Picketers protest discipling church practices
Christian Chronicle / July 1988
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Church of Christ has found itself in the center of local controversy after a former member told newspaper reporters her husband had “rescued” her from the church and taken her to a cult deprogrammer.
While the 1,000 members of the church gathered June 12 at the city’s symphony hall, where they meet for worship, demonstrators gathered outside to protest the church’s practices.
Protesters carried signs urging members to reconsider their affiliation with the congregation and shouted warnings at the church goers.
But church officials told The San Diego Union they believe the charges stem from misunderstandings about church attendance, discipling and other church practices.
San Diego elder George Havins told the Union the church is “Bible-believing” and that they emphasize relationships. “I wouldn’t describe it as pressure, any more than a coach would leading a team,” Havins told reporters. Havins said what others may interpret as manipulation, the San Diego church calls caring and an outpouring of love.
Former Los Angeles Raiders football player Irving Phillips gained media attention when he abducted his estranged wife, Helen, from a supermarket parking lot. After taking her to see an area “cult deprogrammer” the two conducted a press conference to bring attention to the church.
Union reports included the following statement from San Diego church leaders: “The San Diego Church of Christ is part of the Crossroads Movement and is not associated with most other local churches of Christ.”