The Concept of God

The Concept of God – similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses – is strongly formed by legalism. There is a constant fear: don’t commit any sins, so that you don’t make God angry. Even trivial things are considered to be sins (e.g., to misunderstand another person’s answer). Doubt counts as a serious sin: “Doubting is a mean-spirited challenge to God.” Positively, one can note that they encounter God with great fear and reverence. He appears more like a stern judge, with whom no there is no easy grace, than like a loving father. The thought of grace appears generally to be short-changed in their concept of God. One can only be saved if one turns over his life entirely to Jesus (i.e., also giving up hobbies). In principle, a type of works righteousness is behind this, similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses (even if they pay lip service to justification by grace). One must acquire a place in heaven by means of a consistent Biblical lifestyle and complete commitment. The practices of the group determine what a Biblical lifestyle is. Therefore the corresponding passages of James’ Letter (esp. James 2:14-26) have a strong significance for them. The thought of grace and the vicariously atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is to some extent explicitly rejected: “How can God forgive sins by murdering a person!” (word-for-word from a conversation with a Holic member). The central thought for them is not the death of Jesus on the cross, but rather His life of obedience toward God’s commands. When the Bible speaks of our being saved by the blood of Jesus, they reinterpret it as follows: Blood was, among the Jews, a synonym for life. Therefore, it means: We are saved by the life (i.e., role-modeling) of Jesus. His death on the cross has really no meaning, except that it is a sign of His obedience.

The Holy Spirit also appears to be understood by them in a confined way. A former member depicts it as follows: “I had the impression, that the Spirit marks a path ahead of you, and that he bullies you in a certain direction. I did not detect anything of liberation by the Spirit; if anything, within the Holic Group, he makes one captive.”