Welcome to De-Commissioned, a place for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

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Kirsten
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« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2007, 05:10:09 am »

Miss C,

Maybe I am just not completely following what you are talking about, but what is/was GC* doing that is actually illegal in the eyes of a court? I am not trying to be argumentative here — I am really trying to follow where you are coming from.

People have brought up all kinds of problems here that have happened in the past and present. Many of these are things that are not Biblical or not wise or not ethical. But illegal? I’m not sure that a court cares if people feel their disciplers were too overbearing or if the church had too restrictive of ideas about dating. It’s not illegal for an association of churches to not have a book of government, even if one was promised. It’s not even illegal to kick people out of a private organization (i.e. church discipline) for less than Biblical reason — any religious organization has a right to have anyone they want to be a member or not, based on pretty much any standard.

Since no one was really kept in a church against their will (perhaps excluding Adam H’s case of being stalked, in his opinion), I am not sure a court would have a lot of sympathy for people’s hurts. Under our constitional freedom of Relgion, churches and other religious groups have a lot of rights to practice faith in pretty much any way as long as other laws are not broken and people aren’t forced into it against their will.

Does that make them okay? No, but again, I am having trouble following your “lawsuit material” argument, unless you are coming from a very different direction than I am perceiving.
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puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2007, 05:10:20 am »

Great post Agatha.
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A brother
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« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2007, 05:10:55 am »

You are right about the lifetime commitment Agatha. But you are committing the future of your life, not the past of your life. Similarly, GC pledged to you their best intention for the future, not what happened in the past.



When you questioned the doctrinal beliefs, did you get satisfactory answers? If not, you should have left.



When you took the membership class, did you like what you were committing to? If not, you did not have signed.



When you assumed more leadership responsibilities, were you pleased to be uniting with the existing leadership and serving with them? If not, you didn’t have to.



We all get into situations that don’t turn out as we had hoped. It doesn’t mean the organization is “hiding facts.” How many people start a job, only to find out its not what they hoped for. Does that mean a company hiring you has to tell you why every past employee has left? When you buy a car, how often does it run forever without repairs? Does Ford need to tell explicitly tell you that your Taurus will end up being serviced at the garage?



I am sympathetic toward your disappointment. You’re right, were not dealing with something as trivial as pizza. But I also know that for every bad GC experience, there is a good one. For every abuse, there are hundreds of acts of kindness. For every “bad” pastor, there are dozens of “good.”
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puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2007, 05:11:09 am »

For every abuse, there are hundreds of acts of kindness. For every “bad” pastor, there are dozens of “good.”

‘Brother’, I can see that you mean well, but at the same time, I feel like everything I’ve experienced has been written off by you as a ‘fluke’ right off the bat. How do YOU know what the ratio of good to bad experiences was at my church? If your GC church is great, then good for you. Stay there. But please consider the possibility that the same serious problems that happened in the past are continuing to happen in some sectors of GC, because I am telling you that based upon my firsthand experiences, that is exactly what is occurring. Please don’t just assume that because things look good in /your/ neck of the woods, that the entire forest is fine.
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Miss Current
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« Reply #44 on: March 20, 2007, 05:11:23 am »

Brother AB:

I’m trying to be sincere and without harsh tone.

We are talking about a church which is affiliated with the CHURCH of Jesus Christ. ALL of it should be beyond reproach.

I cannot believe you are describing GCx as a place of “need to know basis”…you don’t get information unless you either ask or need to know.

In comment #52 you admit GCx has bad experiences, has abuses and has “bad” pastors. I’m not being slanderous, just recognizing what you state. Why then, is the movement not making it a priority to rid itself of this baggage?

Please do not go off about other denominations have bad experiences. It is an indisputable fact about this baggage that continues to this day. Your local church may be as near perfect as it can get, and if so, I commend it. I have no idea who or where you are.
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Miss Current
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« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2007, 05:15:39 am »

Kirsten:

I truly think you are approaching this as a good faith discussion…I don’t view it as argumentative. I’m not saying if a GCx local church has leadership who “encourages” people not to date that that church will get sued. I think there are some concerns at the local level but my main focus is at the LEADERSHIP of the national GCx movement.

The fact that I say there is exposure to a lawsuit against the national leadership of GCx doesn’t make it so. EVERYONE admits there have been errors and wrongs committed by people in leadership in GCx. There is no denying that. Are we all in agreement here? The leadership has gone on record of saying there have been errors and wrong doings. The leadership also went on record to say they were going to draft, release and implement polices to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future. To date, they have not followed through on that.

I’m not a lawyer but am close enough to the profession and have plenty of friends who are lawyers. I would not want to be in the shoes of the national leadership if something goes astray in a GCx church anywhere. If it is a REPEATED offense and somebody’s life gets messed up and tens of thousands of dollars are spent to “fix” whatever the offense was, I would say that is exposure to the national leadership. If the act that is done is not illegal, then the national leadership would most definitely be guilty of negligence…and that is exposure.

