where XCF seemingly feels for their victims but actually blames them, Xenos goes on to again play the passive/aggressive opposite game by first stating that

“Everything is voluntary at Xenos. People come and go as they please.”,

yet immediately follows that with

“As a community, it is true that we are not interested in low-commitment versions of Christianity.” 

So, people come and go as they please, as long as they have a high commitment to the XCF version of Christianity. Or, something like that. And of course, all this is true for every other member of any cult in America. That doesn’t make them any less a victim of coercion, especially when faced with being shunned by all their friends or if/when the XCF ministry house rules threaten to throw them out in the street.

And finally, again, their statement;

“We do not want our members to withdraw from family as implied in the article —in fact, exactly the opposite.”

followed by;

“We do offer times of fellowship throughout the week and teach people to dedicate time to growing their relationship with God, deepening their friendships and helping others in need."

seems to be yet another contradiction in terms. How are times of fellowship throughout the week, dedicating time to growing with God, and deepening friendships while helping others exactly the opposite of NOT wanting members to withdraw from family? It would seem that these activities, though honorable and good, would indeed require one to be away from family members. This statement would make much more sense if it said something like,

“We do not want our members to withdraw from family as implied in the article —in fact, exactly the opposite…. We encourage members to invest in their love ones, raise their children in the Lord, and honor their mothers and fathers as Christ would have them. (Ephesians 5-6)’

Or at least something a little more biblical.

The standard format these statements consistently follow is proclaim in extreme what sounds rational and good;
“We’re the furthest thing from that,”

“We do not want our members to withdraw from family as implied in the article —in fact, exactly the opposite.”

“Everything is voluntary at Xenos. People come and go as they please.”
 
but then state the demands and requirements of the group as if somehow agreeing with the first proclamation makes the following one more acceptable or true even when it is blantantly the opposite.

Overall, one can’t help but wonder if the arrogance of XCF has not gone so far to their heads that they actually believe they don’t have to answer to their victims with any understandable sentiments, but merely rattle off these non-sensible responses that simply reveal their own inability to relate anymore in a normal, Christ centered attitude. This conclusion couldn't be better supported than by Conrad Hilario's response...

"Xenos hasn’t changed its policies or practices due to online complaints, Hilario said. However, it is willing and would even like to investigate allegations if people reach out to the church, he said."

So apparently, after 20 plus years of neighbor and business complaints, multiple suicides and legal actions, protesting parents, hundreds of internet postings, multiple web sites, and even leaflets posted all throughout the OSU campus, not one person decided to make a phone call or send a letter to XCF and "reach out" about problems within their church.

Really.

of Xenos