Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Father’s House Expands… Again

September 26th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

The Father’s House, a large non-denominational Christian parish located in Chili, will be expanding yet again. I’m sure many Rochester westsiders remember the Father’s House opening their gigantic theater-church (second image above) across from their former church (first image above) on Paul Rd within the past couple years. Well, it looks like they will be opening yet another worship site, or “campus” as they call them. According to the Father’s House Web site and Twitter page, the parish will open a new downtown location on October 10th. The site for their new downtown worship space will be the Blackfriar’s Theater, located on the Christ Episcopal Church property.

The Father’s House is led by Pastor Pierre du Plessis, a South African native and Pastor’s son who took on the title of Senior Pastor of this church back in 2002. According to their Web site, here are some of the methods du Plessis uses during their services: “Pierre is known for pushing the envelope when he is on stage – using fire, paint, explosives (ok .. not the real deal!) headstands, 300 bottles of honey (don?t ask!) … and mousetraps (don?t ask again).”

Below are some images of the Father’s House worship services as seen on their Web site. At first glance, these images looked more like a performance of “High School Musical” than a religious service. It still looks like that even after several glances…

Boy, am I glad to be a Catholic.



19 Responses to “The Father’s House Expands… Again”

  1. Anonymous says:

    That place is a cult, right? It seems scary.

  2. Ben Anderson says:

    I live near TFH in Chili. A few years ago (before I was Catholic) when I was church shopping I attended (when it was still the top left picture). There were so many huge TVs up front it was scary. At one point the pastor (not Pierre) laid down on the floor during his sermon. Meanwhile, the cameraman zoomed in on his face so that all 10 TVs showed a huge blow up of his face. I'll tell ya, before I even knew much about Catholicism, I was drawn to the sense of the sacredness of the mass – not this commercialization of the faith. And come to think of it today I am happy to be attending St. Stan's. What a contrast, huh? BTW, it was nice meeting some other bloggers yesterday – Jim, I'll listen for your voice today.

  3. Toby says:

    I first came to TFH this past January after hearing about it and watching some of the services online, and I have to say this is the first church I've attended where I felt welcome. Here I found people that were genuinely concerned with their relationship with God, and a sense of excitement of describing that relationship to others. I've come to realize that God has a interest in me and how I live my life, and I'm grateful that TFH has been there to help me along the way.

    I can understand how people of other faiths can be a bit put off by the exterior of the church, the size and the style of worship. However, as Christians, shouldn't we be happy with the fact that people are actually EXCITED to attend church and come to know God and Jesus? Calling TFH a "cult" isn't fair to the great people there, pastors and congregation alike

  4. Ben Anderson says:

    a certain amount of christian truth can be found in almost any christian church. Just as a certain amount of truth can be found in any religion. Toby, I'm glad you feel welcome at TFH and have come to believe that God loves you and is interested in your life. Excitement to worship God is definitely a good thing. But what is it that we are excited about? Is the service about us or God? And is there a sense of the sacred or should we use the same means to worship God as we do to celebrate the 4th of July? These are all arguments made on the purely human level and I believe they are valid, but many people could argue both sides of this. But for us as Catholics it doesn't matter what we think or feel about those questions. For us, we start with the Truth that Jesus Christ left us a church which has authority to change bread and wine into Jesus' body and blood. That's the big difference – outside of churches that believe in the Real Presence of Jesus there just isn't a firm reason not to have tons of TVs and what not. You can sort of understand that that's where worship would go.

    Toby, I would encourage you to examine the Catholic Church. I'd like to say it's just as welcoming as the TFH, but I can't promise that. Ultimately, that's a nice thing to say, but it really doesn't prove or disprove whether a church teaches truths or not. What matters is that we should be where's God desires us to be. And I believe that He desires all of us to be in full communion with the Catholic Church. He desires us to be there that's where he is most truly present. And that's where he can most perfectly mold us to be the people he wants us to be. He is certainly present at TFH in a different way and I believe he is working there, but he will transform your heart in a way you couldn't imagine once you begin to embrace His Church.

  5. RochChaCha says:

    Some of the young guys I work with talk about this place, from two different perspectives. One is a Roman Catholic, like me, and the other is an evangelical protestant. The three of us agree that TFH was developed to appeal to the young people and to do say, they make it a very casual experience with a lot of visual appeal. The worship services appear to be something that you might expect from the studio's in Burbank CA (taped productions of Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, etc) with a mix of Geva Theatre shows (A Christmas Carol,etc).

