An open letter to a prospective member of the “Messianic Communities” cult (a.k.a. “The Twelve Tribes”)

Mailing a letter. Illustration copyrighted.This open letter was originally addressed to Kevin, a prospective member of an organization which calls itself Messianic Communities (and also The Twelve Tribes).

Editor's note to readers: Please do not confuse this cult with legitimate followers of Christ who call themselves Messianic believers or Messianic congregations or communities.

Twelve Tribes (aka Messianic Communities)

I commend you for your desire to serve the Lord more fully. I have always admired your devotion to Christ. But I have real reservations about your decision to join the “Twelve Tribes” (also known as “Messianic Communities”) to further that devotion. I have had opportunity to spend literally thousands of hours researching this group and would like to share with you some of my concerns.


Elbert Eugene Spriggs

The group started in Tennessee in the early 1970s, moved to Vermont a few years later, and now has communities worldwide. In the beginning they were very Biblical and adhered to the historic Christian faith. Street people, drug addicts, and run-a-ways were led to Christ, given a purpose and place to live.

However, the group quickly changed in doctrine and practice due to their “apostle,” Elbert Eugene Spriggs. He claims to have a direct pipeline to God and is accountable to no one—a very dangerous mix.


The group now teaches three eternal destinies for all humanity. There are those who go to the Holy City (Twelve Tribes and other Old and New Testament worthies), those who go to the Lake of Fire, and those who go to the “Nations.”

This last group is a vast segment of humanity who make it to the “suburbs” of heaven by living according to their conscience. Christ's death is thus bypassed. This is rank heresy--see Acts 4:12.

The group also teaches that according to Acts 2 and 4, the true disciple will give all his possessions to the group and live in community with them. This is problematic in two respects.

This leads to the last theological problem. They teach that Yashua (Christ) cannot return until they replant the Twelve Tribes of Israel geographically on the Earth. The first Church fell away and Yashua has been waiting for His bride to prepare herself, and cannot return until she does. Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that Christ is held captive in heaven until His bride (the Church) replants herself on the Earth as Twelve Tribes.

The practices of the group have also become non-Biblical.

I urge you to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who were "more noble than the Thessalonians because they searched the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were true." This group does not follow the Jesus of Scripture, but rather the man Elbert Spriggs, who has essentially transformed the group into a Galatian heresy where salvation depends upon works.

Author: Steven Tsoukalas, M. Div. of Sound Doctrine Ministries. Provided by AIIA Institute.

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