BRM Start Up
A board of directors was established; and with my computer experience from IBM, I installed and maintained the ministry software. Berean was taken from the biblical name for the citizens of Berea, a city mentioned in the book of Acts 17:11. The scripture states: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” KJV
Objectives of the ministry were: 1) to research unorthodox spiritual movements and evaluate them biblically; 2) warn non-Christians and Christians of the deceptive practices of cults; and 3) provide Christians with discernment required to analysis and detect the fallacies of false religions.
Major accomplishments during the active years of the ministry were: (1) published a bi-monthly newsletter and resource catalog; (2) wrote and published tracts and leaflets on humanistic philosophies, mind sciences, eastern religions, and Christian aberrations; (3) lectured on cultic movements and Christian aberrations at bible studies, youth groups, church congregations, and state prisons; (4) participated at anti-cult conferences and (5) provided opinions at public media outlets (TV and radio). To view an example of how the newsletter front page was formatted click here.
Other anti-cult organizations were also flourishing during the ’70s, with hip designations such as cult watchers, and witch hunters. “Cult busters” was a term to come years later. The Christian Research Institute (CRI) and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP) are two prime examples. For several years I participated in cult awareness conferences sponsored by the SCP in Berkeley, Santa Barbara and San Diego. During these conferences I hobnobbed with notables such as: Dr. Ron Enroth, Dr. Margaret Singer (not Margaret Sanger the racist), Inter Varsity Press publishers and others.
During those years BRM was a participant in the Berkeley Christian Coalition—a network of similar ministries that complimented each other. On several occasions we were referred to by SCP staff members to provide info to their clients, who requested specifics about certain controversial organizations.
History of Christian Research Institute
History of Spiritual Counterfeits Project
Shown in the following link to BereanResearch.com is a recent analysis that contains links to my former contemporaries.
During my tenure, I had the privilege of teaching at a wide variety of churches and ministries, such as follows: Presbyterian, Lutheran, Christian Reformed, Non-Denominational, Baptist, Church of God, a tent revival, home bible studies, prisons, etc. A few times when teaching at Baptist and Pentecostal churches, I attempted to preach like a black preacher. Without this approach the congregation seemed to be bored. I guess I just lacked the soul and training to shine at traditional black preaching. The teenage girls in the congregation would snicker and grin; while the boys could hardly contain themselves. Yet I continued on, lest I reveal my embarrassment and frustration.
On the morning of November 19, 1978, I was lecturing on the dangers of cults at a store front Baptist church in San Jose.
During the lecture, an elderly lady from the congregation stood up and asked, “Are you talkin’ about like what happened to those people who died down in South America yesterday? I saw it on the news this morning.”
Not knowing what she had seen I responded, “Sorry mam, but I haven’t heard about that yet.”
Just then another elderly lady rose up and had witnessed a similar newscast. After a brief hesitation and some quick thinking on my feet I replied, “Yea! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about here.” Afterward I followed the newscast of the macabre incident that afternoon. As I noted much earlier in a previous post (Chap C: Post War Years, Religious Charlatans), I found out that Jones had been a disciple of the late finagler Father Divine, who preyed on people in South Philly during my youth.
The following YouTube video is titled: Jonestown: Massacre News Reel posted by 14jtdon (3:57 mins):