Question: "What is Potter's House Christian Fellowship?"
Answer: Potter’s House Christian Fellowship, officially called Christian Fellowship Ministries (CFM), was founded by Wayman Mitchell, a Pentecostal pastor, in 1970. Mitchell was a member of the Foursquare Gospel Church until disagreements over how pastors should be trained led to his leaving that denomination. On their official website, Christian Fellowship Ministries claims to have 2,100 churches in 43 states and 114 nations worldwide. Potter’s House Christian Fellowship is headquartered in Prescott, Arizona. Other names associated with local branches of Christian Fellowship Ministries are “The Door,” “The Lighthouse,” “Living Waters,” “Victory Chapel,” “Crossroads Chapel,” and “La Puerta.”
Christian Fellowship Ministries doctrine falls mostly in line with that of other Pentecostal churches, most closely resembling the Assemblies of God in doctrine and practice. A key teaching of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship is the doctrine of a second baptism of the Holy Spirit that augments a person’s salvation experience. This baptism is characterized by the display of spiritual “sign gifts,” with an emphasis on the gift of tongues, which is exercised by the whole congregation during services. No interpreter is provided as Scripture directs (1 Corinthians 14:27), nor is the tongues-speaking done in an orderly manner. This practice runs contrary to Scripture (1 Corinthians 14:40). In actuality, the baptism of the Spirit is synonymous with salvation; when a person is saved, he is baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Church services in the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship are also characterized by faith healings, based on the teaching that the blood of Christ provides for physical healing. Other aberrant doctrines in the Christian Fellowship Ministries include the teaching that a Christian may lose his salvation. Potter’s House churches have a hierarchy of leadership with a head pastor and a board of elders, but the pastor holds ultimate authority over all matters pertaining to the ministry and in the personal lives of its members. It is common for the pastor to have the final say on an individual’s educational goals, career choices, and even marriage plans. Ministers in the Christian Fellowship Ministries are forbidden from watching movies or television. As with many Pentecostal churches, there is an emphasis on tithing in the Potter’s House Church, which takes Old Testament commands and promises to Israel and applies them to the New Testament church—to give financially is to receive a blessing in return.
The Potter’s House has been the subject of much controversy and various exposés over the decades detailing the controlling nature of the leadership, the undue emphasis on raising money, and the obligatory tithe. Former members have testified that they were isolated from their families when they joined the Christian Fellowship Ministries and were ostracized when they left the church.
Every believer or searcher of the truth should remember that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone. Once we have faith in Jesus as God’s Son who came to earth in the flesh, died for our sins, and was raised from the dead, we shall forever be in good standing with God—positionally holy before Him. For this reason, Jesus uttered these famous words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Once we realize this fact, we are free to serve God and man out of love for both and out of a grateful heart—not out of compulsion or guilt, which are profoundly unhealthy motivations, indeed.
Due to the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship’s legalistic view of tithing, emphasis on tongues and healings, controlling leadership, and denial of a believer’s eternal security, Christian Fellowship Ministries is to be avoided.