"Maranatha came to the attention of cult-watching organizations in 1981. Inquiries were coming in from parents worried that their children had unwittingly become part of a cult. They reported that their sons and daughters had undergone radical personality changes. Typically, their grades were failing, and they were giving Maranatha large sums of money that had been earmarked for education. Some were refusing medical and dental treatment, believing it demonstrated a lack of faith. Members told parents who questioned Maranatha that they were being used by the devil."
If you attended college in the '70s or '80s, you may remember hearing about a college ministry called Maranatha Campus Ministries (MCM).
"Maranatha" in Aramaic means "Our Lord, come" or "Our Lord is come". For those not familiar with this organization, Maranatha Campus Ministries was primarily an outreach to college and university campuses. It was founded by Bob Weiner in Paducah, Kentucky in 1971, and appealed to college students who felt disenfranchised as teens during the "60's" revolution. Perhaps the structure of MCM and the 'authority' of its leaders appealed to these students at first; however, as time went on more and more parents and students became concerned.
MCM was heavily influenced by leaders in both the charismatic movement and the shepherding movement. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that Maranatha Christian Ministries was accused by some former members of being a cult. You might want to read the Wiki article for an overview.
The Cult Education Institute website features a Christianity Today article (published in August 1984) that begins as follows:
Bobby and Jan Bonner found out in 1981 that getting out of Maranatha Campus Ministries (MCM) is not as easy as getting in. Maranatha is a charismatic Christian campus ministry based in Gainesville, Florida. When word reached MCM headquarters that Bobby wanted to leave the organization to return to school, on of Maranatha's top leaders prophesied that the departure wasn't God's will. The leader, Joe Smith, told the Bonners they would face death and destruction if they left.
"I was terrified," remembers Jan Bonner, and they stayed. But in the last two years the Bonners and some 30 other full-time Maranatha staff members have resigned, in large part due to perceived heavy-handed tactics in the group.
MCM was founded in 1972 by Robert Weiner, who serves as president. Weiner was reared in a legalistic church home. As a young man, he dropped out of Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, to join the air force. There he became a Christian through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. He and his wife, Rose, have since dedicated their lives to reaching young people with the gospel.
In 12 years, Weiner's organization has grown from a single ministry at Murray State University in Kentucky to some 100-campus chapters in the United States and in 16 foreign countries. Maranatha came to the attention of cult-watching organizations in 1981. Inquiries were coming in from parents worried that their children had unwittingly become part of a cult. They reported that their sons and daughters had undergone radical personality changes. Typically, their grades were failing, and they were giving Maranatha large sums of money that had been earmarked for education. Some were refusing medical and dental treatment, believing it demonstrated a lack of faith. Members told parents who questioned Maranatha that they were being used by the devil.
If you Google Maranatha Campus Ministries (which is now defunct), you will find some information about its cultish tendencies. And that information is increasing…
Thanks to several individuals who were exposed to MCM decades ago, we now have a better understanding of what really occurred in this college ministry. For example, one of our friends, Steve 240, felt compelled to start a website about MCM called mmireconsidered. TWW featured a post announcing it, and Steve 240 continues to add articles to this website.
Recently, we heard from someone who felt it necessary to re-publish a now shuttered blog that exposed the underbelly of Maranatha Campus Ministries. Years ago Tikie Tok (aka Tik Tok) wrote a series of posts about his MCM experience. The individual who contacted us sought out Tikie Tok, asking for permission to make those posts available once again, and Tik Tok is willing to have his blog posts repackaged on a new website (see screen shot below).
Some of you may be wondering why a series of posts about a campus ministry that disbanded over 25 years ago might be relevant in the 21st century. Remember this saying by George Santayana?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Here are two reasons why we must always remember what happened with Maranatha Campus Ministries:
(1) Manipulative sociological cults, knowingly, or unknowingly, use the same basic tactics to entrap members and estrange them from their families and loved ones. Thus this account could be of help for those who are trying to understand this phenomena and take action to help their loved ones or themselves.
(2) Maranatha Campus Ministries and its associated groups never actually went away. This is one of Tikie’s hypothesis. A quick search on google reveals numerous churches founded by former MCM pastors who continued the same pattern of abuse that plagued MCM.
Without further adieu, here is the link to Maranatha Ministries Revisited. We are republishing the first post below, and we highly encourage you to read all of the information featured at this website.
* Be sure to use the drop down menu on the right of the website to access the posts.
I have already scanned some of the posts and can hardly wait to read all of them! (They are gradually being uploaded.) Thanks to 'the editor' for pursuing Tik Tok in order to republish this important information.
