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The Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps (ACMTC, aka Free Love Ministries and Life Force Team) is a U.S.Absolutist, military structured, Christian religious ministry turned intentional community. Founded in 1981 by "Generals" Jim and Lila Green, (Lila also often known as Deborah Green) its emphasis is on spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons. It was described by Donna Kossy as "an updated, ferocious version of the Salvation Army, bringing Captain Jesus to demon-possessed heathen all over the globe".[1]

Background

Hippies

Jim Green was born in 1946, and had been raised in a Christian home in Kentucky. As a hippie, he moved to California, and later Montana in the late 1960s. Lila/Deborah was born in 1948 - according to her later statements, a Sioux Native American - and was a young fan of Elvis Presley and The Beatles, Lila confessed that,

The seeds of ROCK MUSIC were planted deep within me. Little did I realize that as the years passed and the ROCK MUSIC got rockier, that my life would follow the trend and as the music which was to lead a generation into rebellion, drugs, illicit sex, and bondage to sin, that I too would become one of many caught in the web of mesmerizing sounds. [...] I seemed to flourish on wild, wanton music.[1]

Former ACMTC member Maura Schmierer says that she met Lila and Jim in the early 1970s, when they joined a "radical, back-to-nature" group in Montana called the "Bear Tribe." Jim, then known as "Buffalo Sun," was experimenting with "blood ceremonies" where he found "pleasure inside of pain." "We used to run around the mountains and live in teepees," Schmierer says. "Jim used to run around in a loin cloth and howl at the moon." Jim described this time with him on crank, throwing his hunting knife and screaming, "KILL, KILL, KILL." He confesses, "the blaring HARD ROCK MUSIC provided inspiration to my insane frenzy."[1]

Lila attempted suicide at least three times, "the last time narrowly escaping death." She was addicted to marijuana, and experimented with many other drugs. At 24, Lila claimed to have been a drug burnout, until,

Jesus Christ reached down His hands of mercy and brought me out of the captivity of sin, freeing me from a life of drugs, free sex, and Rock Music.[1]

Free Love Ministries

After becoming Christians, Lila and James Green both served in Miami's Salvation Army in 1978, and credit them for ACMTC's military structure. Like the Salvation Army, ACMTC's emphasis is on spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons. ACMTC may have taken its name from a sermon by Salvation Army co-founder Catherine Booth titled "Aggressive Christianity."[2]

The Greens then eventually established Free Love Ministries between 1979 and 1981 in Sacramento,[3][4] which, according to Schmierer, began as an "orthodox Christian" ministry. Some ex-members claim Lila began to say that she was God's "number one prophet" and religious services began to include Lila's sermons and prophecies, chanting, writhing on the floor, and speaking in tongues.[1]

According to one Sacramento resident, the ACMTC maintained a "very high profile." They appeared in public in marine-style clothing with a golden winged logo on their jackets; male members donned short hair and polished shoes. Most members at the time lived in their "training center". This communal type of arrangement consisted of several adjacent houses which the group purchased and renovated with funds partially acquired from three art shops which were staffed and run by members of the group. Jim and Lila Green started out as "Colonels" and later came to be considered "Brigedier Generals" and then "Generals" by their converts.[3]

Their show on KFIA, a Sacramento Christian radio station, regularly warned listeners to brace for war against Satanic forces responsible for such modern scourges as homosexuality, psychoanalysis, fornication, rock 'n' roll and pride. KFIA removed ACMTC from their airwaves in 1984.[1]

Excommunication

In 1986, Maura Schmierer supposedly fell out of favor with the Greens. She described their treatment of her on the Dr. Phil Show and often contradicted herself

I was not allowed to see or talk to my children for six months. There was a shed in the backyard. I was ordered to move into that shed. There were no windows in the shed. It was filled with mildew. You couldn’t stand upright. No bath, no shower for six months. I was excommunicated.[5]

The ACMTC states "However, many people laugh at Schmierer's accusations, because if true, that would have meant she would have had to have released herself through excrement in the shed for 6 months. Not only that, her claim that she "couldn't stand upright" is hilarious to the group because they well know that they never had or made a shed that someone could not stand upright in."[6]

