Analysing a commenter’s strong claim that Victor Hafichuk’s Path of Truth Ministries “is a cult”, I show how the failures of logic mixed in with the conduct of PoT adherents do indeed indicate a cult-like following not suppressed by the leader. I assess the evidence from conduct and thought processes and conclude that (totally independent of any theological issue) that PoT does demonstrate cult-like tendencies and is undoubtedly a cult – but a Christian cult..
Responding to accusations of being a cult, Victor Hafichuk claims that his ministry Path of Truth is indeed a cult – correctly defining Jesus also as a cult-leader in his online discussion. I have had the definition applied to me, as would any counter-cultural movement or rebel would have since the year dot.
This response though, while cute, accurate and sounding good is not a complete story, for when you assess the literal words yet deny the intent you obfuscate. Victor is being cute agreeing that he’s a cult, but then stating that Jesus also was, for this doesn’t directly address the intent behind the words.
The real issue is whether or not Victor and Path of Truth Ministries is ‘on the level’ from a Christian perspective. Sadly, it is my conclusion that there are serious problems within their ranks.
The Key Issue – Elevated Status
PoT’s modus operandii is to lure people seeking truth and mesmerise with an exclusive lien on the truth. You will note a strong affiliation with the personalities involved – Paul Cohen has a strong soul-tie with Victor Hafichuk. This goes back a long way and is self-confessed. Victor at one stage for example disciplined Paul as an adult male physically. You don’t get more extreme than that. Sure Victor confessed it publicly in his diary/book but it is an indication of his ways of control and thinking at the time it occurred.
I don’t have a problem with people making mistakes, getting it wrong, learning from it and moving on but that Paul accepted Victor’s punishment when many would have defended themselves indicates an unusually tight relationship.
Paul himself shows this unshakable belief in Victor’s elevated status as a prophet or man of God when he referred to Victor’s testimony over the six million figure, stating that we have a “reliable witness” [in Victor, who certainly does believe the Holocaust story].
I have no problem recognising any person as someone that God uses to teach, mentor or use for any purpose with others but the logical error that Paul (and other adherents) fall into is called “call [or appeal] to authority“. Victor had a HUGE influence on Paul’s life, having traveled across the globe to lead him to the Lord but that does NOT mean that everything Victor says or does is gospel.
Assessing PoT adherents comments, you can see the distinction that they make into this elevated status of “prophet/man of God/being in Christ”. I cannot yet pinpoint/label this at this early stage of my analysis but it is certainly the central issue in and around the spirituality of Victor Hafichuk and Path of Truth.
Adherent’s Truncated Logic
More than one PoT adherent has approached me along the lines that I am wrong; I do not fully understand; that they accept their leaders’ version of reality unquestioningly and they have demonstrated low levels of application of logic.
Establishing truth requires the application of clinical logic onto fact.
Deception can remove fact from the equation and thus investigation is required AND shallow, unquestioning thinking can deny logic.
It is from more than one source; more than one engagement; over time that I derive my understanding and therefore my commentary. I consider my words as close to truth as can be gained from an outsider, certainly all that I have seen or heard of thus far.
Using a range of clues, starting with the original issue of contention (the unquestioning acceptance of the six million figure) I have peeled back and revealed the failures in PoT conduct.
Those (like PoT) who claim to speak the truth yet who fail in the logical process self-destruct in their grandiosity. Victor and Paul are certainly not alone in this regard!
No Outright Condemnation
Unlike PoT, and most of their detractors, I can and do accept that PoT err in some areas, yet are genuine Christians and operate a genuine Christian Ministry. I can do this because I do not subscribe to the thought that theology is critical to salvation.
I doubt that the criminal on the cross beside Christ had very much theological comprehension when he breathed out his words of faith to the dying Son of God beside him! That one has doubts over the claims of the Trinity for example does not preclude the Lord working His ‘magic’ in and through us. That we believe in a rapture or not does not seem to affect the quality of our love and obedience relationship with Jesus. I am more concerned with the destruction of a relationship between parents and a daughter than whether she is part of a Ministry perceived as a cult or not. I empathise with those who struggle with Christian theological conflict and shudder along with them when the theological claws come out as they do with PoT.
