I considered writing this review for a while. After seeing a review with a similar experience, I decided to put my thoughts into words.
This church, without a doubt, has cult like tendencies and attributes.
I will list them here, as well as my experience with the church.
1. Love Bombing
When I first began interacting with Arising, the members were very welcoming and loving. They would offer their homes for worship, talk with me about my life and would encourage me to dig deeper into the Word of God. Being raised in an evangelical home and attending a Lutheran school, I was familiar with the word and accepted Jesus into my heart years prior, but I was missing the fellowship and "deeper" learning this church provided. At first, this church seemed perfect. Unconditional love and support from the members reeled me in. Then, the criticism began. When I would discuss with them my struggles, such as in school or even applying for jobs, they would have a slightly demeaning tone, almost like what I was doing with my life wasn't right or ordered by God. I felt like whatever I did wasn't enough for God. I became fearful instead of seeing the love of God.
2. Us vs. Them Mentality
I didn't see this as much as a few others I connected with who have experienced the church, but it exists. My primary memory is during a time of transition for the church. Their building was bought by another neighboring church and they moved their worship to a backyard venue. During worship one morning, an official stated to be loud during worship, and if the police came, do not stop worshiping God or stop the service. This put a pit in my stomach. While we as Christians are to be joyful and preach the word of God to others, this kind of activity was disruptive and the neighbors had every right to their privacy and quiet in their own neighborhood. They also had a negative tone towards other churches in the area.
Another story, while not as pertinent, was a time I ran into a member outside of a store in Woodstock. Me and my current partner were going inside of the building to enter a store. A member of the church stopped us and asked to pray with us. When I said no thank you (as I got a very strange feeling from this person and did not feel comfortable interacting with him), he stood in front of us and blocked the door. He did not move till I agreed to pray with him. To this day I don't know why I felt so uncomfortable, but the experience stuck with me.
This goes along with #1 a bit, but the paranoia sets in after the love bombing. I would often be afraid I wasn't doing what God wanted, or not doing enough for the church.
4. Members have no idea they're in a cult
During my time at Arising, I heard rumors that the church is a cult. I ignored them. It wasn't until I left the church and did research that I noticed many different tendencies and aspects about it that was cult like in nature.
Also, some of their teachings did not line up with the Bible's teachings. They would take passages out of context, or reference the Old Testament as if it is the law of today. Almost as if the whole story in the Gospels were not as important, or were not critical to the story of our salvation.
It took me a bit after leaving the church to gain my footing again. I reconnected with friends, began to pray on my own, and continued to work at my job. Slowly, the fear of not being enough was overcome with the love and acceptance of God that I knew before joining Arising. While I enjoyed some of the sermons and felt fulfilled volunteering at certain places during my time at Arising, it is not a place that harbors the teachings and love of Jesus Christ.
As another reviewer wrote, proceed with caution when entering this church