In early 1988, Schmierer filed a lawsuit against Free Love Ministries, asking for $20 million in "damages".[7] A year after she was supposedly in the shed, she claimed that the Greens had accused her of loving her husband more than God, brainwashed her, changed her name to "Forsaken," and then "forced" her and another brainwashed member to stay in a 5 x12 foot wooden shed with no bathroom or access to one for ten weeks, their only nourishment consisting of tiny peanut butter sandwiches. Schmierer's 5-year-old son's name was allegedly changed to "Demon" when the Greens accused him of being possessed.[1]

The Greens never appeared in court. Late in 1988, Lila supposedly prophesied that Schmierer's lawyer, Bob Blasier (later one of the Chief Defense Lawyers of O. J. Simpson) would soon be run over by a truck. However years later, as many of claims made against the group, proved to be false when ex-Ministry member Don Luther confessed to originating and fabricating those and other rumors meant to harm the group's image when he later made amends with the group before his death in late 2007. [8]

In 1989, the Greens lost the case by default (did not go to the court) and the court ordered ACMTC to pay Schmierer $1.2 million. The Greens were unable to produce the money, so Blasier had their compound seized by the court.[9]

The ACMTC ministry states

The slanderous lies and persecution generated against us is expected, just as the Lord said in John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." The reason the media looks at us in such a negative view is because we stand for the uncompromised truth, if we compromised Biblical truth such as famous pastors and evangelists today, the world would favor us to an extent because we would be of it; but because we're not of it, but of the Lord and His will, we are persecuted.

[6]

Life Force Team

Later, ACMTC attempted to set up a new headquarters in Butte County, about 80 miles north of Sacramento, but Blasier had a lien put on their new property, as well. Free Love Ministries finally settled in Klamath Falls, Oregon. By then, ACMTC had dwindled to only about 19 people.[1] At this point, the Greens were focusing their printed articles on abortion, homosexuals, rap and rock music, and other "sins". Lila began signing her articles, "Deborah L. Green," and ACMTC now called itself by "Life Force Team" as well as ACMTC.[1]

In 1993, ACMTC bought an old school building in Berino, and established another camp in Gallup, New Mexico.[9]. Later on they moved to the village of Fence Lake, New Mexico.

Beliefs and values

Main objectives

ACMTC believes in the subjective interpretation of the Bible and the doctrines therein to suit their purposes. Their focus and mission is based upon the Bible's Mark 16:15.[6]

And Jesus said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

To align themselves with this scripture the group gets thousands of gospel tracts and literature printed each month and sends out hundreds of pounds of literature for free. Another focus is evangelism and witnessing where they claim to see hundreds of souls pray the prayer of Salvation to Jesus Christ monthly.[6]

They also claim to see numerous healings and miracles. [10]

Most of ACMTC's printed matter is directed to troubled teenagers and young adults, in the form of printed booklets boldly illustrated with clip art; they also publish comics, drawn by Jim Green.[1]

Deliverance and demons

ACMTC has never believed or does believe now that a Christian can be possessed by a demon, but rather that Christians may possess one or more demons and it is the Christian’s responsibility to drive them out. The basis for the deliverance beliefs held by ACMTC is:

  1. Jesus cast out Devils (Luke 11:20, 13:32 etc.)
  2. Jesus' disciples cast out Devils (Luke 9:1, 10:17)
  3. Jesus commands His Disciples to cast out Devils (Matthew 10:8, Mark 16:17)

[11]

Levels of Christianity

Consistent with their adherence to the manifest Sons of God teaching, they also hold the belief in three separate levels of Christianity; that is, that there are thirtyfold Christians (justification), sixtyfold Christians (sanctification), and hundredfold Christians (glorification). Or alternately, as one long-time member explained it, the thirtyfold Christians are those who are merely saved, sixtyfold Christians are those who speak in tongues and have the Baptism on the Holy Spirit, while hundredfold Christians are the Overcomers, the Manifest Sons of God.[3]

Kingdom Now

ACMTC also holds a "Dominion" or "Kingdom Now" teachings theology. They hold to attempting to become "Overcomers" or "Victorious". Like many other groups with similar beliefs, they believe that a devout Christian group of people will move out of the Church and overcome all the enemies of Christ including even death itself. This will include unheard of miraculous power as well as acts of judgment such as calling down fire on God's enemies.[3]

Opposition to homosexuals and Islam

Publications of the group express a strong homophobia, asserting that homosexuality is "an abomination", that a homosexual or lesbian cannot be a Christian unless giving up completely their sexual practices, and that Homosexuals and lesbians who die without "repenting" are doomed to eternal perdition. Accordingly, churches which accept homosexuals as legitimate or admit them as clergy are denounced as "false Christians". In some publications members take pride of having confronted Homosexuality in the 1980s "even in the heart of Sodomite San Francisco".

