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Controversies

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Whether it is burning money, walking through the desert, donating kidneys or free work campaigns, the Jesus Christians have been involved in one sort of controversy or another since the group was founded in the early 1980s. Controversy seems part and parcel of getting the world's attention about serious issues.  However, in more recent years a darker, more sinister tone has coloured media reports about the Jesus Christians.  Allegations of kidnappings, accusations of being a cult and of brainwashing people have been continually mentioned in headlines about the group.

One critic who appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show listed negative publicity as the prime evidence against the Jesus Christians. Despite the fact that Jesus himself received negative publicity, many people are quick to judge the Jesus Christians based on what they read in the tabloid headlines.

This collection of controversial media reports about the Jesus Christians shows a pattern that has developed over the years, in particular since 1999.

It was in that year that 19 year old Kyri Sheridan had decided to come travelling with the Jesus Christians.  His mother, Bernadette Sheridan, later told us that she contacted a U.K. cult-buster by the name of Graham Baldwin, who suggested that she report to police that her son had robbed things from her, so that Kyri could be arrested and taken away from the Jesus Christians.  Bernadette was outraged, but did agree to tell the police that her son was missing.

When Kyri showed up at the police station to prove he was not in any danger, Bernadette, who was waiting for him there, refused to let him go and ended up being arrested herself for literally biting a police officer. 

Graham Baldwin has been a key figure in the hate campaign against the Jesus Christians over the years.  You will notice his name coming up frequently throughout this collection of controversial media reports.


A year later, in June 2000, Graham Baldwin sold a story to the Express newspaper accusing The Jesus Christians of having kidnapped 16 year old Bobby Kelly.  By convincing his legal guardian that she would never see Bobby again unless she co-operated with him, Graham managed to get Bobby's grandmother to sign her custody rights away and make Bobby a ward of State by saying that he was completely incorrigible, an action for which she deeply begged Bobby's forgiveness later.  Graham Baldwin also succeeded in getting an injunction put on the media so that they could not report our side of the story while he continued to slander us.  Bobby was eventually found staying at a holiday resort next to a Hampshire forest, and no kidnapping charges were ever laid.  However the false claims made by the media were never retracted.

The Bobby Kelly story was later used as proof that we had a "history of kidnapping".  A few years later, in Kenya, we were accused once more of kidnapping, but this time the "victim" was 27 year old journalist Betty Njoroge and her seven year old son.  Betty produced a video stating that she was not kidnapped and that the whole corrupt campaign against the Jesus Christians there was a plot by her wealthy father to get her and her son back under his control.  Two of our members were arrested by corrupt police, who illegally held Roland without bail for several days while they tried to use him as bait to get Betty to give herself up to her father.

Roland was held in custody for over 20 days, during which time he contracted tuberculosis due to the harsh conditions of local Kenyan jails.  All kidnapping charges were eventually dropped, since nothing of the kind ever took place.

The negative publicity generated by such false claims through the media (and through hate sites such as the Rick Ross forum in the U.S.) later influenced a family in Long Beach, California, to brutally attack one of our members almost to death when their son, Joe Johnson, came home with two Jesus Christians to explain his decision to work with the group.  The inaction of the Long Beach Police Department, and the apparent lack of remorse on behalf of the Johnson family led us to stage a mock trial against the sins which the family had committed.  At the conclusion of the trial some of us took several lashes from a whip as a symbolic punishment for what the Johnsons had done.

Graham BaldwinThe Jeremy Kyle Show (in the United Kingdom) attempted to bring much of this together in a show that was supposedly an attempt to consider the case against us and whether or not we were a "cult".  Unfortunately, the distortions, bias and outright lies that permeate much of the media in general, were also evident at The Jeremy Kyle Show, where Graham Baldwin, amongst other things, claimed he had nothing to do with the hate campaign against us.

Enter this world of controversy and excitement as you read through the articles, watch the videos, hear the interviews and learn our side of the story.  The truth is there for all who want to see it.


