The roots of Hope Christian Church ASU can be traced back three generations to a Christian church and two Christian organizations which have been widely acknowledged by evangelical leaders and scholars as religious cults. On the third level, The Shepherding Movement was a neo-Pentecostal movement which eventually devolved into a cult group, and gave birth to several other harmful Christian organizations, including Maranatha campus ministries.
NOTE: It is important to note that none of the behaviors epitomized by The Shepherding Movement which are listed here (many of which are present in Hope Christian Church) are considered “normal” for Christian ministries or faith-based groups to engage in. Any ideas such as “that is just how Church-groups operate” would be egregiously in error.
1: Maranatha Campus Ministries (the precursor to Faith Christian Church and Hope Christian Church) was founded on the principles and infrastructure of the Shepherding Movement (sometimes called the “Discipleship Movement”) which was founded by Pentecostal ministers Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Charles Simpson, and Doug Basham, originally under the title “Christian Growth Ministries”. Mumford and Prince eventually denounced the movement.
2: Leaders within the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement (including Pat Robertson) condemned the movement as a cult. According to the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements:
● "Pat Robertson banned the CGM leaders and erased all tapes that included them. Robertson used CBN to pronounce the shepherding teaching 'witchcraft' and said the only difference between the discipleship group and Jonestown was 'KoolAid.' Kathryn Kuhlman refused to appear together with Bob Mumford at the 1975 Conference on the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. Demos Shakarian the founder and director of FGBMFI declared the CGM leaders persona non grata. The number of voices swelled as criticism came from Dennis Bennett, Ken Sumrall, Thomas F. Zimmerman (General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God), and David DuPlessis.”
3: The “questionable” practices of The Shepherding Movement include, but are not limited to the following:
● Establishing an intensely controlling, vertical “chain of command”, described by Steven Lambert in Charismatic Captivation: Authoritarian Abuse & Psychological Enslavement in Neo-Pentecostal Churches as: “a pyramid-shaped, multi-tiered organizational structure”
● Leaders collecting tithes from members for their personal income ● Brainwashing members to submit unquestioningly to their “shepherds” and church authority, which Bob Mumford later called “Perverse and Unbiblical obedience”.
● Posturing the arbitrary commands of Church leaders as being on par with, or superior to the commands of God himself. Pat Robertson quoted one Shepherding Movement follower as saying: “If God Almighty spoke to me, and I knew for a certainty that it was God speaking, and if my shepherd told me to do the opposite, I would obey my shepherd.”
4: Many of the behavioral tendencies embodied by the Shepherding Movement were closely or exactly paralleled by Maranatha Campus Ministries, and are closely or exactly paralleled by Faith Christian Church in Tucson, and Hope Christian Church at ASU.