This is not the same “Maranatha” as others have wondered about. This group began in Vila Vehla, ES, Brazil a bit over 40 years ago. Most members speak Portuguese and not much information is available in English. I will begin by posting why I left. In future follow-ups I will comment on some of the doctrines and practices:
* The group has not lived up to the continual reminders of us doing everything by God’s revelation. While this hasn’t been always stated clearly, it is something understood by many members based on criticism from their puplits (especially in seminars) about other groups, leading one to conclude, that this group is the exception. Most groups do not lead their members to believe this, and are more realistic and humble (which is why I’m not picking on them). Striving to do everything by “revelation” is a noble, goal, and I do believe many in Maranatha are committed to this goal, but are not realistic or open enough about the human factor, given their unwillingness or inability to hold their leaders accountable. Until this changes I cannot recommend this group any more.
* I recognize the Body of Christ, and faithful Christians, are not only to be found in Maranatha. Again, while this is not always stated directly, it is something understood by many members. When backed into a corner, most members and pastors will freely admit that this can be found in other groups, although this admission rings hollow for me. I wanted to be free to gather with other Christians and groups without feeling judged or punished for it. This is something frowned upon, and has been reported to have limited people in what they could do in Maranatha (because they are “in religion” and have “not understood the Work”). Until this changes, in a meaningful way, I cannot recommend this group any more.
* Former pastors, members have been treated as apostates and spiritually dead. While not all people leave denominations for noble reasons – this certainly is not true of all of them. While it is wise to exercise caution, I believe there is again an unwritten and unofficial code in place in Maranatha to shun former members regardless of what led to their departure. Until this changes, I cannot recommend this group any more.
* In the media in Brazil, Maranatha is currently the subject of a major church scandal involving money laundering, and related crimes. The investigation into has touched the highest levels of leadership in the organization. Administratively, the organization has taken some positive steps to prevent future misuse of church resources. Spiritually, myself and many others have detected a lot of whitewashing in the preaching and seminars. There seems to be a lack of humility and realism among the leadership and members regarding this. When King David was caught in sin, he repented. Up until now I have seen no repentance from the leaders who have preached in the past that Maranatha is “The Work of David”. If there is even one sin to be repented of, it should be been long repented of by now. Unless they are 100% sinless in this matter, then they should repent. This scandal in my mind cannot be much different from all the other scandals in the Christian world. This plus other inconsistencies others have personally witnessed in the leadership do not give me any confidence to believe they have no reason to repent. Until this changes, I cannot recommend this group any more.