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Author Topic: Excommunication  (Read 40655 times)
Huldah
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 04:59:15 pm »

I hate to be the bad guy here, but...

Filing a lawsuit against GC is probably forbidden (1 Corinthians 6:7).
I didn't even think about that angle. Well, now I'm up against my own words in another thread, about trusting that God means what He says even when our inclinations lead us in the opposite way. EAS, you wrote that suing is probably forbidden; do you think there's any Scriptural room for debate on the topic? I'm asking this sincerely, not rhetorically.

For the sake of argument, let's say Scripture categorically forbids us from pursuing civil action against another professed Christian (as opposed to a crime victim pressing charges against a Christian perpetrator, which I think is a different issue.) I would like to see the local pastors in the area banding together to lovingly confront the GC elders about the way they've treated MWPhD's family. I wonder if that could be arranged. I wonder still more how such an action would be received by the GC elders.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 07:01:48 pm »

Hi Huldah!

I think there is room for debate on almost any topic, but of course, often there is only one truly correct answer.  But knowing that there is a correct answer should not stop us from debating the issue, it ought to drive us to debate with earnest sincerity.

In this situation (without knowing all the details) there probably is more warrant to round up the pastors of other churches to convene a brotherly inquiry board than to file a lawsuit.  That is quite a good suggestion you made, Huldah.

On the flip side, in my personal experience, almost no pastor of "another church" wants to get involved in ecclessiastical affairs beyond their own walls.  As a practical matter, I doubt they would participate, though that is not reason to not try.

Lawsuits, particularly ones that explicitly identify both litigants as Christians and where Christians are mistreating other Christians, is the very type of lawsuit Paul was most concerned about.  Since this is not a violent crime or a case of massive theft, I would see less cause for dragging it into the public courts.  Of course, I am not a lawyer, so this is just MHO.
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Huldah
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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 09:31:21 pm »

I tend to agree with you. However, if the church will not discipline its own, and pastors won't confront other pastors, then does a Christian have recourse to the courts? I would argue that if the church refuses to do its duty, then the Christian isn't necessarily in the wrong to ask for redress from the courts. For one thing, Paul appealed to the courts of his day, although he was a defendant rather than an accuser so the situation wasn't identical. But, I'm open to Scriptural arguments either way.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2011, 08:07:57 am »

Institutional disobedience.  Great question. 

In national Israel when "everyone did what was 'right' in their own eyes" and righteous men would not step up to lead, God sent righteous women to do the job (ie Debrah).  God did this in spite of His own statement of displeasure toward that arrangement (Isaiah 3:12).  When justice is denied those who deserve it, sometimes the ideal gives way to mercy.

I do not know if slander by a local church is such a case as to need to set aside 1 Corinthians 6:7.  No one has died, no one's life is in danger, so I would be inclined to doubt it.

Regarding Paul, his was not a lawsuit against Christians.  The state had filed criminal charges against him.  He had been in jail for years already because he would not offer a bribe.  His appeal was to the highest court in Rome as a protest to his improper treatment by the local authorities.  Probably not a comparable situation as that found in 1 Corinthians 6:7.
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StillOnePeace
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2011, 06:30:33 pm »

I'm new to this site, but not to the group. . .    This is good news.  Talk of this started during the Ames Summer gathering in 2007.
 Update of Bill & Joann Taylor:

RE:  Bill & Joann Taylor -- letter from GCC:

(The following is contents of an e-mail recently received)

From: John Hopler <jrhopler@gmail.com>
Subject: Bill Taylor --Please replace the previous letter
To:
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 7:58 PM
All,
Earlier today I sent you a letter concerning Bill Taylor.
As a protection and support for Bill who is ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ in a restricted area of the world, please delete the other letter and replace it with the attached version.
God's blessings to you,
John Hopler

The attachment:

April, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

You are likely aware that Bill Taylor was excommunicated on the charge of faction from Solid Rock Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio in 1976.  Solid Rock later became Linworth Road Church, a member church of Great Commission Churches (GCC).  This is written to give you the encouraging news that there has been reconciliation between the former leaders of Solid Rock, the leaders in the Great Commission Churches including the Linworth Road elders,  and Bill.