    Eventually these young folks will realize that there is nothing behind this stage show. The real presence of God is not the clever sounding sermons from Pierre. It is not the oversized coffee house look and feel of this place. It's not the fancy lighting and stage they use. Hopefully some of these folks will eventually recognize what they are missing. To all those former Catholic's who are attending TFH, perhaps it would be worth a minute or two of your time to watch the following short clip at

    God Bless

  6. Gen says:

    Oh dear. Definite mea culpa for the comment I left (and now deleted).

    I deserve a smack of the crosier for that. lol

  7. Toby says:


    Thank you for the reply. I am absolutely open to all denominations, and I have checked out Catholic services during my "shopping around". Its definitely a different experience, and its obvious that God is working through the Church as well…

    I guess the reason I didn't really get into Catholicism is that it doesn't "speak" to me in quite the same way. Not to say that Catholics are not pursuing God, because they absolutely are and their views are absolutely valid. I guess the way I understand God and Jesus is that it doesn't really matter what way we are worshiping, as long as we are pursuing them to the best of our understanding. Coming to know God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate goal, and the way we are moved to worship and study this should be immaterial….

  8. Anonymous says:

    But there is one thing that the Catholic Church has that the Father's House, and other Protestant groups for that matter, lack: The Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive the Lord. For Jesus commanded us in the Gospels, to eat his body and drink his blood so that we may live forever. He went on further to officially institute the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, when he told his Apostles to carry on this action and "do this in memory of me." You may receive good preaching elsewhere, that is true. But Jesus is not being received there. You'll find your way to the Church once again in your life. Hopefully you'll see what we see, and why we love to be Catholics. I don't view the Father's House as entirely a bad thing, especially if it can help Christians find their way to the Catholic Church as they grow in love of Jesus.

    Thank you and God bless.

  9. Nerina says:


    A great response to Toby.

    Toby, if you are sincere in your search, I am confident the Holy Spirit will lead you to the Catholic Church. It may takes years and years, but I think you'll find yourself home in Christ's Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. God bless you. I am glad you have a place that nourishes you and I hope you will one day have the true Bread of Christ in the Eucharist.

  10. Toby says:

    I'm not going to rule out Catholicism, as I would never shut myself off from something I feel moved to by the Holy Spirit. However, right now I feel called to continue at TFH, as I have felt things there that I haven't felt at other churches before. I guess I just ask that others don't jump to conclusions that we are a "cult" or that there is no substance behind the services. Granted, it is a bit more showy than other churches in the area, but the people there are honest, Godly people, seeking to worship the Lord in a way that they feel is warmly received.

  11. Anonymous says:

    But it is a cult.

  12. Toby says:

    What makes you think so?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well it's a megachurch built around the personality of one man (this Pierre guy) who needs glitz and glamor to keep people coming back for the entertainment. It's not about God at all.

  14. Toby says:

    But that isn't the point of it at all. TFH isn't about Pierre, its about understanding God and what he wants for you. yes, Pierre gets the press because hes the senior pastor, but there are more pastors than him. On any given week the message could be from Luke, Chris, or any of the others that take the pulpit that day. Yes, its Pierre's preaching that gets a lot of people to come back, but its about the message, not the deliverer of the message…

  15. Anonymous says:

    What are the qualifications of these pastors? Have any of them completed a degree in theology? Have they studied philosophy? Any of this?

  16. christian233 says:

    I was brought there. Ultimately, I became a believer. So that is good. This was 1.5 years ago.
    I am young and enjoyed the contemporary experience.

    I’ve been doing some reading online lately. My doctor once said to, “ignore what I read online.” I guess his reasoning would be because anybody can post anything. Well, that’s exactly the point. But, sadly, much of society lacks the education and insight to differentiate between the ubiquitous rubbish and the unadulterated truth. Their “reality” comes from mainstream news programming.
    That, combined with the Bible, make things rather clear.
    So I remembered a woman’s event and Holly Wagner, who is going to TFH soon, and goes there all the time. Take her book “God Chicks,” just the first chapter, available as a free sample, and tell me what you think about that.

    The “God’s purpose for you in this world,” language comprises half of the chapter. The whole 21st century Christian woman thing is more sales pitch, as is the “just be yourself,” and it is written as “just b u” – that’s just to start. Her books are given out like candy at her talks there.

    Also given out like candy are little baggies for “new” Christians. Walmart has 1 greeter but TFH has dozens. New members are given tons of personal attention like phone calls etc – the newer to the “faith,” the more the welcoming. Two words. BLANK. SLATES.
    I just had to look at this Tyndale House Publishing “How to Find God: Living Waters for Those Who Thirst” book from a Baggie I got. They call it a Bible – New Living Translation.

