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Community In Elk River Discusses Controversial Church

ELK RIVER (WCCO) -- Earlier this week, WCCO-TV first told you about the concerns over a north metro church, The Crossing. The Crossing's unconventional, edgy style of worship has drawn more than 2,000 people in the Elk River area. However, some say the church has too much control over its members.

On Friday night, more than 100 people met at Elk River High School to talk about what they call spiritual abuse.

The group brought up several questions, including: Is the church a cult? Do The Crossing followers believe pastor Eric Dykstra is acting upon a vision from God?

The crowd of families listened to speaker Chris Rosebrough, host of Pirate Christian Radio, who says he has analyzed Crossing sermons and compared them to bible teachings. He says he studies religious deception, because he himself spent a year in a cult.

Rosebrough analyzed sermons from Eric Dykstra at the meeting, playing sermon clips where Dykstra outlined church codes and church values.

"We orbit our lives around The Crossing church," said Dykstra, in one clip. "We think it's the only hope in all the world."

Rosebrough responded to the statement.

"I've never heard a grass roots, ordinary pastor make such a statement ever. I've only, in my 25 years of studying religious predators, seen religious predators talk like this," said Rosebrough to the audience.

Some say they came to listen, share experiences or ask questions. Others, like Kimberly Marshall, say they are part of a support group for those who left the church.

"There were various things in the talks that started to concern me, a lot about submission, you have to do certain things or else you are going to be kicked out. They talked about how they wanted their back door working properly. I found I was very fearful. If I didn't do enough, I was getting kicked out," said Marshall, who says she wants people to hear the truth.

Kelly Dykstra is part of the husband-wife pastoral team. She declined to comment on camera Friday night, but told WCCO-TV over the phone that The Crossing's fruits speak for itself.

Dykstra says this weekend, the church plans to focus on a new sermon series on relationships, "Smokin' Hot" and do what God called them to do. Last she said, they prefer to "Let God defend his church."

She is also referring the public to a church blog that tells life changing stories of The Crossing members.

In response to WCCO-TV's first story, church member Curtis Kennedy issued a video statement Friday night, in response to his mother's concerns about The Crossing.

Katie Kennedy blames the church for taking her son away.

You can see her son's response here:

He also has blog. To see it, click here.

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