# 1 PREFACE: THE EDITOR (link)
My interest in sociological cults came about because of my younger brother’s involvement and entrapment in the Way International in the early 1980s. Although my brother left the Way in the 1987 I was fascinated as to how a highly intelligent college student could be drawn into such an extreme group. I watched in horror as he devoted almost seven years of his life to their cause while almost destroying himself both physically and emotionally. He left the cult physically in 1987 but spent years breaking free mentally.
We both determined to understand what had happened to him and, just as importantly, the how and why.
We begin reading all we could about sociological cults including ground breaking books like Steve Hassan’s Combatting Mind Control and Michael Langone’s Recovery From Cults: Help For Victim of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. I visited websites including Rick Ross’s website and (sadly) the now defunct FACTNET site to help my brother as he struggled for years to put his experience behind him.
I stumbled across Tik Tok’s writings in late 2006 through a link to his website everynationexposed (http://everynationexposed.blogspot.com/) on FACTNET. I devoured every sentence of Tikie’s account of his involvement in an apparent sociological cult called Maranatha Christian Ministries. I can recall reading his site for almost eight hours straight in a sitting. At the time I thought it one of the best personal accounts of cult membership, not just due to Tikie’s riveting writing and vivid descriptions, but also because of the way he plumbed the both whys and hows of sociological cult membership.
One reader wrote of Tikie’s blog in 2006 that it was the “Magnus Opus of sociological cults” and another that it was “A fantastic novel-like read minus the horrible punctuation”. A former member noted that “A better account of the leadership and their personalities involved [in MCM] could not be written.”
Numerous comments left on his blog testified to how his writing helped others understand the cult phenomena and how they, or their loved ones, should respond to the cult. Tikie provided not only clear insight into how a sociological cult uses a person’s own mind to shackle them to a cult but, importantly, how one might break free of these mental shackles.
Tikie’s original writings have been copied and pasted onto numerous websites devoted helping those breaking free sociological cults. The shuttering of Tikie’s blog removed a valuable resource to those who want to understand, and respond to, the cult phenomena.
Some may readers might ask “how could a story about a college campus ministry that disbanded over twenty-five years ago be relevant today?”
There first answer to this question is that manipulative sociological cults, knowingly, or unknowingly, use the same basic tactics to entrap members and estrange them from their families and loved ones. Thus this account could be of help for those who are trying to understand this phenomena and take action to help their loved ones or themselves.
The second answer, a troubling one, is that Maranatha Campus Ministries and its associated groups never actually went away. This is one of Tikie’s hypothesis. A quick search on google reveals numerous churches founded by former MCM pastors who continued the same pattern of abuse that plagued MCM. One alleged cult-like church, Faith Christian/Resurrection Church, is thought to operate with MCM’s pattern of abuse to this day. Faith Christian church was founded by former MCM Pastors.
This recent article in the CU independent alleges many of the same abuses Tikie experienced at MCM in these churches founded by ex-MCM pastors: https://cuindependent.com/2017/04/17/parent-current-resurrection-church-member-speak-accusing-church-abuse-financial-manipulation-grace-faith-christian/
One particular quote in the article above that “We have lost our sons and daughters” is an utterly heartbreaking one. Unfortunately, then, Tikie’s writings continue to be relevant today.
Through his blog, in late 2006, Tikie and I began a correspondence about my brother’s experience which developed into a friendship between us that outlasted his now shuttered blog .
After almost six years of pursuing Tikie (via email and Skype) I gained his agreement recently to allow me to edit and repackage his original posts that appeared between 2006 and 2009.
My editing consists of both cleaning up numerous grammatical errors and of changing the structure of his story. Tikie wrote his original blog from a strictly chronological viewpoint which allowed the reader to move through the experience with him in time and experience how a bright and accomplished person can be entrapped in a cult.
Although there is much power in this approach; my view was that both a chronological and a thematic organization of his writings would serve the reader better. Thus our plan is to begin with a chronological account of Tik’s entrapment in MCM, then follow this account with thematic posts and finally to end with his dramatic account of how he broke free both physically and mentally from the group and his final conclusions.
I admit it is a bit frightening to try to improve on what I think is a genre masterpiece but I believe it is worth the try.
Tikie provided me with his original MS Word documents and agreed to give me complete editorial freedom as long as I did not alter his observations or conclusions. Therefore any diminution in the power of his story and journey are all mine. But my hope is that this new version of Tikie’s story will affect the new reader as much as it affected me when I came across it some 9 years ago.
Note: All materials in this site are copyright 2006 by Tik Tok and all rights are reserved by him. Tikie’s writings are used here with his permission.