    Find it online and check it out. That is no Bible. The scripture excerpts are misrepresented at best. 75% of it is made up. The parable of the lost sheep, of the … can’t remember but there were maybe 35 parables invented out of thin air. JUST THE BASICS OF SALVATION, THE CRUCIFIXION, JESUS AND THE FATHER, REPENTANCE, ETC ARE FLIPPED 180° into LIES, INACCURACIES, AND A HARDCORE PUSH FOR GLOBALIZATION. There is no way to describe my horror – sitting there thinking about how lots of well-meaning converts walk through those doors with NO CLUE that they are embarking on a journey as sinister as it is. The people handing things out don’t even know. Top-down system. One world church is being taught. And being used to facilitate acceptance to one world government.

    Seriously, look at that book and get a glimpse at tomorrow’s “Christians.”

    Now, people there and born agains in general often say that nowhere in the Bible are priests given authority to forgive sin, or is confession to a priest mentioned, same with worshipping Saints….
    I know Peter founded Catholicism. But what has it evolved into? Can anybody here comment on the Catholic rituals, the claims of molestation and human trafficking scandals, the things I mentioned above including confession, etc?
    I was baptized Catholic.

    I believe in the New King James Bible, not the Father’s House Bible. I’m wondering if finding a decent church to attend is a lost cause today?

  17. true faith says:

    I think it is unfair to judge The Father’s House from comments of those who have only visited it as newcomers and have never become involved in the missions works of mercy , the many volunteer ministries , the home bible studies and prayer groups which center on personal discipleship and accountability , the leadership training for those in volunteer groups , and Saturday morning prayer. You will never hear a criticism of the Catholic Church or any other church there , unlike the posts I see hear.
    Many Catholics have been driven out of their churches and their ministries by The Diocese of Rochester who has sold most of the city churches and some suburban churches without any input and discussion of the parishioners who invested there. My family has been driven out of three successive parishes . Having tried to be cooperative with the Diocese plans ( whatever that is because the leaders are above answering to the people ) they have become involved and immersed themselves in one church to another , even on different sides of the city three times to have each parish shut down the building sold out from under them . Those who want to be involved in ministries and volunteer work and have a say in the dealings of their church have gone not only to The Father’s House but to many other denomination churches. Some attend Mass but go to the other churches to participate in the life of the church ; fellowship on a regular basis , opportunities for volunteer work and missions which seems to be only the privilege of ” the specialists” or the clergy in this Diocese or else turned into a paying job for employees whether they are Christian or not .The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen observed The Holy Hour . He gave retreats not only to priests and other Catholics but to Protestant pastors and Protestant groups and taught that although they didn’t have The Holy Eucharist , they had sacred scripture , The Divine Word. His books and teachings are read by both Catholics and Protestants. Dietrich Bonhoeffer , a German Lutheran theologian , pastor , author and martyr is quoted in homilies by almost priest that I know . These men were some of the greatest writers and teachers of Christianity and discipleship , identified with their churches but were open and welcoming to other Christians and spent time ministering to those outside of their churches.

  18. christian says:

    One point I wish to make is that we need to have Solidarity as Christians, and Solidarity as believers with other faiths, in the face of an atheistic movement sweeping this country and other countries around the world. You may not believe everything about a particular denomination’s or faith’s worship, but you should be standing up for their right and your right to worship God and carry out customs and traditions connected with those denominations and faiths. We need to see the bigger picture.

    In Europe, there are young people connected to the atheist movement crashing active worship masses and services going on at churches, and probably synagogues, in protest, in an effort to ban faith and religious practice. A Catholic friend sent me a you tube video of a young woman who crashed midnight mass this year at a large church in Germany. This young woman who was bare-chested, someone managed to get past ushers and bolt onto the altar while mass was going on and displayed the message written across her chest “God is dead.” Various atheists connected with the movement did likewise at other churches. These people are not forced to attend a worship site, but they are taking full advantage of their right to protest and attempting to stop worship of God. The minority of atheists have had instrumental power in outlawing religious expression in governmental buildings and public places in Europe and the United States. (In France, one is not allowed to wear any outward expression of their faith and France has been declared a secular country).
    The minority of atheists has progressively growing in numbers.

    Look at the United States. A minority of atheists were instrumental in banning prayer from public schools and eventually ridding any celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah. Their atheist agenda reached into other areas also. There was debate over calling the lighting of the Christmas tree the lighting of the Christmas tree or the holiday tree, and whether to display the nativity scene in the White House. Advisers were asking that the Obamas not display the nativity scene; President Obama debated and the nativity scene was put out on display. As you notice, Christians are taking the biggest hit.