I also note comments from adherents past and present who speak highly of the PoT leaders, and their conduct in person. I know that there are always very considerable benefits to being involved with people who do believe in what they say and put their ‘money where their mouth is’. This is a universal truth regardless of the spiritual status/health of the people involved.
I expect to meet Paul and Victor and probably most of their people up beyond, yonder in due course, even if that grace is not extended to me. I say this because it is important to differentiate the sin from the sinner, and [even though PoT don’t do this] I accept that, as we are sinners, we can fail to speak full truth at times yet still know the Truth.
I summarise for posterity the process in which I see PoT failing in their claims of always knowing (and therefore speaking) the truth.
- I challenged PoT on their specific claims relating to six million figure [the Holocaust]. This is and was a peripheral issue to their core ministry.
- My gentle nudges though, flushed out a series of responses – basically from Paul that “God said” that they didn’t need to change the wording of their post (but they did anyway) and they accepted this common knowledge of six million as fact – without any attempt to justify the claim in the face of a challenge.
- I stood firm against personal abuse, and rejected their claims that I was simply on an ego trip (i.e. that I knew not the Master) and have fielded various responses from detractors and adherents since.
- Despite firmly casting me out from their circle of influence and activities Victor has then later [remarkably] responded with a generalised partial defence without addressing the key issue of contention, condescendingly stating that he “might” respond in detail but has more important things on his plate to deal with.
- Various adherents and detractors have revealed to me (and thus to the world) more of the conduct and thinking behind PoT. Combined with their own materials I feel I have a reasonably good ‘handle’ on their operations.
Observations & Conclusions
Victor Hafichuk and Paul Cohen have a high level of engagement online. This has been longterm and they have a remarkable influence [for better or worse] in many peoples’ lives, particularly online. Good on ’em I say!
From my observations they have a VERY tight relationship akin as I have said to a soul-tie and they make a formidable tag-team especially in conflict situations. It would be rare for one reaching out for truth, to be able to withstand the condemnation and power of two individuals like Paul & Victor. This is of course the power of a biblical model – examples being marriage; the sending of the disciples out in twos; David and Jonathon and much more and good on them for this . . . but;
I don’t think it would be possible to engage constructively with Path of Truth outside of their control systems. They have a methodology that draws others into their ways of thinking and topics. They took my subject of choice into their own net of theological engagement quickly and skillfully. Now, this is not a problem per se, for it is the way of the Master too who led people from where they were into a place He could minister to them, BUT PoT have a brutality and arrogance that Jesus didn’t.
Their theological position is well entrenched and they have the same experienced fortitude in defence as do the Jehovah’s Witness and Mormon Missionaries. My approach, from the side (so-to-speak) shows their shallowness, style and true character.
The figure of the Holocaust is not a Christian/theological issue. Christian believers as well as non-Christians and/or Atheists can accept the Holocaust story and the six million figure or not – just as they can believe that the moon is made of cheese or not. For Paul and Victor to make it a core issue and then attack anothers’ salvation over it is lunacy based on pride.
“We know. You don’t!”
For the record I’ve done the research – they haven’t. The claim that six million Jews were killed by gas chambers in WW2 is utter nonsense; a technical and logistic impossibility without a single piece of credible evidence.
The issue here is not what happened in WW2, it is the process that one uses to come to the truth. Believing something because the speaker has credibility in your eyes over another subject is a logical fallacy. Literally everybody may conceivably believe in the “six million” story but conceivably everybody has then simply bought a story, unthinkingly. Likewise the PoT adherents who fail the first test of logic in regards to their leaders. Just because they speak truth in one area does NOT necessarily mean that they always speak truth.