The Kyri Saga: Learn what happened when 19 year old Kyri Sheridan decided to join the Jesus Christians.  This story, which involves car chases, unscrupulous bank procedures, bizarre police practices, a mother working undercover in disguise, and Graham Baldwin is not only fascinating, but one of the key factors in subsequent controversial media reports about the Jesus Christians.

Cult Kidnap Boy: One of the biggest media events to involve the Jesus Christians revolves around kidnap allegations relating to 16 year old Bobby Kelly from the U.K.  Learn what led to the classic front page headlines, who was involved, and how it all ended, in this collection of media reports, articles, radio interviews and videos.

Kenyan Kidnapping Charges: Taking blood from humans and replacing it with animal blood were amongst some of the more bizarre accusations leveled against the Jesus Christians in this African campaign against us.  A rich father, corrupt police, and international pressure all played a part in this episode of Jesus Christian controversial history.

The Whipping Trial: Attempting to kill someone is hardly something you would think police would turn a blind eye to.  However, once the little "c" word is mentioned, all kinds of injustices can take place.  Apparently, being accused of being a cult denies Jesus Christian members a right to justice and fair play.  Watch the video of the actual attack, a video which the police chose to ignore; view the Fox News Reports that distorted and omitted the facts; and read the outrageous lies used against us in court (including talk of "levitating", believe it or not!)  This ongoing saga, featuring our most controversial action to date, the "whipping trial", is the sort of stuff that movies are made from.

The Jeremy Kyle Show: Experience what happened when the Jesus Christians were invited to share their side of the story on television.  Hear the very best evidence that our critics were able to produce against us (with international help from the media and other sources) and then decide for yourself whether the Jesus Christians are the evil perverted cult Jeremy and company tried to make us out to be, or just a group of people trying to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Kidneys

kidney operation More than half the members of the Jesus Christians have donated one of their kidneys to a complete stranger. While this has seemed bizarre to some people, for the Jesus Christians it is generally seen as a natural and practical application of Jesus' command to love our neighbour.

On a commercial airline flight from Los Angeles to Sydney in 2001, Dave saw a film called "A Gift of Love".  It was based on a true story about an American teenage footballer who donated a kidney to his grandmother, sacrificing his football career in order to save her life.  Dave was surprised at how relatively easy it sounded, to have such a deep impact on someone's else's life.  His thoughts on the film sparked much discussion amongst the Jesus Christians on the topic of live kidney donation. Several members were immediately inspired to at least look into the possibility of giving a kidney themselves.

In February 2002, Casey and Robin both simultaneously donated one of their kidneys at a hospital in Minneapolis, through the altruistic donor program there.  They were the first Jesus Christians to undergo the operation. Their positive experiences and quick recoveries inspired even more Jesus Christians to consider doing the same.

Jon RonsonIn 2003 Jon Ronson (pictured left), journalist and writer, finished producing a two part article (Blood Sacrifice) and a video documentary (Kidneys For Jesus) about Jesus Christian kidney donations. Despite earlier claims that the documentary would aim to inspire other people to make kidney donations, it mostly became a film about whether the Jesus Christians were a cult, with subtle implications that its members had been coerced into the operating theatres.

A year later in Australia, The Jesus Christians announced that two of their members had lied to health authorities there about how long they had known their recipients in order to get around the restrictions in place that forbade kidney donations to strangers. As a result of the scandal, Jesus Christians were banned in at least one Australian state from donating their kidneys, but another, New South Wales, changed their policy in favour of altruistic non-directed kidney donations just a few weeks after the news of what the Jesus Christians had done in that state.

CNN in the United States produced a series on live organ donations called "Body Parts" which featured Barry's donation.  The producers saw it as one of the prime reasons why donations should be banned in general, implying that Barry had been coerced into donating. Robert Montgomery, the surgeon who performed Barry's operation, challenged some of the fear tactics used by the media to distort the nature of Jesus Christian kidney donations, and (in this report at least) the nature of live organ donation in general.

ash and sandii donationAustralian Story later produced not one, but two reports on Ashwyn's attempts to donate his kidney to a woman in Canada (both pictured left), and his parents' efforts to stop the operation from going ahead. Ashwyn's parents succeeded in convincing the Canadian hospital to cancel the operation, leaving the recipient in dire need. However, in the second report, viewers see how Ashwyn's determination and that of his recipient later succeeded in the transplant being carried out in Cyprus.

