The San Antonio Church of Christ that is the subject of this page is not affiliated with any other mainline, conservative, or ICOC Church of Christ in the San Antonio area. This church believes theirs is the only one going to heaven, and they do not accept the baptisms of any other church—Church of Christ or otherwise. Is it a cult? You’ll have to decide for yourself.
San Antonio Church of Christ
435 Recoleta Rd
San Antonio, TX 78216
If you are part of this congregation or have been in the past, please take some time to familiarize yourself with this website to learn more about the group’s origins, history, beliefs, rules, and practices. The sect’s founder, Merie Weiss was withdrawn from by East San Diego Church of Christ in 1958 for sowing discord and division. She eventually became the lead teacher in the Spring Valley Church of Christ, and the group militantly attempted to spread their brand of legalism around the country with new congregations. This San Antonio church is one of those “church plants.”
Neither San Antonio nor affiliated churches nationwide have elders, but teachers in lieu of elders who are the de facto leadership of the congregation. They say they aspire to have elders someday, but their interpretation of the qualifications for elders is such that no human could ever qualify. The sect has been around for 50 years and not one of them has elders.
If someone from this church knocks on your door to invite you to a Bible study, understand that it is really what they call a non-member class, meant only for recruiting. It is not an open study of the Bible. As evidence, once you are “converted” (baptized) they will start introducing you to many extra-Biblical rules called judgments, arrived at by seeking counsel from a teacher.
They do not generally invite the public (non-members) to their Sunday services, because they have some practices that are off-putting to most people, like public confession and closed communion (they won’t serve the Lord’s supper to you). This is why they recruit exclusively through door knocking and inviting prospects to their non-member classes first (what they call “personal work” or “the work”).
Here is a recent example of a flyer passed out by this San Antonio church while knocking on doors:
One of the biggest dangers of this sect is their abuse of a practice they call withdrawal. This is their form of church discipline. Since they believe strongly that their entire brotherhood must have the exact same opinions on church doctrine, they hold an annual meeting called May Week to discuss matters of doctrine. The decisions that come out of this meeting cannot be openly or even privately criticized or questioned, not even to a spouse, under threat of withdrawal for what they call murmuring. Once withdrawn from, that member is not allowed to eat or socialize with other members.
Numerous fathers are withdrawn from, and if they have adult children in the sect, those children are not able to eat with or socialize with their father. As you can imagine, this divides families very quickly. The withdrawn from member is expected to come to church and sit in humble silence until making a public confession, and they cannot do that without advance permission of the teacher in charge of the congregation.