PoT apply the concept that there can be no error in our conduct when we are ‘in Christ’. This is fallacious and sets their adherents up for disillusionment. It is perfectly possible to be ‘in Christ’ speaking His word in an anointed manner and yet still fail in others. Being perfected [in Christ] is NOT and can never be a claim to BE perfect. The sanctification process is a lifelong one.
Victor has made the claim in his partial defence that he doesn’t claim to be perfect, but this is devious as it belies the response of his adherents AND his own conduct in condemning others (like me for example). If he truly believes this idea that he is just a sinner saved by grace like the rest of us, then he would stomp out the worship and adoration he receives from his adherents AND he would resist the urge to condemn and shun others in the name of Jesus.
I take the example of my questioning their belief in the “six million” figure and apply a hypothetical response to my questions, something I think more akin to what Jesus would have wanted. Obviously He had full knowledge thus His responses would have been different but this is my best guess.
PoT: You have a problem with the six million figure we used in our materials. It is common knowledge that the Holocaust occurred and it is widely accepted that six million Jews died in the gas chambers. Do you know something that we don’t? What is your advice given your research/understanding?
DS: Yes, I have researched the matter extensively for years; I have blogged about it as I have failed to find even one piece of credible evidence for the claims. I believe that Christians should be careful to speak the truth and should be aware of the deceptions that are employed by those out to manipulate others.
To raise issues of global rampant anti-Semitism; to defend something based on common knowledge [especially when you claim to be truth-speakers] without a skerrick of your own research; to lean on your leaders’ elevated status as a man worthy of trust in all matters; to attack the integrity of another Christian’s faith and to do so with an investigative blogger like myself who thinks, asks questions, runs a blog in excess of a million words and never gives up; to cast me off yet come back seeking an audience for defence; to fail to conduct the slightest due diligence on the topic of contention; to simply ignore the core topic entirely; to allow your adherents to speak of you in elevated terms . . . are all errors of judgment in my book.
I believe that Jesus would [and does] draw us into basic research in the light of truth – this will flush out the hidden agendas in which the Holocaust story is peddled – and then bring His ministry into the centre of the global geo-political deceptions. It is when we realise that the Holocaust story is peddled by interest groups opposed to His purposes; that it is simply one of the many stories such as the almost universal worship of democracy; the global acceptance of the totally, utterly prohibited usury/interest that deceive mankind in this day and age.
In this regard I believe that Paul Cohen and Victor Hafichuk have a lot to learn. They would be wise to humble themselves, listen to this blogger, take note and act. They might not remove or placate the existing detractors but they would align their ministry a lot more with where I think the Lord is ‘at’ today than what they have at present.
I repeat my take that Path of Truth is a Christian Ministry, but there are serious issues in regards to their excessive judgmentalism and conclude that there are indeed signs that they have a cult-like attitude and influence on others.
- Analysing Victor Hafichuk’s Ministry - the orginal post of May 2015 in which my call is "Yes, Christian but excessive judgementalism"
- Path of Truth Emails - the evidence
- More from Victor Hafichuk - analysing a third party communication
- “Path of Truth Cult” – Vanity Search - An adherent supports PoT but challenges following a vanity search
- Aquatechnology.net – Victor Hafichuk - A longstanding third party analysis
- Path of Truth – Logical Fallacies - Exposing multiple logical fallacies in an adherent's communications
- Path of Truth IS a cult - Analysis following claims PoT is a cult
- Victor Hafichuk – The Other Side - A Christian Ministry
- Victor Hafichuk “Nobody Is Perfect” - Confusing Perfected in Christ with Perfect
- Analysing A Path of Truth Detractor - Correcting a Disillusioned PoT follower
- Handling the Path of Truth - Leaving the PoT can be hard
- Path of Truth – Ripped Asunder - Victor fires his long-term 2IC
- Paul Cohen After the Path of Truth - Paul's opportunity/challenge
- Maturity in overcoming Path of Truth - An ex-PoT adherent bares all
- Victor Hafichuk – False Claim Analysis - Exposing 'Delusions of Grandeur'