Despite the controversy that some sections of the media have tried to paint, positive reports have still appeared at times.

Over twenty Jesus Christians have now donated one of their kidneys to strangers. Below are links to articles, videos and radio interviews related to live altruistic kidney donations. Decide for yourself whether we really are a "kidney cult" or just a group of Christians who think live kidney donations are one way of showing practical love to those in need.

bible and candle JC Kidney Articles: Read through articles that the Jesus Christians have written about the subject of kidney donation, both from a theological and practical point of view.
Jon Ronson Site Kidneys For Jesus: Links to Jon Ronson's "Kidneys For Jesus" documentary.  His articles, and our comments on what he has written can be found here. Learn the background to some of the controversies raised in those productions.
australian story Australian Story: Follow the saga of Ashwyn's kidney donation to Sandi, and his parents' attempts to stop him. Watch the programs, read the articles and discover for yourself what all the fuss was about.
newspaper JC Kidney Ban In Australia: When we announced that two members of the Jesus Christians had lied to be able to save the lives of their recipients, reactions came from the media and health authorities in Australia. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? Read the articles, hear the interviews and decide for yourself.
CNN Presents CNN Body Parts: Barry's altruistic non-directed donation, which helped facilitate three other simultaneous donations, was used as one of the prime examples for why live kidney donations should be banned. Hear the differring points of view expressed by the medical bodies involved, and read the articles that resulted from it here.
kidney operation Other Kidney Stories: With over twenty Jesus Christian kidney donations, there have been numerous stories about such actions. Read the responses generated from around the world.


Early Days

Graffiti

Money burning, money throwaways, prophet campaigns, and a sensational walk across the Nullarbor Desert are just some of the highlights the media has captured of the early days of The Jesus Christians.

Below are collections of articles and videos of various projects that the Jesus Christians were engaged in during this period.  A chronological record of events and membership of the early Jesus Christian days can be read by clicking on the following link:(JC history 1981 - 1996)



Free Work: From the early days of the group, the Jesus Christians have set out to practice Jesus' teaching about serving (or 'working for') God and not serving (or 'working for') money (Matthew 6:24).  This has led the group to engage in various campaigns to draw attention to these teachings.  Money burning, money throwaways and free work campaigns were all used to get people to think beyond the materialistic rat race.  Of the three, only the free work offer has continued on to the present, albeit not with such a high profile as existed when it was first made.

Vision 2000: A protest against the poor health conditions of local people in Madras, India led the group to construct a free clinic, library and playground on top of an open sewerage canal.  This attracted media attention both in India and overseas.

Walk Of Faith:
When six young people from the Jesus Christians, including 11 year old Rachel, decided to walk 1,000 miles (1,600 kms) through the Nullarbor desert of South Australia and Western Australia, taking no food, money or extra clothes with them, the world thought they would die.  Relying on faith in God's provision, these six kids took the media by storm.

Other Campaigns: Hessian-robed Prophets, graffiti, and other activities during the early days of the Jesus Christians also caught the attention of the media.

Media Page

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The Jesus Christians have had a long and interesting relationship with the media since the group was founded. Involvement with the media has often been a deliberate attempt to fulfill Jesus' command to "preach the Gospel unto every creature" (Mark 16:15).

The Jesus Christians have caught the attention of the media through things like money burning, money throwaways, walking across the desert without taking extra food or clothes, graffiti, public demonstrations, social work, and controversial subjects such as kidney donations, kidnap allegations and more.

Our collection of media reports is divided into categories below. You will not only have a chance to read articles, view videos and listen to radio interviews, but to hear our side of the story to find out what really went on behind the scenes.

Early Days Early Days: Money burning, money throwaways, prophet campaigns, and a sensational walk across the Nullarbor Desert are just some of the highlights the media has captured of the early days of The Jesus Christians.
kidney operation Kidneys: The Jesus Christians have received world-wide fame because a high percentage of members have become live kidney donors. Explore the ethics of live kidney donations and the controversies surrounding the Jesus Christians with that issue.
   