   The seven of us met on January 6-7, 2011 in Columbus.  Fred Colvin, Mike Keator and Bill Taylor, were the Solid Rock elders in 1976.  Dave Bovenmyer and Herschel Martindale, present GCC board members, were elders from other churches involved in the 1976 excommunication.  John Hopler and Tom Short, also GCC board members, were members of Solid Rock in 1976.  All were present with a desire to see God bring about reconciliation.  In summary, the January meeting was a time of rich fellowship in the Lord, characterized by humility, brotherly understanding, confessions and expressions of forgiveness and grace.  The time was filled with prayer, the sharing of God’s word, testimonies, and moments of laughter.  We spent many hours talking about advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ to new places in the world.

   After unrelated delays, on March 18th, 2011, the Linworth Road Church elders, in harmony with counsel offered by the Great Commission Churches board, made a decision to vacate the 1976 church ex-communication of Bill Taylor.  If you have questions about the specifics related to this decision, you can contact any of us individually or the GCC office (http://gccweb.org/) or the Linworth Road Church office (http://www.linworthroad.org/.)  Also, John Hopler, who the Lord used to steer this reconciliation process to its conclusion, is writing a paper from his personal perspective which gives a history of this matter in detail, which you will be able to receive by contacting the Great Commission Churches office.

 As your brothers in Christ, we would also like to communicate to you the following:

1.  The Living Christ.    Jesus Christ is the One who brought about this reconciliation.  The January meeting was another example of God’s grace being greater than our sins, our immaturity, and our unwise judgments.  Even with all the events that occurred in the 1970s, God faithfully worked in advancing His church.  Since 1976, there have been over 30 churches started out of Solid Rock.
2.  Brotherly Humility and Love.   Each of us has confessed to each other the wrongs we have done, our immaturity, and acknowledged to each other the different ways we would have acted were we faced with the same set of circumstances today.  If there are ones who have been hurt or wronged by our actions, we ask for your forgiveness—and we would want to express that to you personally.     
3, The Mission of Jesus Christ.  Although we have had many healthy discussions about the past, we have chosen to not dwell on the past.   We are moving on, united as brothers, to advance Christ’s glory to the ends of the earth.  Dave Bovenmyer is a pastor in Iowa, and serves on the GCC leadership team.  Fred Colvin is a missionary in Austria, helping to lead a movement of 40 churches.  John Hopler is the GCC Director, a movement of 150 affiliated churches in the world.  Mike Keator is equipping thousands to share the gospel with unreached people throughout the world.  Herschel Martindale is training leaders in the Dominican Republic. Tom Short preaches to college students, leading many to Christ. Bill Taylor works with a mission group in Central Asia and the former Soviet Union in the training of nationals.  We support and pray for each other in the work each is doing for the Lord.  We also ask for your prayers and support for each man that the fame of Jesus Christ will spread throughout the world.   

   Much grace to you in Jesus Christ,
   Dave Bovenmyer, Fred Colvin, John Hopler, Mike Keator, Herschel Martindale,
   Tom Short, Bill Taylor   
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BTDT
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« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2011, 07:02:33 pm »

This is good news indeed.  Perhaps there is hope that the GC Board would be open to resolving some other excommunications, such as the recent Evergreen excommunications detailed elsewhere in this forum. 

Neither I nor any of my GC friends have been excommunicated, but there is another reconciliation I've been mulling over for quite a while now.  Perhaps it deserves a thread of its own, so I'll start one soon.
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Linda
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« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2011, 09:16:52 pm »

Quote
If you have questions about the specifics related to this decision, you can contact any of us individually or the GCC office (http://gccweb.org/) or the Linworth Road Church office (http://www.linworthroad.org/.)  Also, John Hopler, who the Lord used to steer this reconciliation process to its conclusion, is writing a paper from his personal perspective which gives a history of this matter in detail, which you will be able to receive by contacting the Great Commission Churches office.
Um, so the (UN)excommunication is a secret? If I were unexcommunicated, I think it would only be proper that a very public announcement were made that was accompanied by a 30 year old long overdue apology.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 07:30:37 am by Linda » Logged

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EverAStudent
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« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2011, 06:57:33 am »

This is the beginning of good news, but hardly a complete message. 

-Is the church "vacating" the excommunication because it admits it was wrong when it imposed it? 
-Did Bill have to confess that the charge of "faction" was true?  If so, what kind of faction did he confess to?
-Was there a formal apology offered to Bill, or was Bill the one who had to apologize to acheive reconciliation?
-The goal of church discipline (excommunication) is to cause the sinning brother to repent, and the repentance leads to reconciliation; is this the process that was followed in this case and of what did Bill repent?

