"The Children of God (now called "The Family") was the most controversial offshoot of the 1960s Jesus People movement, resulting in reams of negative publicity and mobilizing the nation's first formal anticult organization. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Chancellor has created what is perhaps the most sympathetic book about The Family, using the methodology of oral history to allow the movement's faithful participants to speak for themselves."—Publishers Weekly
From a unique insider’s perspective—including interviews with more than seven-hundred family members—James Chancellor charts The Family’s course since its emergence as the most controversial group to grow out of the Jesus People Movement in the 1960s.
Chancellor, who had extraordinary access to rare Family records, includes the experiences of members who have remained loyal to the community and to the founding vision of their prophet, David Brandt Berg. In the first book of its kind—comprising often painful personal histories and firsthand accounts—Chancellor focuses on the motivation and process of becoming a Child of God, the core beliefs of the community, the mission of the disciples, their shifting sexual mores, and the cost of membership in terms of internal discipline and external persecution.
Intense confrontation with the legal, religious, political, and educational establishment marked the movement’s activities from the beginning. The young disciples heeded the call of their prophet to flee a soon-to-be-destroyed North America. Dispersed throughout Europe, Latin America, Africa, and East Asia, they virtually disappeared from the American landscape. In the late 1980s, The Family had gone through extreme theological and lifestyle changes, including a radical reordering of their sexual ethos. The Children of God started to come home. Now a worldwide counterculture of some twelve thousand members, the movement’s colorful history reveals a profoundly religious group that has tested the limits of human experience.
James D. Chancellor is W. 0. Carver Professor of World Religions and Christian Missions at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served for one year as a visiting scholar at the University of Manitoba and has lectured at theological institutions in Trinidad, Singapore, and the Philippines. He has published articles in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology and Review and Expositor.
Series: New Religious Movements
6 x 9, 316 pages