Controversies Controversies: Kidnap allegations have been hurled at the Jesus Christians on several occasions over the years. This has produced a lot of media interest in our group. Each controversial story has fuelled others. Discover the truth behind the kidnap allegations and the controversial "whipping trial", hear about our appearance on one of the most widely viewed episodes of the Jeremy Kyle Show, and more.

Quiz Page

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Archived Articles Page

Archived Articles

people dancing holding hands in a circle " A live-by-faith, work-for-God-not-money Christian community. We distribute Bible-based comics, videos, CDs, novels, and other tracts, and do free (voluntary) work. We are against hypocrisy and self-righteousness in the church; and we are in favour of honesty, humility and love."

Welcome!

We hope you enjoy our website. Below is a short description of the main sections of our website which you can access through the top menu or the links provided. If you experience any problems, please contact us through the "contact" link on the top menu or by using the contact details found at the bottom of this page.


Jesus Christians Update

While members of the Jesus Christians "imploded" in 2010, with individuals working autonomously for nine years, there has been some meticulous study happening on the part of academics, who commissioned a more reliable assessment of who and what we are, without all the vitriol and distortion that characterised so much of the media hype we encountered in the years leading up to 2010.

You can read a summary of much that has been collected on our history and beliefs on the World Religions and Spirituality Project web site, here:  https://wrldrels.org/2019/05/19/jesus-christians/

The project originates from Virginia Commonwealth University, in the U.S., but papers on various religious groups come from academics around the world.  The Jesus Christian entry was prepared by an academic, Geraldine Smith, from Sydney University in Australia, who started writing her honors thesis on the End Time Survivors movement and later on the Jesus Christians movement. 

You can read and download a copy of the full thesis here or download it directly from Academia.com.


Site Map

Forum: Visit our forum. Watch the Jesus Christians in action as they discuss issues including issues that you might like to raise yourself. 

Teachings: Includes hundreds of articles, listed under many different topics. They are rated according to those which have been of the greatest interest, and they are cross-referenced to other similar articles.

Books: Looking for something longer than just articles, that you can really get stuck into? Well, check out our library for some serious reading!

Comics: Browse through some of our many mini-comics, or download a portion of The Liberator, a 96-page comic version of the Gospel of Luke. Check out our comic book versions of Galatians, James, and the first seven chapters of Acts as well.

Music: Listen to some of our radical Christian music.

Media: Explore Jesus Christian involvement with the media over the years. Watch videos, listen to interviews and read through newspaper and magazine articles to learn what the JCs were up to in our early days, including some of the most controversial stories ever published about us. This media section of the website will give you a good insight into the practice and history of the group.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions. You might find the answers surprising!

Links: Some interesting links to groups outside the JCs.

Teachings Page



New Articles

New articles will appear here for a few months, and then go into the Recent articles folder

Recent Articles

Some files here and in the archives below are only available to registered members. If you wish to see any of those articles, please log in to the website, or register if you do not yet have an account. By registering, you will be able to earn points for your participation on our website, which you can redeem for various rewards, including access to some articles which are not available to non-registered members. This is to encourage people to read the basic stuff first.

Archived Articles

Projects Page

This is the Projects Page

Comics Page

This is the Comics Page

Books Page

This is the Books Page

VIDEOS from

Jesus Christians
The Law Cover
The Law (Beyond Justice)
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A Voice in the Desert

The Truth about Christianity
The truth about Christianity
The Most Hated
The Most Hated Command of Jesus
The Most Shocking
The Most Shocking Command of Jesus
The Easiest Command
The Easiest Teaching of Jesus
How to Live By Faith
How to Live by Faith!
Jesus and the Mark
Jesus and The Mark of the Beast
The Cornerstone
The Cornerstone is coming!
God's Garden
God's Garden
Scientific Method
The Scientific Method

Mail us at:   [email protected],    OR write to:    Jesus Christians,  P.O.Box A678, Sydney South, Australia 1235