I have advised enough pastors, churches and church board of directors (deacons, etc.) on money, accounting, tax and yes, insurance coverage (liability, property, malpractice, etc.) to know that churches in the country are insuring themselves for a whole lot less then some of the things I have heard on this blog site. Kirsten, I’m not trying to cause a lawsuit…I’m trying to prevent one. I had a client who 10 years ago lost an arm while attending a youth group activity. Was the church guilty of doing something illegal? No. Was the church guilty of negligence? Well, the $600,000 award says so…and those were in dollars of 10 years ago.

I don’t expect I’ll get any answers but here goes a couple questions.

1) Does any local GCx church want to say whether they have liability insurance covering the acts of its leaders?

2) Does the national GCx movement have liability insurance covering the acts of its leaders?

3) If so, what questions were asked by the insurance company? Did GCx (local or national) have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire regarding its practices?

4) Here’s a good question. If an active member or leader within GCx has or does seek legal counsel, do you tell your attorney those things you hold back from telling members within GCx? From the legal/business side of me, I would say of course. From the spiritual side of me, I question whether you are really representing Christ when you knowingly withhold information from members knowing that when other members found out that same information they were shocked and basically outraged. You have an obligation for full disclosure…you are representing Jesus…not selling a used car and hoping a lemon doesn’t surface.

I am indirectly close to a sad set of circumstances in the “church” today where a pastor did some things he wasn’t supposed to. When “things” came to light, I had the opportunity to see the pastor heading to his attorney before all things could be sized up and assessed. If I mentioned names, many of you would know who I am talking about . Unfortunate things happen in churches…attorneys get involved. Lawsuits happen. Settlements happen out of court. God’s church is seen in disgrace. I am trying to prevent that here. The national leadership needs to step up to the plate and LEAD. Doesn’t the Bible say if we know to do good, but don’t do it, that is sin? Leaders do what is right. People beneath the leaders, if they don’t do what is right, it is your obligation to do what is right.

Anyway I don’t want to extrapolate ALL points of exposure (but will give you ONE example below) out of the 1991 Error/Apology statement and do the work for the Leaders who need to dig into this subject to analyze their exposure…I will let the GCx general counsel do that.

The 1991 Error/Apology Statement said:

To guard against future problems in this area, the Association is preparing a Book of Government that includes clear procedures that our churches must follow in exercising church discipline as well as other procedures will be followed, the Association has developed a policy that no church discipline may be instituted without first consulting one of the Association’s national leaders.

My question on this would be…Has GCx followed this policy that it says it developed that NO church discipline may be instituted without first consulting one of the movement’s national leaders???

If it has not, I say that is inviting exposure right there. That would be negligence in my opinion and I wouldn’t sleep easy as a leader in the GCx movement until that is addressed.

Again Kirsten, I want to prevent a lawsuit…not cause one. These leaders have not taken official action in 16 years…do you really think they are on the verge of following through on things? Would you say they are doing everything they can, or even what they should, to prevent finding themselves in a position of NEGLIGENCE? Remember, saying I was too busy is not an excuse nor a defense for negligence.

Miss Current
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Miss Current
Adam Hirschhorn
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« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2007, 05:15:59 am »

Kristen,



Thank you for that acknowledgement, however I must forgo any accusation of criminal wrongdoing in the case of the nighttime encounter from my former pastors, for the very simple reason that they were given no notice that I desired no contact. I would consider their actions unseemly, rude, overbearing, certainly unfair and possibly traitorous to the ideas of friendship and brotherhood–but not illegal. Was it illegal when one brother in my house shot another with a BB gun while roughhousing? Well FCPD seems to have let it slide. Was it a violation of federal non-profit tax restrictions when a vocal endorsement of George W. Bush was allowed to go uncountered at a SVCC prayer event? I think so, but I don’t have a recording. Was it illegal for GC to withhold pertinent information about its past? If it isn’t. it should be, and I’d say that should go for any religious institution in America. Freedom of religion should never be construed to include deceptive practices.



If someone were to continue to receive undesired contact from one’s previous church, I was told it is a good idea to first make it clear with witnesses that contact is no longer desired, then to purchase some mace. Should undesired contact continue, a spray in the face of mace should serve not only as an excellent deterrent but also occasion to involve the police. The record from that police contact should be sufficient grounds for a restraining order.



If on the other hand, someone were really interested in a heartfelt talk with another who had left the church without giving the impression they are being stalked, I’d advise dropping them a note to let them know you’re planning to visit. Impromptu visits are a great thing between friends when things are fine, but when relationships are at stake, it’s always a good idea to be as respectful as is practical. Anytime the word “cult” is fresh on someone’s lips, you can pretty much count on a lot of fear and distrust at work. Acting in a non-imposing and trustworthy fashion is a great way to break the cycle and reverse the feedback. Driving up next to someone in the middle of the night and telling them to get in your car can have quite the opposite effect. Isn’t this common sense?
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