The group has also taken a strongly anti-Islamic position, publishing several brochures which strongly denounce Muhammad as a "False Prophet", direct questions about the accuracy of the Qur'an, and assert that Muslims are bent on world conquest. Many of the group's publications bear the statement: "The content of this tract is not 'Politically Correct' - the content is Biblically correct!"

Native American Antecedents

Lila/Deborah Green claims to be of Sioux Native American ancestry, and has expressed identification with the struggle of the 19th Century Chief Sitting Bull against European incursion on tribal land. She stated that Sitting Bull's example inspired her to oppose the "Islamic design for world conquest". The group is presently based at Fence Lake, New Mexico, of which 54% of the population is Native American. However, with Fence Lake having a population less than 300, it's highly unlikely that ethnicity claims have any ulterior-motives for the region.

Criticism

In December 1999, Darren White, former secretary of the Department of Public Safety for New Mexico, and then reporter for KRQE-TV, Channel 13, compared the group to three cults whose members died in dramatic fashion - either mass suicides or, in the case of Waco, a "massive fire".[12]

However, the group asserts that it does not believe in the use of guns or physical violence. Also each member holds a strong belief in the Bible's assertion of suicide to be a damnable sin.[13]

Many family members claim to be restrained from their relatives involved in the ministry, however, members like Paul[14] and Gracious River,[15] Joab Evans,[16] both of whose relatives were on the Dr. Phil show) Amos River,[17] Brad Shank (Nehemiah River),[18] and others have made repeated attempts to inform certain family members that because of their continual refusals to understand or accept their beliefs, values, and choices, they do not wish to communicate. (Please note that the references herein come from a non-existent website.)  

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Kossy, Donna (May 1994). Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief. Feral House. p. 254. ISBN 0-922915-19-9. 
  2. http://www.gospeltruth.net/booth/cath_booth/agressive_christianity/cbooth_1_agressive.htm
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "1987 Information Paper". Apologetics Resource Center. http://www.rickross.com/reference/aggressive/aggressive1.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  4. Bruce, Daniels (2005-11-07). ""Aggressive Christians" bury the hatchet in Cibola County". Albuquerque Journal. http://www.rickross.com/reference/aggressive/aggressive11.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  5. McGraw, Phil. "Cult Confrontations". http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/756/. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Where is your fruit?". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Fruit%20Poem.html. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  7. Trinda, Pasquet (1988-03-16). ""Mother of 3 sues cult- tells of life in shed"". The Sacramento Union. http://www.rickross.com/reference/aggressive/aggressive5.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  8. "Don Luther's Confession". ACMTC. http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/articles/kidnaping%20&%20Don%20L.%20Letter.htm#update. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dan, Williams (1995-06-25). ""Soldiers of God" have New Mexico town abuzz". El Paso Times. http://www.rickross.com/reference/aggressive/aggressive4.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  10. "Miracles In Our Midst". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Miracles.html. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  11. "ACMTC Beliefs on Deliverance". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Deliverance.html. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  12. Mike, Taugher (2000-02-16). "Attempt to Seize Kids Criticized". Albuquerque Journal. http://www.rickross.com/reference/aggressive/aggressive8.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  13. "An Inquisition". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/An%20Inquisition.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  14. "Paul River's Rebuttal". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Paul.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  15. "Gracious River's Rebuttal". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Gracious.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  16. "Did Jesus Say?". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Did%20Jesus%20Say.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  17. "Dear MS". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Letter%20From%20Amos.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  18. "Dear Maura". New Mexico Straight Record Center. http://www.judgmentismercy.info/Call%20To%20Repent.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 

External links

Official links

Criticism links

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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