Monday, March 21, 2005

Strange fire?

I have heard that David Brickner had several bbq grills lit up at a JFJ staff retraining gathering where all JFJ staff present were required to sacrifice burnt offerings on these burning fires.

Can anyone explain what exactly occurred?


Anonymous said...

In December 2000, David Brickner brought every staff member of Jews for Jesus, everywhere in the world, to California. We all met in a very nice Christian retreat center and basically took over the place.

In the weeks and months leading up to the event, the staff of the retreat center became VERY annoyed with the special considerations being asked for in some cases. The oddest of which was Brickner's asking for Bar-B-Q grills to be set up inside the large Chapel room. He was insistent about it, but thanks to fire codes the retreat center staff was able to hold their ground.

The grills were set up outside the large Chapel instead.

For the pivotal service, there was a message preached by Brickner and a time of public confession of sin. A number of people were VERY uncomfortable with this. There was also an "asking each other forgiveness time" in public. Some people, of course, took it seriously. However, quite a few who had been wounded by Brickner's promises being empty (i.e., his "yes" meaning "maybe" but ending up a "no" 99% of the time...who also watched him set up their friends to be set up as bad guys and forced out of Jews for Jesus), didn't participate. Many left the room and sat praying for Brickner. It a very forced "ceremony" and was quite uncomfortable and manipulative.

At a set time, Brickner had everyone write secret sins and confessions of things on supplied paper. And led a ceremony of "burning them on the Altar" (the Bar-B-Q grills).

This whole situation was marked by many as the moment when Jews for Jesus stopped being a "Para-Church" organization and started acting like a Church. Communion and everything. Jews for Jesus hadn't ever done all these things before this staff gathering and in fact taught against it.

The line crossing moment was the "offering on the alter."

It became known as the instant when Brickner "offered strange fire before the Lord."

It was all VERY strange and surrealistic to experience.

This was my recollection. I'm sure some others may another or two to share.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds like a Jim Jones type thing...scary.

Anonymous said...

Most of those who did not participate in the strang fire incident are no longer with Jews for Jesus today

Anonymous said...

Jews for Jesus regularly cleans house of people they want to get rid of. They find sympathetic pastors and counselors to put a spiritual dimension to getting people out of the organization.

Of course Jews for Jesus does that after lots of time spent beating up those staff members so they need a pastor or a counselor to help them.

Anonymous said...

I was there for the set your sins on fire thing. Actually they handed out paper but no pens, so a lot of people weren't able to write their sins on the paper and just burned the blank paper so that it wouldn't look like they were avoiding participating.

My memory of the "forgiveness" talk was that it came a few days later in the week (what, like wednesday or thursday, right?) and that's when everyone started crying and hugging and forgiving each other, yadda yadda yadda.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. And then everyone went back to their branches around the world and continued to treat each other just as badly as they had before the "forgiveness" time.

Not exactly a model of Biblical repentance.

It does say in Proverbs, "Repent and Renounce you sins."

Renouncing means to utterly forsake them. It doesn't mean to go back to them the day you go back to work.

Anonymous said...

In the future one may look back and see this as the time that the Lord removed his blessing from this organization. If so, perhaps the reason will be that it marked the public acknowledgment that JfJ was not "an arm of the local church" (arguably the mission statement of the organization prior to brickner's focus on being obnoxious), but in fact, a CHURCH in and of itself, replete with communion, confession of sins, ordination, wanting its members to donate to its own programs, and more.

Anonymous said...

That's right! I forgot! Jews for Jesus became its own ordination agency during this same period.

It became a Church that ordains people.