David Berg (1919-1994) was the iconoclastic founder and spiritual leader of the non-traditional Christian movement known as the Family International. Founded in 1968 amongst the counterculture youth, the movement was originally known as the "Children of God." David's legacy lies in the missionary movement that he founded and his controversial views, expressed in some of the nearly 3,000 "Letters" that he authored over three decades.
Coming from a long line of non-conformist ministers and evangelists, Berg's life was spent in Christian service. In 1968, he founded the Children of God movement in Southern California. Initially composed of former hippies and unchurched youths, but later drawing followers from all walks of life, the group expanded rapidly and later became known as the Family International.
Berg's principal legacy is undoubtedly the movement that he founded and led. He is also remembered for his controversial views, as expressed in some of the nearly 3,000 "Letters" that he authored over nearly three decades. In his lifetime, David censured mainstream Christians for their failure to follow the teachings of Christ more closely, maintaining that Christians should model their lives after the first century Church, living a simple cooperative lifestyle and devoting as much of their time and resources as possible to disseminating the Gospel.
He also decried the materialism and de-Christianization of modern society, and viewed the onset of globalization as setting the stage for the rise of the Antichrist, a godless world dictator that the Bible predicts will rule the world in the last days before Christ's return.
Berg's theological writings on sexuality resulted in controversy and notoriety for him and the movement in the late 1970s. David retracted his more radical theological speculations regarding sexuality in the late 1980s, and these writings were officially renounced and removed from circulation.
As a mark of his legacy, during the first 25 years of the movement's history, his leadership inspired the Family to personally share the Gospel with over 260 million people in over 100 countries, of whom nearly 18 million accepted Jesus as their Savior. (More on David Berg)