Too many unanswered questions and missing details to make this a feel good story just yet.  But, it is a start.
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Linda
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« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2011, 08:04:28 am »

Agreed, EAS. Too many unanswered questions. I like yours and have a few more.

Here are mine:

1. This e-mail was apparently sent by Hopler. In the follow up e-mail he addresses "All", in the original he addresses "Brothers and Sisters in Christ". Who are the "all" and "brothers and sisters in Christ"?

2. Why were they alone chosen to receive this letter? What put them on the Hopler mailing list?

3.
Quote
The January meeting was another example of God’s grace being greater than our sins, our immaturity, and our unwise judgments.  Even with all the events that occurred in the 1970s, God faithfully worked in advancing His church.  Since 1976, there have been over 30 churches started out of Solid Rock.
This sounds as though they are saying, "The end justifies the means."

4.
Quote
If there are ones who have been hurt or wronged by our actions, we ask for your forgiveness—and we would want to express that to you personally.
I attended Bill Gothard's Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts in the 70's. I learned that the "if" apology is no apology at all. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of a need to apologize, it will be specific. It is not the duty of the one you hurt to come to you, it is your duty to go to them.

5. If they repented of this as they "vacated" the excommunication, they why hasn't this letter been placed front and center on the GCC web page for the world to see? After all in the excommunication they said, and I quote:
Quote
Bill is excommunicated from the universal body of Christ. No Christian in any city on earth is to associate with him. And we will warn Christians all over the world, if we have any suspicion that Bill has communicated with them.

If you receive a phone call, turn away -- just hang up immediately -- and let me warn you, don't get into a discussion with him. The Scripture says in Titus chapter three that he's perverted -- doesn't mean hopelessly lost, it means his mind's perverted, twisted. He has… he'll probably come out with tremendous arguments. The Scripture says his mind is twisted. You're not to listen. And, you can do him a favor if you contact us. Any time you get a phone call, hang up immediately and contact us. If he approaches you on the street, obey the Scripture: turn away, have nothing to do with. If he follows you, run away. If he runs after you, keep running away. If he tackles you [laughter from audience] … and I'm not… this is possible… get away.
Bill Taylor lived with this hanging over his head for 36 years! Be careful. He might tackle you and I'm not kidding!!!

6. Did they repent of not following Matthew 18 by not letting Bill give his defense? When Tim Burnham asked why he wasn't allowed to come before the church, they said, and I quote:
Quote
Well, that's a… that's a good question. His defense, Tim, is what caused me to sin. His defense is the very thing he's getting disciplined for, because his defense is very divisive. And, y' know, like any controversy would have, there's a ring to it, that if you didn't really know the situation, you might say, "Well, y' know, that sounds pretty good." Let me tell ya: it wouldn't 'a' gone on for two years if it sounded silly. So, like people can be very convincing. But we have the testimony… now, we have looked into it, Mike and I -- we have the testimony of every one of these men that it's not true. He has the testimony of not one single man with him in the accusations he's brought, and in the things he's used to promote divisiveness. He says he does, but he's never presented 'em, and no one's ever come forward. And so the case is… the case is of one man making accusations against others, or quite a few men who can verify that, that he's sinned in this. And the Word of God says, "Let everything be established by two or three witnesses," like Mike said, 'n', and I think, I think we've, we've seen ample witness of a repeated pattern. We're not disciplining for any one little act -- this is a pattern, y' know, instance after instance. And there's no excuse for faction. I don't care if you are right in your little genealogy argument. There's no, there's no right to divide churches and to, to, to interfere with the discipline of a church. I don't know if I should add anything else, but… I don't think in this case you, you allow factious testimony to influence your sheep. Y' know what would happen? This sheep… this church would go straight in half -- that's what would happen.
In other words, he might have had a point and you people are so stupid you would have fallen for it. You can't be trusted to hear directly from the Holy Spirit, you need us leaders to filter things.

6.
Quote
After unrelated delays, on March 18th, 2011, the Linworth Road Church elders, in harmony with counsel offered by the Great Commission Churches board, made a decision to vacate the 1976 church ex-communication of Bill Taylor.
Unrelated delays? A man has been excommunicated for 36 years and now they are removing the charge and it takes them 2 months? Why did they have to consult with the GCC board? Aren't these churches independent? What does the board have to do with any of this? Or, perhaps this is a denomination and not an association and we have been misled once again?

