What is The Family International (TFI)?
The Family International (TFI) is an international Christian commune also known as The Children of God (COG). Founded in 1968 by Pastor David Berg, TFI is a spiritually rooted movement that emphasizes individual spiritual growth, engaging in evangelization and community outreach. Since its beginning, TFI has gained a broad membership in a diverse range of countries spread over seven continents, making it a truly international organization whose adherents come from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs.
What sets TFI apart from other Christian denominations is its emphasis on a whole-approach to living. This often takes the form of communitarian living, where members share living quarters, finances and possessions. This communitarian lifestyle is intended to create an environment where the members can nurture and support one another in their personal and spiritual development.
The Family International also frequently emphasizes sexual communalism, where members live in a loving, sexually open household. This aspect of the group has caused some controversy, as it does appear to have some shades of polyamory. However, the group maintains that these sexual activities are based on mutual love and consent and are intended to create an atmosphere of trust, openness and acceptance.
In addition to its spiritual and lifestyle commitments, TFI has a number of outreach programs around the world. These programs include disaster relief, orphanages, feeding the needy and providing clothing and shelter. Although the organization’s goals are typically couched in religious terms, many of their aid programs follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The core beliefs of The Family International include an adherence to the Trinity, an emphasis on personal holiness, and an obligation to be a witness to the world. Although there are some areas of disagreement amongst members on topics such as sexual expression and the interpretation of Biblical passages, TFI has put in place a process for mediation and reconciliation. This provides members with an opportunity to discuss points of disagreement in a loving manner and work towards a resolution.
The Family International has been subject to intense media scrutiny in the past due to allegations of physical, sexual and financial abuse within the group. Current leaders of the organization deny these allegations, and released a statement to disassociate the group from any past misdeeds. TFI has also stopped the practice of encouraging sexual sharing among its members.
For those looking for a welcoming Christian community that emphasizes spiritual development, personal holiness, and service to others, The Family International offers a unique and attractive opportunity. Whether you join their communitarian lifestyle or simply their outreach activities, TFI offers a unique approach to practicing a faith and making a difference.