    This past winter, Christmas lighting displays that had been a long time tradition in various towns were cancelled as to not offend anyone and procure law suits. Do you understand the power that these militant atheists have. (I say militant atheists because not all atheists have an agenda of banning Christmas or Hanukkah traditions and customs. I have a proclaimed atheist and a proclaimed agnostic in my relation and they will show up to church for special family functions and they enjoy the traditions and customs associated with Christmas). I myself was banned from using Christmas this past Christmas season, and got into quite a heated debate about it. (As you recall, Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving). I was planning to use elements of other faiths’ holidays as well. I was not only forbidden from using “Christmas,” but I was also told that I couldn’t use the word “Holiday” as it “might offend atheists and agnostics.” I refused further involvement.

    What is in store for this Christmas? Do you see my point regarding Solidarity. Would you rather the militant atheists take over over and ban our celebrations? You don’t have to agree with everything a particular church, denomination, or faith is doing, but we all need to stand up for each other, and stand up together for our right to worship and practice our long-held faith traditions and customs.

  19. true faith says:

    To Anonymous : I have read your inflammatory comments and ridicule of every church in Rochester that isn’t Roman Catholic for at least 2 years. I may disagree with the political decisions and financial decisions of The Rochester Diocese regarding selling churches , making unilateral decisions without including parishioners, etc.but I don’t attack the faithful pastors and the faithful worshippers who attend church and endeavor to live a Christian life and witness.
    You throw out the word ” cult ” without even knowing what it means. If you are Christian , you should tread lightly in your accusations regarding the worship of other brothers and sisters in faith and your uncharitable comments of non – Roman Catholics ( I’ve seen your negative comments about the Coptic and Orthodox churches as well ) While one is free to disagree on points of theology and worship , one is never free , as a Christian , to slander and denigrate another church or group of worshippers . If you disagree with a church’s theology then you are free to write a discussion of a church’s theology and practice and write what you find questionable . You would actually have to attend some of these churches or read their faith statements and mission to do this versus your mentality of : its not a Roman Catholic Church in communion with Rome ( I know that an Eastern Rite Church won’t be acceptable with you even if it is in communion with Rome ) it is so detestable to you that it is fair game for your slander .
    Both secular and multiple church authorities cite 7 signs or marks of a Christian Cult :

    1. Cults oppose critical thinking versus demanding that people think for themselves. Cult members must accept what the cult leader believes without questioning the cult’s doctrines or thinking critically for themselves .
    2. Cults dishonor the family unit versus insisting on the scriptural authority of the family unit. Children are taught to be more loyal to their leaders than to their parents . Women are taught to be more loyal to their leaders than to their husbands and husbands are taught that this is normal behavior .
    3. Cults isolate their members from their families , church and society and they penalize members for leaving versus helping them to do God’s will. They reject any who leave and warn them against leaving , often using threats . People are taught to make lifelong commitments.
    4. Cults seek inappropriate loyalty to their leaders versus loyalty to Jesus . The leader cannot be questioned .
    5. Cults cross biblical boundaries of behavior versus walking in purity and financial integrity . Members are often pressured to turn over their finances
    to the cult leader . Sexual immorality and misuse of financial gain by the cult leader are definite signs of a cult .
    6. Separation from the wider church versus a culture of honor towards the church .
    Cults separate from the wider church and operate with an elite spirit , believing that they alone have a special status with God .They have a polarized mentality of us vs. them. They criticize the larger body of Christ and often claim to be the only ones in God’s favor .
    7. Cults emphasize ” special revelations ” of the cult leader which contradict Scripture versus loyalty to Scripture. Cults emphasize ” special revelations ” of their cult leader and hold them above Holy Scripture even though they contradict scripture. They frequently reject common held tenants of the Christian faith such as The Holy Trinity , The Virgin Birth , Jesus being the only begotten Son of God ,the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgement , etc

    anonymous ,

    Unless French is your native language where ” culte ” means worship , you should refrain from throwing words around and entertain the appropriate discussion of theology , and doctrine without slandering and denigrating other churches which you have probably never visited or met their pastors and members . I may not always agree with every practice of a church but I stand in solidarity with my Christian brothers and sisters.. To quote the Douay- Rheims Bible 2 Corinthians 3:3 ” Being manifested, that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us , and written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God ; not in tables of stone , but in the fleshly tables of the heart.” We should be witnessing to others the hope , grace and mercy of our Crucified and Risen Lord by our speech and our lives.

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