7.
Quote
Although we have had many healthy discussions about the past, we have chosen to not dwell on the past.   We are moving on, united as brothers, to advance Christ’s glory to the ends of the earth.
Really? They are moving on? Skipping over the others who were excommunicated and/or slandered and all the false teaching that remains on tape and that they continue to teach, they press on to advance Christ's glory. Unbelievable. And very sad.

FYI, I'm not sure everyone reading this knows that Bill Taylor's charge was faction for disagreeing with Jim McCotter--especially on the idea of unity trumping truth.

One last point, "vacate the 1976 church excommunication" sounds highly "religious" to me! Sounds downright Catholic to me!!!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 06:35:28 am by Linda » Logged

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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2011, 09:16:50 am »

Linda.  Thank you for the seriousness and the laughs today!  It does sound Catholic!  LOL!
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LucyB
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« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2011, 12:15:45 pm »

You are likely aware that Bill Taylor was excommunicated on the charge of faction from Solid Rock Fellowship in Columbus

From the transcript of the proceedings: "Bill is excommunicated from the universal body of Christ. No Christian in any city on earth is to associate with him. And we will warn Christians all over the world, if we have any suspicion that Bill has communicated with them." (http://gcxweb.org/Audio/ExcBillTaylor-12-09-1976.aspx)

The former does not sound like an honest description of the latter to me. He was not excommunicated from the local church--he was excommunicated from the universal body of Christ (which of course was just silly--they had no authority whatsoever) and also SHUNNED!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 12:18:31 pm by LucyB » Logged
AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2011, 04:52:50 pm »

Of course, if they truly address what they did and said, there would probably be a lot more laughter and red faces.  It sounds like what second graders might come up with if they started a church.  It's so utterly ridiculous.  They were truly turning him over to Satan and hell in their minds I think.  I would so love to hear from Bill Taylor.  It would have hurt to be told that, but was there a little part inside that just wanted to giggle a little?  Like, "Okay boys, go ahead and kick me out of the worldwide body of Christ with your little made up church and crazy talk!"  My goodness.  I guess it really isn't funny though, because children were born into that craziness.  My goodness.  I had forgotten about the "over the world" part.  Seriously, are we the oooooooonly people around that thinks that's nuts?  I mean really, truly, nutso nuts???
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2011, 08:32:06 am »

Agatha,

What a perfect perspective!  Your humor over this tragedy gave me such a good laugh!  Thank you. 

Bill Taylor must be a very humble man to even meet with them, and even more humble since it sounds quite incomplete!  I don't know what was actually said ,but my hope is that is was a first start at sincere repentance.  If it was, then my heart is truly warmed. 

PUBLIC SINS require PUBLIC REPENTANCE - private sins require private repentance.  I hope they truly understand the gravity and publicness of their horrendous sin!  Based only on what I read, saw no public admission of sin on GCI's part or the leaders then pronouncing this "worldwide" CONDEMNATION.

Janet
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« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2011, 10:00:55 am »

Very good questions you both raise, EAS & Linda.

Even with all the events that occurred in the 1970s, God faithfully worked in advancing His church.  Since 1976, there have been over 30 churches started out of Solid Rock.

This struck me as very odd. If they're trying to atone for the damage they did to Bill Taylor's reputation, would it not be more appropriate to mention how God has used Bill in the intervening time?  Is it not bizarre for them to take this opportunity to pat themselves on the back instead?

Also, John Hopler, who the Lord used to steer this reconciliation process to its conclusion, is writing a paper from his personal perspective which gives a history of this matter in detail, which you will be able to receive by contacting the Great Commission Churches office.

Now that should be interesting to read.

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MidnightRider
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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2011, 06:31:33 am »

The paper Hopler says he will write should be interesting - if it is ever written. And if it is ever made public.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2023, 08:00:53 pm »



GCx doesn’t excommunicate anymore. It looks too bad.

They ask people to leave.

Then, they ask those people to not talk. If they do, they are called slanderers.


They want people to go, but they still want to control what people say after they leave. Sometimes they even ask for agreed upon statements. They misuse verses on unity to persuade current members on the wickedness of former members who speak out to accomplish this.

This is spiritual abuse.


This blog exists and continues partly because former members realized that the only way to speak out and not be hit with e-mails from elders after they leave is to go the anonymous blog route.

... Many of us have a similar story.
-Anonymous,   2007


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Linda
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« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2023, 09:34:43 am »

Mark Darling asked us to leave Evergreen (aka Hometown Church) when we met to discuss his faulty all church teaching that "leaving your church was the same as divorcing your spouse". He said we should leave rather than to critique the teaching and tell others it was wrong.

The great irony, of course, is that Mark himself left Evergreen when it became inconvenient for him to stay.

They told people not to ask us why we left.

Jeff Groen hand delivered a letter of shunning one day. That was a fun day.

A "sermon" on slander was preached against my husband's blog post and it was followed by a phone message the day the "sermon" was given telling my husband to take down his blog post.

One pastor suggested an agreed upon statement that we both would say if people asked why we left. They asked us to say only what was on the statement and nothing more. We did not agree. But, we did not speak out for more than a year after we left.

We were called slanderers by many.

Our kids lost many friends in formative years.

We received a critical letter from Mark Darling and Brent Knox in the mail on Good Friday 2012, 7 years after we left.

All of this was very traumatic for our family.

That said, we have received several meaningful apologies over the years. One deeply meaningful handwritten note came with a Christmas card this year. I cried my way through it as I read it to Terry.

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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2023, 12:37:50 pm »

Quote

we have received several meaningful apologies over the years. One deeply meaningful handwritten note came with a Christmas card this year. I cried my way through it as I read it to Terry.
-Linda


Linda, I’m so glad some chose to be honest and to seek your forgiveness. I sensed your heartfelt emotion in reading it. How wonderful.

True repentance and meaningful apology for significantly wounding people enters the heart and ministers meaningful healing, unlike disingenuous apologies. Most of us experienced that when disgusted by reading GCx’s PR “Apology Letter.” How great that that person and the others who contacted you humbled themselves to follow the Spirit of Christ. That is true obedience and humility. How moving! Thank you for sharing.

“…leave your gift there before the altar. First go
and be reconciled to your brother;
then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:24

These GCx practices of SILENCING truths about leaders twisting biblical concepts to crookedly serve themselves rather than God and his people is so corrupt!! They are acting contrary to scripture as elders. They are not only turning their head to real spiritual abuse, but participating in it also. The Bible says leaders who intentionally practice hiding other leaders grave error hurt the body of Christ, and are NOT WORTHY of holding the office of elder or pastor. They are encouraging dishonest leadership and sinful ambition in their church, rather than keeping it safe and godly.

I’m guessing from abuses experienced in your story there are hundreds of former members who went through similar abuse with edicts like it. So many testimonies of being asked to leave surround exposing abusive teaching.



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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2023, 08:17:08 pm »



When we were told about the [GCx] Weakness Paper from sources outside NL [New Life Ann Arbor, MI], our jaws dropped. We did approach the staff and asked about it. We were in no uncertain terms told “there was discussion of a paper being written up, but it was never finished or published.”

We pushed and pushed, we were finally able to get a copy of the weakness paper from Columbus/Orlando - even that was difficult and was initially met with denial. JS came unglued when he found out we went over his head to get this information. We were asked to leave shortly after that.

-Angry, 2007


...people who leave or are ousted or asked to leave are sometimes slandered by Evergreen [GCx] church leaders. It looks like it has happened multiple times; it is a pattern. Either you are one of the subjects of their little kingdom or you are out of there and your name is mud and there can't possibly be anything redeemable about you in their eyes because you questioned or had a serious concern.

-GodisFaithful,   2018


I have email after email with my team leader asking me to leave and me saying I wanted to stay. I was told I should leave and find somewhere I could be more “unified with.” None of my old friends would engage with me after I was asked to leave, so eventually I did. This was not me choosing to remove myself. This was them abandoning and forcing me out in a time of great need in my life because I didn’t fit their idea of “unified”...

-araignee19




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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2023, 07:39:44 pm »



I was asked to leave then, Solid Rock, in 1978.  Reading and understanding that crap still goes on as occured in the late 70's leaves me sick to my stomach.  …  There is a part of me that still fears being disciplined, shunned and excommunicated by those people simply for being critical...and i left 25 years ago!

-pvitartus


I've heard that if couples are having marital troubles and on the brink of divorce they are either asked to leave or leave because they know they won't be accepted in that [GCx] church.

-wastedyearsthere


I left (or was asked to leave) GC, and the Rock, nearly two years ago. … I remember going to one last small group, my friend who was more involved in this website was pulled aside by our small group leader along with another original contributor. … I do not even remember all the words used to describe the concept that we were divisive to the church, and “please don’t return until you speak to a pastor, repent, and change your ways”.  There was a total denial of all problems with the church, even those named in the errors paper.  Something was said about “the blood being on our hands“ …

-Daisy,   2008



« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 10:59:31 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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